Sitting around a small table inside the SCU Biology & Aquatics department staff room, Dr. Javier Sanchez and Dr. Shelby Willis go over semester grades and other business.

Javier: (Looking at his watch) Well, the meeting was called for 3:00 - it's now 3:20

Shelby: Timothy should be here soon, he was finishing up a lab tutorial

Javier: Maybe when Hajanian and Erika finally become parents, they'll learn how to be more prompt

Shelby: (Raising an eyebrow) You were late three times last week

Javier: Yes, but I had my reasons... my children

Shelby: You mean the actual offspring you had with your wife or the cluster of freshmen hanging around your office door?

Javier: Jealous, Shel? - the student reports on you are solid - they give you high marks on conveying your knowledge in a helpful and informative way but they classify your manner as "brusque" - try lightening up a little and you could very well have your own pack of freshmen hanging on your door next semester!

Shelby: (Folding her arms) NO THANK YOU - I already have one son hanging on to my leg, that's more than enough for now

Javier: (Sipping his coffee) Try having an adult male grab a hold of your legs and throw them over his shoulders, you'll have more fun

Shelby: (Smacking him on the arm with a file) I do believe you just violated SCU Code of Conduct rule 42 subsection C - sexual harassment!

Javier: Is it HARassment or harASSment?

Shelby: Do I look like an English major?

Javier: No, but you sure sound like one - by the way, the damn Lit. Department has twice as many awards and grants this year

Shelby: (Sighing) Yes, I am painfully aware of that - that's why I'm going to have to sue you for your prior comment

Javier: You are more than welcome to do so - I can give you the second mortgage on my house, a car that needs a new transmission, my $5000.00 in credit card debt and my wife's alarm clock that plays the soundtrack to "Grease"

Shelby: Nevermind

Javier: (Tapping his pen) The smart thing to do would be to sue Erika for wasting our time here - the von Meers could easily part with a moneybag or two

Shelby: (Turning serious) I am growing concerned about her

Javier: You're concerned about everyone, Shelby, that's why you get the best birthday presents from the office secretaries

Shelby: I am not joshing around, Sandy, there is something going on with her - she hasn't been right for awhile now - everyone keeps asking me what "big project" has Erika so busy all the time

Javier: (Eyes lighting up) Project?

Shelby: There IS no project... at least that I am aware of - she has the same work load as I do and her research is far from earth-shattering

Javier: Who asked you about her?

Shelby: Her brother, for one - and Griffin... oh, and another man on the phone who wouldn't leave his name - it was quite odd

Javier: (Slamming his hand on his notepad) DAMMIT - I knew it!

Shelby: What?

Javier: She has a secret project - probably some tip off from her father's company - she's going to do it all herself and get all the glory, leaving us in the lurch

Shelby: Oh, I don't know about that

Javier: You know how these rich white people are, they stick together, keeping everything in the inner circle... keeping us out!

Shelby: Come now, this has nothing to do with race

Javier: It ALWAYS has something to do with race

Shelby: Sorry, I just don't believe that

Javier: That's right, you're off playing polo with them all the time

Shelby: I happen to like polo

Javier: You happen to like Captain Crunch - am I right?

Shelby: (Looking away) You are a madman, I have no clue as to what you are thinking in that nasty little head of yours

Javier: You have it so bad for Craig, whenever the Coast Guard calls for info, you gallop to the phone!

Shelby: I do not gallop

Javier: You do too, I saw it with my own eyes... twice

Shelby: Well... even if I did, he certainly wouldn't be interested in me - I have a young child

Javier: So? - doesn't he have a daughter?

Shelby: It's just different for men, besides she lives with the ex-wife

Javier: Eh, I wouldn't waste your time with him, he seems like a stuffed shirt

Shelby: (Impish grin) His pants are stuffed with vigor and that's what counts

Javier: It's my turn to sue for sexual harassment now

Shelby: Unfortunately, a rather large negative against the fine Phelps is his current involvement with one Ursula Martel

Javier: (Gasping) NOT R'XAL

Shelby: A "rumor" of course - I can't believe you watch that silly space show!

Javier: (Clearing his throat) My sons do

Shelby: (Checking over some notes) Mm-hmm

Javier: That's funny, Oni tells me my sister-in-law has Ursula's co-star set in her sights

Shelby: (Wide-eyed) NOT JAMIE

Javier: HA - I can't believe you watch that stupid old sitcom!

Shelby: Calvin does - it's on the Rerun Network every night

Javier: (Winking) Yeahuh

Shelby: Tell me, has Anita talked to you at all about what she's doing with Craig?

Javier: What is she doing with Craig?

Shelby: Obviously not, then

Javier: Is it Coast Guard related?

Shelby: I am not certain - some of the questions that he has been asking me lately are not typical

Javier: Can you cite an example?

Shelby: "Have there been any recent sea mammal anomalies discovered in the area?"

Javier: (Scratching his beard) That is bizarre - someone obviously knows something here and we're being kept out of the loop - you keep working on Craig and I'll grill Anita - this school NEEDS a big discovery to put us on the academic map, we've been riding on past glories for far too long

Shelby: Our Santa Conchita River spill studies were in two scientific journals?

Javier: That's not enough, we need something more... soon

Shelby: (Glancing at the wall clock) Be sure to bring it up at our next meeting, I need to get going - I have to pick up Calvin and then get ready for my date tonight

Javier: Oooh, a date?

Shelby: Don't sound so surprised

Javier: Do I know the man, is he as handsome as I am?

Shelby: Jason Clark and if he looked remotely like you, I would not be going out on a date with him

Javier: OUCH - he's kind of young for you, isn't he?

Shelby: Not as young as yours

Javier: (Waving a white paper napkin) I surrender

Shelby: He seems like a gentleman yet there is also an unnerving aura about him

Javier: Tell him to switch deodorants

Striding into the room, a disheveled Dr. Erika von Meer approaches the table and drops a stack of files on the table.

Erika: This is my course curriculum for next semester

She drops another stack of files on the table.

Erika: These are my students' grades and papers for last semester

She drops a spreadsheet on the table.

Erika: These are the current expenditures for my lab experiments and what I'd like to see added in the new budget - it's all very straightforward, I've highlighted areas that might be brought into question - if you need to go over it in detail with me, let me know and we'll set up a time

Erika forces a smile and turns to leave.

Javier: (Gruff) Dr. von Meer, SIT DOWN

Erika scowls at him.

Javier: (Softening) Erika... please

Erika: (Doing so) What's the problem, Sandy?

Before he can respond, Tim Hajanian enters the room.

Tim: (Catching his breath) Thank you all for starting the meeting without me

Erika: I just got here myself

Tim: (Sneering at Erika) Surprise

Shelby: You both are over a half hour late - Sandy and I have family plans to work around

Tim: You know what, I am really sorry about that - I'm happy you both decided to have children but that decision should not affect me - it's not fair - just because I am a single man does not mean that I DON'T have a life!

Erika sits back as Sandy and Shelby exchange looks.

Tim: I was late because I was busy taking care of a tutorial that one of YOU was supposed to help me with

Javier: We knew you could handle it yourself

Tim: Man, that is a tired excuse, try to think of something original for once

Shelby: Timothy, you would be wise to watch what you say

Tim: (Shrugging) What? - are you going to toss a bunch of coconuts into the ocean if I dis you?

Shelby: (Standing up) Are you making fun of my religion, you deviant piss?

Javier: Will everyone please calm it down?

Tim: Look, I have an art exhibit this weekend to prepare for - have any of you seen my sculptures? - do any of you even ASK about my art? - NO - but I'm supposed to give a crap about your kids and come to the rescue every time there's a bruised knee

Javier: We're sorry that you feel that way

Tim: You all seem to assume that I can be counted on to take the shit jobs while you and the kiddies go picnic in a park - well, I'm done with the burden of your spawning

Erika: His point is crude but correct

Tim: You don't have to fight my battles, Erika, I am sick and tired of you disappearing all the time - where in the hell do you go? - have you become a junkie because you look like death warmed over

Javier: (Losing his temper) MISTER Hajanian, you seem to be forgetting that DR. Willis, DR. von Meer, and myself rank above you in this department and you will do what is asked of you!

Tim: (Throwing his files on the table) Not if I'm not around to do it - good fucking luck trying to find another flunky that's as efficient as I am - when you're ready to discuss my part in this little powwow, be sure to let me know

The room is silent as Hajanian storms out the door.

Erika: (Casually) George took Lydia and Penny with him to DC this week

Javier: Ah, OK

Shelby: (Standing) I need to get going, we'll discuss all of this tomorrow... and let us make it a point to go see Timothy's sculptures

Erika and Sandy watch her leave. Before the blonde woman can say or do anything, she feels the sweaty hand of the man across from her take her fingers into his.

Javier: Rica... I need you to be honest with me

Erika: (Looking into his eyes) About what?

Javier: Everything

Erika: (Snapping her hand away and leaving) Not today


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