A piece of paper taped to my door caught my attention as soon as I tried to leave my room. I pulled down the scrawled note and read that Tony Markham would be visiting the site tomorrow. While this was an excellent opportunity, my heart also sank a little, realizing that my hopes of an early night were now dashed: I had to prepare for a state visit. Resigned, I headed for the fridge.
As I passed it, the phone on the wall rang right next to my head, startling me badly and providing yet another distraction from dinner.
“Yes?” I answered it impatiently.
“Em?” The welcome sound of a familiar man’s voice came across the line.
“Brian? It’s so good to hear you!” And it was: Brian Chang and I have been married for nearly five years, and even though we’ve been forced to spend a lot of time apart because of our respective jobs, just hearing his voice was enough to raise my downcast spirits.
“You too, Em. How’re you doing?”
“Pretty well, I guess. I just got the message that I’ve got company coming tomorrow, in the form of Tony Markham.”
“You haven’t met him yet; he was away on sabbatical last year when I started. Tony’s the other archaeologist in the department, a Mayanist. He’s a big honcho and knows everyone, so it’s nice he’s taking an interest. Just means more work for me tonight.”
“Yeah, poor me. But he’ll probably be the chair when Kellerman retires next year and it never hurts for me to start impressing folks with my tenure dance.”
“Just so long as you keep all your veils on, hon. So what’s this Markham want? Why’s he bugging you? You want I should have a little talk with him?”
Since Brian is from southern California, his attempt to sound like a tough guy from the Bronx was laughable. Fortunately, a laugh was what he was going for. “Yeah, sweetie, I think you should beat him senseless for me. Oh wait,” I pretended to remember something. “But that will you’ll have to get your lazy butt off the sofa and indulge in some physical activity. It’s too much for me to ask of you.”