Last night was a fiasco. I took pity on Charlene. The girl was so stressed about my class that she drunk herself into a stupor. And she cried out all her fears on me at the bar.
So, I took care of her the best I could.
I decided to ease up a bit. If she didn’t show, I wasn’t going to report it. And sure enough.
There was her friend Susan at her usual spot and Charlene’s chair was empty.
My class usually suffered with drop outs. It was down to eight.
I did hope Charlene wasn’t thinking about quitting though. She was too gifted for that. All she needed was a little maturity. I thought she’d make a great archaelogist one day.
“I hope you’re doing well on your reports. I’m going to give you class time to work on it today. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.”
One student raised her hand. “Um…Dr. Day, could we like have an extension? My computer is fried and I don’t think it’ll be fixed until next week.” Billie Jo Martin was the daughter of the famous Sand Martin–who discovered the Mastaba Ruins. She was always asking for more time–on tests, quizzes, you name it. And although I admired her father, she didn’t have what it took. The sooner she left the better. She cared more about the choice of lipstick for the day than what I was trying to teach my students.
Scratching my head, I retorted, “I believe you can use the library computers. They’re open 24 hours a day, Miss Martin.”
Reynold Reins raised his eyebrows. “Do you have a book on the subject matter? Would make my life a little easier.”
I crossed my arms. “Archaeology is a science of discovery. The information is online at our library database. All you need to do is follow the clues I’ve given you in your syllabus. I’m not going to hold your hand, Mr. Reins. Do the work or get out of my class. Understand?”
He winced. “Yes, sir.”
Anger flooded me. Kids today! They didn’t want to work for anything. They’d been coddled and spoiled their whole lives. I shook my head at them and said, “I can’t believe what I’m hearing. I’m here to answer good, solid questions and instead, the two questions I’ve gotten were for extra time or me feeding you with the answers. If you don’t want to work hard, I would suggest you transfer to a normal university. One that will let you skate by and pass while padding their graduate lists. That’s not going to happen here. We are a high caliber establishment.
“Now, if there aren’t any further questions, I’ll be at my desk. Feel free to ask me something intelligent, otherwise, I’ll expect those ten page papers handed in on Friday.”
My students hated me. I could feel it. And I had to admit, I didn’t like them either. If only one would show the fortitude and spunk that Ginny had, it would make me love this part of my job.
But I just didn’t get the youth of today. They’d grown up on video games and WooTube. If only they wanted to explore the world like a true archaeologist. I’d bet half of these kids wanted to become one just because of a movie they saw.
Shit. Shit. And double shit!
Dr. Day was going to brandish his jungle machete and murder me as I entered the classroom. But he saw me last night. I was a mess. Maybe he’ll take pity on me? That was about as likely as his poor girlfriend showing up after all these years.
When I opened the door, my heart pounded hard in my chest.
Damn. I was so late, everyone had already left. I was probably going to be put on academic probation. How could I be so careless?
There was only one thing I could do. Find the executioner in professor clothing and get down on my hands and knees. Ice might be running in his veins, but he couldn’t be totally evil, could he?
I checked his office first, but he wasn’t there. The college was so huge, Dr. Day could be anywhere. I was sunk.
Thank God I saw a friendly face. My Ancient Metals professor, Dr. Woods asked, “May I help you, Charlie? You seem lost.”
“Would you happen to know where Dr. Day is? I need to talk to him.”
“I think he’s down in the basement analyzing a new piece we got in today. But I don’t think…”
I rushed away, no time to lose!
I’d never been down in the basement. Lower level students like me really weren’t allowed down there, but this was an emergency!
The whole place felt creepy like it emanated a weird aura.
There were scads of secret passageways, skeleton sentries, golden statues.
But, Oh. My. GOD!
The Death Totecallum of the Sun Llama. THAT was a baaaad omen. I wondered why they were keeping it here.
I shook my head. Of course, it wasn’t real. Probably here for an upper level class.
But as I crept deeper into the labyrinth, the artifacts just grew more breathtaking. There were golden chaos relics, ceremonial plates and bowls, more jewel encrusted skeleton soldiers! It was a feast for archaeologist eyes!
But there was no sign of Dr. Day. As I descended even more stairs, the air took on a weighty, musky smell. Shivers crawled all over my body. I wasn’t supposed to be down here. I knew it, and yet, my feet just kept on going.
My God! I thought to myself. How far did this passage go? I winced. I was totally screwed. And freaking lost. I couldn’t have gotten back if I tried.
Where the hell was I?
And then God shone down on me like a lighthouse in a storm! Well, maybe not God, but a god–my stupid jerk professor who was totally going to murder me. I heard his voice reverberating off the Selvadoradan stones. “Time to get this over with,” I whispered.
Tiptoeing into a room that held a ton of analytical tables, I gazed around. Obviously this was a lab room.
“So what period would you put this in, Todd? Classic or Golden Age?” Dr. Day asked his friend. Were all the professors here just hot as holy hell? God! I didn’t know the guy beside him–hadn’t taken one of his classes, but I could only hope one day!
I cleared my throat, almost hoping he didn’t turn around. “Dr. Day? May I speak with you?”