Near 500 words: TW makes an appointment

Episode 13 of The Writer.

Cat would not come out from under the bed no matter how much TW (aka The Writer) pleaded. Finally TW gave up and went into the kitchen and made breakfast. After breakfast, he readied himself for work, taking a shower, shaving, then getting dressed.

As he finished his dressing, Cat walked across his feet. He reached down and picked her up and stroked her in his arms.

“What’s with you, Cat?” he asked about her strange behavior. She had never ran away and hid under the bed, not coming out when he called her. What had spooked her? Maybe it was the smell from outdoors.

A kind of sulfury smell. Yes, that must be it. And he had carried it on him when he came back indoors. The smell must be from the streak of light the night before. He thought about going to investigate but he had to get to work. He could always investigate later. Or not.

He sat Cat back down on the floor and went into the kitchen and filled her bowl. This was her food for the afternoon. Then he headed out for work.

As usual he was early for work. In the break room, he ran into Buddy Grady, his closest friend at work. Ten years younger than TW, they had become friends over the years, going out bowling from time to time. It had been Buddy who introduced Helen to him.

“I ran into Helen this weekend.”

“Yeah?” TW tucked his lunch into the refrigerator and closed the door. “How is she?”

“She wants you to call her.”

TW thought about the suggestion for a minute or so while Buddy made coffee, then, “Maybe I will.”

Buddy wrote Helen’s number down on a piece of paper and passed it over to TW.

“Buddy, you know anyone at the school who is good with languages? Ancient languages?”

“A number of people, yes.”

“I know the usual bunch. I’m talking about someone who can translate something that doesn’t fall into the usual suspects.”

Buddy gave TW a strange look.

“Oh, I’m doing some research for a alien story I’m working on. It’s stumped me.”

“In that case, you’ll want to talk to Mark Hand. He does all the advising for those movies and tv shows about aliens.”

“No, I don’t need that kind of expert. I need someone who knows some obscure ancient languages.”

Disappointed, TW’s head dropped. “I guess I’ll have to go outside the University. I really didn’t want to do that. It will take much longer.”

Buddy’s face changed into a smile. “I think I’ve got the right person. Dr. Baxter. She’s a whiz at languages and she loves puzzles.”

“Christine Baxter?”

“Yes. She’s up for a challenge.”

TW went to his desk, thinking about Buddy’s suggestion. He’d only met Christine Baxter once and she seemed to be a strange bird. For a teacher, she was extremely shy. Everybody said she kept to herself. Only came out of her office to teach her two classes, “An Examination on Sumerian Culture” and “Who needs the Hittites anyway?”

He sat down at his desk, unlocked his drawer, then logged onto his computer. He sent Dr. Baxter an email, asking for a meet. Then he ran through his email. Most of it was University stuff or Departmental requests. One student had emailed him a request for help with his research for a new game he was trying to build.

Then Dr. Baxter’s email arrived. “Will tomorrow at ten a.m. be sufficient? If so, meet me in my office.”

TW shot her back an email, agreeing to the appointment. Then he decided he had to see the Library Director.

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