Peter Wheelen cried out, “Drat, Amy! Watch where you swing that thing!” A small avalanche of stone and scree had just fallen onto Peter’s hard hat, startling and annoying him.
Amy Wheelen, the recipient of Peter’s umbrage, just smiled and continued humming. She was so happy that even Peter’s yelling couldn’t diminish her joy. “Sorry, Pete!” she purred.
Amy balanced on a rock face about eight feet above where Peter was digging. She’d just been gently hammering the surface of the stone. They were pursuing further evidence of a strange prehistoric fossil, which appeared to be an unknown creature. Other archeologists had found exciting traces of this creature in the three years prior to their arrival at the dig.
Peter and Amy had been in graduate school for a year before they met. Peter had at once fallen in love with red-haired Amy James, the beautiful, freckled transfer student from California. How couldn’t he? She was very smart, equally pretty and could go toe-to-toe with any professor in their science department, and often did. In fact, she had the first day Peter met her.
Peter smiled as he swept off the dust and rock from his sweat-lined helmet. Even though it was nearly four years ago, it was like it had only happened yesterday; he still couldn’t decide whether it had been funnier to see “Ol’ Smitty” at a loss for words, or to witness Amy angrily flush the color of a ripe cherry tomato in a room full of mostly male physical science majors. Peter recalled that Dr. Smithers—the brilliant, contentious and sometimes condescending head of their prestigious university’s archeology department—had been droning on about fossil timelines, competing theories and his antiestablishment argument for the potential appearance of “hominids” during the Cretaceous period. Amy wouldn’t have it—either his condescending style or his unsupported position—and she challenged him. Dr. Smithers was unaccustomed to being challenged by students, especially female students; he hadn’t responded well to Amy, at first thinking she was red from embarrassment. Only the class bell brought their monumental intellectual—and loud—battle to an end.
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