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Document of Expectations

Document of Expectations

Devon Abbott Mihesuah
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 202
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  • Book Info
    Document of Expectations
    Book Description:

    When Hopi/White Mountain Apache anthropologist Tony M. Smokerise is found murdered in his office at Central Highlands University, the task of solving the crime falls to jaded Choctaw detective Monique Blue Hawk and her partner Charles T. Clarke. A seemingly tolerant and amicable office of higher education, the university, Monique soon learns, harbors parties determined to destroy the careers of Tony and his best friend, the volatile Oglala anthropologist Roxanne Badger. In the course of her investigation, Monique discovers that the scholars who control Tony's department are also overseeing the excavation of a centuries-old tribal burial site that was uncovered during the construction of a freeway. Tony's role in the project, she realizes, might be the key to identifying his murderer. This virtuosic mystery novel explores, in engrossing detail, the complex motives for a killing within the sometimes furtive and hermetic setting of academia.

    eISBN: 978-1-60917-225-1
    Subjects: Language & Literature, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[vi])
    (pp. 1-2)

    The Oscar Ranger Seminar Room on the second floor of the old stone building known as Anthropology grew hot after a day under the late spring sun. Unlike other buildings on campus, which housed multiple departments, Anthropology held only one. The comparatively affluent anthropologists enjoyed the comfort of their own freestanding building, with its name newly carved in marble above the majestic front doors. A decade before, the Department of Anthropology had been just another minor entity in the College of Social Sciences at Central Highlands University, but a wealthy benefactor, a collector of antiquities, had given funds for an...

  3. SUNDAY, 11:30 p.m.
    (pp. 2-4)

    Thick Virginia creepers proliferated around the base of the old stone Anthropology building. Tiny feet of the lush, green tendrils had latched on to the century-old cement and rock outcroppings, and over a long period of time the ivy had ascended the outer walls.

    In the night’s darkness a figure in black pants, a black, long-sleeved knit top, black shoes, and a black mask crept along the edge of the flowerbeds, then stopped to look up. Lights in two of the offices on the third floor were still on. Stepping across a flowerbed, the intruder put black-gloved hands onto the...

  4. MONDAY, 4:00 a.m.
    (pp. 4-7)

    Monique Blue Hawk opened her eyes and saw the outline of her Afrin squirt bottle and a tumped-over plastic water cup on the nightstand. A hazy dream drifted through her mind, although she couldn’t say what the dream was. She dozed and dreamed more of the same, and during her thrashings flung her arm across the table and knocked the cup off the nightstand. That woke her up for good.

    The ceiling fan whirled above her, creating a pleasant breeze. Steve, her husband, snored softly beside her, holding a teddy bear with his left arm and cradling their impressively ugly...

  5. MONDAY, 8:05 a.m.
    (pp. 7-11)

    The three Central Highlands University police officers had completed the last patrols of their all-night shift when they received the call from the dispatcher about a dead person in a trashed office in Anthropology. The sleepy men jerked to attention and turned on their sirens and flashers while they sped through the winding campus streets, their elaborately painted silver and blue Ford Tauruses looking more like escorts for the Dallas Cowboys than university patrol cars.

    The officers parked crookedly in the small lot in front of Anthropology, jumped out of their cars, and sprinted to one of the two front...

  6. MONDAY, 8:15 a.m.
    (pp. 11-24)

    It took forty-eight-year-old Monique Blue Hawk, Chief Investigator of Moose City Homicide, six minutes to drive to her partner’s house. Detective Charles T. Clarke, fifteen years her junior, jogged from the front porch with a white powdered-sugar donut in his mouth and a jacket over his arm. Clarke got in the car and Monique watched sugar flutter down onto his shirt and her seat.

    “Got a homicide,” she said. “Get that donut under control.”

    “University, huh?” Clarke mumbled through a mouth full of dough.

    “We’ll be dealing with inflated egos and large salaries, so try not to get pissed off,”...

  7. MONDAY, 9:10 a.m.
    (pp. 24-25)

    After an hour of taking photographs and bagging evidence, the police allowed the body of Tony Smoke Rise to be removed. The ambulance attendant tucked the dead man’s long ponytail into the bag before zipping it and lifting it onto the gurney. Klaus also left for the morgue.

    “Shame,” said Clarke. “Handsome guy.” He then saw a framed picture of Tony and three other people on a high bookshelf. “Look, Indians.”

    Monique looked up at the photo. “What a hell of a detective you are.”

    “Not really. Seems obvious as the balls on a boxer dog.”

    Monique felt her eyes...

  8. MONDAY, 9:15 a.m.
    (pp. 25-33)

    After Monique and Clarke completed their initial investigation, they removed their gloves and jackets. As they left Tony’s office, Meg returned from printing the doors.

    “I got prints from every knob.”

    “Good work. Thanks,” said Monique.

    “Except for two.”

    “What does that mean?”

    “This one,” she said, nodding toward the dead man’s door, “and the knob to the office at the end of the hall have no prints.”

    “No prints?”

    “Nope. Someone grabbed these knobs and turned, but they had gloves on. By doing so they cleaned the handle of prints. Not only that. In the big meeting room on...

  9. MONDAY, 9:30 a.m.
    (pp. 33-39)

    Roxanne Louise Badger, cultural anthropologist and member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation of South Dakota, normally woke early on weekdays to read the newspaper, grade student papers, then write for an hour. Roxanne’s husband Warren, a mixed-blood member of the Osage Nation of Oklahoma, slept while she wrote, then she woke him before leaving to play handball with her best friend Renell at the health club. Before leaving, Roxanne fed their young daughter Giselle and the numerous animals on their ten-acre property, then dropped Giselle off at preschool.

    “Sure, honey,” Roxanne had told Warren,...

  10. MONDAY, 10:15 a.m.
    (pp. 39-51)

    “Chair Fhardt,” said Monique as the two detectives entered Mark Fhardt’s office. They got comfortable in the soft leather chairs reserved for guests. “I’m wondering,” Monique began as she took out her pen and the Sponge Bob pad. “How long have you been chair?”

    “About six years.” Fhardt considered leaning back in his lounge chair and propping up his feet like he did when students and faculty came to talk to him, but thought that the detectives would view him as arrogant. So he sat straight and leaned forward.

    “Do all faculty members have leather furniture in their offices?” Monique...

  11. MONDAY, 10:30 a.m.
    (pp. 51-53)

    Tony Smoke Rise’s parents received the news of their son’s death a few hours after Moose City police received the call from CHU police. The Moose City police had in turn contacted the Hopi Tribe and Flagstaff police, 800 miles to the south. Flagstaff PD dispatched an officer to the Smoke Rise residence to give them the devastating news.

    Justin Creamer hated the part of his job that required him to inform families about the deaths of their loved ones. He tried to wash off the residue of their sorrow, but their anguish and despair coated him. Creamer’s face adopted...

  12. MONDAY, 10:40 a.m.
    (pp. 53-61)

    Mary, the secretary, sat sipping orange juice, the boxed kind with a straw, the same brand Monique put in Steve’s and Robbie’s lunch boxes. Mary had stopped crying, but her hands shook.

    “Mrs. Cooper, I’m Detective Blue Hawk and this is Detective Clarke. We’d like to ask you some questions, but you don’t have to answer without an attorney present.”

    “No, no. Ask. I’m okay.” Mary was taller than both detectives. She looked to be around twenty-five, although they later learned that she was forty-one. Monique was once again struck at how quickly she had reached forty-eight.Do I look...

  13. MONDAY, 11:00 a.m.
    (pp. 61-70)

    Roxanne ate a banana and drank a chocolate Slim Fast on the drive to work. She thought about how she could’ve parked right outside the anthropology building if she’d paid $395 for a yearly parking sticker. Most of the time she didn’t have much to carry to and from her office, so walking was no big deal. Rainy days were more problematic, as were the days she had to carry her replenishments of Diet Dr. Peppers. Today she decided to take her chances on a place off-campus and found one in front of the Hole-in-the-Middle Bagel Shop a half-mile away...

    (pp. 71-75)

    The old guard resented Deb Young from the very day she entered her position as chair of the Department of Anthropology. Young insisted that faculty give a complete accounting of their research travel. She made certain that everyone taught a Monday-Wednesday-Friday course at 8:10 a.m. once every three years, and that candidates for promotion to full professor be judged only by other full professors.

    Most offensive to the status quo was her diversification of the department. In her first year she hired Roxanne and Tony. The second year she hired two African American women. Then the third year she scored...

    (pp. 75-86)

    The stressful years slid past as Tony and Roxanne adjusted to their dysfunctional environment. Attending conferences got them away from CHU, but into other taxing situations, such as the American Anthropological Association conference in Los Angeles.

    They arrived at LAX in time to make the AAA reception at the Museum of Natural History. The two Indians stayed close together, too intimidated by the sea of white faces to venture forth by themselves into the crowd. They ate several platefuls of barbecued shrimp, crab-stuffed mushrooms, and Malaysian coconut chicken curry, then called it a night around ten.

    One of the first...

    (pp. 86-87)

    “Well, let’s see,” reasoned Leo Harding over the music at the Pool Masters Bar and Steakhouse the spring prior to the decisions on Tony’s and Roxanne’s tenure. Harding and his allies met that evening to discuss how they could best maneuver the promotion and tenure committee next year. Who got promoted would determine the direction of the department, and this faction was strategizing as if it were the United States military.

    “There’s nineteen faculty in the department,” Harding continued. “One’s the chair. Five are assistants, six are fulls, and the rest are associates. Members can serve only two years, then...

    (pp. 87-90)

    Although they had met every goal listed in their Documents of Expectations each year they had been at the university, Tony’s and Roxanne’s quests for promotion and tenure were rejected by the promotion and tenure committee in the Department of Anthropology.

    They didn’t just reject the candidates without commentary; the committee gave them pages and pages of critique about their work’s value (for Tony: “Is anyone much interested in work about Indian populations besides Indians?”), notes on their attitudes (including nasty remarks about their personal lives: “Dr. Badger refuses to socialize with her colleagues at departmental functions, perhaps due to...

    (pp. 90-91)

    Roxanne and Tony learned to cope with the gossiping. They worked hard and played hard with their families, taking vacations during summer and winter breaks. Both focused their energies on locating funding for their Indigenous Studies Institute. They discussed collaborations with the School of Education and the departments of psychology, history, physical therapy, biology, and languages. They discovered that a solid, honest proposal brought results.

    Their proposed curriculum featured basic courses in policy, history, and economics, including strategies for decolonization in each. Roxanne approached the Department of English, whose faculty agreed that instead of American Indian Literature, a course that...

  19. MONDAY, 12:10 p.m.
    (pp. 92-96)

    Monique wanted to visit Tony’s wife before interviewing the rest of the individual faculty members. She thought it odd that Perri Smoke Rise was not aware that her husband didn’t come to their bed the night before.

    “Maybe she really is feeling puny,” said Clarke as they made their way through traffic. “The flu wipes me out so bad I can’t tell if it’s day or night. I lose weight and have to spend a month drinking milkshakes and beer to gain it back.”

    “You poor baby,” Monique said. “One milkshake shows up around my gut.”

    They headed towards the...

  20. MONDAY, 2:00 p.m.
    (pp. 96-99)

    “Hey guys,” said Renee Coker, one of the Moose City police officers. She sat at her desk eating a free-range chicken sandwich on whole wheat with sprouts hanging out the edges. She propped her petite feet on the wastebasket. “Got anything?”

    “Working on it,” Monique answered as she walked past. At her desk she took off her jacket and bobbed her head around to unknot her neck muscles. “Turns out Tony’s wife was sick last night. She took some prescription cough syrup and fell asleep. She thought it was Tony falling onto the bed around midnight, but it really was...

  21. MONDAY, 2:30 p.m.
    (pp. 100-115)

    Heavy traffic caused the trip to Roxanne’s house to take thirty minutes. “Damn city,” said Monique. There were only two main roads going east and west, and the shortcuts were no longer secret. At any time of the day, cars were backed up at the poorly planned intersections where the train tracks crossed.

    “Another earthquake or two in California and we’ll really have problems,” she said. “All those rich people on the West Coast will come here and drive the prices up so high that cops won’t be able to buy affordable housing.”

    “Looks like Roxanne lives as far away...

  22. MONDAY, 6:00 p.m.
    (pp. 115-119)

    Monique and Clarke returned to her vehicle. Monique drove for a while in silence while Clarke held a carton of eggs in brown shells, thinking about the day.

    “So how do you like this case, Clarke? You enjoying yourself?”

    “Like a tornado in a trailer park. Seriously though. This case is full of strange cookies.”

    “Most murder cases are,” said Monique. “There could be any number of people who committed the murder. Maybe more than one person planned it. There’re quite a few motivations for killing Tony and Roxanne. Their colleagues have always worried about them taking a share of...

  23. MONDAY, 11:15 p.m.
    (pp. 119-122)

    Monique arrived home and quietly undressed, then dropped her clothes on the den floor and walked to the kitchen in her underwear, her weapons in her right hand. She laid the Glock, Charter Arms, and Mace on the table, then went to the fridge to see what might be left over from dinner and smiled with surprise to find Steve’s homemade pizza on the top shelf. Layers of sauce, cheese, olives, and a variety of other vegetables, mainly mushrooms, were piled on the thin, whole wheat crust. She took a slice, nuked it in the microwave for a minute, then...

  24. TUESDAY, 5:00 a.m.
    (pp. 122-124)

    Monique Blue Hawk slept soundly through the night, but Roxanne Badger woke for the fourth time and it wasn’t worth the effort to try and sleep more. Warren snored lightly and Toot lay between them, her breathing heavy and even. Roxanne got out of bed and padded to the front bathroom so she wouldn’t disturb them. Then she went to the front porch, laced her Brooks, and took up her cross-country running poles for a hike. Normally she had the dogs with her, but she had no desire to bother with them when they ran off to explore or chase...

  25. TUESDAY, 7:00 a.m.
    (pp. 124-128)

    Monique and Clarke met at the office early. Despite her good intentions, Monique felt too tired to run that morning and decided to make up for her laziness by drinking a large glass of carrot juice and eating a banana with peanut butter. When she got to work she picked up a granola bar from the bowl on Renee’s desk, a message on a pink paper, then sat down to read more faculty merit files before Belinda Rinds arrived for her interview.

    “Hey, listen to what it says in this file,” said Clarke. He had taken some files home with...

  26. TUESDAY, 9:30 a.m.
    (pp. 128-131)

    Monique and Clarke drove to the Smoke Rise residence and parked in the drive next to the first squad car on the scene. They got out and were greeted once again by Mrs. Lucas.

    “Thank you for coming out,” she said in a high-pitched, stressed voice. They entered the room to find the den turned upside down. The pretty ivy plant had been pulled from the ceiling and the dirt dumped on the floor. The room’s drawers lay on the floor and the cabinets emptied. Amid the chaos stood a short gray man in jeans and a flannel shirt talking...

  27. TUESDAY, 11:30 a.m.
    (pp. 131-137)

    After a few more questions for Perri Smoke Rise, Monique and Clarke returned to the station to begin their interviews with the anthropologists.

    “You ready for this?” She asked Clarke.

    “As ready as I can be.”

    “Stay cool.”

    “I’ll let you do the talking.”

    “Thank you.

    Monique glanced up and saw a thin, decorative woman talking to the receptionist. “I’ll bet real money that’s Professor Belinda C. Rinds.”

    Clarke looked at her watch. “Twenty minutes early. I’ll get her.” Clarke fetched the nervous woman and she followed him back to Monique’s desk.

    “Hellooo!” Belinda C. Rinds greeted them in a...

  28. TUESDAY, 1:15 p.m.
    (pp. 137-153)

    Monique and Clarke had discussions with more faculty members after their Taco Bell lunch. They all said the same thing: Roxanne and Tony were privileged people who wouldn’t be published if not for their race and who refused to socialize with their well-meaning colleagues.

    Rhonda Cartwright was the most evasive. She arrived looking tired and fidgety. Her baggy clothes were wrinkled, and her hair hung limply around her pale face. Fleshy and frumpy, she looked the physical opposite of the thin and tidy Belinda Rinds.

    “And what was the trouble between you and Roxanne?” Monique asked. They’d been at it...

  29. TUESDAY, 4:00 p.m.
    (pp. 153-155)

    “Turn here, turn here,” Clarke said to Monique. They drove down the bumpy, red-dirt road that threatened to tear the undercarriage out from the Impala. “Man, we shoulda rode mountain bikes.”

    “And we would have swallowed dust for three miles,” Monique reminded him.

    “There’s the freeway over there,” Clarke said as he observed the line of traffic about a quarter of a mile off. “So they plan to build an off-ramp that connects to this new road they’re building.”

    “It’ll be a wider road leading west that’ll bypass town and the railroad. Over there is where the new Sam’s Club...

  30. WEDNESDAY, 4:00 p.m.
    (pp. 155-159)

    Tony’s parents and two brothers arrived in Moose City from Phoenix. It was too expensive to fly from the Flagstaff airport to the connecting flight at Phoenix Sky Harbor, so they drove the 150 miles to the Valley of the Sun. Besides, the Flagstaff-to-Phoenix commuter planes were like flying logs. Even if passengers didn’t have to use the barf bag stowed in the seat back in front of them, they still felt nauseated the rest of the day.

    Tony’s two brothers appeared angry and intense as they entered the America West terminal. Both men were tall like their parents and...

  31. SUNDAY
    (pp. 159-160)

    The families spent the next day discussing funeral arrangements and talking about their loss and who might be at fault. Tony’s family thought that he would be buried in Arizona, and when her time came, Perri could be buried next to him. Everyone else nodded in agreement. Perri sat with her hands in her lap, nodding and smiling if someone spoke to her, but she continued to take Valium and mainly stared at the floor.

    Several friends from her past called Roxanne, including former chair Deb Young, her community college professor Bill Reath, and her doctoral advisor Lenay McGraw. Other...

  32. MONDAY, 1:00 p.m.
    (pp. 160-168)

    Tony’s funeral day began clear and bright. Mourners developed aches from a sleepless night followed by dozing in the early morning that wasn’t enough for tired bodies and minds. They drank coffee and juice, knowing that if they didn’t, their headaches would worsen. Family and friends managed to dress. Two limos picked up Tony’s family.

    “Come with us,” Arlene Smoke Rise told Roxanne.

    Roxanne shook her head. “Better go with Warren.” She gave Arlene a kiss on the cheek.

    The church was large enough to accommodate those who wanted to say goodbye to Tony. Roxanne recognized the mayor, the county...

  33. MONDAY, 10:00 p.m.
    (pp. 168-175)

    Clarke was asleep, dreaming of Sharon Stone inThe Quick and the Dead, when the phone rang. He mistook it for a gunshot and jumped up, fumbling for the .45 he kept under his pillow. He found it, realized what century he was in, and took a deep breath. He was breathing heavily when he picked up the cell phone and said, “Hello.”

    “What’s the matter with you?” Monique asked from the other end.

    “Uh, nothing. I was dreaming about Ross Clipper.”

    “Clipper? What the hell for? Never mind. I just got a call from Roxanne. Seems her husband went...

    (pp. 175-184)

    The sun beat down on the Impala. There was no wind and little traffic on the highway to Reynolds.

    The two officers had completed their cleansing ceremony. The old Hopi man started it, then Arnold Old Bull finished it. Afterwards they ate a large brunch of corn bread, fruit salad, and elk stew, courtesy of the successful hunter Tony Smoke Rise, who had given Roxanne and Warren several packages of frozen meat the previous fall.

    “Well, I feel good. You feel good?” Monique asked Clarke as she drank a large swig of canned tea.

    “I guess. How am I supposed...

    (pp. 185-187)

    The night of the verdict, the newly appointed department chair, Ben Rogers, and his wife Marge dined in the Tanglewood Country Club’s “Cork Room.” The dining room was so named because the ceiling and walls were covered in brown cork. Marge was dressed elegantly and smoothed her outfit continually to make sure it made the right impression on the other golfing diners.

    “To us,” Ben said as he raised his glass. They were on their second bottle of wine.

    Marge appeared puzzled. It wasn’t their anniversary.

    “I’m happy for you, dear. You’ve always wanted to be chair.”

    “For fifteen years,”...

  36. WEDNESDAY, 2:00 p.m.
    (pp. 188-189)

    “Good catch,” Monique yelled to Robbie after he had run to grab a wide toss of the orange Frisbee. The family had walked to the local park before meeting Roscoe and Renell for an early dinner. “Throw it back to Dad. Keep your elbow up. Okay, nice.”

    The day was cold but still. Runners made their way up and down the street while dogs and their owners played in the park.

    “Hey, Mom,” Robbie said as he jogged over to her. “We haven’t come to the park in a long time.”

    “I’ve been pretty tied up with that case, baby.”...

  37. THURSDAY, 3:00 a.m.
    (pp. 189-195)

    “What’s the matter?” Steve asked Monique. His wife was awake and thrashing. She kicked him in the thigh and made him jump.

    “Just thinking,” she answered. “The funeral. It was on purpose.”

    “Not again. Moni, no one killed those men. They died because it was their time. They got hurt because they were careless. That’s all.”

    She ignored him. “The way those people were hurt and died …” Monique watched the blades of her ceiling fan slowly swirl. The night light allowed her to see the outline of everything in their room. “That couldn’t be a coincidence.”

    “Sure it could.”...