Gone Fishin' - Cover

Gone Fishin'

Copyright© 2010 by Pedant

Chapter 16

The next morning Shirl had a surprise for me.

"He's not coming back!"


"Jurgen's not coming back. His mother died and he's inherited a house and money and faxed in his resignation."


"Yeah. Two weeks ago."


"He faxed about two weeks ago."

"Okay. This is a very different kettle of fish. Do you know Harry?"

"On the faculty?"



"Is he around?"

"Probably. Want me to find out?"

"Yes. And when he can talk to me."

In my room, I called Canberra. "Janice. Gordy. Yes, we're fine. But I need to talk to Kevin ... Around two? Sure, that's eleven here, right? You're still on daylight savings ... okay." The phone buzzed.

"Harry's on his way. I caught him in his office."

I heard the elevator. "Hey! Do you give guided tours?"

"Hey, yourself. As I recall it, you were one of those who showed me this place."

"Yeah. But it sure didn't look like this!"

"No. We've made a few improvements. By the way, coffee or tea?"

"Coffee, please."

"Shirl, could you spare Harry a cup of coffee?"


"Anyway, this is reception and around the partition's research." Harry stuck his head in back.

"Hi, Des! See you got a job."

"Sure did."

"Des was one of my students. But I couldn't get him interested in the lower vertebrates."

"Come back to my room. Shirl, let me know when it's getting on eleven."


When we were settled down, I asked Harry "Do you know that Jurgen's not returning?"

"Yep. Heard that about a week ago."

"Well, that brings me to my problem. When Jurgen left, our leader asked whether I could cover a lecture or so of the introductory course, if Jurgen wasn't back in time." Harry nodded. "Yesterday, I tried to get to see him, but he didn't show up for our appointment."

"Not unusual. It's his way of exhibiting power." I snorted.

"Yeah. Now I've learned that Jurgen's not coming back. So, what am I supposed to do? I'm not really part of the department. I'm not paid to be on the faculty. And, to put it bluntly, I have both federal and state obligations. I've had to go visit Floreat. I've got to fly to Alice Springs. I'm sure I'll have to go to Canberra at least once in April or May."

"Well, to be quite frank, I think you should bugger him – not really, but figuratively. Sit tight. Let him crawl to you. There's been no internal notice of a search committee, so most likely the Dean hasn't told him to set one up. So who knows what the idiot has been thinking."

"I take it that you're not an admirer." It was his turn to snort. "But what about the students? There must be a bunch enrolled in the introductory course. And what about Jurgen's post-graduate students?"

"I'll find out about enrolment from the registrar's office and let you know. I'm not sure that Jurgen had any doctoral students. Des would have been the most likely victim. Talk to him after I've gone." He paused. "I guess I've not helped much. How's married life treating you?"

I laughed. "It's great. After something more than two months it doesn't hurt at all."

"We really ought to get together. The barbie up in Lancelin was nice, but a bit far."

"We live in Wembley Downs."

"We're south of the Swan. In Brentwood. It was the lower-priced suburb until about five years ago. Now all the new developments have pushed up the prices."

"Any kids?"

"Not yet, but in a year or two..."

"Yeah. I anticipate that as well."

Harry laughed. "Well, keep in touch, okay? I'll be here a lot as we get close to classes. And I'll let you know what I learn from the Registrar."


"What do I do with this?" He waved his 'guest' mug.

"Just leave it."

It was just past ten. I took the mug and my own and went next door.

"Do we have a list of the faculty?"

"School or centre?"

"Just this centre, I guess." Shirl handed me a single sheet of paper. It looked like eight faculty of various ranks. I guess I'd met nearly everyone, though I couldn't recall most of them. "Do you know what they specialize in?"

"Most of them. Probably Des knows the ones I don't. Des, c'mon out!" He'd clearly been listening.

"Several of these guys are into fossils. Herlihy spends most of his time on some marsupials from Riversleigh. Agatha's into birds. She's got parrots and stuff from the Naracoorte limestone. Jurgen you know. These two do fish and benthic stuff. The others do botanical things. I heard Langton talk about recent adaptation in invasive species last year. He made it quite exciting."

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