"Bye, Hon. Miss you too. See you Saturday." Richard
Duncan, Distinguished Professor of Finance at Dallas State
College, hung up the phone in his suite in the Eliot Hotel in
Boston and breathed a sigh of relief. He was glad that his
wife had called him. Now he was free, practically a bachelor,
for five days.
He looked around the suite - all done in light wood and
soft colors - creamy beige, moss green, and muted orange.
The decor fit his relaxed mood. He reflected, not for the first
time, that academic life wasn't so bad after all. What other
job provided several expenses-paid, spouse-free vacations
(otherwise known as finance conventions) each year? His
was the best of all worlds. He had a wife, a home, a hearth,
and three children. And he had a career that gave him the
chance, the obligation actually, to detach himself at intervals
from the wife, the home, the hearth, and the kids. It wasn't
hard to wangle the free trips. An interview here, a commit-
tee meeting there; if he were desperate, he might actually
do some research to present, or more accurately, he would
have his graduate assistant do some research. Whatever it
took, Richard Duncan could come through with the goods
when it meant a paid "vacation."
Richard strode over to the minibar and got himself some
mineral water. He was six feet tall with dark blond hair and
ruggedly handsome good looks. Glancing in the mirror hang-
ing over the minibar, he decided he looked a little tired and
drawn. People said he was a dead ringer for Harrison Ford,
but Richard felt that since he turned 46 several months ago,
he didn't bounce back from the plane trips the way he used
to. In The Fugitive, in fact in all his movies, Harrison Ford was
able to survive shootings, train wrecks, and natural disasters
with his good looks unscathed. Why wasn't it the same for
him? Luckily, there was time for a shower and quick nap be-
fore commencing his evening activities. He had better take
advantage of the time. He didn't have Hollywood makeup
artists at his disposal, but he would do the best he could
within his more limited means.
Settling down with his drink in a plush chair of rich brown,
he reviewed the resumes of candidates for a teaching posi-
tion at his college. He would be conducting the interviews.
God was really smiling on him this time. One of the candi-
dates was a woman, so he would have first dibs on the new
flesh available on the academic finance market. Richard as-
sessed female flesh the way his colleagues assessed stocks
and bonds - and he was not a risk-averse investor!
The sharp ring of the telephone arrested his perusal of
the resumes. "Hello." A smile crept across his face, as he
heard the return voice. "Sure, tonight's fine. Glad you're here.
Meet you at six."
He stripped for the shower, confident that the phone call
was a promising start to the convention. "As long as she
doesn't think she can lasso me in for all five nights. After all,"
he thought, "variety is the spice of life." He hadn't left one
master to be immediately roped in by another. He jumped
into the shower, happily singing "Home, home on the range."
Richard scrubbed away in preparation for the evening's fun,
singing extra loudly the line, "0, give me a home where the
He really knew how to enjoy the returns of a fun-filled
academic career and figured he could live with the risks. But
there he was wrong. Richard Duncan, Ph.D., author of 65
journal articles, didn't have much longer to live the good
academic life at all.
This ends the
excerpt from Gail Farrelly's novel,
BEANED IN BOSTON