"Time's up, class. Turn over your papers. The lab final is open book as announced. You can have as much time as you think will do you any good but you may not leave the room after you begin. You might consider a short break before you start and let's hope you and I will not be here all night!"
Professor Carlotta Montrose's students tended to spend a long time doing the lab part of the final so she settled in to grade the lecture test and their field notebooks while they attempted the lab test.
It was a surprise to see Bernie Bennett, the head of the Life Sciences at San Diego Community College where Carlotta teaches biology in addition to teaching biology at River Valley High. He walked in with Bill Ramsey another science instructor.
"Listen Lotta, I'd like to talk with you for a few so Bill has kindly consented to watch over your charges while we chat." Dr. Bernard Bennett was originally from somewhere in the Caribbean and spoke with an Americanized but decidedly English accent.
"Lets go to my office, Bernie," Lotta suggested "Obviously, my students are very occupied at the moment and you're likely to have 15 interruptions a minute at your office from terrified freshmen taking their finals."
A few minutes later Lotta settled into her new desk chair and waited for Bernie to collect his thoughts, as he seemed to want to confront her about something serious. "Are we having budget cuts again, Bernie?" Lotta asked watching Dr. Bennett fiddle with the assorted field collections that perpetually cluttered Lotta's desk.
"No, no. It's nothing like that. " Bernie replied quickly setting down a collection bottle holding the skull of a fierce looking snapping turtle.
"You have seen the media today, have you not?" He called up Twitter on his phone and showed her the twitter chatter.
"Now, Bernie, we weren't in any danger. His buddies were gone before we found him." Lotta defended.
"People all over are tweeting that the man was nearly dead when you arrived. You may have even heard him scream when they dumped him off!" Bernie Bennett was one of many friends of Lotta's who made use of every opportunity to tell her not to take so many chances. "Why didn't you take Andy's dog with you at least?" Bernie wanted to know.
"Fina is ready to have her puppies so we left her at home. It was a nightmare, Bernie. I hope I never have to go through a scene like that again. Andy, Danny and I are all traumatized from it. That guy was seriously beaten up. It was bad enough to have to get the Coyote Canyon ranger out of bed to see it. We didn't get home until noon Sunday."
"The man you found was lucky that you keep strange hours with your froggies." Dr. Bennett laughed picking up a collection box of rattlesnake rattles and pushing it away frowning.
"Well, he'll be lucky if he ever comes out of his coma. They've taken him to a hospital here in San Diego."
"At least try to stay off the social media frenzy, Lotta,"
Bernie's parting shot was not going to be something they would be able to manage, though they did not know it at the time.
©Copyright - Ann Wellhouse 2015