Document of Expectations
Publication Year: 2011
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.
Published by: Michigan State University Press
Title Page, Copyright
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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...
Sunday, 11:30 p.m.
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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....
Monday, 4:00 a.m.
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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...
Monday, 8:05 a.m.
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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...
Monday, 8:15 a.m.
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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...
Monday, 9:10 a.m.
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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....
Monday, 9:15 a.m.
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“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 the second floor there are footprints on the carpet, but it looks...
Monday, 9:30 a.m.
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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...
Monday, 10:15 a.m.
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“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?”...
Monday, 10:30 a.m.
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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...
Monday, 10:40 a.m.
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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....
Monday, 11:00 a.m.
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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....
Six years ago
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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...
Two years ago
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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...
Two years ago
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“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...
Six months later
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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....
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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...
Monday, 12:10 p.m.
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“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.”...
Monday, 2:00 p.m.
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“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?”...
Monday, 2:30 p.m.
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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....
Monday, 6:00 p.m.
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“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 the monetary...
Monday, 11:15 p.m.
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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,...
Tuesday, 5:00 a.m.
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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...
Tuesday, 7:00 a.m.
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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...
Tuesday, 9:30 a.m.
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“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...
Tuesday, 11:30 a.m.
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“And this has to be Detective Clarke. Oh, I know that.” She sat without waiting for an invitation then took off her sunglasses and set her purse on the floor. She crossed her legs and folded her hands. Although Belinda had been called to the police station to answer questions, she...
Tuesday, 1:15 p.m.
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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....
Tuesday, 4:00 p.m.
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“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.”...
Wednesday, 4:00 p.m.
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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....
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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...
Monday, 1:00 p.m.
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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...
Monday, 10:00 p.m.
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Clarke was asleep, dreaming of Sharon Stone in The 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...
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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...
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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...
Wednesday, 2:00 p.m.
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“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.”...
Thursday, 3:00 a.m.
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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.”...
Page Count: 202
Publication Year: 2011