Insects: A Novel

Free Insects: A Novel by John Koloen

Book: Insects: A Novel by John Koloen Read Free Book Online
Authors: John Koloen
fucked Maggie Cross. He couldn’t wait to tell Stephanie and Carlos. He’d been telling them all along that Duncan and Cross were going to fuck. Carlos said no way. Stephanie was less certain but sided with Carlos.
    “I just can’t believe she’d do it,” Rankin had said during one of their nights out. They favored tourist bars, which they regarded as safer than the local bars and clubs. None of them had adapted to the culture. They were there to study insects, not people.
    “What did Azevedo tell you? Duncan asked while pouring himself a cup of coffee.
    “He said he’d go on the expedition.”
    “That’s great! We’ll need him if we run into any wildlife police. We don’t have a permit to collect these insects, and he does.”
    “He probably knows the area much better than we do,” Boyd said as he sent a text to Rankin.
    “Where does he think we should start?”
    “Where you and Maggie went the other day.”
    “Really! Did he say why?”
    “Didn’t say and I didn’t ask, not having been there,” Boyd said with only a hint of bitterness.
    ”NO WAY!!!!” Rankin texted.
    Sipping his coffee, Duncan couldn’t help but smile. Not only had he spent the night with Maggie, but he was virtually certain that she would underwrite part of the cost of the expedition, especially expenses related to security. He had realized she had an adventurous mind—even though she was physically timid—the moment she squeezed his hand when they were at Barbosa’s field. This raised his confidence to a high level and, along with it, his mood.
    “Way!!!” Boyd texted.
    Duncan asked him whom he was texting. Boyd put his phone in his pocket.
    “Steph,” he said. “She wanted to know if we were going to meet again.”
    “I think so, don’t you?” Duncan said, gently slapping Boyd’s knee as he rose with his coffee and stepped into the cramped living room. “We need to get this thing put together ASAP. I’ll call the professor and find out if he can recommend a guide or security guards. You should put a list of equipment we need to bring and provisions for the group for up to a week.”
    “A week? That’s a long time.”
    “It is, but we don’t know how far we have to go to find the colony. Could take a day or two to find them, and then there’s the time we’ll spend collecting specimens and data. And don’t forget this is still the wet season, so make sure we’ve got gear for that.”
    “It hasn’t rained for weeks.”
    “Just the same, we want folks to be comfortable.”
    “Especially Maggie.”
    “She’ll be paying for it, so, yeah, especially Maggie.”

24
    Most of the chemistry faculty Azevedo knew had either retired or died, so when he arrived at the lobby of the chemistry department, he naturally gravitated toward the first office he could find. “La oficina del Decano” was posted on a sign on the door, but the professor didn’t notice it. He was excited to be chasing another mystery. And at his age. Seventy-six wasn’t too old to have an adventure, he believed. He felt he could keep up with the youngsters. He was accustomed to the heat and humidity and felt that, though they’d been in the country for two months, they would struggle. If not, he would do what he could to keep up with them. He was not afraid of death, particularly if it came quickly, whether by heart attack or falling off a cliff. He would do what he had to do even if it cost him his life. As he understood, this was an abstraction even to a man of his age who had contemplated death on an almost daily basis for the past decade. What was not an abstraction was that the dead don’t know they are dead.
    A young woman sat behind the counter in the lobby. She noticed Azevedo immediately as he entered the office though she did not recognize him as a faculty member. Azevedo had a habit of not wearing his identification badge. As he approached her, she asked how she could help him.
    “Do you have an appointment with the dean?” she

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