Three times they tried to take away his enclosed office and his assistant, and three times Geoff fought to keep both, and won. It wasn’t a total win, though; they’d replaced his assistant—a very intelligent, sometime-professor of astrophysics at the local university—with an undergraduate student who had taken a few science courses. Geoff had no idea how to talk to the young girl. Marcia. No, Mirsha. Mirsha.
He stayed mostly in his office now. Whenever he ventured out, he regretted it as the awkward silence between him and Mirsha dragged on.
Geoff sat behind his desk and studied the latest retirement package offer. They’d tried to force him to leave—but you don’t work in the same place for eighty years and not make a few powerful friends. Although most of his friends were dead now, or dying, or retired. Soon he wouldn’t be able to call on favors. He should accept their latest offer—it had gotten more generous with every refusal—before they forced him out and gave him whatever package they wanted.
A knock sounded.
The door opened slightly and Mirsha’s head poked through. Her skin was sky-blue today; Geoff realized he should have remarked on it when he came in that morning. It was too late to remark now. “You’ve got a message coming through,” she said.
“I do?” Geoff hated that he sounded so surprised. Of course I’ve got a message; why shouldn’t I have a message? I work here, don’t I? Or maybe it’s a personal call. I have friends. “Okay, thanks Mirsha,” he said, smiling apologetically, as if to say he’d love to talk more but he was otherwise occupied.