ROOM 204

Office of the Trustees

Mrs. Carlotta Schuyler Cliff (Cliff '42) -- widow of Clifford Cliff IV (Cliff '39), mother of Clifford Cliff V and his twin sister Charlotte (Cliff '73), and grandmother of Clifford VI and Carly (Cliff '97) -- is impatiently rebuking Cliff College President, Dr. Adam Simpson (for the thousandth time in his twelve year tenure).

CARLOTTA
My job is to protect the College against anything and anyone who might interfere with the institution's ability to thrive as one of America's greatest liberal arts colleges.

SIMPSON
I understand that, Carlotta, but this is an extremely politically sensitive issue. If that corpse turns out to be an Indian chief, that land will effectively revert to the Nez Percé nation.

CARLOTTA
Than it had better not turn out to be a chief.

SIMPSON
I'm afraid you'll have to take that up with McGeorge. He's in charge of the archaeological investigation.

CARLOTTA
No, Adam. We're both going to take it up with McGeorge, each in her own way.

SIMPSON
What am I supposed to do? Threaten to fire him unless he lies about what he finds?

CARLOTTA
You'll have to find something better than that or else I'll fire you.

SIMPSON
This is all premature, Carlotta. It might not even be an Indian corpse.

CARLOTTA
And what do you propose to do, Adam? Wait to find out? For a college president, you're awfully dense. Let me spell it out for you. The corpse is not an Indian. Period. If it is, the college may end up losing all of its land, which translates into its endowment. Is that what you want from your presidency, Adam? To administrate this institution into an early grave in an Indian burial site? That'll sure spiff up your resumé.

SIMPSON
How am I supposed to get to McGeorge? I don't have that kind of leverage -- he's got tenure.

CARLOTTA
I gave him that job, when it was Virgil who deserved it. He owes me, and he knows it. I'll find a way to threaten his job. You find some other prod to shock him with. It's survival time, Adam. No stone goes unsqueezed.

Simpson hasn't survived this long without knowing when it's time to give way before the force of nature known as Carlotta Schuyler Cliff, so he shifts into what he calls "A-C" (Autonomic Cave-in) mode.

SIMPSON
Of course, Carlotta. You know I'm with you on this.

CARLOTTA
I knew you would be, Adam. I've always had absolute faith in your cowardice.

Thoroughly humiliated, Dr. Simpson helps Carlotta into her sable coat and escorts her down the hall, past Room 202 and Room 203, down the stairs and out to her waiting car. As she drives away, he sinks down to sit on the steps of Cliff House, oblivious to the rain, and lights up a much needed cigarette.



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