dark, his circular eyeglasses flashed from a momentary reflection of starlight. The moon, a
quarter full, looked pale and weak like a dying bulb and spread little light across the desert.
"Two hundred and thirty three miles," I said.
"Indeed. We have a long drive in an uncomfortable bus."
"What should we do? Exchange saucy and scandalous love notes?"
"Maggie, no hinky pinky. We will be with my colleagues. Be very professional. No
typical Maggie. And I suggest you sleep on the trip there as you will have to be awake and alert
in the early morning before there is even light."
I scrunched up my face to feign disapproval. "Hanky panky," I uttered with a quick
"What?" Johan touched my arm with a look of seriousness.
"You said hinky pinky. I think you meant hanky panky."
"Oh, yes. Thank you. Most appreciated." Johan pulled out a small, black spiral notebook
from the inside of his coat pocket. He jotted English language reminders and heated, inspired
mathematical logic in it. He went through a notebook every week and collected them all into a
metal filing cabinet sitting in our living room.
"Not now, Johan." I pushed down on the notebook. "We need to board the bus."
I hurried down the dirt road with my camera bag bouncing against my back leg. I looked
back at Johan and waved him forward.