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First it came as a memo sent to everyone on staff at Rainer. Due to the financial times ahead, the governing body was reviewing all aspects of expenditures across the board, from faculty to administrative support, to purchases.







Two months later the Deans of all departments were told what they had to reduce the departments. Sequestering themselves in their office for days, they trimmed what they had to, stipends, supplies, work study, assistants, all on the axe.







The Anthropology Department was not spared from the trimming. Many stipends would not be renewed for the new school year. Teaching Assistants that worked part time would not be asked back. Supplies would be under lock and key and requested in writing with authoritative signature.







The sad day came in an official letter sent to his home. Blair was the last of the two to get home that night. He had spent the afternoon and early evening at the library looking for sources for his latest article.







The mail was sitting on the table.







Upon hanging up his coat, Jim turned from his duties in the kitchen. “Chief, you have a letter from Rainer on the table.”







Blair had heard the rumors among his co-workers. It was coming down the line. The cuts were coming. Sitting down at the table, Blair picked up the envelope. Opening the back, he pulled out the single page and read over it.







Jim walked over the kitchen. “What’s going on?” Jim asked.







“Department cuts, the operating budget for next year has been cut and they are cutting across the board.”







“And?”







“They are cutting stipends, fellowships, part time professors,” Blair answered. He knew he left open what Jim was looking for. Did he have a job next school year? Looking over the letter once more, he looked at his friend. “I’ve been spared, at least for the moment from the cutting block.”







“At the moment? What are you not telling me?”







“Since I’m one of the senior fellowship holders, at this time I keep my position. But I must make due course to follow through with my duties. If I am remiss in obligations, they will review my performance.”







“So it’s shape up to their standards or be shipped out,” Jim commented.







“Better much so,” Blair answered. He had missed some due to his work with Jim and the Major Crimes. “It’s not so bad though. I have probably another semester to go on the Thin Blue Line anyway. Dr. Atkins is due back next month and he’ll be putting the heat on to get this finished. A semester of being a good boy shouldn’t be too hard. We’ll have Joel trained this summer to back you up.”







“It still won’t be the same without you around.” Jim headed back to the kitchen. “Wash up and set the table. Dinner is ready.”







Blair picked up the letter and took it to his room. Somehow he avoided the axe. He could do this to make it all work. He had to.
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