TSoA: Chapter 3: Back with Shari
You guys may remember Shari Nelson: Michael Murphy’s research assistant who is used to receiving e-mails from her employer in the dead of night.
You may also remember that Shari grew up with an abusive alcoholic father and enabler mother, and that both parents died in a car crash (due to her father’s drunk driving), leaving Shari all alone.
So Shari already had parental issues and abandonment issues even before her lame-ass, stupid brother Chuck imposed on her hospitality after he got out of prison, and was later murdered.
All of this goes a long towards explaining why Shari hangs onto Michael Murphy like a limpet:
With Laura gone, Shari had taken up the post of chief worrier on his behalf…
Yeah, because that’s healthy.
Knowing this, Murphy lied about his caving/drowning/puppy-saving activities over the weekend. Or rather, he didn’t LIE, because good Christians don’t lie. Instead, he fudged the truth, which is TOTALLY NOT LIKE LYING IN ANY WAY.
…he told her he was going to look up an old acquaintance over the weekend. Well, Methuselah was certainly old, and acquaintance covered a multitude of sins, so he hadn’t actually been lying.
Legalism, Murphy. You haz it.
And all this because he is afraid of “get[ting] into trouble” with his 20-year-old research assistant.
That is so creepy and wrong.
And to top it all off, Murph manipulates her into taking on full responsibility for the two puppies.
“Meet Shem and Japheth. Their owner wasn’t really looking after them properly, so I decided to bring them back to Preston with me. I’m hoping we can find them a good, loving home. And in the meantime…”
Shari finished his sentence for him. “You want me to look after them. Now listen, Professor, if you think I’m going to baby-sit these pups while you go off on some madcap adventure–”
Murphy held his hands up to interrupt her. “No madcap adventures, Shari. I promise. There’s something I want you to take a look at. I want your professional opinion.”
He grinned and she scowled back to show she didn’t buy the flattery. Nevertheless, it was hard to resist.
Now this is asshattish in a number of different ways. Let me count them:
1. Creepy vibe between mid- to late-thirties professor and 20-year-old employee/student? Check.
2. False flattery to con said student into doing something she may not want/be able to do? Check.
3. An extra dose of condescension in the flattery, since Murphy has already come to his conclusion about the “something” on which he alleges he wants Shari’s “professional opinion”? Check check.
Indeed, Murphy STRAIGHT-UP ADMITS that he lets Shari look at the piece of wood SOLELY to distract her from asking him any more questions about his run-in with Methuselah.
Murphy already has his own professional opinion set. Hence the names of the puppies: Shem and Japheth, two of Noah’s three sons. (Ham, the third, probably didn’t achieve puppy-naming distinction due to the combination of 1) having a weird name and 2) having all his descendents become slaves because he once accidentally saw his father naked.)
Also: let’s remember that these puppies are German Shepherds. They are going to grow up pretty quickly into very big, very athletic dogs. And Shari is a single woman, living alone, working her way through college by being a Biblical archeologist’s research assistant/chief worrier/creepy substitute for his dead wife.
She has no family, no friends that we ever hear of, and only an erstwhile atheist boyfriend.
Let’s just say that I have doubts about her ability to care for two German Shepherds.
Perhaps not the best dog for Shari.
So, as Shari prepares for her new responsibilities (any bets on whether Murph will chip in for food and bedding and toys?), I encourage my noble readers to prepare for something else:
The reappearance of the formely-wonderful, but soon-to-be-stepfordized…Dr. Isis Proserpina McDonald.