It is an ordinary morning. Scott wakes up, showers, downs a cup of coffee and unslumbers his laptop. The air conditioner in front of which he sits spews cool air and white noise.
Scott: (to himself) Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, Eric Rauchway, spam, spam, spam—ERIC RAUCHWAY?!? (vigorously fans his hands in front of his face) The Eric Rauchway? (turns to bookshelf, removes Murdering McKinley from the shelf, stares the cover) Why I—I—I c—can't, c—can't hardly br—br—br—brea— (labored wheezing, followed by a dull thud as his head hits the keyboard)
Time passes. Scott unslumps, looks confused, composes himself, replies to Rauchway's email and begins work for the day. The air conditioner continues blanketing his study with cool air and white noise. Scott is completely unaware of the Little Womedievalist as she enters.
LW: (savoring the moment) Pack—
Scott: (jumping seven startled feet straight up) Jesus Christ!
LW: —age from Amazon. (exits)
Scott: (gathering himself) What do we have here? Michael's What's Liberal About the Liberal Arts? Excellent. Just the thing I need to procrastinate. (opens book, flips to the acknowledgments page and reads aloud) "I want to thank Timothy Burke, some guy, some famous guy, some guy, Ralph Luker"—that's awful sweet—"Christopher Clarke, Roxanne Cooper, John Holbo, Scott Eric Kaufman and Amardeep Sin"—SCOTT ERIC KAUFMAN?!? (vigorouslier fans his hands in front of his face) ME Scott Eric Kaufman? (turns to mirror, looks at self, looks at book, points at self, points at page) Why I—I—I c—can't, c—can't hardly br—br—br—brea— (more labored wheezing, followed by a duller thud as his head hits the keyboard again)
Five minutes later, Scott rouses himself, rereads the page, reacquires the vapors and faints again. Ten minutes after that, Scott rerouses himself, rerereads the page, rereacquires the vapors and faints again.
Seven hours later, the Little Womedievalist enters wearing a worried expression. The air conditioner still spews cool air and white noise. She looks at her husband, slumped over the keyboard, whispering his happiness in desperate, wheezy syllables and laughs, lovingly, at the foolish man-child before her.