"Doing the E.T. Tango" - Introducing Steve Jenkins

While the team is looking for a way into the Army base, government agencies become interested in them and their activities. One of these government agents is Steve Jenkins, an FBI agent that gets interested in what Ellen and Bill are really looking for. In this scene from the book he and his partner Duke Feltman meet with Bill to remind him to do the right thing if they find fossils on government land.

 

From Doing the E.T. Tango: Dancing with the Universe: Bill had just settled into his chair, rump positioned just right so his hemorrhoids weren't bothering him too much, when the doorbell rang again. He sighed, glanced longingly at the lonely beer on the end table and hauled his ugly ass back out to the living room. He glanced through the blinds in the front window. Two gentlemen waited patiently on the front porch. But these were different visitors than those who had greeted them fifteen minutes earlier: The taller one had brownish hair with some well-placed gray around the ears and temples. Crow’s feet added character instead of age to his face. A slender build seemed to house a physically fit body. Bill thought this guy could be a movie extra. Maybe he missed his audition this morning. That could be the reason for his sour expression when he saw Bill peeking out the window at them.

His partner was shorter and stockier, with gray hair and a tan complexion lined with wrinkles. The pair frowned in unison, as though they were somehow telepathically linked. In spite of their physical differences, the gentlemen looked like they had come from the same government bureaucrat factory – same suits, same creases, same wallets. Bill looked past the pair and saw a nondescript American-made car in the driveway. He shook his head at the obviousness of the U.S. government and its standardized equipment. They may as well have stenciled “UNMARKED” on both sides of the vehicle!

"Steve Jenkins," the large one said, offering his wallet for perusal as Bill opened the door. "Federal Bureau of Investigation. This is my partner, Duke Feltman. We have a few questions for you, if you don't mind. Can we come in for a few minutes?"

Barely able to conceal his agitation, Bill showed the pair back to the den. "Tim, these gents are from the FBI. Say hi to Steve and Duke." Turning back to the agents, Bill asked, "Like a beer?"

"Can't – on duty," Steve said stiffly. He gave Bill and Tim the once-over, while his partner looked around the room. The pair from the BLM seemed like gushing schoolgirls compared to these two, but both duos had a common bond: They knew they would get what they wanted – even if Bill and Tim didn’t want to give them anything.

They all settled into overstuffed chairs. Bill was still uncomfortable drinking with the objectionable present company, so he sat in silence and waited for the meeting to conclude. Occasionally he nodded or mumbled at the appropriate time. After learning that the team hadn't yet found anything of value, the feds lectured the phony archaeologists on their patriotic duty to turn in any valuable fossil remains to the federal government for processing and exhibition at the proper venues. Steve did all the talking, because Duke had thus far remained as mute as the other pair’s “silent partner.” After the agents were escorted to the door, Bill muttered to himself, "I guess having a native language isn't a requirement for federal service."