Where are you?
Don tapped his fingers impatiently on his desk; he had been trying to call Charlie for most of the day.
"Hi, you reached …" Don slammed down the receiver.
"Still no luck?" Megan dropped another report on Don's desk.
Don fell back into his chair and brushed through his short hair. "Nah, who knows here the heck he is hiding out! I tried CalSci, his house and his cell."
"And your dad?"
"He's gone to San Fran for a project." Don shrugged. "I guess I have to keep trying. What you got for me?"
The rest of the afternoon Don was buried in reports and analysis about the last arson attacks. 'This would be so much faster with Charlie's help,' Don had enough and went to get coffee. 'Out of luck - again!' While waiting for the pot to brew, Don hit the speed dial more out of frustration than hoping to actually catch his brother.
"Don! How great – you call me here!" Charlie's voice chirped excited in his ear. "I didn't expect that!"
"Charlie! Where the hell are you? I have been trying to reach you the whole day!"
"Well, in Banff!" Charlie answered confused. "Did you forget?"
"Banff as in CANADA?!" Don let out a frustrated sigh. Vaguely, it came back to him. Maybe his father had mentioned something about a great honor and so on.
"That's the one! Right in the Rocky Mountains!" Charlie shouted enthusiastic. "It is so great here, Don! The campus is right is in the wilderness, well right beside the town of Banff on the side of this mountain. Tunnel Mountain, only there is no tunnel in the mountain…"
"Whoa, slow down, buddy!" Don chuckled. His brother's exuberance always lightened his days. "Refresh your brother's memory. Why are you there?"
"Getting old, are we?" Charlie laughed.
"Be careful now or I might just extradite you from there!" Don shot back good-humored.
"Knowing you, you might actually do it!" Charlie snickered. " I am here for the Applied Math Workshops with BIRS, where …"
"Is that another government agency, I haven't heard off? And why in Canada?" Don shook his head bewildered.
"No!" Charlie chuckled. "BIRS stands for the Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery. Each week it hosts 40 to 50 of the world's top mathematicians! Don – the top of the top! The crème de la crème! Just for workshops! Last week, they had a workshop on braiding and this week it is neuroscience."
"That's right up your alley, then. So a whole mountain full of mathematicians?" Don smiled visualizing this image.
"Oh no, Don. It is actually quite cool up here. The Banff Center is an art center. It creates a workplace for creativity. They have all kinds of artists from all over the world here: dancers, musicians and writers. We all went on this great tour around the campus and John had tons of stories about the… 'OTHERS'..."
"THE OTHERS?" Don's eyebrows arched up.
"Well, I mean the … ahem…" Charlie hesitated. "The non-mathematicians."
"Oh, those kind…" Don teased. "Must be a scary bunch!"
"Well, that's what John called them." Charlie hastened to say. "There are some quite some colorful people up here, Don!"
Charlie laughed. "The tour guide. He was great! He showed us the Leighton Studios. They are so cool, Don. They are for in-residence artists. Individual studios tucked away in the woods, separate from the main campus. Each one has a different style, actually one is a real fisher boat…"
"Studios as in sound studios or film?" Don asked smiling at his brother's enthusiasm.
"To work there!" Charlie said. "Each is assigned to a writer, a painter, a composer and so on."
"Do mathematicians get one too?"
Charlie shook his head. "No, we are all together in the Corbett Hall, which is connected to the workshop rooms."
"So you are up there the whole week to do math? You must be in seventh heaven!" teased Don.
"Well, most of the time, but we have free periods as well…" Charlie defended himself. "They have a rec center with a great pool, but I went up Tunnel Mountain! That was a great hike! Just a short one, but still all straight up. Quite the difference to our mountains!"
"You went all by yourself? I heard they still have bears up there?" Suddenly Don was all-serious.
Charlie chuckled. "Always the big brother watching over me! I went with a fellow mathematician, if that eases your mind. And no, we didn't encounter a bear, but we saw lots of deer. They are all over the campus."
Don relaxed. "Just watch your back, buddy! So I guess, I won't be seeing you over dinner any time soon. How's the food there?"
"It's good. It's in a huge wooden dinning hall facing the mountains and everybody gets together there for a buffet." Charlie explained.
"So you do actually mingle with 'THE OTHERS'? Don smirked.
Charlie shook his head, and then realized Don couldn't see him. "Not really, we have all assigned tables. John suggested to mix with 'THE OTHERS', but it is a bit … intimidating."
"Professor Charles Epps – intimidated? That's a first!" Don taunted.
Charlie hesitated. "Well, there is that writers group right next to us… I think they are all kids writers … anyway, they seemed to have great fun! And I must admit, I was tempted to join them … my colleagues seemed a little stiff compare to them… " Charlie admitted.
"No, really. That's hard to believe!" Don smiled. "But I bet you shake them up a little. It never gets boring with you around!"
A big smile spread over Charlie's face. "Well, now that you mentioned it. I kind of do stir the discussions on…"
"See, I was expecting nothing less of my little brother!" Don said proudly. "But I guess, I can't interest you in some data for arsenic case I am running now."
"What do you need?" Charlie asked intrigued
"Dunno! I think that fire print you did last time would be great, but if you are in the middle of nowhere…" Don fell silent.
"No, sent the information to my email account. The center has a great wireless connection here", Charlie explained excited, "In between the workshops, I have time to look at the data and write an algorism for you."
"Thanks, Charlie!" Don said relieved.
"Oh, no problem!" Charlie beamed. " You know I love to help, you!"
"Hey, Charlie…" Don added grinning.
"Have some fun too!"