The brain is a strange and wondrous organ. Apparently, mine is stranger and more wondrous than most.
My brain sees patterns and relationships. Well, except when it comes to my personal life, then I’m clueless. Women? Forget it. If they even look at me, it’s like they are seeing a vacuum. So, let me state categorically, “Don’t blame me. This isn’t my fault.”
I’m reasonably smart, but I’m no genius. I have a PhD that is pretty much a run-of-the-mill math and physics combination from MIT.
I own a consulting firm. Sometimes I’m hired to be an ombudsman - but usually, that’s not a good use of my time. Mostly, I’m hired to walk in and look at all of an organization’s raw data on let’s say - its product lines, sales, marketing, manufacturing, personnel - everything. I read. I interview. I walk around and look.
If you are familiar with process mapping, my brain does something like that - but not so formally and on a huge scale. Then I sit, listen to some good music, and think.
Sometimes quickly and other times over weeks, the relationships and patterns jell. I have a small staff (all men) who can translate my brainstorms into something understandable, and I’m able to give my clients recommendations that typically save them a lot of time and money. Needless to say, I’m paid well. With my talent, I invest even better.
Even with the money, I’m always short in the nookie department. Make that devoid. I’m trustworthy, loyal, helpful, thrifty, courteous, kind, sometimes obedient, cheerful, brave, clean, and occasionally reverent. Apparently, women aren’t in the market for wealthy boy scouts! They just don’t notice me. Been that way all my life. If not for Dad, I probably would have run around naked and starved to death.
I think my university is the source of my current problem. Ever since that mass pickup of MIT, Georgia Tech, and military gurus, the Confederacy has been after me.
It didn’t start out that way. I was curious and took the CAP test just after the President’s TV special. Tested on the high end, too, but the Confederacy’s reaction at the time was ho-hum. Anyone could look at my sub scores and KNOW that I’d be a drill sergeant’s worst nightmare. Until that specialty extraction - THEN it started. I guess someone from the pickup noticed I wasn’t there and wanted to know why not.
There’s this Confederacy Office of Targeted Extractions, and all of a sudden, they were pestering the hell out of me. I’m telling you, they were every bit as bad as ‘Ann from Credit Card Services.’ First they called me in as a consultant, then gave me the old hard sell. I was offered an immediate extraction and the authorization for two extra concubines. I told them that was as useless as tits on a boar, as I couldn’t attract even one woman on my best day. Then I charged them triple my normal rate and left.
Some tall dark dude showed up in my office and tried the old “duty to humanity” routine. I had him accompany me to the nearby Caribou Coffee shop where I made him stand beside me so I could order. Then I waved my CAP card and declared loudly, “I can take four companions with me right now. You can look at my card if you want. Anybody interested?”
Three women never looked up from their coffees, two looked over at him and shrugged, and the barista smiled at him, handed me my coffee, and said, “Nope.”
During the walk back to my office, I told him, “You saw my problem, but I’m pretty happy doing what I do, at least for the foreseeable future. I’m helping improve operations that will help the Earth fight the Swarm when it arrives, and you simply haven’t offered anything demonstrably better. Yes, we might buy or bribe women, but I want companions who at the very least demonstrate that they want to be with me. I don’t patronize hookers - probably never will.”
He left, and it was several months before I was bothered again. There came yet another call from the OTE with yet another proposition. They would leave the timing up to me, but they wanted to put me through a med tube to assure that I was in good health and would remain so until such time as I decided I wanted to be extracted. The cherry on the sundae was a promise to stop pestering me and to only call on my birthday to remind me to retest.
That sounded like a pretty good deal, so I agreed - if they would promise not to brainwash or kidnap me while I was helpless. I kept my promise as did they.
Around four years after the president’s speech, patterns around me began to change. It took a while for me to notice - personal life - clueless - said so - remember?
The occasional woman would notice me. The barista at Caribou would actually look at me when taking my order. Not much. Not a big deal. Then more change.
Near my downtown condo, I frequent Mambo Italiano, a restaurant known for their homemade vino and their linguini with white clam sauce. They had a mostly male wait staff, so another attraction was my ability to get prompt service.
All the pickups in restaurants around the city had caused a shortage of qualified restaurant staff, but Mambo managed to keep a high quality of food, even with the use of replicators in the kitchen. One evening, after paying my tab, I stood and made my way towards the door. Almost in unison, five ladies stood and followed me out.
That was odd, but I made my way to my car and drove off. The ladies seemed confused, but as I drove past the door to the restaurant, I noticed them reentering.
Time passed. More women now seemed to know I existed. Not many, but in a restaurant, a random woman or girl would touch me as I dined alone. Then they’d leave.
Nookie? Nada! Nil! Nichts!
Late one Friday evening, I returned home and found a naked redhead asleep in my king bed. In the dim light, I could hardly see her, but stunningly beautiful seemed an inadequate description. Not one to ignore blessings, I undressed without turning on the light and slipped in beside her. She didn’t stir, and I lay there for a while before drifting off to sleep. At some time in the night, it seemed a warm body snuggled up to me, but in the morning, I woke alone.
A few minutes after waking, I heard a melodious voice, “I hope cheese and asparagus omelets are okay. I’ll throw in a little ham, but your fridge is kinda bare.”
Okay? With that voice, Spam on dry toast would have been a feast! “Yes, that sounds great. Let me do a couple of morning things, and I’ll be right out.”
Came the voice, “Save the shave and shower, and I’ll pour the eggs. We can shower after we eat.”
Immediate morning necessities complete, I threw on a terrycloth robe and headed for the kitchen. By the stove stood the auburn vision, spatula in hand, dressed in a short pale green babydoll nightie and an open robe.
She motioned me over, kissed me lightly on the cheek and began to plate two omelets. We moved to the already set breakfast nook where juice, coffee, and English muffins waited.
“My name is Cynthia,” the vision began as we ate, “I know who you are. I moved some things into the empty half of the walk-in closet. I hope you don’t mind.”
“Not really,” I replied, “but if you were sent by those morons at the Targeted Extractions Office, you can call them and tell them I said, ‘thanks, but it ain’t gonna work.’”
She looked genuinely confused. “Targeted what? Who or what is that?”
“Never mind,” I responded. “It’s not important. Care to explain what’s going on?”
“I’m not exactly sure myself,” she began around healthy mouthfuls. “I’ve had this empty feeling for months. Then, the first time I ate at Mambo Italiano, the feeling changed - like there was an answer for something. I noticed you leaving and followed you out, but you got in your car, so I went back inside and finished my dinner.”
She must have been one of the five women who followed me out that day, but why?
We seemed compatible, with similar tastes in music, complementary tastes in books - she prefers fantasy and I prefer hard SF, and neither of us watch much TV. She isn’t big on ‘chick flicks’ or action movies, and neither am I.
We talked about relationships, well she did. I explained that there was no woman in my life, never had been.
“I don’t have anyone in my life either,” she started, “Since I started to develop, I only attract lotharios looking for a quick conquest or arm candy. No man has ever really expressed interest in me or even tried to find out who I am.”
Tragic, but with her stunning beauty, I could see that many men would think they had no chance and wouldn’t try.
“I get hit on by women, pretty much in the same category as the men,” she continued, “but I have no real friends - I suppose they consider me too much competition. I’ve never even had a wingman.” It was amazing how open she was with me, a stranger.
“I bribed my server at Mambo,” Cynthia confessed, “he gave me your name from your credit card, and I Googled you. I liked what I found and decided to follow through on the chemistry I felt. So here I am.”
Cynthia and I talked until the coffee was exhausted. We cleared the table and she turned to me. “We’ve now had a longer real discussion than I’ve had with a man since my father died. Why don’t we take that shower and see what it leads to?”
It led to pure joy.
Cynthia preceded me into the large ensuite bathroom, reached into the shower, and started the multiple heads as if she had lived in the condo for months.
.... There is more of this story ...