It has been many years since I obtained what I've always thought of as my heart's desire. I was a senior, almost at the end of my five years at university. One Spring Break, I made what I later came to realise could have been a mistake, and went to Florida. Never mind where, but it was sunny and overly warm for someone used to the snows of northern Springs. Many of the "breakers," some few of whom I knew, were the typically wild college guys and girls of the day and wore little more than very tiny thongs, no tops, at least during the day in the sunshine. What they wore at night...
One group from our university-three of the five went to the same college as I-stayed pretty much together, and although I was certain they must be sorority sisters, they just acted that way. They remained, as I said, in a group, but they flirted outrageously with any boy-man, I guess-who passed by, and obviously promised a lot more than they would-or could, I thought-perform. I suppose their group acted as chaperone and emboldener in one. I found myself smitten again by one particular beauty, a slim, dark-haired gal from Buffalo, New York whom I had dated casually back in sophomore and middler years.
After three days I was becoming frustrated and bored out of my mind, but luckily my good buddy, a gay fellow from Germany named Reinhardt, dropped by. Reinhardt, despite his predeliction for guys, had never hit on me, and we remained pretty close for not having sex-he was in the College of Technology and Engineering, which I thought, my being an Arts major, was guys doing things to steel and concrete.
"Actually, not entirely, Herman, we bend other things, too," he said when I had expressed this thought to him.
Reinhardt liked my name, although he said I did not spell it properly (should have been "Hermann," he'd tease) - God help me, he was an admirer of Hermann G... ring, but as the World War I ace, not the overly fat Reichsmarschall and possible queer, definite sybarite.
"I see you looking, Herman, and you have want in the eyes, no?"
"Well, perhaps you're right, Reinhardt, ol' buddy, but there's no way I'm going to break one of these gals loose from that bunch, is there?"
"Well, that's as may be, fr-riend." When he was particularly enigmatic, Reinhardt liked to roll his "r"s.
"What, you engineers have come up with something to separate a girl from her sorority sisters - on Spring Break?"
"No-o, not exactly, Herman, but there chust mide be somehow I could help you mit..."
When he got excited, which he obviously was now, Reinhardt fell back into a heavy Germanic accent and complicated grammar, and he sounded so guttural that I had trouble understanding him for a second or two. I imitated his accent.
"You tr-ruly dink you can, hah?"
"Don't you make fun uff me, Hermann! I give you der Nazi salute und ruin your chances foreffer mit pretty Jewish girls, hah!" he replied.
"Shit, don't do that, Reinhardt, Jewish girls are as nice as gentile, any day."
I had in fact been living for about eighteen months with a blonde who turned out to be honestly blonde and Jewish, too. She always amazed me with her personal bias against Hispanics! That's why we broke up, finally. Despite my name, I come from the Southwest and my mother is Mexican. And that's why I'd come to Spring Break in the Florida town.
"Well, I'm sorry, Reinhardt, but what is this that you think you can do for me?"
"O K. We still develop this, you see, for... better I not tell you who... and we can use field test. Had no idea who to ask, but will you help us by testing?"
"Sure, I'll do a lot for you, buddy."
"Would you... ?" He got that eager look in his eyes.
"You know me better'n that, Reinhardt!"
"Yah, just the testing, then. All right, I trust you not to say one word of this to anyone, even girlfriend, understood?"
"Yes, I swear. Don't have one, anyway."
"Very well. You meet me in half hour at my room, 431 in P... Inn. O K?"
"Sure, I'll be there." I spent the half hour, or part of it, admiring my beloved's curves and the way she tossed her head. She was, of course, quite unaware of my interest, I thought.
"Well, here I am, Reinhardt. Oops, sorry, did I interrupt some... ?"
Another guy was standing in the doorway to the bedroom, but he was fully clothed, didn't look mussed. He got a really hard look in his eye, so I was sorry I had said anything. Reinhardt came from the bedroom.
"No, you do not interrupt a tryst, you think, eh? This is Martin, he and I work together on this project -senior honors, you know, eh?"
I was enduring a mostly fixed "competition" in blank verse within the English Department for the same end, and I groaned sympathetically. I'd seen "Martin" before.
"Nein, we make out good. Martin has refined to point of excellence, all we need is this final test and we can produce. Eh, Martin?"
Martin was sour-faced, but he allowed a fleeting grin to cross his mouth. I noticed that his eyes did not light up as well.
"Yes, Reinhardt. This is our subject?"
"No, this is our object... I found the tester, Martin."
"Certainly, Can he be trusted?"
I was resenting Martin's high-handed manner and third-person referral to me, with me standing right there, so I broke into their discussion.
"Martin, you're the guy who set off those fireworks in the main quad by remote, two years ago, right?"
"How... how the hell do you know that?" he asked, taken aback. His face paled. He was the one, no doubt about it!
"Well, I've known it for some time, but... you see... I've never told anyone else about it. I liked the way you... set that up, as I understood it... the way it was explained to me."
"Who... do you know that could explain that?"
"Well, since I haven't told anyone about your doing it, I'm not going to tell you who told me. I know he's never told anyone about it, either!"
"Look here," Reinhardt broke in, "Herman knows how to be shut up when it's the right time, nicht? He will not say anysing about the project, not his part in it, not who the experimenters are, not'ing, O K, Martin?"
He seemed angry at Martin, and if I remembered right, "Martin" wasn't the guy's real name, anyway.
"Very well, then. Herman, you understand that this is, like, the beta copy, not the finished product?"
"Yes, so Reinhardt told me."
"O K. Now, here are your instructions. I understand that there is a person you would like to influence, right?"
"No, I don't want to know who, I want to know when."
"Soon as possible, I suppose, We only have three more days of Spring Break, then we'll all hafta shift our buns back to the university, eh?"
"Yes, sure. Well, now..." he went into a lot of technical stuff that you don't need to know, but the gist was that I was to sneak up to the "person," affix a tiny "receiver," he called it, to his or her neck near the head, or actually on the head, under the hairline. The "beta" model would not sink under the skin, as would the final product, but remain visible with luck, so that Martin or Reinhardt could remove it with "special means." Martin was vehement in making me understand that the effect of whatever I did to the person would continue for several hours after the bug was removed. He concluded,
"... so you can in effect control what the person wants, what the person sees, what the person likes, tastes-everything about the personality. Got it?" He had become so enthusiastic about his "beta" model that he was almost spitting in my face as he finished his peroration.
"Yep," I said, pretending to wipe my glasses.
"Here it is,"" said Reinhardt, coming back from the bedroom, which I assumed must be the temporary "laboratory."
The transmitter was about the size of a half-package of cigarettes, the "bug," or receiver so small I could barely see it against my hand. It was flesh color, too, which did not help its visibility. Reinhardt smiled widely at me after Martin had left, having made certain I was going to maintain my silence.
"Well, she is yours, buddy."
"Do you want to try it?" he leered, fondling his engorging penis. Hell, he was only wearing tight Spandex biking shorts, and all his magnificent-if I do say so-physique was visible. It was too damn' bad he was gay, 'cause the girls would have really swarmed all over him if he had shown the least interest. As it was, some from other colleges gave him the come-on every day. I wondered where he was getting his loving, but figured that this was Florida, there'd be plenty around. I was almost certain it wasn't from "Martin."
"Not on me, thank you very much, Reinhardt. I think you'd be wide-cheeked in about three seconds, friend!"
"Oh, no. Herman, I'd have you going down on me. You have such a lovely mouth, you know?" I hoped he was kidding.
I left, then, and we're still friends, believe it or not.
Late that afternoon I saw a chance, and slipped up to the "Group," as we college types had come to call the five girls who hung out, always, together. I had a big old Hasselblad with me - my hobby in high school had been "old-fashioned" photography, I developed and printed my own pictures. I hoped I remembered the spiel.
"You girls want your photo taken, nice group you have? Give you a copy apiece, make more for your families and friends?"
I don't think they recognized me from having seen me around, although my brunette seemed to believe I was familiar, or at least reputable, 'cause she was the one who said,
"Sure; let's, guys," speaking to her buddies.
They grouped and I fussed with "camera angles" for several minutes until I could properly maneuver myself alongside her and ask to adjust hers and one other girl's heads to the "proper angle - the light, you know."
The other girl was no problem, and I had a moment of trepidation when it was time for me to touch Leslie - that was her name - but I did, and I could feel the little bug adhere to her skin way up under her hairline.
"What was that?" she asked.
"What?" I was innocence itself.
"Nothing. I thought..." She gave up and held her head the way I'd told her.
I took about eight good pictures out of twelve in all, and promised to have them developed in the evening around seven, so they could pick the ones they wanted me to print or enlarge for them. Boy, I was generous! I had a monstrous hard-on which I was concealing as best I could with the camera when I gave my first sub-vocal command.
-Leslie, come with me and help develop these.
I actually said out loud, "Uh, Leslie, that's your name, isn't it, I've seen you around at university, would you like to help me develop these?"
The other four kidded her a bit about darkrooms and so forth, but she said "Yes" quite cheerfully. We walked together up to my room, introducing ourselves on the way. I had no real idea where the hell I was going to get developer, I realised that I'd run out, although I had the tank and the enlarger and plate I'd need to do a decent job on the photographs. I must have transmitted that dilemma to Leslie, for she said,
"Stuck for the fixin's? Believe this or not, Herm', I have the bottled fixin's for developin' in my room! I'm a photographer, myself." She was using my nickname right away, a good sign, I thought...
"Oh, you girls don't room together?"
"Naw, that's just protective coloration. Come on along, and we'll get these things developed."
She seemed truly interested in photography, as I found out talking with her as we walked over to her hotel. She had a suite, she said, not just a room. She told me as we talked-I kept well apart, not touching her, on the way-that her parents were wealthy, but that she was on a full scholarship because she had been in the National Honor Society and her school's valedictorian. She was not a bit bashful about that, but she wasn't one bit boastful, either. Just the facts, ma'am.