tagMind ControlHypnotic Adventures of Beauty Ch. 04

Hypnotic Adventures of Beauty Ch. 04


Author's Note: Chapter Four isn't really a "Chapter" at all: it's a separate story that picks up just a little down the road in our characters' lives. If the previous chapter had told you that they lived "happily ever after," then this tale would pick up somewhere between "Happily" and "Ever."


My name is David Rothman, and this is a story about the three most impressive women I've ever met.

Now, one of those ladies I already knew. Wanda Perkins, a fellow grad student at Berkley. Sharp, pretty, witty, and a total bitch. Well ... she could be, when she wanted to. I had pursued her during the past two years ... and I'd even gotten her to go out with me once. We both had a really good time; but when I had tried to kiss her goodnight, she turned me down flat; and she'd refused to accept another date thereafter. My only consolation over the next year was that she had apparently refused to go out with anyone else, either.

Because of our chosen fields of study, we were forced to work together closely ... in classes, in labs, and in extra assignments. In point of fact, we kept things pretty civil. She had helped me when I needed it, and I had reciprocated. But I never actually got over her, if you know what I mean. From time to time, I'd suggest discussions over coffee or drinks; and I could tell that she wanted to, but she never allowed herself any intimacy whatsoever where I was concerned.

Things became a little strained when I came up with something truly important ... something that would definitely result in money and scientific recognition. I sought her help in some areas of this venture, but she accused me of trying to use my good fortune for the benefit of promoting romance. She was right, of course; but still ...

Basically, I had developed a mathematical model for ... and then built ... a 5-qubit quantum processor utilizing a laser shining through a crystal of cesium chloride, which had been obtained from a sample of pollucite, which is a zeolite mineral normally found in Manitoba. (My sample, however, had come from South America.) Most people who had tried multi-qubit processing in the past had done so on the atomic scale ... beryllium, for example. But cesium chloride (or at least my sample of it) had an absolutely perfect cubical crystalline structure, much more exact than iron pyrite (fool's gold) or potassium chloride (common salt). And so, every time I broke and parsed pieces of my perfectly cubical crystal, I came up with other, smaller perfectly cubical crystals ... a few of which I'd managed to get down to only sixteen molecules in size. A programmed laser would use that molecular structure as a switch; sending the beam left, right, up, down or straight ahead. Five qubits.

I wrote a scientific paper on my findings (leaving off the little detail about where I had acquired my sample mineral), and I was just beginning to receive serious inquires about my work, when I got a registered letter from BQPC, the company that had already built a 3-qubit processor. But the thing that made this offer different was that they said they wanted to see Wanda, as well. That put her in a bit of a bind. I knew she didn't want to piggyback her work with mine ... however, she couldn't very well turn down an offer by BQPC. When she called them, they told her that they were interested in HER ... not just in me. And so ... off we went.

We flew American from San Francisco through Dallas/Ft. Worth to Raleigh-Durham. It was late when we arrived, of course, due to the time zone change; and they had arranged for a couple rooms at the Hyatt, there at the airport. Wanda refused my invitation for dinner and drinks, but I found her at breakfast, and she couldn't politely keep from sharing a table. I told a few jokes and related some humorous incidents from my past that finally had her laughing; and so things were actually pretty decent between us when SHE walked up. Yes, this was Impressive Woman Number Two, who introduced herself as Riya Phillips. She was one of the most exotically beautiful girls I'd ever seen; olive complexion, huge brown eyes that glistened with intelligence, glossy black hair and an aura that screamed in equal parts cleverness, mischievousness and sexuality. She sat down and ordered coffee, and shortly thereafter, Wanda kicked me under the table with enough force to make me cry "ouch!"

"Please forgive my companion for staring," she told Riya, and then promptly changed the subject before I could defend myself. Riya sported an engagement ring, and it appeared that her intended was none other than the president of the company, Anthony Bionicci. February wedding date, she said. I'd never had the opportunity of hearing Wanda talk about "girl things," and I was surprised ... and a little impressed ... at her degree of femininity. I enjoyed sitting back and observing. But after awhile, we were in a limousine bound for "the house," which turned out to be a mansion in the woods, south of the university district. It was unique, to say the least. The front of the estate faced a large lake (usually, the back of a house does). But that, as it turned out, added significantly to the privacy in the back of the place, where there was a pool area and a garden.

We were to interview with William Smythe first; and he, of course, was the person both of us were most interested in meeting. A significant number of people were convinced that he didn't really exist. There were no pictures of him, and he was never seen in public. There were stories, of course ... And here is one of the most impressive ones (pardon me for paraphrasing):

A popular online blogger and photographer had decided to take up the task of snapping a picture of Smythe after one eccentric computer magnate offered a ten thousand dollar reward for a photo that could be verified ... just to prove that there actually WAS such a person. The blogger had set up camp on a highway pullout that overlooked the mansion. However, no sooner had he erected his tripod and affixed his camera and long-range lens, but a black sedan pulled up and two VERY unsavory men in black suits approached him. The smaller of the two (the one without the broken nose), walked up to him and said: "We hear that youse is tryin' to infringe upon da privacy of da nice people in yonder mansion. Please say it ain't so!"

While the intrepid journalist tried to defend his First Amendment rights, the big man (the one WITH the broken nose) picked up the camera rig, took it back to the sedan, deftly released the camera from the tripod, and climbed into the back seat with it. Obviously, our hero protested vehemently. The smaller man told him to please remain calm ... that Rollo was only a camera enthusiast, and that he would go and get the camera back. Smaller Man was gone a long time ... almost five minutes ... before he returned with only the tripod. He explained that Rollo, in his affectionate haste to examine the camera, had unfortunately broken it. However, their boss had philanthropically agreed to replace it; and a brand new Nikon D5200, 24.1 megapixel camera (sorry, he explained, the 16 megapixel model, like the one Rollo had broken, was no longer available), along with an AF-S 300mm lens, had already been shipped to his sister's address in Arlington, Virginia, via overnight delivery service. Of course, the reporter had never given the men his name; and so, more than slightly freaked out, he quickly departed the scene. A brand new camera and lens did indeed show up at his sister's house the next morning. This story had not QUITE gone viral on the internet ... but it had enjoyed far more than moderate dissemination.

So anyway, with a great deal of anticipation, Wanda and I followed Riya into the palatial foyer, up one of the three grand staircases and down a hall, where she knocked gently on one of the doors and led us inside. I had thought Riya was stunningly beautiful, but the young woman that now stood before us broke that mark. If her face or body bore any flaw at all, I certainly couldn't see it. She was nothing short of spectacular! Her long red hair was a mass of natural curls that framed a face that I can only describe as erotically innocent. Her whole being seemed to exude childlike honesty and curiosity. Riya was introducing her as Betty Smythe, and explaining that she and "Billy" had recently been married in a private ceremony here in the mansion. Betty was now his personal executive assistant. As Betty came around a desk to greet us, Wanda dug an elbow into my side and whispered "Try to keep your tongue from dangling, David."

Once again, Wanda surprised me with her ability to speak in genuinely social terms. It had been so long since we had engaged in any type of banter other than quantum physics that I had completely forgotten how utterly charming she could be. The three of them were going on and on about how Betty wanted to "change the decor" of the room we were now in; color schemes and types of woodwork and trim and drapes and whatnot. I was most satisfied just standing back and listening ... and looking. Wanda is an awfully pretty lady herself, and having the three of them together was sort of like watching a super model convention or something.

At long last, Betty told us that "Billy" was expecting us, but that he was "doing a little math in his office," and she waved a hand at a closed door to our left. She led the way, and I sort of naturally offered my arm to Wanda as we followed. She just as naturally refused; so I trailed close behind her into a huge room covered with bookcases and dry-erase boards, then stood beside her as Betty addressed a massively-built man with his back to us who was writing on one of the walls. Her voice was clear and to-the-point. "Billy, this is David Rothman and Wanda Perkins. You've been wanting to meet them."

And then he turned around and faced us.

Okay ... I had actually been expecting something like this. Nothing quite to this degree ... but something. I mean, assuming that the man actually existed, there had to be SOME reason that he would never show himself to anyone; and hiding a physical characteristic or disability was one of the reasons that I'd imagined. But while he had been in the process of turning toward us, and in the split-second that followed, Betty had made her way to him and snuggled into his arm. It was that split-second that made the difference, though; because Wanda totally freaked out.

I had taken half a step forward, my hand coming up in preparation to extend and shake his. But before I could complete that step, she had issued a high-pitched shriek, grabbed my shoulder, spun me around and flung herself into my arms, burying her face into the side of my neck. The entire maneuver had caught me so off guard that my momentum caused us both to spin around in a stumbling 360-degree turn. She had plastered herself against me, and I was extremely aware of her ample breasts pressing into my lower chest. She was shaking violently.

The way the Betty had walked up to Billy ... and the way she had slipped one of her arms through one of his while caressing his shoulder with her other hand ... was frankly like something out a wet dream. Her whole being seemed to exude adoration, sensuality and desire toward him. He, by himself, might be considered visually repugnant. She, by herself, might be considered lovely. Together, they were erotically fascinating! But Wanda hadn't seen that sight yet. She was obviously too afraid to even look.

My right ear was ringing due to the vicinity and volume of the scream. I cast a look at our host and hostess in an attempt to convey a silent apology, and I put my arms around my companion, trying to calm her. She was muttering to herself in a tone so low that only I could hear: "Oh my God! Oh my God!" and she continued to clutch my body to hers and shiver uncontrollably. My left arm was now around her waist, and my right palm was against her back, holding her to me. I put my lips next to her left ear and shushed her quietly. "Everything's alright, Wanda. There's no need to be like this. I'm right here. Let's say hello to our host."

She actually tried to raise her head, but couldn't seem to muster the courage to do so. She held me even tighter. "I ... I can't! Oh, God, I can't! David, I'm so ashamed!"

I looked helplessly toward Smythe and Betty. If he was having any reaction to this at all, I certainly couldn't read it. He seemed to be shifting his head very slightly to the left and right, and I came to understand that it was difficult for him to focus both of his eyes on something at the same time ... they were too widely spaced, and they were actually pointing in different directions. And as for his wife, she continued to hold his broad arm possessively, but she had moved a bit more in front of him, as if she intended to shield him from all of the world's discrimination using nothing but her slight body and her love for him. I had never witnessed anything like it, and for a moment, it brought a lump to my throat. Seeing no avenue for help in that direction, I looked behind us, where Riya still stood at the doorway. She actually bore a small smile, and her eyes sparkled with raw interest ... and something that was perhaps a little predatory. It was a very strange expression, but as soon as she noticed that I was looking at her, it faded immediately, and she quickly walked to us and put her hands on Wanda's shoulders.

"Why don't you come with me, sweetie," she crooned softly. "We'll let David and Billy talk for awhile, and I'll introduce you to the business half of the company first. You can come back here later, when you're ... feeling better."

Finally, my companion pulled away from me slightly. She peered up miserably into my eyes. "Oh, David ... I'm SO sorry!" She actually cast a fervent glance at the other two ... but only for a moment. "Mr. Smythe ... I'm sorry. I ..." But she seemed incapable of continuing; and, releasing me at last, she grasped Riya's hand and hurried from the room.

Believe it or not, I had rehearsed this meeting in my mind during the flight out. So much for rehearsals. I strode over to them, my arm outstretched. "Okaaay then," I fumbled. His oversized hand engulfed mine. "Mr. Smythe, you have no idea how much I've looked forward to ..."

"Y' gotta call me Billy," he said cheerily. "You've got a right fit bird there, mate! And no 'ard feelins, by any means. 'Appens all th' time!"

It was as if a mighty weight had been cast from my shoulders, and I threw back my head and laughed. I turned to Betty, who was still a little unsettled, and said: "I hope you, too, can find it in your heart to eventually give my right fit bird another chance." I spoke behind the back of my hand in a mock-whisper to her: "What the hell IS a right fit bird, anyway?"

The corners of her mouth twitched a couple times before curving into a smile, and all hard feelings seemed to melt. "I've found it best to assume that he's giving compliments until you can prove otherwise," she said softly. She moved away from us. "I'll leave you two alone for awhile. Let me know when you're ready for me to take you down and introduce you to Tony." And she left, closing the door behind her.

"Welcome to my domain," he said, extending his arms and indicating his drawing boards. "I was jus' workin' on this bit 'eer."

I froze when I saw what he was indicating. It was as if someone had just gripped me around the throat. It was my formula! Not the RESULTS of the formula, mind you ... which I had both published in a journal and posted online ... but the formula itself! There was only one copy of this ... or so I had thought ... locked up in my safe at home. I hadn't even copyrighted it, knowing that if I did, it would be in the purview of the public. "How ...?" was all I could say.

He clapped his hands delightedly and began making a strange, rhythmic grunting sound (that I would eventually come to recognize as laughter). "'That's IT, ain't it?" he announced with glee.

"Where ... where did you get this?" I asked. Already, the implications of him possessing this were staggering. I would be left with ... nothing! "Who did you talk to? How did you ...?"

"I didn' get it ANYWHERE, bloke! I figgered it out! Y' posted yer findins, so I had a startin' point and an end point. Fillin' in the stuff in the middle was a right proper little problem!"

I leaned heavily against one of the desks. "So ... you don't need me," I said dully. "You've got all you need right here! All except the crystal ... and it'll only be a matter of time before you put THAT problem together, too. Why did you even ask me to come here?"

"Aw, don't get yer knickers in a twist!" he exclaimed, picking up an eraser. With broad sweeps, he began eradicating the figures. "Yer formula's all yer own. I don't want it. I only wanted to see if I got it right."

I suddenly pushed away from the desk. "WAIT!" I shouted. I had just seen what he was in the process of erasing. He had taken the formula to another level! He'd discovered a next step!

He paused, taken aback at my outburst, then turned and studied the writing. With additional laughing sounds, he continued swiping at the board until it was all gone. "Make y' a deal, mate," he said. "Whether y' decide to hire on with us or not ... come back 'eer sometime, and we'll work on continuing that ... and other things. We'll have us some brandy, an' we'll do a little proper math ... and we'll change the world, you 'n me!"

Rather than answer him immediately, I paused, my eyes on that blank spot on the board, trying to envision what I had just seen. But it was gone. "You son of a bitch!" I said, laughing.

"Aw ... y' can do better than THAT?" he prompted.

"You bloody ...!" I wracked my brain, but I couldn't think of any British idiom.

"Wanker?" he prompted.

"Right!" I exclaimed. "You're a bloody son of a wanker!"

And at that point, we were suddenly two laughing math nerds with a common interest, some blank space on a board and a roomful of problems to talk about. I won't bore you, but I had a great time; talking and chuckling and figuring and writing. Suffice it to say, when Betty opened the door to tell me that it was past the time to go for the second half of my job interview, I was dumbfounded to learn that almost two hours had passed! Billy and I shook hands warmly, and I had to promise him that, job or no job, I would come back and do this again sometime soon.

I followed Betty's enticing figure out of the apartment, down the hallway and stairs, and into another wing of the mansion. Anthony Bionicci's outer office contained a desk (but no secretary) and several chairs around the periphery of the room. Betty picked up a phone from the desk and spoke briefly before hanging up and telling me that "Tony" was talking to someone, and would be with me shortly. She excused herself, saying that she had to check her messages, and she sat down and started fiddling with her phone. I decided to sit and do a little work on my phone, as well; and since Betty was preoccupied, I plugged in a set of earphones and started listening to some tunes. And so it was that when a VERY pretty dark-haired girl came out of the inner office, I was looking down at my phone ... but I could clearly see her in the reflection of the gadget's screen (which I keep darker than normal). And I could hear, as well, because the song I was listening to had just ended, and my phone wasn't programmed to play another one.

Betty and this new girl squealed like long lost friends and hugged. "Belinda! I haven't seen you since ... that night! How are you?"

"I'm wonderful! I'm still working for the Cellini Brothers in accounting!"

They talked animatedly about Betty's marriage, examined the ring and other things.

"What were you talking to Tony about?" Betty asked.

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