tagMind ControlMy Only Talent Ch. 28

My Only Talent Ch. 28


Note: The descriptions and accounts in these stories are fictional and do not portray any actual people or events. The delay in posting this chapter and perhaps the next few may be ascribed to some unexpected turbulence and travel in the author's schedule.

As I made my way downstairs from my dorm room for my hastily improvised evening Suzie snooping expedition, I passed the floor lounge and encountered our resident lounge lizard and TV troll, Joisey Al. He was so named because during the first few days of the fall semester, he greeted everyone with the same phrase, "I'm Al from Joisey. You from Joisey? What exit?" To be specific, he was from Bergen County, and his full name was Alphonse Luigi Ludovico Capozzi.

His father was one of the larger plumbing contractors in Bergen County, and his goal for young Al had been for him to graduate from Rutgers and become a registered professional engineer, so that when he joined the family plumbing business he could 'wet stamp' drawings before submission for permits, giving the senior Capozzi a leg up on his competitors. His father had also arranged a future marriage to the surprisingly attractive (judging from her picture, and despite her nickname of "Moosie") daughter of the chief building inspector of Bergen County, hopefully creating a family relationship greased pipeline for quick approvals and issuance of building permits and subsequent rapid fire inspections and approvals on job sites.

Alphonse perhaps felt a little trapped by all these detailed plans, and with the supporting rationalization that out of state tuition at ESU was still less than the in state resident tuition in New Jersey, he applied to go to school at ESU. He must have had some pretty good grades and SAT scores to be admitted from out of state, and he seemed pretty bright, but it turned out he actually wanted no part of engineering school. Thanks to his two highly verbal grandmothers, he was native speaker fluent in Italian and German in addition to his strange native dialect of New Jersey English, and had taken advanced placement tests that yielded him credit for dozens of semester hours before he ever attended a single class at ESU.

Which was fortuitous, because so far he never had. Attended a class, that is. He racked up zero total grade points while attempting 12 credit hours in his first semester at school, but owing to the formula by which grade point averages were calculated, he was still in good academic standing. In fact he could probably skip class for three semesters and still be okay. He was willing to go back to New Jersey and take 'vocational ed' plumbing classes at junior college before he eventually joined the family plumbing business, but he was getting an approximately eighteen month 'paid vacation' at ESU before he flunked out, arithmetically and officially . Apparently his idea of a great vacation was watching TV in the dorm lounge, and as far as I could tell, he did nothing but that, save trips to the food lines downstairs, and journeys to his room for bathroom breaks and phone sex with his betrothed (Thank God that didn't happen in the lounge).

I had never passed by the lounge without seeing him - he even seemed to sleep there. He could recite the dialog to every episode of Law and Order (and all its variants) ever aired, and did very well at Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, and all of the other TV game shows. He drew the line, though, just above soap operas, Oprah, and Dr. Phil; perhaps that was what drove his choice of early afternoon sleep periods. He was the first to wear that soon to be very familiar bewildered expression upon realizing that Suzanne was actually dating a lug like me, compounded when he later also saw Lara and Millie. He was still a little suspicious of me, perhaps because his residual Catholic education made him suspect that I had made a pact with the devil in order to get women like that.

What he was wearing now made me highly suspicious, though. His family must have made peace with his choice of attending ESU, because one of his Christmas presents was a giant XXXL sized ESU logo 'hoodie footie', in authentic burnt orange with white trim and highlights. This huge fuzzy fleece pajama suit came complete with a special pocket for his smart phone, and several others for snacks, including a fully insulated pocket for a 12 ounce beverage can. Sitting in the corner of the broken down couch, he looked for all the world like a hibernating polar bear that had been accidentally spray painted burnt orange.

"Hey, Al!"

"Hi Robbie. Pick up any supermodels over Christmas break?"

"No, but I did meet a couple of spectacular ones, up close and personal, on a big yacht, even!"

"Right, sure you did."

I made my way down the stairs and surveyed the crowd in the lobby. The storm that had delayed Suzanne, Lara, and Gunter's return trips to Austin had also delayed many other returning students, and thus the concentration of 'new talent' that had arrived for this semester was enriched, greatly to my benefit, I hoped. I tuned up my Suzie receiver and went into search mode.

There were lots of attractive new coeds, and a small but non-zero set of them begin sending as soon as they laid eyes on me. The greater portion did not, of course, as was my usual experience. There were even a few that tickled my fancy, but unfortunately none of those were sending for me! The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, I supposed. But my Suzie sensitivity certainly seemed to be improving with experience, and I was very interested to find that there were two new and distinct Suzie 'notes' that I was only able to identify after some study and consideration.

The first such note issued from a striking dark haired and blue eyed young woman named Jean Nancy Percer, who somehow managed to affect a bit of a French accent through her San Antonio drawl, introducing herself fairly loudly as "John Nan See Per Se" to the fellow standing next to me. She had clearly looked him over before making the first move, and when he didn't, she did. He looked like a Phi Iota Gamma pledge, but I knew he wasn't, since I had recently met them all. But he had all the trappings: an outfit right out of the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog, a very expensive looking haircut, and a wristwatch that probably cost more than my tricked out new car, cool as I thought it was. He was complaining to her about being forced to play golf with his father and grandfather almost every day of Christmas break, with the compensating virtue that lunches at the country club were very good, plus it left his nights free for clubbing. It made me think of the movie "Caddy Shack", but it made young miss "John Nan See" send a restrained sort of lilting and conditional Suzie signal for him.

While he was noticing her towering frame and massive breasts (just as big as Peggy's and on an even taller chassis) she was skillfully conducting an interview that quickly yielded a demographic sketch of the young man and his family. As the resulting profile moved from upper middle class to rich and trended toward truly wealthy, the intensity of her Suzie sending multiplied several fold. I had just encountered my first 'Pecuniary Suzie'. It would not be the last, and recognizing them as such would later save me and some of my buddies from certain doom and or intense unhappiness more than once. I made a note to spend a little more time learning about Jean Nancy, and studying her unusual Suzie.

As I was observing the two of them, I noticed two girls observing me! They leaned their heads together and spoke in whispers and giggles, cutting sidelong glances at me, and one of them who at first sent nothing suddenly launched a pretty loud and raspy Suzie for me, which grew louder as they talked more and more. I thought I recognized the other girl from last semester as having been seated at dinner with Orinda and Lizzy Faye a few times, but the one sending was definitely new this semester, so I inferred she was just learning of my reputation as 'The Master', and that her curiosity about sexual submission had captured her imagination, and sparked her signals. I had just encountered what I would learn to call a 'Curiosity Suzie"- the first of many.

The rest of my research downstairs was unremarkable, and I returned to the room about 10 PM to find that my roommate Kevin had just arrived, twelve weather delayed hours later than originally planned. This semester found him embarking on making his first complete student project film in a genre randomly assigned by his professor. Kevin was to serve as writer, director, and producer with other students filling the other filmmaking roles on a rotating basis, such that each student would eventually do every functional task. This would be my first clue that Kevin had an unfortunate long term predilection for his randomly assigned genre: awful science fiction parodies. He had decided that his first film would be a very heavy handed send up of an early Star Trek film, tentatively entitled "Star Trek Douche: The Bath of Khan."

"I'm going to make the script totally awful, but the film itself will be so visually compelling that people will want to see it again and again!" he cried.

"With that title, you are half way there already, Buddy!" I laughed, and rolled over to get some sleep.


Monday morning my alarm went off at 5:30 AM and I had to think twice about what came next. New semester, new classes, new schedule, new routine. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I had Conditioning with Saskia at 7:00 AM, followed by Multivariable Calculus, Engineering Physics, and Embedded Systems. Whew! Tuesday and Thursdays served up the lab for Engineering Physics and the only approved elective class I could fit into my schedule: "Introduction to the Study of Language". Maybe I could listen to my still unopened Rosetta Stone course that had been a gift from Adnan and learn Arabic during that period. Should be a blow off course, right? I also had my running plan for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday – five miles of increasingly intensive sprinting – theoretically culminating in me having a lot more fast twitch muscle fibers than I began the semester with.

I hit the line for early breakfast and compared to last semester there was almost a completely new cast of characters in the dining hall. I looked about in vain for Nora and Orinda in order of my prurient interest, but did not see either of them. Saskia had advised breakfasting on plenty of protein and water but not going too heavy on the carbs, and strongly recommended zero fat yogurt rather than bacon as my primary protein source. The yogurt wasn't half bad. It totaled up to my RDA for protein, but it didn't make me feel full. I wanted to listen carefully to Saskia's Suzie signal for confirmation of my theory on her budding sexual fetish, so I ate two sugary pastries and two sugar envelopes just to be sure.

The conditioning class was in Greg Gym right across from the dorm. Saskia greeted me with an evil smile, which she also bestowed on the other students. She did not send any Suzie for them, though! After a two minute review of our food diaries and a quick test to confirm our FitBits were recording properly, she proceeded to lead us in 15 minutes of a hyper fast combination of Jazzercise, Taibo, Kickboxing and simulated epileptic seizures. I thought I was in pretty good shape, but I was straining 5 minutes in, and a couple of the other folks had to stop before the end. I made it, but just barely. Saskia wasn't even breathing hard!

She went to each of us that were still standing first, referring to her notes and giving us specific exercises to do until she circled back to evaluate us. Each exercise was perfectly designed to make us feel off balance, weak, strained and uncomfortable – to laser focus in on our weakest areas and break them down so our bodies could hopefully then build them back stronger. No pain, no gain - made incredibly personal and specific. She then turned her attention to the now recovering dropped out two, who had ceased their labored breathing and were therefore ready to be tortured some more. I lost all track of time as the ordeal continued. Just as I began to get the hang of a particular exercise and feel some balance and strength, Saskia would suddenly appear next to me and instruct me to move my hand out further from my body, or put my weight on just one foot, or hold my leg out farther, or whatever inventive wrinkle she could devise to make me feel even worse. I gritted my teeth and just tried to get through it, doing my best to suffer in silence. But most of the other folks were alternatively grunting and gulping air, making sounds like they were auditioning for a part as a medieval torture victim in a bad movie. I wasn't going to give her that satisfaction.

Mercifully, Saskia then announced that the final five minute cool down period of our class had just begun. She led us in another Jazzercise style routine, at only 2/3 the pace of the initial warm up, smiling all the while.

"I took it easy on you guys this first day, but Wednesday we will pick things up to the normal pace and keep it there!" Stunned silence from all of us, punctuated only by labored breathing.

"I want each of you to find several free hour periods during the week that you could commit to a one on one meeting with me to go over your specific weaknesses and review our plans to address them. Email me at least three such one hour periods and I will review them all and tell you which ones will work for me. These will not be exercise periods but discussions, so you can eat your lunch during that time if absolutely necessary."

More shocked silence followed. My heart rate was starting to wind down a little, and as she dismissed us I glanced at the clock on the gym wall – 0807 AM. I realized I had not even tried to listen in to her Suzie, plus I was drenched in fetid sweat, and my next class was at 0900! I almost broke my promise to myself to always use the stairs to reach my 8th floor dorm room, but I dutifully trudged up with my last bit of energy and took a quick shower before making my way north from JES to RLM for my first helping of the so-called multivariable calculus. Luckily, Oiler and already prepped me a bit, but I soon realized I would be calling on him a lot more this semester. Each new concept was not that tough individually, but they came at me at such a pace that it soon took a toll on my already glucose deprived brain.

During my short break before my 1100 hours date with Engineering Physics, I did the reading for Math and started on the first assigned problem set. Conceptually okay, but it took time to work through the problems and check the answers. I made a few notes on things to ask the TA at my first opportunity for his office hours. Engineering Physics was a little better, owing mostly to the fact that I had a crackerjack Physics instructor in high school (which is not the norm, I assure you) and already understood the concepts pretty well. Still, just working through everything and confirming your results would take a lot of time. As I walked back south in a daze to go to late lunch at the dorm, I realized this semester was going to be much more of a challenge than my first, and I would have to be even more devoted to my 'school all week' pledge to make decent grades.

My stomach had been growling loudly since the midpoint of physics class, and by the time I reached the lunch line, I was desperate for some calories. I developed a case of tunnel vision, focusing on my plate and my stereotyped cutting, shoveling and chewing skills, and did not even notice the dark and lovely Lizzy Faye Reagan sit herself down to my immediate right until she spoke.

"Robbie! What exactly did you do to my roommate during Spring Rush?"

I'll never tell, I thought. "She is a lovely young lady and I am proud to call her my friend!" I replied, and turned to look at her.

She leaned forward and riveted me with her gaze. "Orinda won't tell me a damn thing! She just smiles this damn smug smile and gets this funny look in her eyes."

I tried to give her my version of that same look. "Well. You did kind of throw her at me, Lizzy Faye. We just went around to some Spring Rush parties together. Wasn't that what you intended?"

"I just wanted you to take her mind off breaking up with her dipshit ex-boyfriend. But I didn't want her hypnotized!"

"What did she tell you?"

"Only that you taught her a new way to eat candy."

That's Candy, I thought. "You are going to have to ask her, Lizzy Faye."

She snorted and headed off towards the elevators. I looked around for Nora again and then my thick brain finally registered the fact that Nora was now staying at one of the co-ops west of the Drag. Suddenly my dorm was the setting of a very sad movie called "Nora Doesn't Live Here Anymore". Sniff. Sob. My eyes wandered around enough to notice the menu board detailing dinner, and I hatched an evil plan for Suzanne.

I gathered myself and my stuff and took the stairs back up back to my room. I worked through a few more math and physics problems, making a few more notes to take to the TA's office hours later. I had found it was very useful to introduce myself to the TA's for each class early in the semester, and ask questions that indicated I was actually trying to master the material. It was perhaps akin to the process by which hostages are told to make personal connections with their kidnappers in order to reduce the severity of their torture. If they know your name perhaps they will treat you better.

I then made sure I had the URL for the e-book for Embedded Systems and made ready to head out for my last MWF class today. I soon discovered it was more properly called "how to make measurements with micro-controllers" and relaxed a little. Oiler and Bigun had already explained to me that my new car's systems were chock full of Arduinos, which I at first thought was an exotic Italian carburetor, but which turned out to be a cute little single board computer. They told me about all the unreliable mechanical parts and linkages that the Arduinos replaced, and how it made hot rodding the car a software task, and showed me how to interface everything via the Bluetooth on my laptop or even my phone. They had explained the basics to me, and I sort of understood ADCs and DACs and numerical control, and began to look upon this class as applied electronic hot rodding, and vowed to make my new car a class project. I also vaguely remember that the little 'sniffer boxes' that Eddie Estigoy and The Cisco Kid had used to so skillfully hack the AG network to kill the videos of Lara were also little single board computers running Linux. Maybe I should know a little more about that, too.

While I was walking to the little temporary metal building where the class was to be held before another giant edifice named for a big ESU donor could be erected, I got a text from Suzanne. She was back in town and going directly to TA her big section of Economics 301, and then would have office hours until 5. I love it when a plan comes together, and especially when the plan allows Suzanne and me to come, together!

I texted her. "Meet me at JES for dinner at 5? Kevin is out for the evening."

She replied. "Very tired."

"Pizza night, slut."

"CU @ 5!!!!"

"P.S. I love you"


Embedded Systems was actually kind of fun, and the instructors were graduate students not much older than me. One of them reminded me of the 'Koothrappali' guy on Big Bang Theory, but taller, and he also seemed to be a bit of a gear head, so I figured I could get him interested in working on my car, and thus helping me with my class projects. May be if I could also get him laid this semester, I could even get an A in the course. There were two girls in the class, but neither of them sent Suzie for anyone there. I would have to find an environment where there were a lot more women around so I could listen for those that sent for him. I walked back south toward the dorm in a much better mood.

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