MICHAEL LYNN GABRIEL
The walking tour of the University for the benefit of those attending the KT symposium was just beginning. A slim, young woman, wearing a blazer with the University emblem on it, walked to the front of the group and started a rehearsed spiel in a cheerful tone: "Our university is a curious mixture of nearly everything. Here buildings of stone, wood, steel and even thatches stand along side each other. You can see horse drawn wagons and carriages against a few natural gas and gasoline propelled trucks. There are even a few, just a few, ancient automobiles."
"Where do you get your electricity?" an elderly Oriental visitor asked while cleaning his thick eyeglasses.
"Our lighting is both by electricity and natural gas. The natural gas is derived from the landfills outside of the city. The decomposing organics give off a low grade methane that is channeled to the university. Our electricity comes from the geothermal plants on the other side of the island."
A young well-dressed woman interjected, in a snobbish tone, "The university gives the appearance of an area of transition from one thing to another with no allegiance to either the thing it isOr will become."
With a sharp look at the snide young woman, the guide continued onward with her speech, "Despite the unimpressive look of the university, it is the most important educational institution still functioning on Earth. None of the remaining universities have remained so intact or were able to preserve its knowledge or technology during the dark time. Because of its preeminent position, the university has achieved a political and practical power that belies its appearance."
"Isn't it true," asked a gregarious middle-aged man, "that the professors here have more practical power and autonomy than the President of the Republic?"
The guide laughed, "They certainly would like that to be true. In fact, since the very existence of the Republic depends on the education and technology of the university, it could be said the university runs the country. Of course, that itself creates a misconception that the country is large. In fact, the population of the Republic of Hawaii is 100,000. This was less than enrollment of the large universities in the 20th century."
The tour group walked down the wide main sidewalk of the campus. It consisted of mainly the wives and children, with a few husbands, of the attenders of the symposium. Tall shrubs lined the sidewalk. As the meandering crowd strolled down the sidewalk, a man leapt from the bushes wildly slashing the air with a large butcher knife. With teeth bared as fangs and covered with sweat, he lunged for an old Polynesian woman and viciously slashed her throat. An immediate panic ensued as people started ran in all directions and bumping heedlessly into each other. The confusion permitted the attacker to grab and kill several more persons while the others tried madly to flee.
"KT, KT. He's got KT," were the collective cries being shouted from the terrified mass of people."
As the killer was fighting with a middle-aged man and woman, several men wearing full body decontamination suits burst through the bushes. On the suits were stenciled, "POLICE". "Kill them!" shouted the police officer wearing sergeant stripes on his uniform. At that order, all of the officers opened fire with automatic weapons killing the attacker, the man and the woman.
The horrified crowd stood there in muted silence. Standing over the bodies, the sergeant looked up and asked the group, "Was anyone within three feet of him?" pointing at the attacker.
"He was!" an adolescent girl yelled while pointing to a young foreign looking man.
"No, I wasn't!" he screamed. Quickly, he looked to his sides and then started to run into the bushes.
"Shoot him," the sergeant ordered and the other officers shot the fleeing man in the back.
As the man fell in a disordered heap, the sergeant turned to face the crowd that was standing perfectly still. "We will take your names and addresses. You are all witnesses that the dead people were within three feet of a KT infected person and killed before they could pass the disease along."
As the sergeant spoke, the other officers put all the bodies in a pile. On stakes put into the ground was strung a wide tape around the bodies. The tape had printed on it, "KT INFECTED AREA, DANGER STAY OUT."
After the statements were taken, the police left. The persons remaining from the tour group stood there in shock. The guide stepped forward timidly and said, "We can continue our tour for those wishing to do so."
Without a word, the group closed around the guide as she nervously continued once again with her rehearsed dialogue, "Because of its great educational importance, the university hosts many international conferences and symposiums. In the past, they were international in name only. There was little communication with the outside world and even less travel. Still, the university has kept, as best it could, the lines of communication open with the scientific world. Towards that end, it had been holding annual symposiums on nearly every major topic."
"When did they start?" the elderly Oriental man asked.
Pleased with the interruption, the woman said, "These symposiums started shortly after the first exploring ships of the Republic landed on North America and found small city states that survived the general demise of civilization. They set up a rather crude but improving system of trade based upon mutual need. The symposiums were intended to both trade scientific information and exert political control by making the trading partners more dependent upon Hawaiian technology."
"Does the University do research or does it merely sell the knowledge of the past?" a woman asked.
"It does both," the guide replied. "The most important research being done is the seeking of a cure for KT. Over there is the lecture hall where the KT symposium is being held."
"That's probably where the killer came from," a fat, middle-aged woman stated.
Another woman whispered to her daughter as the tour once again wound its way down the sidewalk, "Scientists are always messing around into something."
The university lecture hall was designed in the classical style of an amphitheater. The stage was the lowest part of the room with the rows of seats extending in tiered series along three sides of the stage. The high walls were paneled in oiled oak with brass lighting fixtures in the shape of oil leaves spaced evenly along the tops of the walls. The hall was overbrimming with scientists from throughout the remnants of the civilized world as it existed in 2275. The room was vibrating with the ceaseless din of nearly 500 scientists discussing their work simultaneously. Most of the scientists were from the Pacific Oceanic Area- Hawaii, Australia, Philippines. However, there was a smattering of scientists from other parts of the world where the scientific knowledge still remained or was being gradually recovered.
Onto the stage walked a tall, slim, young man with blond hair and a short beard of about 25 years of age. Walking onto the stage in an absent-minded fashion, the man stopped at the podium and
laid a file on the rostrum. Pulling on the sleeves of blue blazer that had run up the arms, he looked down at his gray pants and striped tie that did not quite match the outfit. Standing slightly behind and to the left of the podium he looked up to the audience that was taking its seat and took a breath made audible by the sensitive microphone. Smiling he said, "I am Assistant Professor Alex Karmen of the University of Hilo of the Republic of Hawaii. I will give the opening address and introduction to this symposium. The purpose of this scientific conference is, as it has been in the past 59 years, to exchange information on the disease that has killed three-fourth's of mankind and continues to do so unabated."
A young man rushed onto the stage and handed the speaker a note. A bit perturbed, with the interruption, he read it and then looked up at the audience. "Ladies and Gentlemen, There was a KT induced attack on the sidewalk down from this building. Professor Eric Hause and his wife were killed by the quarantine police." A shocked gasp rose from the audience. "It is tragic and another reminder of the necessity of success for both ourselves and humanity."
Without a further word, the lights dimmed and a spotlight illuminated Alex. "The virus 'KELLEN-THOREN' referred to simply as KT is and remains the scourge of mankind ever since it first appeared in the 1990's. It has continued virtually unabated for the next three hundred years. It is only now that we have regained a level of technological expertise that we can hope to defend ourselves from the effects, both medical and sociological of the disease."
"KT is a mutated viral disease that was unknown or unrecognized on Earth prior to its pandemic appearance in the 1990's. It appeared virtually overnight. It seems as though nearly every part of the Earth was simultaneously stricken by it."
As Alex spoke, three huge screens behind and on each side of him lit up. On the screens was projected the KT virus. "At first, the symptoms did not appear as those of a highly contagious disease. Because of that ignorance, the disease spread with unbelievable rapidity and with deadly result throughout the medical, scientific, and law enforcement communities before its true nature could be ascertained. After that, the structure of society everywhere began a slow but unimpeded decline into anarchy."
Waving for effect, he continued, "The very nature of A KT belied its insidious effects. A KT affects its host by causing a genetic mutation that forces the body to produce excessive amounts of phenylalanine." Alex turned slightly to look at the screen to his right. On the screen appeared a bar graph that had four bars. The first bar was labeled average man and read 1.5 ppm. The second bar was labeled infected man and read 3.13 ppm. The third bar was labeled average woman and read 1.3 ppm. The fourth bar was labeled infected woman and read 2.1 ppm. Continuing, he read from his notes, "This excessive amount of phenylalanine
Causes a condition known as phenylketonuria. The result is brain damage and retardation. The disease was once restricted totally to new born children as an embryonic disease. In some fashion that we do not understand, the gene causing the disease was passed on to cold viruses."
Taking a deep breath, "The effects are sex specific. They affect each sex differently. Within 1 week of infection, a male is driven irretrievably insane and retarded. The man then suffers constant and uncontrollable outbursts of violence. He kills without thought or consideration. In blind rage, he will strike and will continue to do so until he is himself killed." Looking over his shoulder at the screen, Alex saw projected a film of many different men engaged in violent attacks on people surrounding them. Turning to look directly at the audience, "The problem facing those being attacked is to avoid contracting the KT virus while defending themselves. Such is extremely hard to do since mankind has never conquered the common cold much less this mutated variety."
"In women, the disease manifests itself in degrees. The retardation and murderous violence that strikes men is most pronounced in pre-pubescent and postmenopausal women. For menstrual women, the disease appears in graduation. The closer the woman is towards her period, when the infection is contracted, the less pronounced is the disease. A woman contracting the disease shortly before her period does not suffer violent or murderous rages of the male. Instead she is rendered to some degree, passive and retarded. The degree of retardation is itself graduated from severe to the level of a 10 year old." Scanning the audience, Alex saw a few women. He noticed that they were all pointedly looking at their notes. A few of them appeared to be blushing. "One thing that we know about KT is that once a woman is infected and survives, she can't be reinfected. Once the period of infection ends, she will not become a carrier and contact with her family and society can resume. In what fashion that contact will take depends on the degree of retardation she suffered. In some manner that we do not understand, female hormones affect the degree of infection. However female hormones will not prevent infection or reduce its effect on men." Alex turned a page of his notes and looked quickly at the clock to his left before continuing.
"KT carried in its genes the death sentence for all Earth's societies as they then existed. The cold viruses spread through the Earth in a matter of months. It killed and killed without let up. The swine flu of the early 1990's killed 20,000,000
people. The bubonic plague wiped out nearly a third of mankind. KT killed nearly 60% outright." A line graph appeared on the screens showing a steady decline in population from 5.2 billion in 1995 to 400 million in 2275. "Another 20% died as the result of the killings brought about by the insanity of KT. Children were the most obvious immediate victims. Those that were not stricken by the disease, often had to contend to parents, family members or other adults driven into a homicidal rage by the disease."
Alex then closed his file, "That includes the scientific side of the disease. The true effects are more insidious. The sociological side of the disease are more devastating. They will be addressed by Professor Harris Book of the sociology department." Alex turned to his right and a plump, balding man of about 60 years walked towards him.
Stopping at the podium, he shook Alex's hands and turned to the audience. "Good Morning, Ladies and Gentlemen. Its good be here again. This is my 35th symposium on KT. I am pleased to see so many of my old friends here today. When I attended my first KT symposium there were only about 50 other persons attending. Today there is almost 1000. That is good news. For only by understanding the effects both scientific and sociological can we hope to stop KT and its effects."
There followed a spontaneous round of applause from the audience that was unexpected and slightly disrupted Book's' speech. Dropping a page from his notes, Professor Book bent over and picked it up. Then straightening up, he resumed, "The result of KT was the breakdown of society everywhere. Isolation and fear swept the world. The scientific and medical communities were the first exposed to the disease and thus were the first decimated by it. Without their leadership, the disease spread unrestricted and continuously throughout the world. Had the medical community not been so devastated by the initial appearance of the disease, it might have been stopped or slowed it down before it effects were so cataclysmic. As it happened, the world retreated into darkness. Isolation became the existence on mankind. Trade stop everywhere for fear of contracting the disease. Strangers were killed on sight. Exposure to a stranger usually meant death.
Without trade all industrial societies fell apart. Without raw materials there could be no industrial complex. Oil was not shipped from the Middle East. Chrome, platinum and other rare industrial metals were not shipped from South Africa. Food was not shipped anywhere. Famines, barely manageable in the world prior to disease, were now left totally free to run their courses." A bar graph appeared on the screens where the names of the famine were plotted against millions of deaths. The graphs showed that deaths from famines increased during the period from 1995 to 2050. "Nearly 40 million people died within the first two years in Africa alone because of starvation. This did not compare to 180 million that died directly from KT and the 60 million that died in succeeding violence."
Book poured a drink of water from the flask on the podium. After taking a short sip of the water, Book glanced at the screens. "Wars over the food and the immediately available assets became the norm." A table winked on the screens listing all of the wars from 1995 to date. "There were 23 major wars was from 1995 to 2117. After that there were not enough people left with the ability to fight a major war. Typical were the Middle Eastern wars of the late 1990's. In the Middle East, most of the food was imported. When the supply was shut off, starvation followed within a matter of months. As a result, the countries of that region moved towards war. IRAQ, for example, was always a military power but without an agricultural base. It attacked Saudi Arabia which had been an agricultural exporter. Unlike the Kuwaiti War of 1991, the U.N., did not, and could not given the world situation, intervene. IRAQ conquered Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and immediately appropriated its agricultural properties."
"Throughout the Middle East, there was a revival of religious fundamentalism of all types. All religions viewed the appearance of the disease as the coming of Armageddon. The Moslems called for a religious crusade and jihad to reclaim Jerusalem. The Jews, likewise, called for the reconquest of the ancient boundaries of Israel then in Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. War started fast and furiously although the true instigator has never been positively identified. The effects were clear. Israel was attacked in four directions. Missiles and bombs rained upon it. At the same time, the Palestinians that were under occupation for 50 years arose in rebellion. Israel launched nuclear missiles at every Arab country. It wiped out every Arab nation, but could not save itself. The Arabs used gas and biological weapons which Israel could not fully protect itself against. The crops in Israel were severely contaminated by the biological agents used in the war. Since Israel could not import new food, it starved." The screens showed pictures of a devastated Middle East. All of the major cities of the Israel, Syria, Cairo and Lebanon were shown along with their barren and contaminated land.
Shuffling his notes, Book looked up and said by memory, "The Middle East conflict was the norm throughout the world. Everywhere countries disappeared and divided up into city states similar to those in the middle ages. The size of the states depended on the energy available within for communication and transportation. Where there were not energy resources available such as gas, electric, oil or nuclear, the size was limited to travel by horse. Overshadowing everything was the fear of KT and the isolation that it forced upon mankind."
A table appeared on the screen that was labeled energy production per developed country (1995-2055). The table was divided into 6 columns that represented the overall energy production for twenty five major countries in 10 year increments. The energy production dropped steadily from 1995 to a low point in 2025. "The first major casualty of KT was communication. Worldwide communication failed as the power to run it failed. Most countries ran their electrical plants by oil. When they could not get oil anymore, they lost their electricity and thus their ability to communicate. Coal plants were not much better. As fear of the disease spread and as the miners died from the disease, coal production and shipment faltered. Nuclear plants were slightly better off because they could run for several years before they needed new nuclear fuel that was no longer being produced.
Portions of France, the Soviet Union and the U.S. had many nuclear or geothermal plants and were able to stave off the general collapse of mankind suffered elsewhere." A table showing the number of functioning nuclear power plant per country was shown on the screen by country. The table showed that the number of nuclear powers plants worldwide decreased from a 1995 high of 797 to a low of 43 in 2275. "Isolation still existed in those areas. But, at least, they survived as a bastion of mankind that preserved knowledge when the rest of mankind was sinking back into an abyss bleaker than anything suffered in the dark ages."
Looking directly into the audience, Book wondered if he was insulting the audience's intelligence by belaboring the obvious. "However, the preservation of knowledge was not enough. Without the materials and industry needed to put that knowledge to use, it became nearly useless. To put the knowledge to use, a person must first survive. As society fell apart, more and more time was spent on just surviving and less and less to the pursuit of knowledge that could not be used. Scientific knowledge became almost a mystic religion. It is only now in the last 50 years that enough progress has been made that we can once again begin to expand and utilize its remaining scientific knowledge."
Continuing in this vein, "The reason for this advancement is gruesome in the extreme. Mankind had shrunk in size to an estimated 400 million people. Therefore there are no longer people in most of the areas where the natural resources are or where the former industrial factories were located. We can then safely send people to those areas to develop the natural resources and rebuild the derelict facilities with reduced fear of contracting KT or being murdered by the indigenous people in their fear that we might contaminate them."
A man in the middle of the side rows dropped a book that interrupted Book's train of thought. After pausing, Book restarted, "We have expanded into what has been called the dead territories, which is a misnomer because people still live there in the manner of the ancient American Indians. As such, we have been able to slowly extend mankind's knowledge close to its 1990 level. We do not have space travel. We can not manufacture many items such as cars, trucks, planes or boats. However we have found many of the above that can and have been restored. In addition, we are gradually putting abandoned factories on line and extending our production of all other materials."
Closing the folder containing his notes, "The biggest problem facing us is still KT. It still strikes no matter how careful we are. We are constantly on the alert for an outbreak so that we could immediately isolate the person before the expected insanity and death occur. Unless a cure for KT is found mankind will continue to remain on the precipice of extinction"
Book concluded, "We are here today, as every time before, to discuss what progress has been made to conquer KT and to address the many sociological problems wrought by the disease. We do not know why nature fashioned KT or to what it was responding. Some scientists have postulated the view that similar diseases have periodically stricken the Earth and that the dinosaurs were wiped out by one such virus. That may have been the case although there are respected scientists that still support the ancient theory of a meteorite striking the Earth. We will probably never know why or how nature developed KT..."
1999 MENDOCINO COUNTY CALIFORNIA
"What's up Jase," asked Mark Howard as he entered the biology laboratory and saw a slim man, in a white lab coat, standing and looking into a microscope. At the same time, the person was apparently injecting something into the substance under the microscope.
The two men looked enough alike to be brothers. Both were tall, big shouldered and narrowed hipped with blond hair. Mark's hair was a medium length and parted on the left while Jason's hair was longer and wavier and was parted on the right. Jason's eyes were a steel blue color and women had always told Jason that his eyes were the most intriguing part of him. When angry they appeared to flash and some women became alarmed with nothing more than a change in the expression of his eyes. Mark's eyes were brown with green flecks and the same women who were intrigued and fascinated by Jason's eyes felt comfort and security in Mark's eyes. While they could be angry, they did not mask or mislead.
Both of the men dressed quietly but well in casual clothes. Each wore pull over sports shirts, Jason's white and Mark's yellow.
The men wore corduroy pants Jason's blue and Mark's brown. Mark was also carrying a white lab coat identical to Jason's. Mark's name was stitched over the right pocket. The major difference in appearance was that Mark wore gold colored wire frame glasses whereas Jason did not.
"I'm having trouble engineering this damn virus," replied Jason Harber as he stood up rubbing his back. I've been in this lab all day working on this virus and I can not get it to take the phenylalanine gene. No matter what I do it just doesn't work. However, I think I may have done it with this last batch."
The biogenetics lab at Mendocino University was one of the best in the state. It covered top floor of the biology building
and had its own private library.. A large main frame computer was connected by a network to computer work stations throughout the lab area. There was a large freezer complex which consisted of a separately designed freezer cubicles. Each cubicle was designed to be both a free standing freezer and a part of the complex. Thus even if the main freezer failed, the individual cubicles would maintain their integrity. The freezer was computer regulated and only those persons with the appropriate computer codes could use it. Each cubicle had a separate code so that it was impossible to accidentally enter the wrong cubicle. The lab had the latest gene splicing equipment. In addition, the university was actively developing and constantly modifying its own gene engineering equipment. The lab had plenty of the traditional dissecting tables and a private supply facility that was one of the best. In addition, there were private offices with secretaries for the faculty and staff of the lab. This caused grumbles from the other faculty both in and out of the department. However, due to the amount of money that the biogenetics was bringing to the university, any attempt to cut back in this area would be seen to be parsimonious and counter productive.
"Why don't you take an break and get back to it later?" Mark asked as he opened the refrigerator and took out a tray which contained various petri dishes and carried them over to the sink.
"I've only got to September 15 to have this project completed and reviewed if I intend to apply for an additional grant. So I must complete the project, write it up, have it reviewed by the Professor Erickson, make the necessary revisions and then submit it to the review committee." Jason said with exasperation without lifting his head from the microscope.
"Why the hell did you wait so long before starting the project?" Mark asked as he placed each of the petri dishes, one at a time, in a spectrometer and measured the light absorption of them.
"It was an accident. I intended to engineer a virus to carry the gene that corrects pancreatic divisum. However, it was identified last month in Japan. What's more, I did it but so did everyone else and his brother,".
"Jase, what is pancreatic divisum? I never heard of it," Mark asked while writing down the measurements of the spectrometer in a log.
"Most doctors have not heard of it either. It is a genetic abnormality that affects 10% of people. Basically, a normal person is born with two pancreatic ducts to carry to carry the pancreatic secretions to the stomach. There is both a large major duct and a small ancillary duct. In the 10% of the people, the major duct is missing. That leaves the small duct to carry the load. It usually is enough and the person never suffers any problems and can lead a totally normal life. However since there is only the one duct, it can become blocked if exceptionally fatty foods are eaten. This results in digestion stopping and the food essentially rotting in the stomach."
"Is there any treatment for it, Jase?"
"The only treatment in severe cases is an operation to ream out a bigger duct so that it can not be obstructed. If this gene for the big duct can be introduced during the pregnancy, the baby will develop normally." Jason uttered as he placed a new dish under the microscope. "The problem is that since I was beaten to the engineering of the gene, I have to do a new project. Obviously, I won't get credit for work that someone beat me on. So here I am." Jason shrugged his shoulders in resignation.
"Why did you choose to engineer phenylalanine? What's it for anyway?" Mark queried in a half interested manner while he was placing the petri dishes back into the refrigerator.
Jason walked across the room over to the Macintosh clone computer on the desk. "Take a look at this gene map." Flipping the power switch and hitting the enter button, he called the file PAG-1 for Phenylalanine Gene Map. A diagram of human DNA appeared on the map. On down scrolling the screen, the position of the gene was highlighted in blue. Mark scanned the screen while looking over Jason's shoulder.
Turning his head to Mark while reaching for the computer mouse Jason said, "Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid needed for the proper development of a baby. However, if too much phenylalanine is produced and not discovered in time, the baby will be born but will suffer brain damage and retardation. The name for this is Phenylketonuria."
"What causes it?" Mark asked.
"It is an inborn error of body's metabolism which is characterized by the virtual absence of phenylalanine hydroxylase activity and an elevation of plasma phenylalanine. Excess phenylalanine is normally eliminated from the body by its hydroxylation to tyrosine. The enzyme phenylalanine hydroxylase is needed to do this. If phenylalanine hydroxylase is not present, the phenylalanine accumulates causing mental retardation as a result of this biochemical defect.
"Well then what value is your gene if it saves the baby only to later die or become a retarded idiot?," Mark asked in a quizzical tone as he stood up and walked to the sink.
"There's little reason for either to happen." Getting up from the computer, Jason walked to the refrigerator and retrieved a tray containing test tubes with red and yellow labels. Picking up a test tube with a yellow label, "Mark, this is the virus containing the gene to cause phenylketonuria. I have the test tubes containing the cure labeled with a yellow tag. See it reads PKU-C for phenylketonuria cure."
"What do you do next?"
"In order to make sure the cure works, I had to insert the gene causing the production of phenylalanine into a virus. I keep that virus in the test tubes with the red labels. When it becomes time to test the cure, I will inject the test animals and subjects with the virus, carrying the gene, which causes phenylketonuria. Then after the disease has occurred, I will inject the virus containing the curative gene. This way I will both create and cure the disease under controlled test situations."
"Do you think it will work?"
"This is merely gene replacement therapy. A missing gene is being restored not supplemented. Well done, the baby will have the same number of genes as it should have had originally and the same number of normal genes as any normal person. The baby's corrected metabolism then will operate as it should with the gene shutting off when it should. Phenylketonuria exists only when the gene to shut off production is not present. I will resupply the regulating gene and thereby restore the body to optimum performance."
"How likely is it that both genes would be missing?"
"It would be unlikely that a baby would be missing both the genes for both starting and shutting off production. As shown by the latest gene map of the human body, these genes are not located on the same block of genes. Thus the presence or absence of one gene does not in itself mean that other is likewise present or absent."
"Is there any treatment for this phenylketonuria or is the person doomed to death or retardation?
"There is not a lot that can be done. The treatment consists solely of limiting the phenylalanine intake so that the essential amount of the amino acid is met but not exceeded. Timing is critical. The defect must be diagnosed and treatment started within the first few days of life in order to avoid retardation. If treatment is delayed then the results are devastating."
"What is the time factor?"
"If the treatment is delayed until the child is between 2 or 3 years of age, then it would only be effective to control the extreme hyperactivity and seizures brought on by the brain damage. There is a split as to whether the treatment should continue after the myelinization of the age is complete at age 5 years. Myelin as you recall from basic biology is composed of complex lipoproteins that form the sheath protecting the brain and nervous system and promotes neural impulse transmission."
"I don't like the idea of playing God and genetic engineering. It has too many implications for disaster," Mark stated shaking his head. Walking to the sink, he began to wash his hands, "I wonder if I'm not a modern Pontius Pilate washing from his hands the sins caused by science."
Jason got up from his chair and looked Mark in the face. Then making a long sigh, he raised his hands up to his chest as though pleading for understanding by his companion. "We've had this discussion before and in fact the entire scientific community has along with all religions, philosophers and sociologists. Evolution is the way of nature. All life is constantly evolving in response to the demands made upon it. Genetic engineering merely permits man to have a more direct input into that evolution."
"Jason," interrupted Mark, "you're putting faith in science. That argument is straight out of a Frankenstein movie."
"Animal husbandry is merely an earlier form of genetic engineering. We have created, by selective breeding, plants and animals that never existed in nature. On the human level, men and women pick their spouses in large part for their physical or mental abilities. That also is genetic engineering on a minor scale. All science has done is to enable mankind to selectively cultivate its best genes and attributes and allow them to flourish. Can anyone really state that it would be better to let people die rather then give them the genes that will allow them to live? Likewise, is it better to go on perpetuating the same random and haphazard development of man or to concentrate on the improvement of such? Who would not want a genius as a child, their child to be an Adonis or Aphrodite and a long and healthy life for their child? Such will one day be within the grasp of mankind. It is towards that end that I am working."
"That's a cop out. It plays upon blatant sentimentality," asserted Mark. "Everyone wants the best for their children but who is fit to judge what that is? Randomness is the protection of mankind. Without gene diversity, one disease can wipe out an entire genus, species or family. But the real problem, which you overlook is the human factor itself. The greed, avarice and hatreds that such technology would give vent. Hitler tried to create a master race. This technology would permit master and subservient races to be created at will. We are less than 150 years for slavery in this country. Only fifty years ago, segregation was legal as a means to keep supposedly inferior races in their place.
"So, Mark, progress should stop because of possible misuse. Is that what you're saying?"
"In the future if this technology continues, it will be possible to breed human-like animals without feelings or intelligence. They will mindlessly follow the dictates of their creators and masters. New strains of human beings will be created that never before existed. They will exist to be the robots of the future. One need only look to past history to verify this. In every society where there was a large permanent underclass, control was always held to be of paramount concern to the state. Slaves were bred for strength and stupidity and the poor were generally uneducated and kept that way. In South Africa, blacks were not educated even though they constituted 80% of the population. In Israel, the Palestinians are denied education and kept ignorant for the protection of the state. Given a situation where a permanent, subservient subclass can be created which would never pose a threat to its masters, the result is a foregone conclusion."
"You've always been a pessimist, Mark, while I am an eternal optimist. And to prove that", Jason shut off the computer and, with a wink, walked to table where his experiment lay, "I am going to take Anita out so as to attempt some of that random gene sharing you've been espousing."
"That may be my point exactly. How can you improve upon a woman like that? Or for that manner why would you want to do so?"
"Mark, you're actually making my point. Anita is one of the most beautiful woman I've ever seen. Her body is incredible. But she is dumber than a post, her IQ is probably 80 to 90. Most men don't notice or care because they get lost in those huge round breasts of hers. You know, I've always wondered if there is a relation between a woman's breast size and intelligence."
"Actually, Jase," Mark smiled, "I believe Fordham or was it Temple found such a relationship in the 70's."
"You can't tell nowadays because so many woman have breast jobs. But anyway, Anita is great fun but there is no way I would risk having kids by her. They might inherit her brains and be marginally functional in the world. There is good reason for genetic engineering to have the brain equal the body".
"Well if you feel that way, why don't you get a small breasted PHD? There are certainly a few present. I saw a wondrous blond in nursing the other day."
" I may when it becomes time to have kids. But now I want fun and Anita is built for fun like no one I've ever seen before. She is extremely agreeable and basically a good kid. She'll make a good wife to some guy who doesn't demand a lot upstairs in his wife, I mean brains. God knows, she's got everything else a guy needs."
"When you're ready to dump Anita, let me know. I'm not as finicky as you. I can accept the body over the brains when its that body," Mark winked with a slight leer.
"That's ok by me but you're going to have to wait a while. I intend to enjoy my good fortune as long as I can," Jason chuckled as he left the room.
Walking down the marble lined hallway, Jason looked absently out the windows lining the hall and was a bit upset from his conversation. "Mark's view is being heard more and more lately even as genetic engineering achieved success after success. The detractors increased their ludicrous predictions of doom. I deliberately left the laboratory before I blew up." It had been difficult to restrain himself from calling Mark ignorant of the potential of genetic engineering and hiding that ignorance in a cowardly display of false concern for non-existent fears.
At the end of the hall was the exit door which Jason forcefully pressed against. It opened and he stepped out onto a cement sidewalk that led to the small faculty parking lot in the back of the building. Walking to his car, a 1993 Magda 626, Jason was still angry as he pulled off the yellow cloth car cover. It was a very hot and muggy August day. Turning on the air conditioner and rolling the window down, he backed the car out of the lot onto the driveway. Then he headed toward the highway. At the end of the parking lot, he picked up a nice looking female hitchhiker, "Where are you going, Sally?"
"Downtown, Can you give me a lift, Jason? Adam has a late class and I don't want to wait."
"Sure, I'm going to Jeffie's"
"Great, Anita's nice. You can drop me off on the way," she laughed as she jumped into the car. "Tallyho, it feels good being out after spending all day inside as a secretary."
"You ought to get Adam to take you out more," Jason teased.
"Hah, you know how much time graduate teaching students have or money to spend?" she laughed.
As they drove downtown, Sally said, "They do have a nice campus here."
"Yes, the University was, until recently, a community college. It had been turned into a full university under the California State system. Because it was a new university without any established fame or name recognition, the university had trouble attracting first rate students for some of its programs."
"Is that why you came here, Jason?"
"The biology department was one of them. The department had been overjoyed when Mark and I applied for the PH.D. program. At that time, the PH.D. program was virtually nonexistent." We were both raised in Mendocino County and had attended Mendocino Community College before going to UCLA. It was there, we got our B.S. and Masters degrees in biology. I went into genetic engineering and Mark went into botany. When Mendocino College became Mendocino University, we each decided to transfer. The University desperately wanted top-flight researchers. The biology department gave us unlimited access to its facilities."
"It definitely paid off," Sally added. "Adam said you made some important discoveries. In addition, the underclassmen including Adam think the world of you and Mark. You've both been generous in giving credit to the assistants. Adam says this has helped several assistants into getting into graduate programs elsewhere."
Jason merely smiled at the compliment. "I cloned and engineered several genes that were patented by the University and subsequently licensed by private industry." As a result, he was becoming quite well off as those genes were marketed. Mark was not to be out done on the professional level and made some significant, although not as financially rewarding, advances in botany. Mark had cross-bred several South American potatoes with Idaho potatoes and derived a potato that was more nutritious,
easier to raise and disease resistant. Unfortunately, although acknowledged as the creator of the strain, he was unable because of legal technicalities to patent it.
"When will you finish your doctorate?" she asked.
"We have completed the required course work for our PH.Ds. All that remains is the completion of our doctoral thesis. Both Mark and I plan to finish our degree by the end of the year if everything stays on course." Sally turned on the radio and was enjoying the latest Whitney Houston song.
Jason turned onto Highway 101 and headed towards downtown Ukiah. "You can drop me off at Jeffie's. I can walk home from there. It's only three blocks. Why don't you and Anita come over for dinner soon?"
"Sure, I'll set it up with Adam. We're going to be busy for the next week because of the upcoming symposium in Frisco, but after that we'll all be available."
"Ok, it's a tentative date. You can invite Mark. I'll invite a friend too."
"Is this a set up?" Jason quipped.
"Maybe, Mark is the nicest guy I know. Why shouldn't I introduce him to the nicest girl I know," she giggled.
Jason laughed, "I hate blind dates." Getting off at the Talmadge Street exit, he turned into Jeffie's Restaurant. Gingerly steering the car into a narrow space, he squeezed out of the door and walked towards the restaurant. Turning back, he saw Sally wave goodbye and start walking down the street. Jeffie's was a family style restaurant and part of a nation wide chain. While not fancy, it was clean, spacious and served good basic food. Anita's father owned the franchise and she worked there as a hostess.
Entering the restaurant, Jason looked around the potted fern in an attempt to locate Anita. In opposite corner, he saw her leading a middle-aged couple to their table and directing Bobbi, the waitress, to them. Approaching her, he recalled what he told Mark and said lowly with a tight grin, "She might be the stereotypical dumb blond but she has a body that would make most men sigh." Stopping to take a silent appraisal of Anita, he noted a tall, well-proportioned and buxom woman. "Thank God she's a health nut, constantly jogging, swimming or doing aerobics." Long, straight yellow hair was held behind her back with a butterfly clip. Green vibrant eyes constantly flashed and glinted and complimented her full mouth, with sparkling white teeth, and high cheekbones. A bright, cheery disposition was evident as she bounced across the room. Smiling while pushing the chairs apart in his way, he thought, "Anita is beautiful. There is no other way to say it." With approval, he noticed she was wearing her favorite blue and black linen weave dress with a front and back v-yoke collar and oversized front button. Jason whistled lowly, "Despite her breast size she does not need a bra for support."
When Anita saw Jason, she rushed over to him and said, "Hi, Honey. Are we going anywhere?"
"Some of the faculty are having a dinner party tonight. I think we'll drop in?"
"Do we have to? I don't know anyone and their wives don't talk to me?" Anita pouted.
"We'll stay only a little while, then go to my place, OK?"
"OK," Anita signed as she grabbed her coat.
Silently getting into the car, they drove a few blocks to State Street and, turning left, drove southward through downtown Ukiah. Then they turned right onto a side street and stopped before a large, new ranch style home that had a dozen or so cars in the driveway, lawn and street. Parking under a law apple tree, they carefully got out and strolled up a cobblestone walk to the door and rang the bell. Deep chimes echoed in the house.
The door was answered by a woman in her mid 40's. "Why it's Jason and Anita. We just about gave up on you. Still, you're both in time for drinks before dinner." The woman was well groomed and seemed poured into an expensive form fitting dress. Middle aged, she was medium height but looked taller in her high heels. Wearing a strapless gown of gold lame that was cut low, she was making no attempt to conceal the curve of her full breasts. Her blond hair was cut in the currently fashionable wedge style.
As Jason appraised her attributes, he recalled the catty remark he once overheard the Dean's wife, a mousy brunette, whisper at a party, "Arlene, can finally wear a decent dress. Her breast job really filled her out. She was so uneven before.
Although, I think she overdid it. She did need to fill out but didn't need to become so big." Looking at Arlene who was standing sideways to give a good profile, he thought, "They are definitely industrial sized breasts but they work for me."
"Hello, Arlene is Howard still playing bartender?" Jason asked as he kissed Arlene on the cheek. The effect of Arlene's breasts made Jason a little more intense with the kiss than he normally would have been.
A little surprised by the force of Jason's kiss, Arlene became a somewhat nervous and turned to Anita. "He's better at mixing viruses than drinks. This drink is terrible. To be safe mix your own, but don't say I warned you." With that she turned and was carried away by moving throng of people that swept the room.
From behind Anita came a voice, "Hi, Jason, Anita. I'm glad you could come. These faculty parties are a real bore. You'll know just how much when you get married and then get out into the circuit. What do you want to drink?"
Both Anita and Jason turned together and Jason spoke, "Hi,
Howard. I'm not drinking. I've got to leave early. Anita do want anything?" Jason took Anita by the hand and gently pulled her forward as if showing her to a potential buyer.
"No thanks, Howard, I'll just mingle with the girls." Anita then turned to scan the room.
Howard moving closer to Jason said in a confidential and conspiratorial tone, "Watch out for Quid and Garth. They are up to something. They brought in this new attorney to check over our department. I think they intend some wholesale changes. They reviewed the performance reports for the entire laboratory and appear intent on canceling projects that they consider too esoteric or expensive."
"You're too paranoid for your own good," Jason said while forcing a laugh.
"The tension, both sexual and physical, has made me more than usually susceptible to conspiracy theories.
"You do have a problem. Thanks for the warning, Howard. I'll keep on my guard. You seem a little off key. Is anything wrong?"
"I don't know. I like my job but Arlene isn't happy. She's been moody. She had that damn breast job. I don't know."
"The breast job looks alright to me. She certainly fills that dress."
"She overdid it and on top of that they even feel like her anymore. She's having PMS and it drives me batty. I can look but I can't touch. I'm hornier now than I was at 18 and yet my wife is acting like a vestal virgin in the bedroom." Taking a deep drink, Howard looked over his shoulder to Anita and then said softly to Jason, "Anita reminds me of Arlene at her age. If Arlene doesn't come around, I'm going to get someone like Anita to fill her void." Howard had been getting drunker as he spoke as the alcohol was taking effect. Suddenly, he straightened himself and with exaggerated propriety walked out of the room.
Meanwhile, Anita had been cornered by Arlene in the alcove.
"Are you enjoying yourself, Anita?" Arlene was looking Anita over as if appraising her for a butcher.
"Yes, fine," Anita looked around Arlene hoping to find Jason. Feeling out of place, she wished to go home.
Taking a drink from the glass in her hand, Arlene with a slight slur asked, "How old are you 21, 22? When I was 21, I had two kids and a third coming any minute. I had to fight to keep Howard off. Now, he can't touch me but drools over every skirt he sees. Men only want young women. Forget marriage, children, job or anything else."
"Jason's not like that," Anita said sheepishly while avoiding Arlene's eyes.
"Oh no. What about when he introduced you to Howard? I saw the way he took you hand and presented you to him. It was as if he said, 'This is my broad what do you have?'" Arlene's voice was fluctuating up and down unevenly as she began to sway somewhat on her heels.
"What's wrong with that? I belong to him. Why shouldn't she be proud of me?" Anita said hurting.
"That's fine when you're young but what happens when you're older and don't have your looks?" Arlene said angrily.
"Well, I won't need a breast job to get Jason to love me," Anita retorted as she turned rushed out of the room.
Jason and Anita almost ran into each other. Anita blurted, "I want to go home. Everybody is drunk and nasty."
"Yeah, This is a strange party. I just have to talk to those three guys over there for a minute and then we can go."
"I want to go now," Anita cried in the long whine of a child.
Sharply, Jason rebuked her. "Stop acting like a child. We'll go when I can but behave yourself. I work with these people."
Brushing back some tears and nodding her head, Anita said, "OK, but hurry up."
Steering Anita to a group of three men deeply engaged in discussion, they heard as they approached the group, "A university owes a duty to the taxpayers to patent its discoveries and then license them out to raise money and reduce its dependence on the taxpayers."
"I'll agree with that," interjected Jason. "Hi, Evan, Chester." Jason shook their hands.
Evan Garth and Chester Quid were both on the board of the University. In the past, Jason had dealt with them personally on the licensing of his gene products. Evan and Chester were both in their late fifties. The university had assumed the position of prime importance in each of their lives. They rarely spent a day or night not working on university business.
Evan was a Fort Bragg Garth. In Mendocino County that meant as much as the Kennedy name meant in Massachusetts. His was one of the first families to settle in Mendocino County. He was saying,
"My family fortune was made in the timber business at a time before the State regulated the cutting of redwood trees. Then my family shifted their interest into real estate and made several fortunes in both recreational and residential development." As a fat, short, balding man given to ill-timed and off the cuff remarks, he was often called a loud uncouth slob by his detractors who were many. Even so, it was recognized by all who knew him that Evan Garth was a mover. "Since the death of my wife from cancer twelve years ago, I've thrown myself into improving the university which had been her pet project." Unsaid but silentl acknowledged as fact was that it was largely due to his efforts that Mendocino College was turned into an university.
Chester Quid was both similar and dissimilar to Evan Garth. Likewise, he too was short, fat, balding and also a successful real estate developer. There the similarity ended. "Unlike Evan," he said with a booming laugh, "I did not inherit money, making my fortune himself. My wife's life revolves around being the queen bee of Mendocino society." After taking a long lingering drink, he continued with relish, "I'm interested in the University because the presence of a first rate university makes my real estate holdings more attractive and valuable." Slowly turning towards Jason, "It was simple enough to call in a few political favors and get the governor to appoint me and Evan to the board." With a loud, uneven and slurring laugh, he hugged Evan's shoulder,
"Right, Ev?" Uncomfortably, Evan nodded and pulled away. Again it was known to all that from the very first day of his appointment, he intended to make the University pre-eminent and profitable.
With an exaggerated flair, Evan introduced the third man to Anita and Jason. "Derek Crodd, this is Jason Harber and Anita
Elbet. Jason is the geneticist whose discoveries we licensed." Turning to Jason, he said, "Derek has come aboard as the university's lawyer. He will be handling all of the licensing arrangements for your patents, Jason"
For the first time, Jason actually noticed the man standing across from him. In quick appraisal, he noticed a tall, slender
man of about one hundred and eighty pounds with short styled, thinning brown hair and grey eyes. Derek was one of the few men present wearing a suit. In fact, he was wearing a three piece, blue pin stripe suit with a pocket and chain prominently showing from the vest pockets.
"That's an interesting watch," Anita piped as she extended her hand. "My grandfather used to carry a big shiny one."
"Yes, it is. It was given to me by a former client after her husband's death he had carried it fifty years and I've had it ten years. So it's at least sixty years old." Taking the watch from his pocket, he unfastened it from the chain that ran from one vest pocket through a vest button hole to the other vest pocket. "It is a beautiful Waltham watch. I think the case is made of platinum. You can see the base where it is worn away."
"You don't see many men nowadays wearing vests. I never liked them," Evan declared between louds sips of his drink.
"I find a vest comfortable and tasteful. I carry my watch,
keys and card case in the vest pockets. While I carry my pen and pencil set in my shirt pocket. That leaves only my wallet, comb and contact lens case to carry in my coat. Additionally, I feel that when I wear my vest I can be seen without a coat and yet still present the persona of an attorney. I don't think that most men look professional without a coat or vest on. The latest fad of wearing suspenders in public is not for me."
"Well, I for one hate suits. That is why I became a scientist. The only thing we have to wear is a lab coat and no one cares or can even see what we are wearing underneath. In fact, I feel that regardless of what you or I wear we'll probably be working together in the future," quipped Jason with a grin.
"Quite soon in fact," Derek agreed. "It would be mistake for me to pass on the licensing agreements until I have a firm grasp of the underlying technology. Right now, I do not know much about gene engineering."
"Honey, I'm going to the kitchen I'll see you later," Anita quickly said in a pout.
"OK, I'll join you in a minute." Then Jason turned to speak with Derek.
Evan interrupted to show off his knowledge, "Basically, Derek, the technology has been around for decades. What we do is isolate a gene and inject it into the host where is connects with the host's DNA and starts to regulate the activities of the host."
"That's easy to say but it's probably nearly impossible to
follow in practice. How do you identify the gene? How to you separate the gene? How do you implant the gene? How do you regulate the gene to make sure it does not overproduce its substance? These are issues concerning gene engineering that we lay people ask," Derek stated off-handedly.
Unconsciously taking a deep breath, Jason prepared to once again explain genetic engineering to the uninformed. It seemed that him that he was always being called on to defend the science against people who have no understanding of it or its potential. Ignorance may be bliss in the normal world, but in science it has become a significant problem when possessed by doomsayers or other obstructionists. "Genetic engineering is easy to understand and appreciate once a person looks into it. Simply put, a gene to produce a certain enzyme, protein or structure that is not present in an organism is put into it so that it will produce the enzyme, protein, structure, etc. There is no great mystery in it. The only difficulty is identifying the gene and what it does. To date only about 50,000 genes have been mapped on the human DNA. Unfortunately there are millions of genes present on a human chromosome. It will take decades, if not centuries, to fully map DNA. The cost is estimated to be excess of 10 billion dollars."
"Who's going to pay for the mapping? The government no the taxpayer probably," said Evan in a mocking tone.
"At the rate your department is making discoveries, it should not take that long or cost that much," said Chester in his most patronizing manner as he took a sip of his drink.
"I wish that was true," snapped Jason slightly irritated by these interruptions and turned to resume speaking with Derek
again, "Basically, there are two types of genes and we have to be careful to ascertain with what type of gene we are dealing. There are homeobox and non-homeobox genes."
"What is the difference?" Derek asked while hanging onto Jason's words.
"A homeobox gene is a gene which depending on its location helps determine which group of cells will develop as a particular segment and where their structure may reside. For example, genes lying closer to the head of mice DNA determine the development of features there, while those genes nearer the tail control posterior development. Switching genes on fruit flies' DNA caused body disruption. Legs appeared on the head and antennae appeared on the tail. A non-homeobox gene is one that does not regulate the structure of the organism, such as protein development."
"That's interesting," Derek said while moving closer to hear over the rising din in the room. "It reminds me of my college biology courses. We were taught that after fertilization, the fertilized egg continues to divide into more cells. If when the egg has four cells, any of the cells are exchanged, there will be no change in the development of the embryo. However once the egg reaches 8 or more cells, if cells are exchanged then the same body alteration as you described will occur."
"Same result but different cause. Another homeobox gene that is getting great press now is Hox 1.5. This gene when put into a mouse embryo caused the mouse to be born without a thymus. The thymus is necessary for regulating the immune system and without it death follows within a matter of days. By studying this gene, we will eventually understand how to control this gene so as to prevent its expression. There may additional genes in the area that are needed to activate or suppress it."
"All of this is interesting but still sounds like black magic to me," Evan blurted in an intoxicated slur. "If you were in the middle ages, you would be burnt as a witch. Or is it warlock? What most people don't understand is how you are changing rats into people and vice versa."
"We are doing no more than nature itself does everyday." Jason said testily. "What most people don't realize is that nature itself has created the mechanism for genetic engineering and all we are doing is changing a haphazard or random process into one that is more predictable."
"Are you saying that gene transfer occurs in nature? I never heard that before?" said Chester in a disbelieving and patronizing tone. Taking a deep drink, he smiled at Jason.
"Of course. In fact, it is one of biology's basic theories that life would have reached an early dead end had it not been for this gene transfer that permitted more genetic variety and mutations."
"How did it occur?" Evan asked halfheartedly.
"In nature, there are organisms similar to viruses but much more simple. They are little more than DNA fragments. These retrotransposons, as they are called, insert copies of themselves into their host organisms' chromosomes. They disrupt any genes upon which they happen to land. Most importantly, they are inherited. When the host organism reproduces, the genetic information of the retrotransposon is passed on to the offspring. This could lead to a mutation that would be either favorable or unfavorable. In either event, a slightly new species appears by a genetic engineering that man had nothing to do with. Because of this ability to transfer genetic material, retrotransposons are called jumping genes. Fruit flies have been identified as the organism most often affected."
"Even so, I never heard of a cat turning into a monkey," Evan chuckled while rapidly poring another drink."
Ignoring Evan, Jason went on to explain, "The mechanics for genetic engineering are simple. When scientists want to have bacteria produce in great volume rare proteins, enzymes or other substances, they use bacterial plasmids."
"Plasmids, what are they? I have never heard of them."
"Plasmids are double stranded pieces of DNA formed into free-floating loops. They are extremely small when compared with the very long DNA strands of chromosomes that constitute a human's genetic material. By centrifuging the DNA, plasmids are separated from the chromosomal DNA. The plasmids are then mixed with restriction enzymes which are specialized proteins that cleave to the plasmids at specific sites. These restriction enzymes cut open the plasmid loop. The open end of each plasmid is said to be "mortised". The same restriction enzymes are used to clip out the single gene from the DNA of another species that is sought to be transferred. This gene, which is to be transferred, is then inserted into the gap of the plasmid loop. It takes advantage of opening in the mortised ends of the plasmid loop. The transferred gene fits into and closes the plasmid gap and once again reforms the loop. The new plasmid is then inserted into a bacterium. The bacterium with the new plasmid then proceeds to produce whatever protein, enzyme or other substance called for by the transferred gene. The transferred gene will also be inherited in future generations of the bacterium."
"You lost me," Evan said while leering at Anita.
"That's fascinating," Crodd stated.
"The more interesting and challenging aspect of genetic engineering is when the scientists try to insert a gene into an animal or even a human. When a particular gene is to be transferred into a human, copies of the normal gene is placed into a disabled version of a large cold causing virus called an adenovirus. When the adenovirus is given to the human, the virus will transmit the human gene to human host."
"Is it being used now?" Evan interrupted.
"The most widely known use of gene therapy is in treating emphysema patients who suffer a deficiency of the alpha-1-anti-trypsin protein. In that instance, the adenovirus targets the lining of the lung. The virus inserts the missing gene directly into the lung cells without causing disease. Tagging the lung cells with radioactive pieces of genetic material allows the scientists to confirm when the lung cells take up the human gene. This is normally how it is done for all gene insertions. There are minor variations but generally this is it."
"That seems fairly straight forward. I envisioned foaming beakers, electric arc shooting across a room and a half-mad scientist screaming, 'It's alive'," smiled Derek.
"No that was Evan at his last party," laughed Jason.
"Will science ever be able to develop whole organs or will it be limited to just individual genes?
"One day, yes. The first major step occurred in 1991. New York University constructed the first molecular cube by exploiting the ability of unpaired DNA strands to seek out and stick to complementary strands. This will eventually lead to the development of complex macramolecules tailored to a variety of uses. I am optimistic that one day we will be able to clone whole organs in hosts animals. I know that sounds like Frankenstein speaking but then again didn't gene transfer before it was done?"
"Honey, its getting late. We should go," Anita said from behind Jason.
Jason turned to acknowledge Anita while looking at his watch. "We're going to have to go. I have an early meeting with the department review board tomorrow regarding my project. Its been interesting meeting you Derek. Bye Evan, Chester. I don't see Howard or Arlene, Tell then good bye for us." With that, Anita and Jason turned and left.
"You said we were only going to stay a short while," Anita snapped in a childish way.
Jason could tell that no matter what he said Anita would start a fight, so he decided to play it safe and be non committal. "I'm sorry. I lost track of time.
"You care more for your stuck up friends than you do for me." Anita hurled the words at him unexpectedly.
"Why do you say that? I just spoke to three guys on business. Don't you think you're overreacting."
"You don't appreciate me. I saw on Donahue or Ophra a show on men like you. You only want a woman to show off but you don't care about us.
"Christ, how do you get to that from just attending a party? What happened at the party anyway? What did you do?
"I went into the kitchen and all the women did there was make me feel small? They joked about my clothes, where I worked and my schooling.
"Melody Howard told me yesterday that you were only interested in my body, Are you?"
"Of course, I'm interested in your body."
"Take me home you bastard," she sneered and pulled away.
"Let me finish. I'm interested in your body. What do you think attracted me to you to begin with. Why do you wear those clothes or exercise except to look attractive. Right?
"I guess so," she said hesitantly.
"So why be upset because you succeed. As for Melody Howard, she's as flat as a rail and frigid to boot. Her husband has a mistress on the east side."
"He does! How do you know? What's she look like. Have you met her?"
"She's a divorcee with 2 kids. I met them in a restaurant. It was awkward. I left. The next day Bill explained, although, I wish he hadn't. I don't want to get involved. According to Bill, he and Melody haven't had sex for months. She never was interested in it anyway and now they are older she doesn't want it anymore. They are leading virtually separate lives. The mistress would lose a lot of alimony if she married Bill. So it looks like everyone is content to let things go as they are. Melody is probably picking on you because you have something she doesn't. Someone who wants you as often as he can get. Yet all she can get is soused at a party."
Anita moved close to Jason and said in a low soft murmur,
"Let's go to your place, honey. You just might get lucky."
Turning over in the bed, Jason awoke with the sun streaming through the window and striking fully upon his face. Holding his hand over his eyes, he squinted to shield them from the sun. While not wishing to get up yet, the sunlight streaming in his eyes made staying in bed annoying. Slowly sitting up in bed, he swung his legs over on the floor and reached for the robe on the chair across from him all in one movement. "Anita, where are you?" Looking about the room, he wondered where she had gone. When he saw her dress hanging over the arm of the chair, he knew that she was still in the house.
"I'm in the living room, honey. When are you going to get more furniture?"
The house was purchased six months ago and Jason was still in the process of decorating it to suit his style. Being in no hurry, whenever he found something appealing he bought it. A sprawling, big redwood ranch house on five acres, it was fifteen miles south of Ukiah on an old ranch that had recently been carved up for development. Over eighty years old, the house had needed extensive renovation. In fact, several contractors had advised him to tear it down and build a new one but he had refused. With pride, he thought, "Something in the manner that it stood and faced the years square on appealed to me. I spent, what would have once seemed astronomical amounts of money, upgrading and modernizing the house." Despite his intent to keep the house as close to the original as possible, he still intended to enjoy himself. Towards that end, he installed a pool, sauna, basketball and tennis courts and a small stable for two horses. Later, he got rid of the horses because of guilt in never finding the time to ride them. Two small bedrooms were combined to make one large master bedroom, which was decorated in early American by a prior girl friend. There were touches of Anita throughout the bedroom. Early in their relationship, he discovered that Anita did not like the idea that another woman had decorated his bedroom. "She's always picking up little knickknacks or other decorations for the bedroom. At first," Jason thought as he stepped around a straw basket, "I was amused but now she's cluttered the bedroom so much that I'm going to have to ask her to stop."
As he leaned against the wall and stretched, the blood began to circulate through his body. A strong craving for caffeine swept over him. "I've been trying to cut down my coffee intake but it's hopeless." Stumbling towards the kitchen, he heard Anita exercising along with an aerobics exercise program on the T.V.
In the kitchen, he opened the walnut cabinets which he had installed and grabbed a big coffee mug. At the same time, without looking, he reached over and grabbed the coffee pot from the electric coffee maker. Its timer had been pre-programmed to brew the coffee and it was just finishing up. Over the counter partition, Anita was seen in the living room doing her morning exercises in time with a woman dressed in a military style exercise suit. They had their legs apart and were bending over with their backs straight. Anita was wearing her bra and panties. The cup of coffee was arousing but not as much as the sight of Anita exercising. "Now, that's what a man needs in the morning," he said with an intense leer on his lips.
Walking up behind Anita, Jason smiled when he heard the woman on the TV say, "Come on ladies this is good to firm up the soft areas of the butt and problem areas. Stretch till you really feel it and keep your back straight."
Anita groaned softly as she stretched and closed her eyes. Sliding up behind her, Jason casually swatted her behind that was pointed high in the air. Letting out an immediate high pitched girlish squeal, she rolled over on her back. "Honey, that wasn't nice. I want to finish the show."
"You're going have to cut it short. I have to get to the University early. So why don't you take a shower while I fix the breakfast.
"You can take the shower first and I'll fix you some eggs and bacon. That way I can finish my show."
"I think I'll take oatmeal instead."
"Honey, I don't know how to make oatmeal. Every time mommy shows me, I burn the pan. Can't I make eggs instead?"
Jason came to Anita and gently stroked her side with his finger tips saying, "Kiddo, looking the way you do maybe we should skip breakfast and ..."
"Not if you're going to be on time," giggling as she ducked under his arm and went to the kitchen
Placing his coffee mug on the table, he went into the bathroom. He had installed an extra large bathtub because he did not like showers although he had the shower accessory. Closing the drain on the tub, he started the water. By habit, he ran the hot water first and then enough cold water to reach his desired temperature. Meanwhile as the water in the tub was running, he prepared to shave.
Anita stuck her head into the bathroom and seeing the razor exclaimed, "You're using a straight edge That's dangerous!! You could kill yourself!"
"Last year my mother had presented me with this antique straight edge razor as a conversation piece. To her surprise and dismay, I liked it and began to shave with it. From that point on, my mother has expected me to cut my throat," Jason grinned as he made lather from bar of shaving soap.
"Why don't you use shaving cream?"
""I like the smell of shaving soap," he said as he generously lathered his face. Then taking the razor, he carefully shaved his face starting under his chin and working backward to the sides. Anita slipped quietly from the room.
By the time the shave was completed, the bath water had been drawn. Then Jason settled himself slowly into the tub. As he laid back, the warm water covered his chest and he began to gently doze in the tub. "This is great," he moaned.
Suddenly, Jason was brought to full consciousness by the ringing of the telephone. An extension of the phone was in the bathroom over to the side of the toilet. Reaching for the phone, Jason murmured, "Hello,"
"Jason, is that you? This is Phil Erickson."
"This is me, Phil. What's up?" The warm water in the tub was soothing and comfortable and he began moving around to wake up quickly.
"If this is a bad time, I'm sorry. I want to know if we could make our appointment earlier. The board has several meetings planned this morning and wants to get an early start," something in Erickson's voice pricked Jason's memory.
"I can be there in about 2 hours, Phil. Is there anything wrong? There is speculation that the university intends to drop some of the bioengineering projects. Anything to it?."
"That isn't a topic we should discuss over the phone. Let's talk at the meeting. I'll see you there." Erickson then quickly hung up the phone. Puzzled, he felt that Erickson had deliberately avoided answering the question.
Angrily he muttered to himself, "Was Howard right? Do they intend to cancel my program? If so I can't stop them, but I won't stay here if they do. I will transfer to U.C.L.A. and complete my degree there. Let's see how long their precious biogenetics labs lasts without me. I really run the show. Everyone else in the department got their degree before the science was developed. That is why they never did anything until I came. Now, we are one of the top universities in the field. If I leave the program rots.
Grabbing a bar of soap, he began to roughly scour himself and barely noticed that he was rubbing his skin red with the wash rag and soap. "I've got to hurry up and find out what's going on," he barked. Quickly, he rinsed himself off and dried himself with the large bath towel on the rod next to the tub. Angrily he reached for the hair dryer and used the highest temperature on it. It dried his hair quickly but made it unmanageable. "Damn," he cried when his hair wouldn't stay and walked out of the room.
As Jason walked into the bedroom, he felt a sharp swat on his rear. Turning he saw Anita who was laughing. "Don't turn that fast, you could injure yourself."
Smiling, he reached over to grab Anita. "A man is really vulnerable after coming from the bathtub," Anita giggled as she swatted Jason across the legs. "That got your attention, as mama says."
Obviously aroused, Jason leaped across the distance, grabbed Anita's shoulders and together they fell into the bed. Jason began to run his hands along Anita's body as she lay there giggling. Suddenly, she threw Jason off her and jumped from the bed saying, "No dessert until after breakfast. It's ready in the kitchen. So if you have to go early to the university you better get started."
"Forget the breakfast, Come here," Jason said getting up from the bed.
"Breakfast is the most meal of the day," Anita said coyly while rolling her shoulders with her hands clasped together behind her back. As he neared her, she pretended to run away. Jason grabbed her waist and again they fell onto the bed but this time she did not get up.
A hour and half later, Jason was dropping Anita at her apartment. As he pulled into the driveway of the apartment house, he mumbled, "I'll pick you up for dinner at six" She slid over on the seat to kiss him goodbye. Holding her, he squeezed her breast.
Anita sat straight up and said, "Honey, do you ever get enough? Not here. I'm not some hooker that you can grope anytime. Mama said to watch out for you."
"Ok, Anita if you don't want to be squeezed. I won't do it," Jason retorted in exasperation.
"Well, I didn't say that. She slid close to him. I just don't want it done where anyone can see." Seeing no one around, she took his hands and laid them on her breasts. "Their mine, not silicon like Arlene."
"Anita, I've got an appointment in 10 minutes. I'll see you tonight," Jason said as he pulled her to him for a kiss and squeezed her firmly.
"No lunch?" Anita said getting out of the car and smoothing her hair.
"Not today, I have a meeting with the review committee this morning and it will probably run into lunch."
"Okay, mommy and me will probably go shopping or I'll help
out at the restaurant while daddy is in Sacramento." Anita closed the door and then walked slowly to the apartment door. Every muscle in her body moved lithely and Jason just sat and watched
her walk. There was not an ounce of unnecessary fat on her and she glided just like a cat. Looking at his watch, at Anita and back to his watch, "Damn, I'm definitely going be back at 6." The swinging the car out of the driveway he headed down the street.
Entering his lab, Jason was confronted by the department's review committee standing around his project. Chester and Evan, from the Board of Trustees, were also there. "You guys appear none the worst for wear from the party last night." He would have to have been deaf and dumb not to realize that something was amiss. There was a definable tension in the room. Everyone immediately shut up as he entered the room and drew to one side giving Jason a wide swath to enter the room. "What's up?"
Professor Peter Erickson, the department head, spoke rather rapidly without looking him in the eyes. "Jason, we would like to cancel this particular gene project of yours, you see..."
Thunderstuck, Jason screamed "Why in God's name? Only last week the committee agreed to extend the project through next quarter. I'm just about done. Then we can have the drug companies run the testing and get the FDA approval. All that remains for me is to weaken the virus enough for it not to be virulent yet still transmit the implanted gene. My last batch may be a success."
"Jason," Chester interjected before Jason had completed his tirade. "The University is taking severe heat from the other universities for its gene program. The drug companies do not want to underwrite the gene programs of all the universities. Money is in short supply as the universities compete for the same research support. The drug companies will not get involve with a new gene insertion program until it has been proven by the university or carries with it a potential for vast marketability and profit."
"Then we'll wait, Phil. This project will pay off."
"Jason, that's not realistic in today's world. There must be an immediate promise for financial success or the drug companies will not deal with it. For that reason, funding to develop your phenylalanine virus has been withdrawn by the company that had been sponsoring it. The company's new management does not share the view of its predecessor. They now view it as too narrow a treatment and not cost effective. The university can not and will underwrite the development of the full project."
"So all of my work is wiped out when total success is almost here. What happens to my doctorate? I stayed here on the promise that I could continue my work. Now, that you terminated it, do I start over again? If so, it won't be here. I'll go to a school that rewards work and doesn't measure science by the pocketbook."
Professor Erickson waved his hands and gestured wildly to calm Jason, "No, No, Jason. You'll get your doctorate as promised. Your work is pure genius irregardless what happens. Also, next month you can join the faculty as the head of the research department as originally planned."
"Right," Chester rushed in. "We have several drug companies that will enter into contract to underwrite development of specific viruses for specific gene therapy."
Evan explained, "In the past, the university bore most of the risk. We developed the virus, then sold it. From now on, we will sell first and then develop. Your success in the past assures us first crack at the private money.
Jason sat down at the desk and shook his head dejectedly. "It's a monstrous mistake to trash this project. But, if I can't get the funding to do the clinical trials, its a waste of time to pursue it. What are these new projects and when are we to start?"
"We'll be given the list of commercially viable genetic diseases or defects, next week. We will then choose which ones we wish to pursue. We can start anytime after the beginning of the fall quarter. Since that is only 3 weeks away, there will hardly be any disruption in the department," stated Professor Dixon while looking over the Fall schedule.
"That easy for you to say Bill," Jason snapped testily. "Your botanical work is well underway and will not be affected in any manner by these changes in my project."
Bill Dixon reddened and uttered in an embarrassed tone, "I'm sorry, I was talking about the department in general. I do not practice in your field so naturally I would be unaffected whether they left you project intact or canceled it altogether. I am sorry though. I know what such a project means. It's not the recognition or money but the sense of accomplishment that is important. By canceling it, you are being denied the opportunity to accomplish a worthwhile result."
"I'm sorry Bill. I overacted."
Dr. Julia Hastler came forward, "It's really not bad for you to get your doctorate three months early and head of a newly reorganized research department to boot. I worked thirty years before I was given that chance. I'm almost envious. I would be if I hadn't trained you. But since I have, I'll have to sit back in contentment and bask in your reflected glory. In the meantime, I must go back and teach the newest crop of Einsteins, see you all."
After Dr. Hastler left, Jason began to feel depressed.
Although surrounded by his professional colleagues and acquaintances, there was not anyone who was a close friend of Jason. "So because the gene won't make a lot of money immediately, it will be ignored. The fact that it will prevent needless death, or retardation is irrelevant. I did not enter into gene engineering to become wealthy. I did it to advance a new science and to carve a niche for myself. I may be vain, egotistical and opinionated but I'm also right about this. I'm going to keep my notes and research. I'll continue, on my own time, to promote this project independently of the university. Some day, it will be done."
"That's alright with the University. You understand, however, we own 50% of the research and work product, if you license it elsewhere," Chester said determinedly.
"Fifty percent of nothing is still nothing. But you do own half the patent. I never said otherwise. The University has been good to me. I would give it all to the University if it would fully develop it. At this point, in my career, I'm more interested in success than money. I'm going to have all the cash I'll ever need from the earlier projects we licensed."
"I'm sorry that the university can't fund the project itself. You see how it is. Anyway you'll get more challenge and fame on these other projects," Chester said.
"It's time to go. We have a university funding meeting in 15 minutes. So we'll speak later on the particulars," Professor Erickson, spoke while walking to the door. The rest of the people in the lab fell in behind him in single file and Jason was left alone.
Going to the refrigerator he angrily took out a tray containing petri
dishes. "So much for the independence of science," he said and
then went to work before a microscope.
Even after spending the next three hours working, Jason was still in an angry funk. "I can't concentrate on what I'm doing. I ruined several gene insertion experiments because I tried to force the results by hurrying through them." Finally in complete exasperation, he sat down at the desk in the lab and slammed shut the notebook in which he had been recording his experiments. Suddenly, he grabbed the lab book by the binding and flung it across the room. It hit the opposite wall with a thud and crashed to the floor in a heap.
Turning around, Jason was surprised to see Mort Flier standing before him with a puzzled look of astonishment on his face. Upon seeing Mort, Jason felt a pang of embarrassment. "I know that you consider me temperamental, Mort. You've been present when I, more than once, bawled out an errant student for failing to properly conduct an experiment. This is different."< >
"Hey, what do I know? I'm just a black undergraduate student working for the department," he said with a wary smile. His major was physical education. He was the right guard on the football team and forward on the basketball team. Being an affable person he was always willing to help out wherever needed and was given a summer job by the biology department as a personal favor to the coach of the football team. Initially, this caused some resentment among some of the more vocal of the biology department's faculty. Some of which felt that the summer employment should go to a biology student. However, the resentment was never concerted or focused and as the summer drew to a close it dissipated.
"What's up Jase?", Mort said tentatively. Taking off his football letter jacket he turned around to hang it on the lower curved hook of the wooden coat rack. Turning again, he walked over to Jason's desk. Mort was wearing blue jeans and a sweat shirt with the arms cut off. The sweat shirt had the faded image of a lion on it and the name of the school that was on the sweat shirt was faded and illegible.
"Mort, my phenylalanine project was canceled for monetary reasons. We must destroy the cultures of our engineered virus. I want you to place them in the incinerator and burn them." Shaking his head in obvious disappointment, "It's a bitch. I think we succeeded but without funding for 5 years to prove it, the work is useless."
"What are you going to do? Jason."
Jason slowly shuffled to the bookcase and got out the notebook containing the hard copy of his notes. Opening the notebook, he sat at his desk and then began to read and edit the entries. Eventually, he turned on the computer, booted up the drive and then called up his phenylalanine file. "I'm going to make several copies of this work. One day, I'll finish this project, when I don't have to cowtow to money sucking politicians masquerading as scientists. One day this work will be done."
"Ho, Boy. What a crock. I'll take care of it. Any special instructions?" While he really did not understand what the work was really about, he knew that Jason was a very intelligent and important scientist at the school. "I know the project must be important and feel sorry for its cancellation."
Without looking up from the desk, Jason said absently. "None out of the ordinary. I inserted the gene in the virus and then weakened it so that it won't infect anyone yet still be able to pass on the implanted gene. It's not virulent or dangerous. Just be careful. When you're done, go see Professor Dixon for
instructions for reorganizing the lab for next quarter's Biology 106 class."
Inwardly, Mort winced because he was aware that Professor Dixon was his most vocal critic. "Early in the summer, Dixon nearly got me fired by claiming that I ruined a botany experiment by leaving a door open in the greenhouse." Mort vehemently claimed that he did not do it but Dixon did not believe him. Because Dixon could not furnish proof to support his allegations, Mort's employment continued. "Since that time, I have avoided Dixon at every opportunity."
"Don't worry about Dixon. If he causes you any problems, I'll deal with it."
The phone at Jason's desk rang with an electronic buzz. Turning in his seat, he answered the phone in one movement. On the line was the departmental secretary asking him to come to the office and sign for the delivery of some new equipment which he agreed to do so. "Mort, I'm going to the office and from there to lunch. Lockup when you're done."
"Okay, Jase." Mort then ambled over to the freezer complex.
As Jason was leaving the lab, he heard the familiar clicks of computer keyboard which meant Mort was typing into the entry codes into the computer lock of the freezer complex.
Walking done the hall, Jason was passed by a black high school cheerleader in a extremely short micro mini skirt uniform. Maintaining his professional demeanor he kept his eyes forward and did not see her enter the lab. Silently, he said, "Whew" and all thought of his gene project was momentarily forgotten.
Upon entering the lab, the cheerleader saw Mort with his back to her and placing several vials and petri dishes on a tray. Silently, she crept behind Mort and grabbed his shoulder which startled him. "Boo," Sheena chuckled.
Mort gasped and quickly swung around. He bumped the table with the tray spilling some of the petri dishes on the floor. "Damn it Sheena, look what you did." Bending over, he angrily picked up the dishes.
Embarrassed, Sheena took a deep breath and her large breasts were uplifted by an underwire bra. In the tight outfit, they rose magnificently. "I'm sorry, Mort," she sighed with a strong Southern accent. Turning slowly side to side she held her hands behind her back to pitch her breasts upward. "I came to show my
new cheering threads. You ain't seen me in a week. Why didn't you come see me? So I came here." Slowly, she turned her right leg as if grinding a cigarette into the floor.
"It's nice to see you, but I got to work." Mort quickly piped without looking at her. "Anything else."
"My birthday is next week. Wanna go to Reno? They cain't stop me cause I'm now legal. I missed you and I'm gonna show you how much." Putting her arms around his neck, she kissed him while pulling herself close to him."
"Wait," Mort pushed her away and then walked to the door where he locked it. Turning around smiling, he went back to Sheena and kissed her. Backed up to the lab table, she pressed against one of the vials. The top of one of the vials was loose. When she leaned against the vial, it fell over and spilled onto her back. Neither she or Mort noticed the vial or that it had a red label reading PKU.
Twenty minutes later, they were arranging their clothes. "You comin over tonight?" Sheena asked while shifting her bra.
"I got to work tonight"
"You're lying. You say that all time. I seen the scarecrows here. If'n you want them, you can have them. But you ain't getting any more'n here." After her tirade, she turned and stormed to the door. Throwing the latch, she barged down the hall past the stares of several appreciative males.
Panting to catch his breath, Mort shook his head and declared aloud, "The bigger the woman, the dumber." With that he turned and noticed the spilled vial. "Christ." Getting a rag, he wiped up the spilled contents. Finally, he placed the vials in the incinerator and burned them at 750 degrees for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, he washed his hands and after that he went to see Professor Erickson.
Sheena marched out of the building and to her car in the parking lot. "Damn men! I'll show him. I'll get another before the day is done. I hope the damn car starts." Her car was a mustard colored 1975 Ford Pinto. The driver's door was brown and had chrome trim that did not match the car. There were dents on the side and the front windshield had a huge crack running top to bottom. The front end of the car had been in an accident. The grille was missing and the front of the hood was dented and held down by a bungee cord wrapped around the frame. Without looking, she angrily flung open the door and jumped into the car. Slamming the door shut, she sat fuming in the car with her arms crossed over her chest.
After about two minutes of sitting, she reached over into her purse and pulled out her car keys. After inserting the keys, she tried to start the motor. The motor groaned but not start. "Shit," she screamed and hit the steering wheel with the palm of her hand. Throwing the door open, she got out and slammed the door.
Walking back to the building that she just left, she stopped in the door way at the phone stand. Swinging her purse around, she reached in to get her wallet. Fumbling, she finally got four nickels which she deposited in the phone and then started dialing. The phone rang three times before it was answered.
"Hello", a woman's voice answered in a strong southern accent.
"Hello, is Jamal in?" Sheena asked.
"Who's calling?," asked the voice on the phone.
"This is Sheena Daves. I go to school with Jamal." Over the phone, Sheena heard, "Jamal phone." The sounds of running feet were then heard and the audible noise of a phone changing hands.
"Yeah," said a youthful male voice on the line.
"Jamal, this be Sheena. My car don't run. I'm at the college. Can you get me?"
"What about your stud Mort? Can't he take care of his woman? Why do you call me? I ain't no towing company." Jamal sneered over the phone line.
"Wait, me and Mort are over. You like me," Sheena cooed. "Wanna go to the prep party tonign? They have a good band. I can show you my new cheering threads. Come get me."
The honey in Sheena's voice aroused Jamal, "Where will you be? Wait I'll write down. Okay" Sheena heard paper rattling over the line and could visualize Jamal fumbling for paper.
"I will be in the first lot coming in. I will be in front waiting for you." Sheena said.
"Twenty minutes," and then Jamal hung up.
"Hanging up the phone, Sheena walked back to the car saying to herself. "To hell with Mort. I'll get Jamal. He wants me and he's got good job in mill."
Twenty five minutes late, a long 1979 Pontiac Grand Prix pulled next to Sheena's car. A black man about 6 feet tall weighing about 200 pounds got out of the car. His hair was in a crew cut with the top longer. He was wearing faded blue jeans with holes in the knees and a dirty gray t-shirt. Coming over to Sheena he asked, "What's wrong?"
"How the hell do I know? It don't run," Sheena said
petulantly while shifting in her seat.
"Try it, so I can see what's bad." Jamal said as he opened the hood.
Sheena turned the key and the motor turned slowly. Jamal pulled the battery caps and said, "Stop, your battree is outta water. I'll fill it."
Going to his car, he opened the trunk. Getting out a jug of water from the junk strewn trunk, he returned to Sheena's car and filled the battery. Returning to his car, he put the water jug back into his trunk and grabbed jumper cables. Slowly, he walked to the front of his car. After popping his car's hood, he
connected the battery cables to both his and Sheena'a car. "Okay, try it." The Pinto's motor slowly sputtered then caught. "Great!
That'll do her. Don't shut off till your home. I'll see you at 8 and go to party okay?"
Sheena got out of the car and walked to Jamal, "Okay." She pressed herself against and he kissed her. Sheena was very pliable and Jamal was fondling her oblivious to where he was and who could see.
"Take it home," a loud feminine voice said. Sheena and Jamal looked to behind them and saw three college coeds standing there. Glaring the first one said, "Can't you make out in private. Its indecent to do it in public."
Jamal and Sheena said nothing and instead just got into their cars and left.
At eight o'clock, Jamal pulled up in front of Sheena's home. Sheena and her mother lived in low cost housing in south Ukiah. Their 2 bedroom apartment was one of four ground floor units of a two story building. Their building was flanked by similar units on both sides and across the street. The dirt surrounding the buildings was so dry that it had turned gray in color. A few bent and gnarled trees were growing haphazardly. The fence in front of Sheena's apartment was rough, splintery and sun bleached gray with many boards missing or broken. The porch light above her door was missing a bulb. The apartment was government subsidized housing. The government was paying three-fourth's of the $350.00 monthly payment. The area was predominantly black with some hispanics.
Jamal walked to the door. It was still hot and since the apartment did not have an air conditioner, the door was open.
Peering in Jamal said, "Hello".
From out of a bedroom came a young girl of about 11. She was thin and had her hair in braids. "What for are you here?" she asked looking at Jamal suspiciously.
"I'm here to pick up Sheena. We're going to a party tonight. Where she be? I don't wanna be late."
"She's in the in bafroom." Turning toward a room with the door closed, the girl yelled, "Sheena, a guy is here for you."
"Okay, don't yell," Sheena snapped coming out of the bathroom. "You like what you see? It's your's tonignt," Sheena purred while walking to Jamal. Wearing a strapless tube dress that ended eight inches above her knee with a deep plunging cut, she paraded herself across the room.
Jamal thought to himself, "If not for the fact that it was so tight that it restricts her breathing, it would not stay up." With every breath, the dress strained as if to burst at the seams. Sheeena was very aware of her attributes. Just as Jamal reached for her she turned around in a circle showing herself.
Suddenly, Sheena sneezed. "Damn, I'm comin down with a cold. I'm always gittin them." Grabbing a thin black shawl. She walked past Jamal out to the car with him following after her. At the car, Jamal kissed her. "After the party," Sheena laughed as she pushed Jamal away and got into the car.
The party was really moving when Jamal and Sheena arrived.
It was held at a home of some booster that neither Jamal or Sheena knew. However, it was the long established custom in the school, that cheerleaders and their dates were invited to all parties. Sheena bragged, "I go to all the parties whether I know the people or not. This party is an unofficial prep rally for the basketball game scheduled tomorrow between Ukiah High and Watsonville." The game was part of a round robin regional tournament. Members of all three teams were present along with some of their cheerleaders.
Upon arrival, Sheena went to meet her fellow cheerleaders and cheerleaders of the other schools. All of the cheerleaders knew each other. The girls kissed each other on the cheeks and then started immediately to gossip about those not present and men.
Sheena had a great time, despite her cold getting worse. Dancing with all of the basketball ball players she kissed quite a few. Drinking a great deal of liquor, she was becoming quite drunk. Jamal was ignored for most of the evening but finally, as the night grew to a close, he came over and said, "It's late I haveta go. Come on, I'll take you home."
Sheena slurred, "Go on, I'll get ride home."
"I brung you. I'll take you back," Jamal snarled and grabbed Sheena. Getting up, she waved to everyone without saying a word.
He guided Sheena out of the party and to his car. By then, she was well under the influence. At the car, Jamal groped Sheena and ran his hands down her sides.
Pushing him back, Sheena whined, "Not now my head hurts."
Sheena got into the car.
Jamal angrily got into the car, started it and drove in silence to Sheena's home. Sheena lay back into the seat. "I'm hot, turn on air conditioner," she said.
"I caint. It's busted."
Sheena moaned and reached behind her back and unzipped her dress. She was not wearing a bra and now her breasts swung free. "That's better," she wheezed, "I can breathe now." Then once again, she laid back in the seat.
Watching Sheena, Jamal pulled into the parking lot of a shopping center and parked under a huge tree. Reaching over Sheena's body, he lowered her seat all the way down into a reclining position. "You're right it is better."
"Why'd you stop here?" Sheena asked wearily.
"I waited all day for you, I won't wait no more," Jamal leaned over to kiss her.
"No, I don't feel good," She waved her hand drunkenly.
Jamal continued to kiss. Finally, Sheena said resignedly, "Okay, but hurry."
After Sheena left, Mort had been a little upset. In ill temper, he cleaned up the lab and finished incinerating Jason's gene experiment. When through, he grabbed his jacket from the coat rack and left the lab. He had walked all the way to the stairway before he recalled that he had not locked the lab. "Damn," he swore disgustedly and turned to go back to the lab. As he reached the lab, he draped his jacket over his left arm and reached into its right pocket to get the lab keys. After getting the keys, he locked the door.
"Hello, Mort are you busy?" a voice floated from behind Mort.
"Hi, Doc. Jase told me to see Doc. Dixon and help him set up for Biology 106," Mort said to Professor Erickson.
"Forget that Mort, Professor Dixon went home early today. You can help him tomorrow. I need help unloading a delivery of donated equipment. Come on with me. it won't take long," Professor Erickson said while looking down the hall for further help. Erickson was a slim, short man with slick black hair, that stood about 5 feet 6 inches and wore black plastic framed glasses. Like a lot short men, he possessed a great deal of energy. The perfect department head, he always appeared to be everywhere and always doing something. Mort smiled inwardly when he remembered that Erickson was referred to affectionately, by the faculty, as their Napoleon and indeed there was some resemblance.
"Ok," Mort turned and followed Erickson down the hall and out the building. There at the exit was a large enclosed truck. The back door of the truck was opened with a ramp laying on the ground next to the truck.
Bending over Erickson picked up the ramp. Laying it against the back of the truck he said, "Come on Mort lets unload this truck. Take the stuff down to the basement and put it in the shop area." Then getting into the back of the truck, he grabbed a box and carried it out. Laying the box on the ground, he turned around and went back into the truck while saying, "I'll unload the truck while you take the boxes to the basement."
Placing his jacket on the hood of the truck, Mort then bent over and picked up the box. It wasn't particularly heavy but was bulky. Shifting the box in his hands, he walked into the building. The stairway leading to the basement was narrow and the steps were short. Gingerly, he crept his way down the stairs. Because of the box, he could not see the bottom of the steps and reached the basement with a jarring thump. "I thought that there was another step," he laughed. Turning to the left he went into a dark room where he laid the box down. Feeling the wall, he turned on the light and saw that room had a long bench against the far wall. The floor was cement and against the right wall were mostly filled free-standing shelves. The left wall had a few boxes and miscellaneous equipment stacked against it. "I'll stack the boxes against the left wall," he stated and then returned to the truck to finish the unloading.
At the truck, Mort found a pile of boxes and equipment. As he was about to pick up another box, Erickson called to him,
"Mort, help me with this centrifuge. It's too heavy for one person. It must be solid iron and weighs a ton."
Climbing the ramp, Mort saw Erickson standing next to a huge round machine. Taking a deep breath, he grabbed the machine on the opposite side of Erickson. Together, they picked it up and carried from the truck. Outside the truck, Erickson put his end down as Mort silently did the same. "Damn, that's heavy," Erickson wheezed.
"Yeah and its damn hot too" Mort gasped while wiping his forehead.
"I don't think that it's that hot but this machine is definitely heavy, Let's get at it." Erickson stiffly got up and slowly grabbed the machine again while Mort did the same.
Stopping and starting repeatedly to get their breath the men finally brought the centrifuge to the door. "We want to take the machine to the third floor." Tentatively, they started to carry the machine up five steps to enter the building. In doing so, Erickson lost his grip which caused the centrifuge to shift and fall on Mort pinning him against the wall. Erickson pushed the machine away. "Are you alright, Mort?" Grabbing Mort's wrist, "You don't look good. Go see the nurse. Your pulse is a little high. We do this later."
"No, I'm fine. I'm just winded from having a ton of iron fall on me. Let's finish." Mort got up and grabbed the centrifuge again. This time they got the machine up the steps and to the elevator. From there, they called the elevator and took it to the third floor. After dropping off the centrifuge, they returned to the truck and finished unloading it.
It took them about a hour to unload the truck. When finished Mort went home, which to him, was a small efficiency apartment near downtown Ukiah. After entering his one bedroom apartment, he immediately checked his answering machine for messages. The red light indicating a message or messages had been recorded was flickering. Pushing the play button, the machine rang out in high volume. Mort turned it down:
"Mort, this is Clarence Teller. It's 5:10 Wednesday. If you interested, you can earn $200.00 as a camp guide for Saturday, Sunday and Monday. If interested, call me. I will be at the camp all day."
"Okay, I can use dough," he said while tossing his jacket in the chair next to him. Reaching for the phone, he quickly punched the numbers. The phone was quickly answered, "Camp Cloud, Clarence Teller speaking."
"Hello Clarence, This is Mort. I can work as your guide if you still want me.
"Fine, Mort. See you here at 7 a.m. any questions?"
"No, Clarence. This is the same as before isn't it?"
"Yes, see you. Some clients have just come in," with that the line in Mort's hand went dead.
Mort thought to himself, "On and off for several years, I've served as a temporary camp guide for the weekend summer camps for kids. The job doesn't entail anything more than babysitting.
While there however, I usually teach swimming, archery or fishing to keep busy." Mort enjoyed the job and the pay was good. Developing a headache, he went into the bathroom to take some aspirin. While there, he ran the water in the tub for a bath.
After the bath, he still did not feel like eating and instead just went to bed.
Throughout Thursday and Friday, Mort's headache became worse. causing him to become irritable and short-tempered. "When will this damn cold end." On Saturday morning, he got up at 5 a.m., showered and dressed. Putting on blue jeans with gray sweat shirt, he quickly packed an overnight bag with two changes of clothing and his toiletries. Feeling nauseous, he decided not to eat.
Mort left his apartment and walked to his car. Sneezing on the way to the car, "Shit, just what I need at a camp, a cold."
Blowing his nose, he got into his car and started driving to Camp Cloud. "I hope I don't have much to do today."
Camp Cloud was a private resort about 40 Miles from Ukiah, high in Redwood country. The last 5 miles was on dirt and gravel roads. All of the buildings were made of old redwood which had turned a steely gray over the years. It had five dormitories, one mess building and one dorm for the guides and one administration building. The camp could accommodate 100 campers plus 10 guides and support staff. It had its own large private lake which was fed by underground springs. During the summer, the camp was run on weekends for children. The parents of the kids viewed the camp as a social and status symbol. It had been in operation for 40 years. While driving through the trees, Mort caught a glimpse of the camp and said, "They get a lot of repeat business. Many of the parents came here when they were kids." Pulling into the driveway, he thought, "The camp alternates between boys and girls weekends. I think this weekend it's a boys camp."
Parking in the shade of a huge redwood, Mort scanned the camp. "There's been a lot of changes since last year." Snatching his bag from the back seat, he started up the gravel path to the administration building. Being on the ocean side of the mountains, the sky was overcast with a faint mist in the air. "Looks like rain," he observed. Several persons, three men and two women, came out of the administration building as he approached it. All of the people were wearing blue jeans, red t-shirts and white hats. The t-shirts and hats had "Camp Cloud" stenciled on them.
The oldest man of the group turned to Mort, "Hi, Mort. These are your fellow guides. I'm taking them down to the lake to get acquainted with our facilities. You can check and join us later." With that the man turned and led the group down to the lake.
"Ok, Clarence," muttered Mort to the back of the receding group. Swinging around, he stepped onto the wooden porch in front of him. The porch itself was new and the rich redwood color of the wood had not started to weather.
Entering the administration building, other changes assailed him since last year. "The front door has been moved to divide the reception room into two equally large areas. The registration counter has been moved to the right side of the room." A ceiling fan with a light fixture had been placed in the middle of the room where previously there had been just an ordinary light fixture. Redwood planking had been nailed to the walls and the old wood stove replaced. "Not bad," he said aloud. The new stove was a large Franklin style stove generously endowed with nickel plated accentuation. The stove was prominently displayed in the middle of the left side of the room. Around the stove in a semi-circular pattern were new leather chairs and small tables. The cement floor had been covered with ceramic tile with a pine tree pattern on it.
"Hi, Mort." an older feminine voice said.
Turning to face the counter, Mort saw a woman of about 55 years of age come into the room. Slender, about 5 feet 3 inches, with gray, shortly cut hair, he recognized Clarence's wife.
"Hi, Alice. I like the changes."
"Yeah, we had to modernize. These yuppy parents wanted more of a modern atmosphere for their kids. It cost us a fortune. We put in new bathrooms in the dorms and even had to get a satellite dish to provide television service for the dorms. We had to do it to compete with the huge resorts along Mendocino and Blue Lakes. However, it's beginning to pay off. We're 30% above last year's attendance. The worse part is wearing this atrocious uniform." With her left hand she tapped the white t-shirt she was wearing and with her right hand she touched the brim of her hat. "I prefer old cords and soft sweat shirt."
"So do I."
"Yeah, well your outfit is in your room," she said handing him a key for room 4 of the guide lodge. "After you settle in, come back. We're expecting our first group in an hour. You can take them to the lake and let them swim."
The guide lodge was similar in shape to the administration building. Inside, it was divided into 7 rooms. There was one communal bathroom with 3 toilets and 3 showers. The building appeared not to have been changed since it was first built, 50 years earlier. It had not be modernized along with the other buildings, "Then, why should it? It's only for us lowly staff. Nobody sees it but us," Mort muttered aloud to himself.
"Talking to yourself isn't healthy," a soft young voice piped behind him.
Looking over his shoulder, he saw a tall extremely wellbuilt woman in a one piece bathing suit. The sight of her was unexpected and he completely turned around.
"This is the guide house. There aren't girls allowed here." Mort said looking at her breasts.
"I'm not a girl. I'm a guide. I belong here. You don't have to worry about me. I'm a phys. ed major at the university. I teach the kids aerobics and swimming. I stay in room 3."
"I never saw them hire a girl for boys camp before," Mort mumbled slowly as if pondering his next step.
"Look, I told you I'm not a girl. There's no reason not to hire girls, I mean women, for a boys' camp. It discrimination not to do so. The other camps do it. I'm not going to molest anyone and I'm not easy or even available. I can take care of myself. When I use the bathroom, I lock it and I expect the men to do likewise. I don't go nude and neither will the men." Bending at the waist, she took a towel from the bag, at her side, and began to dry wipe sun screen from her arm.
"No problem here," Mort sighed while still looking at her. White with long yellow hair, pale blue eyes, a narrow face with high cheekbones and long full lips, she was a knockout. Bending over to wipe her legs, Mort got a good view of her long tampering legs with strong thigh muscles. Her breasts were full and hiked up by the supports in the bathing suit. The suit was designed for support in swimming, not necessary viewing.
Turning, she saw Mort staring at her and stood up stiffly "Look, I'm not interested in a relationship or a fling. I don't like being stared at. Most of all, I don't want jokes made about how I look. I can give better than I get." Then, she said with emphasis while looking at his crotch, "I have found that men are more sensitive about their equipment than I am about mine."
"I think you got some type of attitude. You haven't even given me your name. Yet, you've gone on with woman's lib stuff. If you don't want to looked at, then don't wipe yourself in the living room."
Reddening she turned and stormed to her room. She said without stopping or turning around, "I'm Judy Caster"
Shaking his head, Mort went to his room, put on his outfit and went to see Alice. He was given a group of 10 kids to oversee all about 10 to 11 years of age to oversee. After settling them, he took them to the lake.
Saturday, Sunday and Monday were uneventful days for Mort. The work was pleasant and the kids obedient. Monday was the last evening of the camp and the kids were to be picked up by 8 o'clock. A farewell cook out was held at six o'clock at the lake with many of the parents were there. Mort met many of the parents. Even though he disliked meeting strangers, the job required it. "Happy kids return year after year and their parents make referrals," Clarence told Mort. "So try to look happy."
Mort's cold had increased and his headache had grown worse which made it difficult to concentrate. After putting it off for as long as he could, he finally went to his room to rest. There he undressed and crawled into bed. "I can't shake this cold."
About 10 o'clock, the outer door to the building slammed shut with a loud smack. Looking out the window next to his bed, Mort saw Judy who was wearing a bathing suit walk down towards the lake. For some reason that he did not analyze, he felt pure anger against her. "Damn her!" Getting up, more on instinct than plan, he opened the drawer of the dresser next to his bed, grabbed his swimming trunks, and put them on while sitting on the bed. Getting up, he shuffled to the door, threw it open and left his room. Continuing, out the building, he sped up in a purposeful manner and headed to the lake.
The lake had a floating diving platform about 150 feet from shore. The platform was wood and was anchored to the bottom by a rope. On the platform was a pile of debris that had been fished from the lake to keep away from swimming kids. Judy had just completed a swim to the platform and was laying on it. "The water is still warm," she said to herself. The day had been an extreme scorcher. The water temperature was now about 75 degrees.
Mort, on reaching the water, dived in and started swimming fast towards the platform. Judy heard the splash of the dive and sat up. Scanning to see who was coming, she waited to see who was coming. Inwardly, she was irritated that someone would intrude on her last night at the camp. When she saw Mort climb out of the water, she snootily said, "What do you want? Can't I have a little privacy?"
Mort turned to look her straight in the face. The moonlight shining over her shoulder illuminated a face distorted in anger. Seeing his face she gasped. "Stay away from me." She backed away and turned to dive into the lake. Before she could do it, she was grabbed by her shoulder and swung around.
Quickly she brought up her right knee and kicked Mort in the groin. He almost doubled over but did not release his grasp on Judy. Instead, he threw her to the platform floor. "Bitch, I'll teach you." From the debris pile, she grabbed a heavy piece of flotsam. It was a piece of wood that had been a limb from a tree. She swung at him from the sitting position and hit him on the leg, terribly skinning it.
Mort grabbed the wood and twisted it from her hands. Holding it like a bat her, he swung and hit Judy squarely on the jar. She was knocked off the platform. Mort threw the piece of wood in the water and dove after her, "Bitch, I'll get you."
Judy was dazed and uncoordinated as she flailed about in the water gasping for air. As Mort reached her, she grasped at him forcing him under the water. "Help" she gasped while trying to break away. Fighting under the water near the anchor rope, Mort was holding Judy by her throat in both hands. Suddenly, he was held by something below the water. Looking down, he saw that his right leg had become wrapped around the anchor line. Still furiously trying to break his grasp, Judy kicked him in the ribs forcing out his air. With the last of his rage, he squeezed her neck. Judy became limp and bubbles escaped from her nose and mouth and began to sink. Releasing his grasp on Judy, he pulled on the rope but he could not free his leg and gradually weakened and his arms drooped to his side. Air began streaming from his nose and mouth as his arms began to float above his head.
The bodies were found the next day by Clarence. A sheriff's investigation concluded accidental drowning. The coroner stated, "The man seems have gone for a night swim and somehow became entangled in the anchor line. The woman dove in to save him." The coroner further speculated, "She then struck her neck on the piece of floating wood, which crushed her trachea, and drowned." The piece of wood, the coroner marked as an exhibit, had pieces of skin where Mort hit her on the chin. "Since Mort was held by the anchor rope and Judy wasn't, it doesn't seem plausible that he could have killed her and then drowned in that fashion."
The day after the party, Jamal woke with a headache. Attributing the headache to a hangover, he went to the medicine cabinet and got some aspirin. Thinking over the party last night, he broke into a broad smile. "I chased after Sheena for five
years but it paid off good last night." Tapping his tooth brush in rhythm to a rap tune, The Lady Was Hot, he turned on the shower. Getting into the shower, he ran the water first over his head, then back and finally his front. After showering and dressing, Jamal walked out to the living room.
A thin, old black woman with short gray hair was wearily stirring something on the stove. Turning to face Jamal, she wearily said, "About time you is up. You is almost late for work. You was out to late last night. Was you with that tramp, Sheena? She'll spend your money and leave your fo another chump. That gal knows what she'se got and she'll get more for it than a mill boy. Get a decent woman." She spoke too quickly for Jamal to interrupt.
"Ma," almost shouting. "I'll go with Sheena as long as I want. If you stays with me, lay off Sheena."
The woman slammed her wooden spoon down on the table and stormed out of the kitchen.
Jamal hurriedly reached for the phone and dialed Sheena's number. A female voice answered softly, "Hello".
"It's me. Whose this?"
"It's Jamal. Member last night?" Jamal laughed into the phone.
"I do. I have a headache and feels sickly." Looking around for eavesdroppers she said, "I thin, I'm pregnant.
Shocked Jamal blurted, "You're lying. Once don't does it. Ain't you on the pill?"
"No, it makes me sick," she said defensively.
"Why you not tell me? I'd worn a rubber."
"I was drunk. I didn't even want it. Member, daddy?" Sheena retorted mockingly.
"I'll be over before I go to work. Get a check kit an test yourself," Jamal slowly intoned.
"I'll do it but if I is, you is the papa," Sheena stated and slammed the phone down causing a click which was painful to Jamal.
Hanging up the phone, Jamal smiled. "If she is knocked up, I done it and not her pretty Mort. I got her, first time. Yes." Jamal laughed and banged the table. The thought of having impregnated the most beautiful girl at Ukiah High, the very first time was stunning. Sheena had once been the steady girlfriend of Mort Flier, the university star athlete. If not for his grades he would have gone to a Division 1 school. Sheena had boasted constantly about Mort and shamed men hitting on her by comparing them with him. "Now, Mort will be compared with me and get the worse outta it." Laughing, he was thinking how Mort would take the news that after all his attempts, it took Jamal Tiller only one time make a woman of Sheena. Getting up from the chair, he left the apartment. As he walked down the street, he saw two friends sitting on a small concrete block wall. Having gone to same high school until their graduation last year, they both knew Sheena and had tried to date her, quite unsuccessfully.
"How's it goin?" asked the short black man who was whittling on a stick. The other thin man, with light chocolate skin and yellow teeth, just waved and continued to read a newspaper.
"I saw you with Sheena at the party last night. Get any?", Both men laughed and slapped their hands together palms down.
"Martin, I got all she had to give," a broad grin on Jamal's face. "She says she's been set."
"No ways, if she's set, Mort set her."
"You'll soon see for yourself. I did her good. First time and she set," he crowed.
"Sheena with child? After one time, no way. If it was that easy, Mort would have five kids now," the second man quipped as he poked Martin.
Jamal took the ribbing in good spirits. "Malcolm, if she's wrong that's better. I'll have more time to do it. When they with child, women don't want to be touched. That's a long wait."
"Ain't no lie. My woman did not let me near her fo six months when she had our last kid. I hadda go to hookers," the Malcolm agreed while laying the paper down on the block wall.
"Well, Jamal, if Sheena is pregnant fine. If she's not, then better yet cause you'd get to keep doing it. If you own a fine car, you drive it, same for a fine woman," Martin broke into a full belly laugh.
Jamal agreed, "I drive well both car or woman. I gotta go see Sheena." Waving, he turned to walk back to his apartment. Instead of going into his apartment, he went to his car, got in, started it and left.
Ten minutes later, Jamal pulled into the driveway for Sheena's apartment, went to the door and knocked. Sheena answered the door wearing very tight shorts and a halter top that was deliberately too small. "Hi, Sheena," Jamal kissed her.
"Hi," she said unemotionally.
"How's you?" Jamal acted noncommittally.
"I'm not with child. The test showed me fine." Pointing over to the table, she showed a pregnancy testing kit. Looking at the test tube on a tray, he could see that color in the test tube had not changed and that meant no pregnancy.
Mixed feelings swept over Jamal. Glad that she was not pregnant, he nonetheless regretted that he couldn't show her off, in her pregnant state, to everyone they knew.
"How do you feel, Sheena?" Turning to face her, he said, "You look bad."
"Thanks," she said tiredly and sat down in a chair with one leg under her. "I got a headache and cold too."
"I got a headache, maybe cause of bad booze."
Walking softly over to Sheena, he began to stroke her arms and ran his fingers through her hair. "You look nice, honey."
"Don't, I'm not ready. I'm not on the pill," she whined softly and waved weakly at his hands.
Reaching behind her back, he unlatched her bra. As it fell, Sheena looked down absently. Jamal pulled her up and kissed her breasts while Sheena weakly murmured, "Stop it. I'm not ready."
"I am", he responded and strongly pulled her into the bedroom.
Fifteen minutes later, Jamal walked quickly out of the bedroom with Sheena following him. Wearing only her shorts and with her bra swinging limply in her left hand, she said without emotion, "It's not my fault. You weren't ready."
"I had a headache." Jamal uttered without looking at her and buttoning his shirt.
"You weren't usin your head," she giggled softly. "It's first time a man ran out steam with me."
"I told you I had a headache," Jamal said angrily.
"That's my line," she said sitting down. Laying her bra on her lap, she rubbed her breasts while looking directly into Jamal's eyes. "Tonight we go out. If I'm in the mood, you can try again."
Looking at her breasts, he felt nothing physical. "Ok, I'll be here at 8."
"See you then," Sheena got up and kissed him while putting one arm around his neck. Jamal started to pull away but Sheena held tightly both with hands. "What's a matter? Don't you love me anymore?" she teased.
Jamal shook her off. "Sheena I'll see you later," and then turned and left.
Sitting down, she laughed weakly. "I showed him. Now on I'll call the tune." The throbbing in her head increased, so she laid her head on the table. The cool table top made her feel better for a few seconds.
Jamal was angry when he left Sheena's apartment and at work his headache was compounded by the noise of the sawmill. In the mill, he was a cutter and loader. His job was to put tree logs on a conveyor belt running to a machine that removes the bark. Another machine then trims the debarked log into a long rectangle beam. Finally, a saw cuts the wooden beam into even planks. At each level, there are mechanical arms that pick up the logs, beams and planks. The arms are moved in accordance with the directions given by the remote control unit in Jamal's hand.
For the next three days, Jamal avoided Sheena. During this time, his headache continued and he felt terrible. Every time he thought of Sheena, he became angry without understanding why. On Monday morning, he got up as usual, showered, dressed and walked into the kitchen where his mother was cooking breakfast.
"How's you today," she said cheerfully.
"My head hurts," he said getting a cup of coffee.
"You still has that headache? You see a doctor now." she said with finality.
"Alright, I'll see one. Shut up," he slammed his coffee mug on the counter spilling so of it.
"You been foul, since you met Sheena Daves. I'll bet you caught somethin. You'll find I be right when you see the doctor," his mother stood with her arms crossed and nodding her head repeatedly.
Saying nothing, Jamal just got up and left. On the way to work, he thought over what his mother had said. Fearfully, he
said, "I wonder if I did in fact catch something from Sheena." The thought made him angry and he instantly wanted the throttle
Sheena. Pulling into the driveway of the mill, he drove to the far end of the parking lot and after getting out of the car, he slammed the door shut.
"Sheena been hasslin you?" Jamal turned and saw Malcolm standing behind him in the car lane. "I saw Sheena with Phil
Wanler. I guess you didn't set her after all. She's shopping around." Jamal walked past him and didn't say a word.
Throughout the day, Jamal imagined people laughing at him. Every time he saw two or more people talking, he thought it was about him. As the day increased, he became increasingly more erratic, and started to speed the machine up because of his nervous energy. Anxiously, he waited for a break and started muttering to himself, "Come on, Come on."
"What are you doing? You idiot, you're rushing the wood through too fast. You're damaging the wood? Stop it. Stop it now!" Turning, Jamal saw the livid face of his supervisor. A short, barrel-chested muscular man of Italian descent, the supervisor, glowered at him. Up to today, he had never spoken harshly to Jamal and even helped whenever he could. "What's the hell is a matter with you. You ruined $5,000.00 of wood. If you didn't have seniority, I'd fire you here and now. You know how to run
this machine. This screw-up goes into your file. I'm informing the union. You screw up again, your fired." With that the supervisor turned and left. Ashamed, Jamal stood there and began to rationalize and excuse his performance. Never before had he screwed up and he had a perfect attendance. Thinking himself one of the best workers, he concluded that the supervisor picked on him because he was black. He turned angrily back to the machine.
"What the hell happened, bro?" Malcolm said peering over the machine. "Boy you wasted that wood. Didn't you see the miscut? I would've stopped it if I had been you. Man, tha boss man is mad. You better watch yourself," Malcolm warned with a slow nod.
"Malcolm, come here," the supervisor roared. With a smile, Malcolm wheeled and immediately ran to the boss.
Jamal restarted the machine again and was very careful to operate it properly. As the day wore on, his belief that everyone was talking about and laughing at him increased. All the while his headache continued to worsen and so did his anger. "Damn, my head hurts," he swore as he wiped his sweating forehead.
At 3:10, the line was shut down for a scheduled break and the line was shut down several of the men got together. Malcolm, who was among the group, started laughing and yelled, "Jamal, Come on over. You can tell us how you knocked up Sheena." The other men laughed. Spurred on by the laughter, Malcolm strutted toward Jamal. "Sheena's the hottest fox in town. She ain't goin around with anyone who ain't rollin in bucks."
Malcolm stopped directly under the mechanical arm which Jamal used to pick up logs. With a look of pure hatred, he fingered the controls and the huge arm came down over Malcolm. As the pincer arm closed around him, Malcolm screamed in terror. "God, No, Stop." His screams were drowned by the gigantic saws running down the line. The other men stood there in shock, while Jamal had the mechanical arm raise Malcolm from the floor. "What you say now,
bro?" he sneered. The movement of the arm shocked the men into action and they rushed Jamal. As they approached Jamal, he pushed a button, dropped the control unit, and then turned and ran. As the lead man scooped up the control unit, they all heard a sickening squish and turned to look up at Malcolm. The claws had completely pierced his body and he hung suspended above the floor. Dripping blood and gore formed a puddle on the floor.
"God," one man said before throwing up.
Erratically, Jamal ran through the plant while holding his head. Men, not knowing what had happened, tried to stop him to ask what occurred. Jamal pushed everyone in his way aside. From behind a huge saw, stepped the supervisor yelling, "What's going on Jamal?"
The sight of the supervisor infuriated Jamal. Grabbing a long steel rod use to steer the wood on the conveyor belt, he swung it with all his might. "Yell at me sucker. Well take this!" The rod hit the supervisor on the side of the head cracking his skull. The force of the blow spun the supervisor around and propelled him against the saw blade. Hearing men approaching from behind, Jamal turned, dropped the rod and ran out the back door. The supervisor was found impaled on the saw blade with his head bashed in.
Reaching his car, Jamal raced out of the parking lot. The sound of sirens getting closer, spurred him to run a red light and strike an old woman in the cross walk. Another police car pulled out from the curb and began chasing him. The sight of the police car infuriated him and he sped up. "I won't get caught. I gotta kill that bitch Sheena," he screamed furiously. His Grand Prix was faster than the police car and he soon out distanced it. Swerving onto a side street, he shook the police altogether. "Ain't no cops gonna catch me, I'll kill them all," he ranted.
Arriving home, he found that his mother was not there. Running to his closet, he took out his 30-30 bolt action hunting rifle, a box of shells and then raced out to his car. Loading the rifle at the car, he bellowed, "I'll kill that bitch. I'll get her for making a fool outta me." A police car suddenly flew into the parking lot. Instinctively, Jamal raised, aimed and fired the rifle into the driver's side of the car. Veering to the right, the car crashed into a tree and the engine sputtered and then died.
Reloading the rifle, he walked to the car. The officer was bleeding from a wound in his shoulder and slumped against the steering wheel. Jamal placed the rifle against the officer's head and shot him. "Take that sucker. I be the big man now." An old, black woman came out of her house and seeing the dead officer screamed. Angrily, Jamal screamed while rechambering the rifle, "Shut up!" then, in one motion, he swung around and shot the woman. The force of the bullet threw her against the door of her house before she collapsed.
Jamal ran to his car and jumped in but before he could start it police cars came at him from both the front and rear of the parking lot. Surrounded, Jamal unexpectedly burst from his car,
charged the officers and fired his rifle wildly. "I'll kill you all. Nobody will stop me." Two officers, from each car, flung open their doors, crouched behind them and then opened fire. Jamal fell and jerkily spasmed as his body was riddled with bullets.
Even as he lay dying, Jamal's eyes burned in unrelenting hatred. So much so, that the police would not approach him even after they kicked the rifle away from his bloody hands.
"What the hell was he on?" one officer said with disgust.
"I don't know, PCP probably. I wish he was alive so he would fry. Adams had a wife and two kids, the bastard."
After Jamal had left the apartment, Sheena returned to bed and again drew the covers over her. For a long time, she lay there, and then heard the front door open. Hoping not to be disturbed, she held her breath.
"Sheena, you still here girl?" a woman's voice asked.
Taking a deep breath in resignation,"Yeah, ma, I'm here."
"Why are you in bed at this time of day? Is you sick? asked her mother in a loud domineering voice.
"I got a headache, I'11 rest and be ok, I'se also got a cold," Sheena moaned while holding her head against the pillow.
"Sheena is you pregnant?" screamed her mother as she stormed into the room wildly waving the pregnancy kit. Although a short fat woman of about 45 years of age, she appeared to fill the entire doorway, Her skin was much darker than Sheena's and her buttocks had huge folds of fat which made them look padded, Sheena was depressed by the sight of her mother in a short afro, which was dyed an unsuitable reddish brown, and gave the appearance of a middle aged stevedore. To Sheena, the way her mother was dressed was anything but better. Wearing huge shorts and a flowered short sleeve shirt that was not tucked into the pants, she came over to Sheena. "Is you sick, girl?" she wheezed.
Looking at her mother's huge pot belly, Sheeena thought cruelly, "She's so fat she looks pregnant." The most annoying feature of her mother was, to Sheena, her teeth. Missing several of her front teeth, whenever she spoke air wheezed through them, The wheezing would drive Sheena up the wall just as scratching fingernails across a chalk board does other people.
"Girl, I'se told you. No sex until you find a rich man." Sheena's mother wailed. "You is dynamite, Don't waste what you got on shop clerks or junk dealers. Don't give it away. Make them pay with a ring." Her mother pulled up a chair next to her. "Youse don't wan to end up like me, does you? On welfare with two kids. No job, no man, no education, no looks, no money and no way to get any. When I was your age, I looked good too. I wasted my looks on men who wanted everything and would give nuthin."
"Mama, things different now. Men want samples. That's ok, by me. After they get a taste, they have to pay for more."
"You're so smart," her mother sneered, "Then why do you have this?" she held up the pregnancy kit. "You thought you was knocked up. Why you not on the pill? You is stupid," screamed her mother.
"I'm not. The pill makes me sick. Besides, if I was with child, Jamal would marry me. He works in the mill and makes good money," she said defiantly.
"You'd settle with mill worker with your looks? Why'd you leave Mort Flier?" her mother demanded. "Did he catch you walking out with someone else?"
"No, mama, He's walkin with someone else," she pouted.
"Do you know who she be?"
"No, he denies it," Sheena squirmed in the bed.
"How do you know it?" Sheena's mother reached over and turned Sheeena's face towards her.
"I knows. After I lay him he don't want to spend no time with me," Sheena shouted.
"You're a stupid tramp. Why'd a man spend time with you after he lay you? When he's done, you is done. That's why I tell you to tease em, but no please em." Sheena's mother pushed Sheena's face into the pillow and stood up. "You'd better find another man but not a mill worker. If you caint, I will,"
"I'11 get you some juice for the cold," Sheena's mother spoke softly as she straightened her shirt. Going out to the kitchen, she sneezed, "Damn, I'm catchin Sheena's cold."
Around 5 o'clock, Sheena arose, got dressed and staggered wildly to the kitchen. "My head hurts," she started to whine. "Why are you outta bed? You're sick," stated her mother.
"I feel better after the rest and I still got chearleading practice. If I don't gol I'11 be dropped from squad."
"You can miss one practice," her mother said half-heartedly.
"Cheerleaders get asked everywhere. If I'm not on the squad, I ain't popular no more. Then no ways, will I gets a rich man."
"Ok, take your sweater,"
Sheena grabbed her sweater from the back of the chair, "I hope tha damn car starts", she mumbled to herself as she left.
The car started and, with a sigh of relief, she headed to the cheerleading practice, Pulling into the parking lot, she saw the other four cheerleaders running through with their routines in the field next to the lot. Getting out of the car, she waved to the team. "Hiya"
Angel Adams, the team captain stopped the routine, "You're late Sheena. We've got to have this routine ready by the game next week,"
"Sorry, I got a headache." Grabbing her pompoms from the back seat she trotted over to the team.
Standing there with her arms crossed, she scowled at Sheena.
Angel was team captain by virtue of her grades. The only white girl on the team, she was its best student with a straight C average, The team was supposedly selected by the faculty advisor, but in practice, it was the team members made the decisions as to who made the team. They wanted tall, muscular girls with huge breasts that had the agility to perform the routines gracefully, The team often jokingly called themselves the 38's. In fact, the girls required all tryouts to furnish their measurements and be willing to have them verified, As a result, several girls, who considered trying out for the team, dropped out at that point. Angel had the necessary physical attributes being both tall and wellendowed, However, her face was rather plain with a nose a little too wide and a chin a little too small. To hide the fact that her-hair was a little too fine,~she wore it too short and in a style that accentuated her flaws. Normally, she would not have made the team but as its best student, she tutored the other girls enough to keep them from failing out. Of all the girls on the squad, only Angel did not a steady boyfriend, a point that she was sensitive. "Ok, lets get started again."
"Aw do we have to? Let Sheena do the routine herself," the other girls protested in unison,
"No we'll do it together so we get in right," Angel insisted,
"Just cause you can't get a date, don't mean I gotta give up mine. I'm goin to meet Warner at 6:30", announced a tall black girl with a short afro.
"Look Melody, I'm as tired as you but we gotta get ready." Another girl said as she shifted her bra. "These damn uniforms keep turning my bra and squeezing my breasts, I wish we had uniforms that fit right."
"Tanya, if they didn't rock your breasts, you wouldn't be on the team. It does that to all of us," laughed the final girl, who was shortest on the squad and wearing braided hair."
"Theresa, there's more of me to pinch than of the rest of you," Tanya proudly announced.
"Who says?" Melody teased.
"Kasim says so," Tanya boasted.
"What does he know?" Melody asked cautiously.
"He's dated all of you before he settled on me. He knows the best," Bending over to pick up her pompoms she stayed in that positionto the girls she:.the fullness of her breasts. She then wiggled her legs suggestively.
Theresa, Angel and Melody' were stunned. They had all dated Kasim but did not know that the others had.
"What's he say about me? I never let him touch me?" Melody flared.
"He wasn't man enough for me!" Theresa sneered. "I dropped him and he went to you."
"We never made out," Angel declared in shock. "If he said so he lied, I would not do it,"
Sheena laughed with a sneer, "Why do you believe that lying man. Just because he got lucky with you, don't mean for nothin." Sitting down on the grass, "Also if you want to see the best, I'11 show you," With that, in one smooth motion, she pulled off her cheerleading sweater revealing her large, firm breasts, "Beat these." Unhinging her bra with its front hook, Sheena shook her breasts and the bra fell away. The sun shone brightly on her smooth, firm and large breasts.
Rushing forward, Tanya blurted, "What's wrong with you girl? If someone was to see you, you'd be off the team. Put that back on." Tanya looked around to see if anyone noticed yet. There were several men and boys doing laps on the field and approaching them. Tanya motioned to the other girls who came over and surrounded Sheena as she dressed,
Angel breathlessly whispered, "Let's call it a day." The other girls nodded in embarrassed agreement, grabbed their pompoms and walked separately to the parking lot.
As Sheena reached her car, she barely noticed another car which had just passed her. "Hey, Sheena, How are ybu?"
Turning in a slow motion, Sheena recognized Jordan Evans the star quarterback for the school. Having just received a full athelic scholarship to attend Ole Miss, he was the talk of the school. Flashing her patented smile, "Hi, Jordan,"
Getting out of his care, Jordan let it sit in the middle of the lot. His frame of 6 feet 7 inches, 245 pounds and light brown skin loomed over his small Mazda 323. Running his fingers through his short curly hair, accented with piercing black eyes, he smiled, "Hi, Sheena, I haven't seen you around. How's Mort? I haven't seen him since he went to the University." "Mort and I split," Sheena voiced in a low monotone.
"That's too bad." Looking around nervously, Jordan asked quickly, "How about you and me going to the bar ~I know?"
I don't know I got a cold and headache," shrugged Sheena. urning, she walked to her car.
"One drink won't hurt. It'll make you relax," Jordan touched Sheena's elbow who then stopped moving. To Jordan's surprise, Sheena turned with a wry smile, "I always liked you but since you were with Mort, I didn't interfere." Opening the door to car, he guided Sheena into it. As he did so, he squeezed her right breast. When she did not respond he felt emboldened. Driving the car to the far end of the lot, he parked it all alone under a tall tree.
"Why did we come here?"
"I thought we might talk."
"Ok, I also liked you."
Jordan slid his right hand along Sheena's leg who said nothing and reclined in the seat with her right hand rubbing her temple. "You're a dynamite fox," Jordan lightly panted, Reaching around her with his left hand he gently pulled Sheena towards him.
"Don't my head hurts. I want to go home," pleaded Sheena while softly shaking her head,
"Sure honey," Jordan continued to pull her towards him. As he started to kiss her, he ran his hands under the tight sweater.
Sheena became limp and offered no resistance. "Ok, hurry up. I want to go home," sighed Sheena resignedly without fight or emotion, Jordan looked at her quizzedly, "We aim to please." Roughly, he resumed kissing her. She moaned a little. When Jordan was through, he silently drove Sheena to her car.
Quietly, Sheena straightened her uniform~and rehitched her bra which had been unhooked under her sweater. "My boobs are tender from where you had kissed them," she giggled. Jordan did not respond but merely smiled and she wondered why men liked breasts so much, after all, her gym teacher told the class that they were mainly fat. Instinctively, as she roughly shifted her position in the seat, she knew that unless she said something Jordan would never call her again. "Can we go out some more?"
Sensing reluctance on his part she slid over to him. In a sultry voice, she whispered, "Jordan, I like you. How do you feel?" while moving next to him on the seat and slowly walking her fingers up his arm.
"I feel OK," he grunted, The grimace on his face puzzled her and she became irate.
"I told you I had a headache and a cold! If I didn't like you, I wouldn't let you do it," she shrieked and pulled away,
"I'm sorry honey. I thought you was funnin. I wouldn't have done it elsewise," Jordan reached over an took her hand.
"That's okay, I'se see you tomorrow?" looking up at him. "Yeah, I'se see you tomorrow. I will pick you up at six." Sheena bent over a kissed him. Then getting out of the car, she walked to her car while swinging her pompoms and acutely aware that Jordan was watching her. Deliberately, she put on a show for him and moved with a grace, in the manner in which she swung her hips and bent over to unlock the door, that would have shamed a gymnast. "That'll give him something to think about," she said lowly without looking at him,
After she got in her car, Jordan beeped the horn of his car, "See you tomorrow," and zoomed off,
Sheena rubbed her head. The headache had gotten worse despite the pretense otherwise in the her show for Jordan. Putting the car in gear, she drove impatiently home. "I'm going to bed. My head hurts," she whined.
For the last week, Jason had been busy setting up the new gene splicing equipment that arrived. "I want to have it set up prior to joining Professor Erickson. We are to be speakers on the final day of the International Symposium on Genetic Diseases in San Francisco," he told his secretary, Professor Erickson had been commuting to the symposium every day. This would be the first trip for Jason, The symposium, by all accounts, was a great success. Over 1500 of the world's greatest scientists had attended. Professor Erickson intended to meet each and every one in networking for the university. Jason hated university politics but he was greatly impressed by the ability of Erickson to ingratiate himself with total strangers. Erickson had been able to wrangle invitations and promulgated interest in collaboration with several major institutions. "He's a great P.R. man," Jason said to himself while connecting up a new digital gene analyzer.
Leaving the lab, he walked down to hall to Erickson's office and as he approached the office, heard a tremendous thud followed by the smashing of equipment. Jerking open the door he rushed into the office and was immediately assailed~by the shocking sight of Erickson running around the room. In a disheveled state, it appeared as though Erickson had not shaved in several days and had slept in his clothes. Pacing furiously around the room while mumbling to himself, Erickson was clearly angry and bordering on deranged. Flailing his arms about and glowering in rage, Erickson's behavior both alarmed and scared Jason.
"How are you, Phil? You look terrible. What the hell has happened? It sounded like world war three in here. Are you able to go to the symposium? Perhaps, I should go alone. I can give your speech. You can stay here to rest and get organized."
"No, I can do it!" he screamed sharply. "Let's go. I'11 wait for you in the car!" With that Erickson turned and rushed out of the room. Storming out of the building, he barreled into a tall, slim man, standing alone at the door. Violently tossing him to the ground, Erickson screamed, "Get out of my way," and kicked him, Staggering to his feet, the man grabbed Erickson and was about to hit him but, before the punch could be thrown, Erickson kicked him in the groin. Then as the man doubled over in pain, Erickson smashed down his neck with a savage karate chop. As the man collapsed, Erickson turned and continued onward to his car.
The beaten man launched himself after Erickson, Students coming from the building across the street saw the man tackle Erickson and begin pummeling him. Several male students ran over to the professor's assistance. As they pulled the man off Erickson, he yelled madly, "He started it. He hit me,"
A tall coed with large eyeglasses said snidely, "I didn't see him hit you, I did see you tackle Professor Erickson and hit him while he was on the ground. In fact, I never saw him strike you period."
"You bitch, he..,"
"Watch your mouth pal," the man holding him shook him furiously. "If you want to fight I'm available. I'm not a short, thin old man that you outweigh by forty pounds."
"What happened Professor?" a coed said as she helped Erickson from the ground. Dazed and bleeding from his nose and a cut on the lip, all eyes were on him.
Shaken and disoriented, "I was going to my car. He hit me, why? What happened?" Perspiring badly, he visibly shuttered and wiped his head and looked confused.
"Why you bastard." The man lurched forward and several girls screamed, The men holding him threw him on the ground,
"What's going on here? Let that man alone!" A university guard yelled while jumping from his patrol car.
Immediately, the crowdparted and the guard walked to the men holding the struggling figure, Looking at the group, the guard's eyes then settled on Professor Erickson, who was rubbing his black eye, "What happened Professor?"
"That man attacked Professor Erickson from behind. He's tried to attack us," a girl's voice from the crowd shouted,
"That's a lie," the man shouted as he jerked an arm free and struck one of the men holding him, During the struggle the man's jacket pocket was ripped and a large hunting knife fell from it onto the ground, A girl near the melee saw the knife, turned and ran into those behind her screaming, "He's got a knife, Let me go, I getting out of here."
"See, he's probably on drugs. Keep away from him," the tall man closest to him sneered. "Pull a knife on me you bastard," and struck the prisoner with his fist fully on the jaw who then collapsed, It was only the arms of the men holding the prisoner that kept him from sinking onto the ground,
"Hold him you guys," The patrolman wore a portable radio on his belt. Unfastening it he radioed, "Bradson to base, Call the Ukiah police. We have a possible armed robbery. Professor Erickson was attacked by suspect in custody, Suspect violent armed with knife. Location at biogenetics lab."
"Roger, Bradson. Do you need assistance restraining suspect?"
"No, the situation is under control. Bradson Out," Looking at the crowd, the officer, "You men put him in the back of my car." With his club, the officer gestured to his car.
Dragging the nearly prostrate form over to the car, a girl opened the door and the men threw the body into it. The girl then, with deliberate pleasure, slammed the door. "There you bastard, He's probably the rapist who attacked those two girls of Delta Psi last month, Imagine, attacking a professor in broad daylight."
The officer went over to Erickson, "Professor Erickson are you alright? Do you want to go to the hospital?"
"Hospital, no, no, Jason and I got to go to a vital symposium at San Francisco," Erickson spoke as if to himself,
"When will you be back?" the officer asked concerned that without Erickson the man will not be detained.
"I'11 be back tomorrow," Erickson replied as he got to his feet. As the minutes passed, he was becoming more conscious and alert and was also becoming more angry. "That man hit me!" he shouted and started to rush the man in the police car,
The officer grabbed him, "Take it easy Professor. He won't hurt you or anyone else. He's going to jail."
"Jail, yes jail," Erickson muttered looking at the Officer. "I'm going to San Francisco." Then turned and walked to the university car which he and Jason would be driving.
After Erickson left the office, Jason went to the phone and called Erickson's wife, A tired, weak feminine voice answered, "Hello", Her voice was trembling and she had been crying.
"Joyce, this is Jason Harber. Is there anything wrong with Phil? He's acting strange. He's smashed valuable equipment and looks like death warmed over. What's been happening?"
With that Joyce Erickson broke down. "I don't understand him anymore. I didn't see him for two days then last night he came home and went berserk accusing me of having affairs with men I don't know, He slapped me and then stormed out of the house, I'm going to visit my parents until I can decide what to do. He was a man I never knew. I can't think now." She hung up.
Puzzled, Jason didn't know what to make of this. Phil and Joyce were considered to be the ideal couple. The thought of Phil striking his demure wife was as ludicrous as her having an extra marital affair. However given Erickson's apparent unstable condition, Jason had to do something about the symposium. Reluctantly, he decided to drive down to San Francisco with Erickson but to carefully watch him. Hesitantly, he then walked down to the car. There he saw Erickson sitting in the car and bouncing his head back and forth on the headrest while babbling repeatedly, "I'11 show them, show them all."
Amazed and shocked almost to the point of being dumbfounded, Jason asked awestruck, "Phil, what's the matter. You don't look well, Why don't you go home or to a motel to get some rest, I'11 handle the speech, You need to need to get some rest. I'11 take care of everything," Walking over to the driver's side, he opened the door.
Erickson's face contorted and he began shaking furiously, "You'd like that!" he launched into a tirade of rambling paranoia.
"There's no way that you are going to replace me! This is my department! I built it not you! Not the board. Me, I did it. Iwill run the department. No backstabbing sonof-a-bitch is going to get me! I'11 ruin you and the department and the university remember that!"
Jason's face became livid, "Go to hell." Slamming the door, he started to march to his office. Halfway to the building he turned around and saw that Erickson had resumed his rocking motion in the car. Deliberately, he softened his demeanor as a plan developed to take Erickson to the County's Psychiatric Health Facility. Jason's brother was the Mental Health Hearing Officer for the county and conducted commitment hearings there, "John will tell me if he's dangerous and needs to be locked up." Without saying a word, Jason turned and walked deliberately back to the car. Erickson was now both drooling and rocking in the seat, With eyes that were glazed and wide open, Erickson was deliberately looking at but apparently not comprehending his surroundings. "We're going Phil." Erickson said nothing.
Starting the car Jason sped out of the driveway. Even though the posted~ speed limit was 35, he was doing 60. Making a left at the end of the driveway he proceeded to the freeway entrance. Running the red light at the entrance of the freeway he sped onto the entrance ramp. Picking up speed on the freeway he was traveling south at 70 mph. Erickson said, "This is my department. I will run it,"
"We'll soon be there, relax, Phil, Everything will be alright."
"You can't take my work, I won't let you.". Suddenly Erickson screamed and threw his body against Jason. Reaching out and grabbing the steering wheel, Erickson turned it sharply towards the left. Jason fought for control of the wheel,
"Let go you goddam idiot," Jason shrieked. Careening out of control, the car crossed the grass belt thatseparated the south and north bound lanes of Highway 101, The car was struck head on by a semi-tractor truck that was hauling a double load of trailers. After being hit, the car was pitched into the air, As the car hit the ground, front end first, it collapsed upon itself, like an accordion. Rolling over and over again until the roof was flatten, the car came to rest against a portable cement guard rail and burst into flames. Both Erickson and Jason had died in the crash. Their bodies were so managed and burnt that positive identification could only be made through the use of dental records. Police and paramedics were called to the scene and they bagged the bodies, The three officers present were Bert Paper, Charles Maston and John Tablet. As the bodies were taken to the morgue for autopsy, Officer Tablet said to the other officers, "I never saw such a bloody accident, The smell of roasted meat is sickening."
"Yeah," Maston agreed with a look of disgust, "I'm cancelling tomorrow's cookout."
The weeks following the deaths of Jason Harber and Dr. Phillip Erickson were exceptionally news worthy. Throughout the world there was bizarre violence, both by men and women. In addition, many women, specifically young women, were beginning to suffer from emotional trauma as the result of witnessing or suffering such violence. These women were, according to their treating psychologists, entering a state of regression wherein they sought to return to the safety of their earlier childhood.
On Monday evening, the week following her breakup with Mort, Sheena was yreparing for her date with Jordan. As she was putting on her makeup, at the mirror over the dresser, her mother came into the room. Since she met Jordan, they had been going steady. Sheena was not as happy about the arrangement as her mother. If fact, Sheena was not very emotional about anything lately, Her biggest concern, at this time, was her cold and headache that had been getting worse instead of better.
"Jordan's a better catch than Mort Flier" her mother had crowed when she found out about Jordan. "He's going to the pros or at least will get a good education and a job."
Sheena was noncommittal. "Yeah, momma he's doing fine."
"Your damn right he's doing fine. You stay with him and you do fine too. That damn scum- Jamal kills 5 people for no reason. Everybody think you his girl and you like him. Somes even say you were knocked up by him and that why he went crazy. I told them they're crazy. You had nuttin to do with that killer."
"Yes, momma," Shenna moaned tiredly and ran her hand through her hair.
"You don't use that tone with me! You'll be a tramp and end up like me in some dirty roach pig sty," she said while ranting and gesturing madly. "If you let every man that wants you have you, you'll end up with a passle of kids, no money and no hope. You tease em but you don't please em till you're married girl."
"Momma, I knows." Laying back in bed, Sheena rubbed her the temples of her head to relieve the headache.
"Is you still sick girl?" her mother asked without any real concern in her voice. "I have a cold too and the same headache you do, Maybe you should stay home tonight?"
Sheena did not want to spend the night around her mother.
Slowly getting up from the bed, she replied "No momma. Jordan will be here soon. I'm going with him. If I feel poorly, I'11 come back," Looking at her mother, Sheena saw her suddenly shutter and jerk her head back, "Momma, you ok?, momma?"
"I got a terrible hurt in the head. II11 laydown." She left the room leaving Sheena alone.
Sheena finished dressing and stayed in her room until she heard a knock on the front door. "Sheena it's me."
"Be right with you Jordan." Sheena stood in front of the mirror and smoothed her dress. Wearing a black, strapless tube dress with a plunging neckline, she appraised her appearance. The breasts were both tightly squezzed together and uplifted. There was no bra underneath the dress. A faint outline of her nipples shown through the satin of the dress. Reaching into a plastic jewelry box, she retrieved a long chain of costume pearls. Putting the pearls on, she let them sit on her breasts. Moving around to see how they looked at various angles, "No, I'11 show the breasts. I want Jordan to see what he's got." Wrapping the strand around her neck again, she shortened the pearls so that they laid halfway between the neck and her breasts. Grabbing a shawl, she threw it around her shoulders and flounced from the room. Glancing over her shoulder into her mother's room, "Bye momma, I'll see you later."
"What the hell is taking so long?" Jordan snapped. Getting angry after waiting outside for so long, he was about to knock again when the door opened. Seeing Sheena in the tight black dress with a tightly drawn shawl, he smiled broadly and forgot his irritation. "Whew, you are a fox tonight," Sheena stood there smiling back and gently turning from side to side.
"You think so?" Sheena said demurely as she opened her shawl to reveal the plunging neckline.
Jordan let out a low animal sigh and walked to her. "My God, you're a fox tonight." Placing both hands on her hips, he guided her to him and kissed her forcefully on the lips. "Let's go to my place first," he stated not asked.
Laughing, Sheena pushed him back, "I'm hungry. Let's go." Pushing past Jordan she walked to the car while deliberately, swinging her hips in a slow even motion that was not her's or any woman's normal walk.
Running to get to her right side, Jordon placed his left arm around her and on her left hip. Pulling her close to him, Sheena giggled as Jordan pinched her. "Stop that. That's all me," she laughed.
When they reached his car, Sheena bent over to open the door.
At that time, Jordan squeezed her left breast~ "You be good now and I may be good tonight," Sheena smiled as she sat in the car and swung her legs. Her dress was so short, that when in the seating position, it covered very little, Smiling, he closed the door and bending over, looked through the car door window. Sheena sat with her hands folded in her lap and looked up smiling. "You just gonna stand there lookin or you gonna play some,"
Walking around the car, Jordan got in, "We're going to a frat party at the university. I will be joining Psi Beta at Ole Miss, so I can attend their frat parties here~ They're supposed to be good"
"I'se never been to a frat party with college men fo," Sheena spoke cautiously,
"We're like everyone else," Jordan laughed at her apprehension, "In that dress, they'll love you." Sheena smiled and shifted her breasts, Wincing, she thought "Damn, this tight dress," That dress was a pain to wear and it usually left bruises the next day because it was so tight. Yet, it always worked to make her the most noticed woman in the room, That was something she would not give up to save a little discomfort or pain.
The party, itself, was a small affair. There were eight to ten couples. Music was provided by CD players while a VCR was playing Madonna's latest video. Most of the women there were coeds and the girlfriends of the frat boys~ A few women, like Sheena, were guests of friends of the frat, Even with a terrible headache, she was the hottest girl at the party, "You outshine them all," Jordan said with approval and pride. Throughout the night she was being hit on by the guys at the party. When she danced, the place sizzled.
Later when one of the guys tried to dirty dance with Sheena, his girlfriend interrupted it and glowering in rage, shouted,"What kind of party is this that brings hookers?" Turning, she stormed indignantly away with her date slinking after her, "Wait up, hon."
Upset, Sheena ran to the bathroom as the pounding in her head increased, "Damn, why won't this headache go away," she moaned, Splashing water on her face did not help.
There was a knock on the door, "Sheena let's go. These college princesses aren't for us, These tight assed broads don't have what it takes to satisfy a man and they'll pissed off that you do," Jordan railed through the door.
Coming out of the bathroom, she snapped "Come on, Let's go." Jordan kissed her and together they walked down the hall. Dancing had resumed in the living room. Weaving throught the couples Sheena reached for her shawl, hanging on a hallway coat rack, when suddenly shuttered and reeled while Jordan steadied her. "Are you alright? Had to much to drink?" Jordan joked,
"My head hurts," she murmured,
"I'11 take you home," Jordan led her to the car.
Repeatedly rubbing her head, Sheena got into the back seat and laid down. Feeling hot, she sat up and absentmindedly pulled her dress down while the car was still in the frat parking lot. "That's better," she sighed while laying back on the seat. "Take me home," she whined,
As Jordan sat in the front seat, he turned, saw Sheena and blurted, "What are you doing? Do you want us arrested?" Starting the car, he drove down a secluded side road. "I'se hot. So hot." Sheena moaned in a sultry voice.
Aroused and thinking that she was sexually willing, 'ordan quickly parked, got out and ran to the passenger door of the back seat. Opening the door with one hand, he unbuttoned his pants with the other. "God, you're nice," he sighed while staring at her.
Sheena was writhing on the seat. Thinking she was in sexual throes, Jordan gently got on top of her and began sucking forcefully on her nipples. "No, not now," she pleaded. "Yes," growling as he gently bit her breasts.
Sheena let out a half-moan and half sob. "Ok, hurry," she softly whined while watching him open a condom.
Afterward, Jordan was a little disappointed in her. As he was driving her home, he angrily reflected on her sexual performance. "Every time I wantit, we have sex but she never seems that interested. It's frustrating to have such an indifferent yet gorgeous woman as a sex partner. Other women that I've loved were much more responsive, although not as pliable." Wistfully he thought, "The dumb pretty ones will let you have sex whenever you want, but never enjoy it. The smart plain ones will let you have sex only on the rare times they want it, but at least then they enjoy it." Looking in the back, he saw Sheena slowly but finally starting to dress.
"We're just about home, honey. How do you feel?"
When he heard no response, Jordan again looked over his shoulder. Sheena was sitting in the back seat, arms at her sides with her eyes staring unfocused at the ceiling. "You ok, Sheena?" Her dress was only pulled up to her waist with her big breasts overhanging it like a roof of a house.
Wondering what to do next, Jordan pulled off to the side of the road which was dark and deserted. The only light was from the partially clouded half moon. Getting carefully out of the car, he opened her door, "What's the matter Sheena?" Reaching into the carl he grabbed her arm and tugged. Stiffly, she was led out.
Scared that someone would come upon them, he desperately, wanted to leave, "Sheena, pull up your dress." As he pleaded with her, a sudden terrifying thought occurred to him, "Someone might have drugged her at the party to make her submissive. The drug might just now be taking effect." The thought was scary. "I can't prove I didn't do it," he moaned. "I'11 take her home and keep her there until she snaps out of it." However, he realized that he had to get her dressed first. Taking hold of her dress, he tried to pull it up over her breasts. "How does she get this thing on?" he shouted with disgust. After several attempts to pull the dress up, he stopped. Sheena just stood there swaying.
Walking behind her, he pulled the dress up again with his left hand. As he did so, he reached over her shoulder and grabbed her breasts with his right hand and forced them into the dress. Sheena grunted as he pulled up the dress but still did not say anything. After getting her dressed, he put her into the car. "Thank God, she's dressed," He sighed with relief. Once she was fully dressed, he began to relax. Looking around and seeing no one, he got into the car and immediately headed to Sheena's home.
When Jordan arrived at Sheena's home, he began to panic and wondered if he should take her in or take her to a hospital, The thought scared him. "If she had been drugged, they'll think I did it, I'11 be charged with rape." Suddenly, he decided, "I'11 take her back to my apartment. Then when she comes to, she can go home," Forcing the car into gear, he drove to his apartment. "Sheena, honey, I'm taking you to my place."
Jordan had a ground floor efficiency apartment whose front door opened onto the parking lot. "We'll soon be there, Don't worry honey. It will be alright." Pulling into the parking space in front of his apartment, he jumped from the car and ran to the door. Quickly throwing the dead bolt, he flung open the hollow core door and rushed back to the car. After scanning the area to make sure that they would not be seen, he opened the car door and reached for Sheena who just sat there staring at him with vacant eyes. As he touched her, she suddenly started convulsing and threw up over herself and Jordan. "Goddam it," he said disgustedly, Grabbing her arm, he pulled her from the car and led her into the apartment. "Take it easy, honey, we're here."
Once in the apartment, Jordan began to panic. "If they find her here like that, they'll think I drugged her. I've got to clean her up." Rushing to the bathroom he yelled in disgust, "Why is this happening?" Striking his fist on the sink, he winced in pain.
Filling the bathtub nearly to the top, he took a deep breath, "Well, here we go," Slowly he walked into the living room.
Sheena had not moved or even batted an eye since being seated on the sofa. Walking over to her, he asked, "Sheena can you hear me? Honey, I think you was drugged. I'm going to wash you a bit. If after that you ain't better, I'11 take you to the hospital." She just sat there unmoving and in a detached state,
Laying Sheena on the sofa he quickly but gently undressed her. She did not say a word or even mutter a sound even though she lay in the nude. Taking her clothes to the washing machine, he flung them in and turned it on. Returning, he carried her to the bathroom and sat her in the tub. "Honey, I'm going to give you a bath," he said with embarrassment. Using all the shampoo available, he carefully washed her as best that he could. It was with a sense of relief that he finished. Carrying her to the couch, he dried her quickly with a towel. Afterward, he redressed her and in doing so he drew upon his earlier experience in putting on her dress. "Damn tight dress, how does she get it on?"
After she was dressed, he left her on the couch and went to lay down. The ordeal had left him emotionally drained and fatigued. "I'm tired. Damn, this has been along night." Hoping that she would be alright in the morning, he collapsed in the bed without undressing or even taking his shoes off.
At 6 A.M., the next morning, Sheena's mother rolled out of bed and after staggering to the bathroom, threw up in the toilet. The pain in her head was an unrelenting pounding. Looking into Sheena's room, she realized that Sheena had not come home last night. "That goddam bitch nevers hears me. I'11 show her. She sleeps with that man before married now he'll never married her." Shouting loudly and running to her room she grabbed a large butcher knife, "I'11 show them, They'll listen to me," Tossing the phone aside, she grabbed the phone book. "I'11 find them. I'11 get them," rambling as she looked up Jordan's address. "I'11 shows them both. They won't disrespect me again."
Brusting out of her apartment she ran to her car while wildly waving the knife, Jumping into her old 1965 Chevy, she ground the engine. Sputtering, the motor coughed into life and she slammed the transmission into gear. An old neighbor, Mrs. Harrip, came out of her apartment and using her walker approached the car. "Mabel, why the ruckus? Is somethin wrong with Sheena? Wait up, girl."
As if not hearing the old woman, Sheena's mother stepped on the gas. The car shot forward and struck the old woman broadside and tossed her like a sack of sand to the side of the curb. Moaning loudly, with blood trickling down her, she gasped and with a cough died, A crowd gathered around the old woman and then a woman shouted, "I saw it. I saw it. She was like a mad woman. She hit Mrs. Harrip without stopping. Mabel just hit her, I tell you I saw her." Another woman said,"I've call the police. They will be here shortly, I'se never seen such a thing before." A man came from the crowd and covered Mrs. Harrip with an old blanket.
Driving madly towards Jordan's apartment, Sheena' mother just missed being in an accident several times. While driving, the pain in her head crowded out everything but pure naked rage. All the time, she was saying, "I'11 get them. I'11 get them both." Tearing through an intersection in front of the Ukiah Elementary School, she struck several children in a cross walk, "Get the hell out of the way," she screamed. The bodies of several young children were cast about the street and hit with the sound of melons crushing~ Parents dropping off their children stopped their cars and got out to help the stricken children. A neighbor who bad been watering the lawn ran forward, yelling, "I called 911. They're sending an ambulance, I saw it. It was terrible. She didn't try to stop."
Pulling into Jordan's lot, Sheena's mother crashed into Jordan's car. People ran to their doors and windows to see what happened. However, Jordan remained asleep. The neighbors saw a middle aged, unkemp black woman stagger from the car. In her left hand she was carrying a large butcher knife, "I'11 show em. I'11 show em," she kept muttering. Staggering onto the sidewalk, she stumbled towards Jordan's apartment.
The middle aged woman tenant, in the apartment next to Jordan, opened her door and screamed, "What the hell have you done? You're not going anywhere. Stay where you are." Without a word, Sheena's mother turned and gave her a look a pure hate. The tenant, for the first time, saw the knife and screamed, "No! Stay Back! Help!" The scream was cut short by the knife embedded into her throat.
Awakened by the scream, Jordan jumped from the bed. Remembering Sheena, he yelled, "Sheena are you alright?" Running to the living room, he saw her asleep on the couch. Hearing a commotion outside his door, he flung it open. Facing Jordan was Sheena's mother. "Mrs..."
Sheena's mother had blood splattered over her blouse. With a animalistic snarl, she thrust the knife into his stomach.
"I'11 show you," she screamed. As Jordan doubled over, Sheena's mother withdrew the knife and with a backhand stroke slit his throat. A stream of blood squirted from the severed jugular vein. Staggering back into his apartment, he tripped against the couch and fell on Sheena. Covered with Jordan's blood, Sheena awoke but did not move or say anything, She just lay there with a glazed look on her face.
Sheena's mother, glowering in rage, came at her with the knife raised, "I'11 show you, bitch. You'll never disrespect me again," she yelled while raising the knife. All the time, Sheena never moved or acknowledged her mother's presence in any way. The room suddenly echoed with the sound of several shots. The air filled with the smell cordite. Her mother's body jerked and then pitched forward to land on top of Jordan's body that was still on top of Sheena. That was how they were found by the police.
The shots had been fired by the apartment manager who was a retired marine and an avid gun nut. He told the police, "When I saw the black woman kill Mrs. Harwick, I ran to my apartment and grabbed my 45 magnum. I arrived just in time to prevent the girl from being killed. I shot the woman four times."
The investigating officer noted, "Every bullet went right through her and the next two apartments, If the tenants had not been in the street, wondering what was happening, they might have been hit by the bullets going through the apartments,"
The manager said, "Yeah but what would you have done?" and
then walked quickly away. The official report theorized that the mother
may have become deranged when she discovered her daughter had left her.
The mother then went to Jordan's apartment to kill both of them and probably
herself also. The report continued with a statement that "the daughter
suffered an emotional breakdown in seeing both her mother and lover killed."
It concluded with the treating psychiatrist's opinion that Sheena Daves,
the surviving victim, was in a catatonic state with no immediate prospects
The California News Gazette, a state wide newspaper ran the following article, the week following Jason's death:
RACE RIOTS STRIKE NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
Both Mendocino and Sonoma Counties of Northern California are suffering race riots that have claimed the lives of hundreds of persons and continue unabated. The riots appear to be both unrelated and inexplicable. The first riot occurred in Ukiah, the county seat for Mendocino County. At 10:00 P.M. on Sunday, August 17, five black members of the Ukiah High School basketball team entered a local restaurant, Jeffie's. When the black men were told that they would have to wait for a table to become available, witnesses state the young men became enraged and attacked patrons. Police were called.
The officers responding to the call were Sergeant Bert Paper, Corporal Charles Maston and motorcycle officer John Tablet. Witnesses state that, at the time of the arrival of the police, the restaurant was in bedlam. The officers were attacked by the high schoolers when ordered to disperse. It was at this point, the witnesses state, that the officers became enraged and began firing indiscriminately into the crowded restaurant. The officers killed 10 persons and wounded four more. Officers Paper, Maston and Tablet were themselves killed by fellow police officers when they refused orders to surrender and instead instituted a gun battle. When news of the shootings reached the black community, a riot started that has increased in violence. Numerous buildings have been burnt and several dozen persons have been killed. The mayor, community leaders and the clergy have appealed for calm but to no avail.
Almost at the same time as the riot in Ukiah, there was a riot in Santa Rosa 60 miles south of it. In Santa Rosa, a basketball game between Santa Rosa High and Watsonville High School, was interrupted when a fight broke out between the teams. The fight soon spread to the fans in the stadium. Police were called but were unable to stem the violence. The violence continues throughout Santa Rosa and has spread to the adjoining communities of Petuluma, Rhonert Park, and Cloverdale.
The Board of Supervisors for both Mendocino and Sonoma Counties reguested that the Governor send the state police and National Guard to stop the violence. The Speaker of the Assembly, Elton Watter, recently completed a tour of Mendocino and Sonoma counties, Speaker Watter introduced a resolution against the use of the state police and National Guard. Speaker Watter, in a emotional and, at times, rambling speech, called the use of state police and the National Guard to quell the violence an attack by white racists upon oppressed minorities. The Speaker increasingly became more irrational and abusive until he was finally removed from the Assembly floor by force. Aides for the Speaker stated that he was overly tired and stressed due to his ceaseless attempt to stem the increasing violence. Reliable sources state that the Speaker was taken to a local sanatorium.
The Governor's Press Secretary, Eliot Huys, stated,
'The Governor is extremely upset and concerned about the violence taking place in Northern California. However, the Governor feels that the use of troops, at this time, would create the erroneous impression of indifference by the administration to the concerns of the people. The Governor,' according to Mr. Huys, 'feels that all persons should stop their violence immediately.' The Governor has appointed a blue ribbon committee to investigate the violence, The committee will be composed of the Lieutenant Governor, the mayors of Ukiah and Santa Rosa, local clergy and representatives of the black community.
The Justice Department has instituted a civil rights investigation for
the violence. The U.S. Attorney General Clyde Watson stated, "This
unrelenting violence must be stopped but we will not condone or accept
needless or excessive violence in quelling it. We will- watch very closely
the activities of the state to make sure that constitutional rights are
Two days after the symposium in San Francisco ended, the scientists, their families and other persons who had attended the symposium began returning home. Many of the scientists and their families were flying on Flight 213 of Transeuro Airlines. This was a charter flight by the World Health Organization, a sponsor of the symposium. Those guests, who were taking the flight, were in the lobby checking out of the convention's hotel. A harried clerk whispered to another, "Do you sense something strange or odd in the way everyone is just standing and milling about? It feels odd to me. Everyone seems on edge. Don't you feel it, Judy?"
The other clerk blew her nose, "Helen, I think you're just coming down with my cold. I caught it from one of the guests and feel terrible. What's more, I gave it to my husband and he passed it on at work. No, I don't feel anything but miserable."
There was an irritation that was instantly noticeable by those entering the lobby. Gradually, people entering the lobby in a gay and cheerful were reduced to sullen, morose and moody individuals. A large part of this transformation could be subscribed to the general blues and nausea caused by the colds that were inflicting them on their fellow passengers. Very few of the people in the lobby were not beset with runny noses, coughs or headaches. There had been a run on the hotel's drug store and all of the patented cold remedies in stock were sold out. This was the worse cold epidemic that the city had experienced in years. In fact, the cold epidemic had gotten so bad that it was covered in the news. The newspaper had a headline on the first page, "Health official declares city in midst of cold epidemic."
A guest reading the paper flung it aside, "Thank God we're going home. I feel miserable. In a few days, we can all reflect and realize what a success this symposium was actually. But now, I just want to go home." The aches and pains that were afflicting the guests to the symposium made them overlook its success.
Despite the regrettable deaths of both professor Erickson and Jason Harber, their written papers were well received. Jason Harber's work, in particular, hinted at a major breakthrough in the technique used in gene insertion.
"Yes dear," his wife said wearily. "However, I do not want to hear any more about your business today," she said tersely.
Into the lobby strolled a small group of well dressed men carrying their baggage. At the head of the group stood a swarthy, middle-aged man of short stature with red thinning hair dressed in a brown conservatively cut, tweed suit, Professor Alistair Hammon of Cambridge, the de facto head, of the British contingent to the symposium. "What a bloody zoo," he declared. A Nobel prize winner in chemistry, he attended the symposium to further his work in biochemical influence in genetic development. Several of his younger colleagues surrounded him and were jockeying for position to stand in the reflected glory of England's greatest living scientist. Hammon was in a foul mood and was not, at that moment, the paragon of British propriety and deportment. In fact, he was being totally obnoxious. "This is totally inexcusable. They should have additional staff to handle convention checkouts. This has been a particularly dismal trip," Hammon lamented as he blew his nose. "As long as I live I shall never return to this festering hell hole. All of the diseases of the Orient blow onto these benighted shores to strike down, we poor travelers who have not had years to build up our tolerances to their diseases."
Those standing near Hammon nodded their heads in agreement.
"We're all afflicted by the cold sweeping the city," a man to Hammon's left sneezed. "I'm suffering severe headaches that make any conscious activity, including just thinking, agony."
Another man said, "Given this background, it's perfectly understandable, if not acceptable that we would blame the city for our illnesses. My head feels as though stuffed with cotton."
"I agree with you, Professor. I've never been sick a day in my life until I came to this pestilential clime," a young British gentleman tersely averred as he brushed his tweed suit and bent over to move his bag. "You know Professor, when I get back I intend to inform the Ministry of Health about this galloping flu and register my complaint. We should have been warned about it before we came," the man said while staring angrily at the lobby.
"I agree with Barton," a similarly dressed man said with a broad grin. "Imagine sending British citizens to the colonies without proper protection. I think we ought to reconsider giving these people independence. They definitely need our strong guiding hand," the man said with a wry smile.
"You've only been in this foul pestilence for two days. I defy you to stay, Cryton," Barton's face was instantly livid.
"Easy gentlemen, I have an horrendous headache. I don't need you to make it worse," Hammon snapped. "Let's go" The three men left together and got into a cab. "To the airport please."
"Righto, What airline? How did you like the city?"
"Transeuro Airlines. Our trip was absolutely terrible. We caught that deplorable cold sweeping this disease ripen city and can only look forward to a six hour non-stop flight crowded with people we find barely tolerable in the best circumstances," Hammon angrily snorted while slamming his back against the seat.
"Watch it buddy. I didn't give you the cold and I won't take responsibility for it," the cabbie retorted.
"Of course not my man," Barton said further inflaming a tense situation, "Your defense of your city is laudable but misplaced. It still is disease producing blight on the world."
"Limies," the cabbie muttered and remained silent thereafter.
At the airport, Hammon and Barton marched into the terminal. Hammon snorted over his shoulder while walking, "Cryton, pay the cab and check the baggage. I've got more important things to do."
Cryton followed Hammon and Barton with his eyes and thought, "They are very angry and if they don't get over it, they're going to start some trouble before the day is out. I would not have thought that a simple cold could cause otherwise reasonable people to act in such an irritating or irresponsible behavior."
The passengers for the Transeuro flight were waiting for their flight in the boarding area. A huge number of passengers were walking in circles, thumbing through books and newspapers, and constantly looking at their watches. A mood of haunting anticipation filled the waiting area. The mood affected even the children who were sullen, obnoxious and ill-behaved. When it was announced that the plane would be late, a throng of irate passengers verbally abused the desk clerks as if they had, in some way, deliberately delayed the plane. As he waited, Hammon sat down and angrily pulled open an abandoned newspaper that had been left in the next seat. Suddenly Hammon's head snapped back and forth and a glazed vacant look slowly filled his face. After what seemed an irritating long delay, the plane landed and the passengers eventually shuffled aboard in angry dissatisfaction.
"We're going to have fun on the flight," a flight stewardess whispered to the desk clerk while looking at the strained faces of the passengers. "I hate these charter flights."
Turning her back to the crowd, the clerk responded in a low conspiratorial tone, "Better you than me, Helen. They are the most rude and irritating people, I ever met. You'd think the British would behave better. Honestly, its as though they're on drugs."
Four hours later, the plane was about 550 miles from Britain. The stewardesses had been plying the passengers with liquor from the start of the flight. The effect of the alcohol made some of the passengers even more verbose, abusive and irritating. The pilot decided to restrict drinking to 3 drinks per passenger. When informed of this decision, Hammon broke into a violent tirade. "I paid for first class service and I demand first class service. It comes with the ticket." Berating the stewardesses, pilot and fellow passengers, he pushed his way to the bar.
"Get back to your seat, Please," a confused stewardess pleaded. This was the spark needed to ignite the anger building up in the passengers. Several other passengers, both men and women, joined him in the assault on the bar. The stewardesses backed against the wall and screamed. "Stay back!" A few sane men jumped up and pushed through the jostling crowd to help the terrified women. A massive melee broke out and soon spread to all passenger sections of the plane. Released from their social constraints by the fighting, the passengers rioted unabated and unrestrained.
Fighting back a drunk man, a stewardess grabbed a mike and called the pilot. "Captain, the passengers are fighting. We can't stop them and need help," she screamed.
The Captain's stern voice blared over the intercom, "Take your seats immediately. It is a crime to fight aboard an airliner punishable by ten years in prison. Take your seats, now!"
Hammon, whose blazing eyes matched his flushed face, was shaking his head furiously and pushing through the crowd when he found himself near the emergency door on the left wing. Growling in rage, he grabbed the door handle and yelled through clenched teeth, "I've got to get out here. Can't breathe!"
A small thin stewardess, at the far end of the aisle, saw Hammon grab the handle and realizing what he was trying to do was momentarily speechless but then screamed, "No, Don't! Stop him!" Pushing through the crowd and towards Hammon, she was suddenly grabbed from behind by a large woman, spun around and punched in the face. The blow caused her to fall between the seats, Just as she scrambled back to her feet, she saw Hammon break the seal for the door. "Stop!" she shrieked as the door was flung open by the escaping air.
There was a massive decompression of the plane and everyone around the emergency door was sucked out. The plane which had been cruising at 39,000 feet entered into an immediate dive at 650 miles per hour. In the nine seconds, before the internal pressure equalized, the plane crashed into the ocean.
The New York Crescent ran the following article:
AIRCRASH KILLS WORLD'S LEADING SCIENTISTS
On August 16, Flight 213 of Transeuro Airlines crashed at sea. There were no survivors. The crash took place at 8:13 a.m. approximately 500 miles from Great Britain.
The cause of the crash is unknown. However shortly before the crash, the pilot, John Crier, a 23 year veteran pilot, radioed that passengers abroad the flight were fighting. At that point, the pilot reported a loss of pressurization and the plane subsequently crash. The National Transportation Safety Board, the Federal Aviation Administration and Interpol have each sent investigators to London to conduct the investigation. Because of the presence of such a large number of world's leading scientists aboard the flight, theories have been advanced that terrorists were aboard the flight and blew it up after struggling with the passengers.
The flight carried 110 of the world's greatest scientists and their families. They had attended a world-wide symposium on genetic diseases in San Francisco that ended the day before. The flight was a special charter furnished by the World Health Organization.
Although no names have been released pending notification of all the victims next of kin, T.E.A. representatives did state that 22 Nobel Prize winners for chemistry, medicine or biology were on the flight.
Throughout Europe, special masses and services are being held. Pope
John, will hold a special mass for the victims of the flight tomorrow.
The Archbishop of Canterbury will hold a similar service, on August 27.
The London View, a British tabloid, carried, the following article three months after Jason's death,
EUROPE IN TURMOIL, BIOLOGICAL TERRORISM EXPECTED
Every country in Europe is experiencing unprecedented and widespread violence. This violence touches every strata of society and is escalating. There is no discernible pattern to the violence. Vast numbers of normal, peaceful and law-abiding men and women of all ages have suddenly begun committing the most atrocious murders. In most of the cases, the murderer refuses to be taken alive. Many murderers either kill themselves or are killed resisting arrest.
The common thread running through many of the murders is that the murderer appears to have been in the throes of a violent rage approaching insanity.
Autopsies that have been performed on the murderers have disclosed a possible physical reason for the rages. The autopsies revealed an excess of phenylalanine in the brain of the murderers. Phenylalanine is a hormone produced by an embryo to direct the development of the brain. It is theorized that something has triggered the body to produce excess phenylalanine. The result of the excessive amount of phenylalanine is brain damage culminating in murderous mania. This theory has been validated by the medical examinations performed on the few captured murderers who also suffer from excessive phenylalanine.
The Ministry of Defense is concerned that this outbreak is the result of some new type of international terrorism. The Home Office argues against this view. Both the Home Office and the Ministry of Health point out that every European country, including those of the former Iron Curtain, are also being racked by this unexplained violence.
The Ministry of Health believes that some unknown form of external influence
is causing people to produce excessive amounts of phenylalanine. Parliament
has instructed the Ministry of Health to give first priority to finding
the cure or preventative for this problem.
Down the main hall of the university walked a small delicately shaped woman. The woman carried herself in a dignified manner with her head straight. There was a hardly a sound made by her high heeled shoes on the marble floor. All about her was an aura of money, authority, social standing, and no small amount of subdued sexual attraction. As she walked past two men, they turned to watch her. "Man, what a gorgeous woman."
"Yeah, forget her. Someone like that is way out of our league," the other man said regretfully. The light blue business suit that she was wearing accented her cultivated, professional appearance. The double-breasted jacket was narrowly striped in white with solid trim, cuffed 3/4 sleeves and patch pockets. The skirt was a solid light blue with a small back slit. White shoes with matching blue trim completed the outfit. A maroon leather briefcase completed the business attire.
Turning off the main hall, the woman went down a narrower side hall and stopped before a room with two huge ornately carved wooden doors. "This is it," she said with resignation. Taking hold of the oversized door knob, she swung the right door open. Despite its size, the door swung easily and silently. The room was large, paneled in dark rich wood and had many tables and chairs in rows. At the very front of the room was a long beautifully carved wooden table. There were four chairs on the opposite side facing the door. On the table was a switch for a buzzer and several note pads. Overhead were hanging four globed lights framed in tarnished brass. The room excluded feelings of permanence and tradition.
Being alone in the room, the woman placed her briefcase on the table before the far left seat. "This is my seat," she said "based on seniority". Turning with her back to the door, she out took a small mirror and brush. Quickly fixing and brushing her hair, she turned to make sure no one was watching. Shrugging her shoulders with fatigue, "God, I feel terrible. What a time to get PMS. I wouldn't have come in today except the mayor's daughter, I can't even remember her name, has her damn dissertation today. I'm one of the judges." Walking to a water fountain, she reached for a paper cup to get a drink. Reaching into her pocket, she took out a small brass case. Opening it revealed several pills of various types. Taking two pills that were aspirin, she quickly swallowed them with a swig of water. "God, has to be a man. No woman would do to another what he did." Throwing the cup angrily into the waste container. "For 10 days, I have PMS and another 5 days, I have my period. For half a month, I'm punished for not being pregnant. Once a woman is blissfully pregnant, there's no PMS or period to worry about. Only weight gain, varicose veins and giving birth. After birth, we get post partum depression to remind us how great it was to carry a bowling ball for 9 months. At the same time, our period returns." Depressed, she returned to her chair. "I wonder if the mayor's daughter has PMS? No, probably not. I didn't start having it until I was 21, four years ago. She's just 19 or 20. What a future to look forward to," sighing and being close to tears, she wiped her eyes.
"How are you, Professor Lynn?"
Looking up in surprise, the woman saw three men walking up to the table. Each man took his place in the three remaining chairs. Professor Anglin, the chairman, was flanked respectively by Professors Kero and Lanin. All three men looked at her and nodded a greeting.
"Good morning Professors. I understand that Miss Williams the mayor's daughter is here today for her dissertation on Hawaiian sociology. She was assigned KT's effect on Hawaiian society."
"Yes," Professor Anglin replied. He was a tall man who walked in a permanent stoop. Although he was only in his mid fifties he looked older. His reputation of an easy mark for a good grade was unnecessary here because no one would fail the mayor's daughter regardless how stupid she was.
"Fortunately," thought the woman, "the mayor's daughter isn't stupid, just a typical giggling airhead who is going to school only to find a husband daddy can approve. Her only interest in being here is getting a husband. If she had any idea what's waiting for her when she gets married, she'd spend more time getting a better education," Professor Lynn silently sneered.
"Well let's get started," Professor Kero cheerfully piped.
Professor Lynn smiled back. The elderly Kero had been her mentor. Despite her father's opposition, Kero had tutored her and arranged for her position at the university. Such took great courage, especially when one considers that her father was the university president Tollan Lynn. In fact, Tollan had unofficially ordered Kero not to hire her but he did so anyway. Her father had been furious, she recalled with a wry smile, but he could do nothing without losing face. Kero and his wife were some of her dearest friends and it was hard to be angry in the presence of this rotund jolly gentle and sweet man.
"Right, let's get going," Professor Lanin announced shortly. Looking at him, the woman professor bristled. The two of them never got along. Lanin, in his late 50's, made no secret that he thought she got her appointment because of her father. Despite being told otherwise by Kero, he still maintained that belief. Often at opposite ends of a discussion, she had decided to avoid him as much as possible. The reason that she attended today, despite her PMS, was that she not want to give him the opportunity to run her down because of her 'femaleness'. Lanin pushed a button on a buzzer next to him and a jarring electronic beep echoed throughout the room.
A slight noise introduced a young attractive woman who was entering the classroom. Walking in hurried pace, she stopped before the table of university professors. There she appraised the three middle aged male professors and the sole 25 year old woman professor. The man sitting in the middle of panel shuffled some papers on the table. "They look mean," she thought.
"Miss Williams," Professor Anglin started, "you are here today to give the first of your oral dissertations required for your Hawaiian sociology degree. The topic chosen for you was the sociological effects of the Kellen-Thoren disease on Hawaiian development. You may begin when ready." Looking at the other members on the panel, to see if they had any questions, the man reclined back into his chair.
"Do you have any questions before we begin?"
"No, Professor Anglin." Slowly shaking her head the woman unconsciously crossed her breasts with her right arm. Taking a quick nervous breath, she began to recite from memory. "In August 1998, the World Health Organization held its last symposium on Kellen-Thoren Disease. The disease was named in honor of the two scientists who identified the virus that causes the disease. It had taken nearly two years, after the first recognized outbreaks, to identify the adenovirus causing KT. By the time that the virus was identified, it had spread throughout the world. There was no place on earth that had no been effected or touched by the disease. The final collapse of world-wide society was occurring."
The sole woman on the panel sarcastically thought to herself, "What a waste of time. We'll give her a degree even if she didn't know where Hawaii was located." Taking notes, in a bored manner, the woman murmured absently, "Women get sociology degrees just so they would be thought educated and get a good husband."
"Did you say something Professor Lynn?"
"No, Professor Anglin. I was taking a mental note and got carried away. I apologize." Waving to the young woman candidate, "Please continue, Miss Williams."
Flustered, the young woman twice had to start over. "The identification of the disease did nothing to cure it. It merely made the killer more personal. The killer was now finally known to be a virus. But not a virus that could be cured. Scientists were the first large group to be affected by KT. That this was to happen was only natural in hindsight. Doctors and scientists were usually among the first persons to come into contact with either victims or murderers. As such, they became affected with KT and passed it on to their colleagues and staff who then passed it on in turn. It took surprisingly little time for KT to wipe out nearly all of the medical communities and the biological scientific communities. Without them, there were few left with the scientific training to find a cure."
Professor Kepi Lynn dissected the candidate where she stood. The peach colored coat and dress ensemble was prim proper and perfect for a dignified dissertation. It consisted of a light woolen long-length, lined swing coat with contrasting buttons, a back tab, an inverted center pleat and side pockets. Beneath the coat, she wore a simple cap-sleeve chemise with a straight back slitted skirt. On the right side of her long back swept chestnut hair was a small white orchid. "How virginal," Kepi sarcastically thought. "An unmarried woman wears a flower on the right side of her hair, an engaged woman on her left and married women on both sides." Kepi absently ran her fingers through her long straight black hair. There was no flower in it. Slowly, Kepi focused on the Miss Williams' boring dialogue.
With a start, it dawned on Miss Williams that she had been speaking to Professor Anglin and ignoring the rest of the panel. With a deliberate attempt to appear at ease, she turned to address each panel member separately, "Finding a cure, even under the most ideal conditions, was problematical. The AIDS virus was itself only identified in the 1970's, although it was actually killing people, as early as 1950. Despite being identified and a world wide effort of first rate quality, a cure for AIDS was never discovered. In contrast, finding a cure for KT when the medical and scientist communities of the world were decimated was not very likely. The AIDS virus simply died out because people died of KT before they could contract AIDS or pass it along to others. Eventually, the AIDS virus died out with most of mankind."
Disappointed, Kepi jotted down notes absently. "Why don't we just give her the degree and not waste our time? Sociology has become a woman degree. Men run the department but women get the degree just so they can appear educated and get a good husband," Kepi silently railed. "None of this is original work. It is just a regurgitation of facts and not in a very cohesive manner at that. When I did my work it was all original and important. This airhead will get the same degree I got," Kepi ruefully thought. Sighing Kepi angrily pushed her pad aside.
Turning on her toes to face Kepi, Miss Williams found herself unexpectedly staring directly into Kepi's flashing black eyes. Becoming disoriented, she rushed, "Once it was recognized that KT was caused by an extremely virulent and easily transmitted disease, the world became panic-stricken. Embargoes and quarantines were instituted everywhere. At first, only a nation's borders were quarantined. Then as KT spread, quarantines were extended to the states, then counties, then cities and finally to individual streets themselves. Law and order vanished nearly overnight as people turned into near solitary animals. Cities were abandoned, in order to avoid, contamination from other people. Rural areas were overrun by people fleeing the cities. This was exactly what occurred 400 years earlier with the bubonic plague.
The segregation, quarantines and suspension of trade forced people from the cities. These refugees then attempted to live off the land. Every segment of an industrial society ceased to exist. People stopped going to work out of fear they might be working next to someone who might be infected. Food, natural resources and medicines were not transported because of the lack of workers and the long quarantine periods."
Kepi had been in bad temper since her lunch, the previous day, with her old college classmates. "Old, yes that's us" she nodded to herself. "It was four years ago that we stood before this same panel. Some of us repeated the same tripe this baby doll is now." Sneering at Miss Williams. "We all got the same degree but I, at least, earned it. I did original work that now is accepted as pivotal." Thinking back to the lunch, Kepi recalled that of the five other women none had done anything with their degrees. All were married and had children. Three of the old classmates showed up at the lunch pregnant. "Even Ruth, old irrepressible Ruth, was pregnant with her third child. She had led the group in college with her free-wheeling, devil may care attitude," she said ruefully. Spitefully, she thought, "I wonder how her husband would feel if he knew that she was not a virgin when they married. Not by a long ways." It was both disappointing and disillusioning to see Ruth talking for hours on her children, her husband or the women's clubs to which she belongs. Kepi felt genuine anger when the women gently chided her for working and not having children. Squeezing her pen, in anger she focused on Miss Williams's dialogue.
Gaining confidence, Miss Williams spoke with ease. "In a surprisingly short period of time, the cities ceased to exist. Nearly every city on Earth had to import the fuel to generate its electricity. Without electricity, no modern city can exist because without it there is no energy for a city to run its factories, to provide water or for sewage disposal. Without water or sewage disposal, all of the sanitary diseases return, typhus, dysentery, etc. Without jobs in factories, there is no reason for the populace to stay in a city with no water or power."
Kepi recalled the conversation that she had with Alex Karmen. "Women are expected to have babies, babies and more babies. We're taught from birth that's what we are for. Its our best and finest destiny," she had said mockingly. "Abortions are illegal. Anyone performing an abortion is expelled from Hawaii, which in essence makes it a death sentence. Any woman caught having a abortion must either agree to have two children or face for expulsion herself. For that reason, girls are taught to be sexually repressed. Prostitution is nonexistent because, without birth control, no woman would risk, on a regular basis, having a child by a stranger. Virginity has become the main marketing tool for women. If we can't prove ourselves virtuous, we risk our jobs and any hope for a family. I teach women all day long. Its ludicrous the extent we women go to advertise our virginity. We wear flowers in our hair. If we don't we're saying we're as bad as whores. We have even had to consent to medical exams to prove we're intact. Our education is a joke because we're only allowed out of the house long enough to shop and see the girls."
Shifting her weight on her feet constantly, Miss Williams continued onward with her dissertation. Unused to giving long speeches, her soft voice was both oscillating and vacillating in both tone and timbre. "In those areas that still possessed their own means to produce electrical energy, civilization existed a little longer. Areas possessing nuclear energy were able to keep going for up to 10 years before they ran out of nuclear fuel. Some areas possessing natural gas and oil were able to power their electrical plants as long as their supplies lasted. Those rare areas having geothermal resources were able to maintain electrical power as long as they were able to keep their plants operating."
Kepi had been furious with Alex accusing him of patronizing her. Looking at her, he grinned knowingly. 'You're beautiful when you're angry.' With a smug grin she recalled slapping Alex and storming out of the room. "Serves the bastard right," she thought with pride. "I miss the bastard," she thought regretfully. "He's a man and can't help being rude, insensitive, a clod and a jerk. Still, he usually is nice. He'll never hurt anyone on purpose and can be very dear at times," she was becoming morose. Thinking back she recalled the number of times she saw women turn and ogle Alex when they thought she wasn't looking. Scanning Miss Williams, she wondered how Alex would view her. "Alex, like all men would drool over a pretty virgin. That is if she is a virgin. I wonder."
"One of the prime areas of geothermal power was in the Hawaiian Islands," Miss Williams proudly pronounced. "The big island, Hawaii, had the world's largest geothermal plants on the active volcanoes Mauna Loa and Kileau. In addition, the big island had a branch of the University of Hawaii on it when the KT epidemic struck. The local population of the big island dropped from 90,000 to 15,000. Tourism stopped as a result of KT and the general breakdown on air transportation. Even though Hawaii was able to maintain a stable source of electrical power, it had no other natural resources and no way to get them. Without gas and oil, all cars, buses, trucks, ships and planes that ran on them ceased to operate. Hawaii literally jumped backwards in time 200 years and returned to its past culture. The old ways of sailing, navigation and fishing were revived by necessity. With very little cotton grown, no natural resources and no way to get them, the Hawaiian fashions gradually returned to grass skirts and sarongs, except for the most wealthy."
"No problem for you, kiddo. That outfit cost three weeks of a professor's salary. However, being the daughter of the mayor of Hilo, your daddy can afford it, just like mine," mused Kepi.
Seeing Kepi finally smile, Miss Williams relaxed. "As the years went by, this university was reopened. The few surviving professors and instructors kept alive their knowledge. Since Hawaii had no natural resources, the University lacked the means to do more than teach. Without natural resources, the Hawaiians were unable to immediately utilize that knowledge and redevelop an industrial society. It was only after 150 years of doing little more than merely surviving, that the Hawaiians were able to began to explore the west coast of America."
The mayor's daughter nervously rung her hands as she spoke, "North America contained all of the natural resources that Hawaii needed but lacked. It was this need for equipment and natural resources that forced the Hawaiian people to violate and alter their policy of isolation. Hawaii traded some of its hoarded technological knowledge for old equipment and natural resources.
Particularly desirable was oil from which could be refined gasoline. With the gasoline, they could power the ancient cars and trucks on the islands. They transported these materials, obtained by the trade, back to islands. Eventually a trading system was set up between the city states on the west coast and the Hawaiian islands."
"This dissertation is so simplistic that its insulting. I want to know how it affected the Hawaiians personally. What did they do to compensate for the sudden lack of resources? How did they survive?" Kepi shook her head. "This report is not worthy of a passing grade. However, the mayor's daughter will get it anyway," Kepi thought with derision.
Completing her dissertation, Miss Williams spoke with relief, "With access to greater natural resources and equipment, Hawaii's
industrial and scientific progress increased greatly. Within 60 years of the first tentative trading missions, the Hawaiian islands once again attained a degree of scientific development similar to the later 1900's. The islands still do not have the ability to manufacture their own boats, planes, or electronic parts, however, they are able to repair the same and to design their own. They are, in a real essence modern day scavengers. They would take anything that they could fix or learn from in an attempt to better themselves. Scientific and industrial development has become the prime goals of the Hawaiians."
"Thank you Miss Williams," Professor Anglin closed his file. "Do any of you have any questions for the candidate?" turning to each of the panel members.
"Yes, Miss Williams," Kepi leaned forward, "You discussed the general development of Hawaiian development on the whole following the outbreak of KT. You did not address its effect on individuals particularly the family or women. Do you now how KT effected the sexual mores and taboos of society? Do you now how a woman's place in society changed as a result of KT?"
"Really, Professor Lynn, the girl isn't expected to know here the sexual aberrations and proclivities of the ancient Hawaiians," Professor Lanin said in a patronizing tone.
Looking at Miss Williams, Kepi saw her flush a vivid red.
"Definitely a virgin. She's probably never even seen a nude male statue. Boy, is she going be in for a surprise some day," Kepi thought angrily.
"I agree with Professor Anglin. The sexual effects of KT are not properly addressed in this course," Turning to Miss Williams, Professor Anglin continued "You may go Miss Williams your report was excellent."
Stammering a word of thanks, the mayor's daughter turned and rushed from the room,
"No doubt to inform her mother of the scandalous grilling she undertook to earn her degree," Kepi said softly. Professor Kero next to her turned and eyed her quizzedly.
As Miss Williams opened the door, she ran directly into Alex Karmen and stumbling, fell into his arms. Kepi watched as Alex instinctively brought his hands up to steady the mayor's daughter. "Right to the firm young breasts. The bastard cops a feel every chance he gets," Kepi derisively fumed. Miss Williams after steadying herself realized she was being held by her breasts. Blushing a beet red, she pulled back and ran out of the room without looking up or saying a word.
"I guess you're use to women falling all over you," Kepi said mockingly while walking to him
"Only a short shapely brunette," he reached for her.
Shocked, she stopped and looked around to see if anyone heard him. The other men in the room were talking among themselves and not noticing her. Turning to Alex, "You bastard," in a light whisper. Walking past Alex, she continued out of the room.
Following her, "Let's take an early lunch."
"Why should I go anywhere with you? You have no respect for me." She threw the words at him.
"Oh for Pete's sake. We go through this every month." lamenting her attack. Stopping in a secluded corner of the hall, she suddenly and vehemently whispered, "I'm tired of being accused a neurotic bitch every time I don't want to be laid. I'm not your wife and will never be your mistress. You've never asked me to marry you yet you assume that I'm at your beck and call every time you need a bed partner. It's not going to work that way." Wheeling silently on her heels, she strode out the door.
Alex stood for a moment shocked by her outburst. Taking a breath he ran after her. Running in front of her, he softly said, "Ok, Kepi, if you want to split up then its over. But be sure its what you want."
Looking at him, her lips trembled and suddenly she started to cry. Self-conscious, Alex pulled her to him and led her to a quiet spot shielded from view by the shrubbery. For several long and embarrassing minutes, Kepi cried hard but silently. Finally she got control of herself, "Here I bitch at you for treating me like a neurotic idiot and then go fall to pieces in public."
Stroking her hair, its ok, honey. It comes with the territory. I know its just your PMS. You'll be fine in a few days. As usual."
Straightening up, Kepi wiped her eyes. "Honey, I always feel better after a cry." Taking his hands in her, "I'm not in the mood and probably won't be for a few days, do you mind, waiting honey?"
"Sure I mind, but I don't want your body without your mind. I can wait." Pulling her close to him, he kissed her while holding her tightly on the hips.
When he started to work his hands up towards her breasts, Kepi backed away. "I've got to go. I've got an early class and must fix my face before these tear lines set." Quickly pulling him to her she kissed him. "I do love you," turning and quickly walking to her office while brushing wrinkles from her clothes.
From the window high above them, a lone figure watched the couple. Standing by the window was Kepi's father, Tollan Lynn, a tyrant by all accounts. As the university president, he was the second most powerful man in the Hawaiian Republic. Only the President was more powerful. A direct descendant of the powerful Lynn family that established itself following the initial destruction by the KT epidemic, he wields considerable influence and power. The Lynn family was large extended family and controlled most of the Republic's commerce, trade and education. He was the acknowledged head of the family not only because of his wealth, position or ambition but because of his towering
intelligence. "Damn girl," he fumed, "Can't she ever behave herself? Brazenly carrying on like that in public."
Though not a physically impressive man, once he started talking his iron will and determination swept away the opposition of physically stronger men. He had a gravelly voice that served to impress his words on a person as though they had been carved into the soul. Few persons had the strength of character to stand against the full exercise of his will. One who did have such strength was to his annoyance, Alex Karmen. The thought of Karmen filled him with anger, "What does she see in that man? He's a dreamer. He will never be more than laboring biologist in the university working for peanuts and under others."
Seeing Kepi caused Tollan to think of his wife. "I had wanted more than anything to have a son. It was a bitter blow to him to realize I would only have a daughter, Kepi." He had tried mightily to have a son but his wife couldn't conceive one. After Kepi was born, Tollan's wife ceased having any sexual desire. From the very beginning, their's had been a marriage of convenience. It was, in fact, a merger of two old established houses. After the marriage, he was shocked to discover that his wife suffered from PMS, Premenstrual Stress. Eventually, he had enough of his wife's erratic behavior. However, divorce was not legal in Hawaii, so they separated. His wife lives on the east side of the island and he lives on the west. They see each other regularly to discuss business and attend social functions but all sexual contact stopped. For a moment he thought of his young mistress on who he showers with all the perks that being president of the university can furnish. "I'm too young to do without sex just because my wife is frigid," he stated with disgust.
Kepi was a disappointment to Tollan who wanted a strong, dynamic woman to carry on the family. "Instead," he sneered, "I got a carbon copy of her mother. Instead of being interested in business or power, Kepi wastes her time in social and female matters." Tollan had tried to steer Kepi to a career in politics or business. "However," Tollan fumed as he walked the floor, "that meddlesome, Kero hired her in a dead end sociology position."
The biggest disappointment is Alex Karmen. "Karmen, is a very bright man but he doesn't have any drive to acquire power," Tollan railed. "He will never able to protect Kepi from the bastards that will descend on her when I'm gone. She'll be helpless with her damn PMS and no business background and lose everything, our family built up." Banging his hand on the table, "That won't happen. I'll stop it somehow!"
From the vantage point of another window, another man was watching Alex and Kepi and the face of the man showed pure and unrestrained hatred. Turning from the window was a tall, slender man, a perfectly proportioned figure with short blond hair and green eyes. The man would be a walking Adonis had it not been for the sneer on his lips. "I'll get rid of Karmen. He'll never marry Kepi and he'll never get his hands on her money."
Sitting at his desk, the man put his fingertips together to form the shape of a globe. "Her father hates Karmen. I can use that to break them up. He's doesn't particularly like me but he at least recognizes the benefit of my marrying her."
Picking up his phone, he placed a call. The phone rang.
"Hello, Malls' residence," a feminine voice answered.
"Mother, this is Hollis. I'd like you to invite the Lynns to a party this weekend."
"Of course, Hollis dear. I'd love to see Mavis and her adorable daughter, Kepi. Are you still making a play for her? I heard she's having a fling with a devastatingly handsome professor. You may have competition."
"She's not off the market till she's married. Till then she's fair game," Hollis sneered.
"Hollis dear, I"ll do everything I can to help you wed Kepi but you must remember she's a woman and treat her kindly. She's not going to fall for you because you're Hollis Mall. She's not like the easy girls you usually date."
"Thanks for the advice, don't forget the party, Bye mother,"
Hollis contritely hung up the phone.
Hollis Mall was, like Kepi, descended from one of the most powerful families of Hawaii. He and Kepi had grown up together. Thinking back with a smile, he realized that he was the man who took her virginity. "I don't love her. It will be a marriage of convenience for both of us. She'll stay home like her mother and manage the various charity affairs and our children. I will have a mistress or two like her father." Wistfully, "She'll have a good name. money, position and power. I'll have her father's support and upon his death or retirement become the university president if not president of the Republic."
The only problem that Hollis saw was Alex. When angry, Hollis had a
terrible temper. Getting up he walked to the window and saw Alex on the
walkway, his anger rose. "I won't let him get in the way of what I
want. I can arrange for a very nasty accident, if I have to and no one
will ever know."
END OF SAMPLE VIEW