A note from Bright Crow: This continues the revision of a serialized adventure Walhydra first published on The Crone Thread in 1996.Part 8: The seduction
Following in her helpmate Jim's regal train, Walhydra levitated toward the munchies table, because she knew it was crucial that she replenish the daily dietary supplement of Fifteen Essential Taste-teasers immediately.
Terry and Mrs. Terry were waiting at the buffet.
Walhydra and Terry greeted each other with the time honored inane grin of veteran space cadets, the one that says, "You must be in the same orbit I am!"
Jim and Mrs. Terry rolled their suffering spouse eyes skyward in unison.
After Walhydra had sampled chocolate, strawberries, mustard swiss salami pumpernickel sandwiches, three cheeses, chocolate, two pickles, veggies in dip, raisins and...oh, yeah...chocolate, she followed her chemically-distracted brain through the house.
The brain led her from group to group. Sometimes it let her stand there mute, like a visiting anthropologist. Sometimes it let her join in on the conversation—usually without embarrassing herself.
Back when Walhydra was just a little witch, she used to hide inside walls or under furniture whenever she had to socialize with strangers. She had hated such experiences and longed for the magical personality to rise above them.
This, in fact, was part of how she became a drug addict. Marijuana distracted her from her shyness and exaggerated her sense of cleverness, so that she simply plunged in.
However, the dangers of this chemical cheat were compounded by their own feedback loop.
The cleverness was too entertaining. The imagined approval of audiences was too gratifying. With the lost shyness went lost attunement to social consequences. The faux pas, minor and major, were rationalized—cleverly and gratifyingly. The....
You get the picture.
Vacation from Lutheranism. Virgo ego without Virgo conscience.
Twenty years later, in the late 1990s of this tale, Walhydra now had genuine self-confidence and a mastery of small talk polished by over a decade of working with inmates, officers, counselors and bureaucrats.
She had learned the key trick to successful conversation with men: ask them about themselves.
With women—or with men who wanted frank conversation with equals—she now liked herself enough to be herself.
Bonus: she discovered that people found her clever and entertaining... without chemicals.
Given such rewarding maturity, the reader might reasonably wonder, then, why Walhydra ate "The Brownie."
The short answer is: it was offered unsought.
The medium-length answer is not really an answer but a description of her failsafe system: she had pointedly called upon the Christ and the Crone first, to teach and to guide...and to let her do no harm.
The long answer is...well, that is what Walhydra was in the process of learning at this party.
Eventually, arising out of the pleasant gabble of conversation, Dr. Bob's voice was heard to announce: "I can prove that a right angle has less than 90 degrees."
This being a gathering of Dr. Bob's intellectual friends, other voices muttered neither "So?" nor "Huh?" Instead, heads turned in bemused anticipation and people gathered into the dining room.
"Let me show you," Dr. Bob continued, turning to the blackboard....
He has a blackboard installed on the wall of his dining room!!!
Walhydra was delirious with amusement. It was such classic "Dr. Bob" that no one who knew him even blinked.
"We take two intersecting spheres...." He drew them.
"We bisect sphere A with a plane... and sphere B with a plane not parallel to the first...."
So far Walhydra—who had loved and excelled in math and geometry until she mashed her nose on freshman calculus—was following the sketched construction of the alleged proof of the impossible.
"We find a point X where the tops of both spheres intersect. We drop a perpendicular line from X to the center of the plane bisecting sphere A...and another from X to the plane through sphere B...."
[Editor's note: At this point the transmission becomes garbled.
Remember, first of all, that solid geometry class was 30 years ago for Walhydra. Remember also that she was observing all of this under the "guidance" of The Weed. Exact recall of logical processes is definitely NOT one of the gifts of The Weed.
The gentle reader will have to pretend from here on that the step by step proof is being described.]
As Dr. Bob continued, Walhydra noted the varying states of consciousness of others in the room.
Some continued to nod with ready understanding. Others seemed to be perspiring slightly as they struggled to keep up.
Still others—Walhydra and Terry, for example—shrugged to each other and shifted to enjoying the spectacle.
It was an elaborate and arcane ritual, conducted in an eloquent yet unfamiliar language toward unknown ends. Dr. Bob was clearly calling down power of a divine and mysterious sort. His fellow worshippers shared mutual delight in the magic he was creating.
Fortunately, because no one expressed scorn for or exclusion of the uninitiated, Walhydra and the other "laypeople" could enjoy the wave of delight without understanding its workings or source.
As it became apparent to Walhydra—even with her faulty math chip—that Dr. Bob was approaching the denouement, she also noticed something else.
Jim was glowing.
He stood in the middle of the semicircle round the blackboard. He was clearly following every move of this elegant geometer's trick, watching for the slight of hand.
At the pivotal moment, just before Dr. Bob got to the final steps, Jim laughed out loud.
Dr. Bob laughed back with delight, and the two appeared to be sharing some esoteric ecstasy, joined, to greater or lesser degree, by the other initiates of their tradition.
Even gentiles like Walhydra and Terry laughed, because they saw such unaffected pleasure radiating from those in the inner circle.
[Note: As Dr. Bob later explained, "Jim laughed because he saw where I was going."
Jim actually spent the next week or so puzzling over this "joke." He said he could tell that the proof was fallacious, but he couldn't quite pinpoint the false step.
Walhydra was intrigued by this glimpse into a different realm of magic from the ones in which she usually dabbled.]
After this demonstration, there was chatter and general amusement.
People wandered away again on their various orbits.
There was more food. Wine. More music. Joking and storytelling.
Before she returned to her exploration of Weed enhanced dimensions, Walhydra had a warm moment of gazing at her helpmate Jim. She was so happy to watch him shining by his own light and gaining the attention he deserved from this clever crowd.
And she had to give Dr. Bob credit for such a delightfully subtle seduction of her brainy spouse.
She wondered what else was in store.
[to be continued]