For the past few weeks, he’d been trying to understand the mathematics of String Theory and the power of stillness and silence. Italian movies were also part of the mix. The way the color and language sliced into his eyeballs like somebody working on a Margherita pizza for delivery and, let’s face it, his eyesight was happily ruined. He could no longer look at Texas the same way and so when his eyes hurt too much he would go to the cool green grass, near the old mill, and dive into the casually flowing river. With his cheeks puffed with air, he’d open his eyes and watch the turtles and fish swim by. He was a student at the university and also taught a few classes. The school was on a hilltop and much nearer the sun than other spots, so he felt hot most of the time, which caused his brain to swell and, during sporadic fevers, he’d call old friends and tell them how small they looked way down below his feet.
It made him feel special.
He was also interested in how the Ultraviolet Catastrophe related to his life. At 310 Kelvin, he could never hope to emit UV rays like the ancient Indians along the river when they danced with ghosts. He could see the beyond-purple glow of their UV lights coming up over the horizon, particularly when he got on the roof of his three-story house to smoke dope.
His nights were also illuminated by his desk lamp and he’d tell the shadows around him about how he was nothing but a variable in an equation that occupied a secular book on String Theory.
He’d convinced himself that he could actually hear the strings in his body playing tiny notes of music. Really tiny, perhaps invisible, and certainly inaudible to everyone, except himself. He was getting sleepy and was losing track of the hieroglyphics swirling about and he yawned, deeply. He reached up and turned off the desk lamp. He was alive. He was a human. He sat in the dark, thinking, talking to the shadows, and then a neighbor’s car pulled into the alley and parked. A girl and a guy got out and half-way up the outside stairs they decided to fuck for a few minutes on a landing. He watched and imagined how strings fit into sex and he thought that tomorrow he would have to search the equations for the X’s and Y’s of fucking.
So I’m going to speed up the story now. Imagine you are hallucinating or maybe having a bad dream. You might be riding in a turbocharged Camaro. The next morning he walks to school thinking about what a great day it is, how he’s going to get a date with Peggy, goes into his office, trades a bit of conversation with the other TAs, asks Veronica if he could call Peggy for a date, Veronica tells him Peggy is bisexual and that might mean something good for him, she gives her approval since she and Peggy are in a relationship and they live together, but she says Peggy is a handful and they both need a break. Well, he calls Peggy while the other TAs listen, and she says yes. The TAs say hi to Peggy and then he hangs up. That night they go to the Rat’s Nest for a meal and drinks and then Peggy says she wants to visit her grandmother who is dead, but that shouldn’t present a problem. When they arrive at Peggy’s grandmother’s house, Peggy opens the front door and they sit in the living room. Peggy and he start to kiss and one thing leads to another and they begin to fuck on the floor. The grandmother appears in a rocker with her cat and she asks Peggy if she enjoys what she is doing? Before Peggy answers, he pipes up that it feels good, but he never orgasms, so she shouldn’t worry about him impregnating Peggy and he seriously doubts if Peggy wants a kid anyway. Peggy then says, it feels fine Nana. Nana asks him about the Ultraviolet Catastrophe and then he and Peggy leave. He returns to the house she shares with Veronica and there is a party going on. Peggy asks him to wait and she goes inside and comes back out with a suitcase. She tells him, rather forcefully, to drive her to Austin and he does and he drops her at the home of a professor of music who teaches at the University of Texas. For those of you interested, this is a true story and it ends there, except, of course, for the life that Peggy and he lead for the next few years until both of them die in a car accident. They were together that night, drinking and driving down the Devil’s Backbone. Laughing, with all the time in the world at 80 mph.
*** For the Convert, as if he lived within rock throwing distance from my rundown house.