Chapter 1: The Birth of a Hero or Villain Depending on Your Utility Function for Men
Adam returned revitalized to his treasured seat in Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University’s grandest room for storing books and anxious students. Feeling only moments ago the heavy weight of sleep and an inexplicable premonition of an eerily eccentric lifestyle, he jogged at a brusque, but respectable, pace to the coffee-shop across the street.
There, he politely mumbled his order, one cup of crushed-bean juice, and the waitress politely messed up. Satisfied, he tilted his head exactly twenty degrees from the horizon, closed his eyes (the left before the right, as per usual, according to his perfected internal algorithm) and poured precisely two hundred and thirty-six millilitres of that goodly black gold into his functionally-appropriate mouth.
“It could be argued that this cup is the optimally efficient amount for an academic paper, particularly in a sitting of approximately three-hours,” smiled Adam mechanically, gloating internally at such a defensible and particularized claim. “It is of utmost importance that you complete the paper on Kant’s Transcendental Aesthetic before you head over to Victoria’s place for spontaneous copulation,” he mused, gleefully anticipating the long, wild and passionate argumentation he had prepared to defend such a masterful conception of Time and Space. The latter part of the night, however, he dreaded.
Adam was a scholar through and through. His mother’s family proudly claimed apocryphal descent from the illustrious Benveniste Jews of the early Spanish republics, counting royal advisors, poets and doctors among the roots of a grand familial forest. Some of his closest friends wagered their lives on the rumour that Adam entirely lacked a subjective existence. His first few words were “a goo blue”, whose meaning his parents mistook for the the gooey toy Adam played with, instead of the correct interpretation of a botched attempt at “Arguably”.
The other boys climbed trees, he cited great works of poetry. His best friends in youth had once been Karl Marx and Eric Hobsbawm, though he had a terrible falling out with the former when the already century-dead Marx refused, or forgot as Adam’s parents consoled him, to reply to his critique of “False Consciousness.”
Yet there was an undeniable, hidden rage of charm, goodwill and creativity below the frigid waters of cold objectivity. This secret charm had won over Victoria. She stood no chance that fateful night when Adam dazed and confused, from wearing his daily contacts longer than commonsense would dictate, walked, stumbled into the bar, several blocks away from the library he intended to visit, and gazed penetratingly into her very soul, looking for the bathroom behind her. It was a beauteous gaze Victoria blushedly related to her friends and family as the magnified rays of a host of angels; a gaze Adam introspectively related to his diary as the confusion of a technically, legally blind man.
But O! How they danced that night. She wrapped him around her, spun him and whispered such saucy raucous of what going-ons and throwing-offs would come to be when the horny moon yawned a little louder, that Adam nearly swallowed his tongue instinctively.
A few more “indubitably’s” and “certainly it must be such and such” and of course a sprinkle more of “Additionally’s” and Adam had finished the single most vapid piece of writing imaginable, or what distinguished peers call academic papers. The fun-stuff finito; he twisted his mind, with the gracelessness of a ballerina with a sprained ankle, towards the upcoming Herculean labour: appeasing one of God’s beauties (with his less than ideal sabre.)
“It is certainly a scary endeavour,” he grimaced, permuting the possibilities in his clunky head. “A woman is both like an Encyclopedia and unlike: she can be read, but only obscurely. She can be covered ornately, or simply, or not at all. She can hold herself on some topic of conversation,” he grimaced , “or she can be fingered through to the juiciest parts.” But no more of that, Victoria awaits and what must be done, must be done.
Adam closed his laptop, and trudged on towards Victoria’s apartment, nestled on the 5th floor of the Shaft apartment-complex on University road — a five minute stroll for the casual pedestrian but a specific 5032 steps for the Casio calculator that occasionally lifted its head to the name of the first man. He marched soberly, stiffened his neck and straightened his gait, and wore the terrible duty-to-be-done on his solemn brow and heavy shoulders. Some passersby, ‘Struesgod, rushed home seeing him, fearing they had spied the first brigade in the next awful war. “Onwards to V, onwards to V, for life for country for promiscuity,” he mumbled to himself, nervously rallying his floppy legs to the Noble Cause.
He arrived at the base of the fortress, and as was his wont in times of war, visualized a Pythagorean triangle whose hypotenuse stretched right into V’s apartment , in case he ever needed to set up artillery and lay devastating siege to his princesses’ tower, fearing the pregnability of his lover’s chambers. “A man is not worth his salt unless he has meticulously pre-planned the demolition of his lover’s enemies from afar,” he mused recalling a lovely line of military poetry he had penned on his favourite library toilet.
“Climb the stairs, miserable gits” — he bellowed to his underling feet, who had recently been demoted to the rank of private after their shoddy performance in the Battle of Four-Stairs — a blunder about which sergeant-lieutenant Face still bitterly complained.
“Aye sir, up or down?” — Adam mouthed aloud in lieu of his feet’s uncanny silence.
“What does climb mean to ye scrounging dirt-ticklers!? Playing tricks on your commanding-officer is a court-martial offence. One more cock-up and back to boot-camp with you smelly lot”
“Aye, aye sir — just having a laff with ye. This time we’ll put more soul into it.” Up, up they, Adam, climbed encountering no hostiles or civilians, and dodging quickly the friendly fire of G.I. glutes’ horrendous breath.
Finally arriving at Victoria’s apartment, Adam gulped a mighty gulp and opened the burning, bright red door. Corporeal jaw immediately fainted as Adam beheld a glowing angel in a lacy black thong.