Monday, June 1, 2009

The Learning Curve: Chapter 1

Cecelia Catherine Tucker was facing her most difficult decision since entering Lazlo University. This would affect not only the rest of her time at the university, but also possibly the rest of her life. She stood at the table looking in front of the campus dining hall mulling over her decision as dozens of other students passed by her, never running into each other, yet so much in their own little worlds that they were seemingly oblivious to everyone around them. She contemplated going into old Gothic style building that was the dining hall to mull over the decision. At the very least she would not have to decide on an empty stomach. Unfortunately, she stood transfixed. She was trapped, unable to move. Her captor wore a sweater branded with select letters of the Greek alphabet and a smile that seemed permanent.

“So are you interested in rushing Kappa Theta Kappa?” Her name was Julie. She had been sitting behind the table for the better part of the morning. She made sure that every last item on the table was laid out perfectly and was easily seen by any passer-by, and should those passer-bys happen to look she was prepared to deliver the sales pitch which she had just inflicted on one Cecilia Tucker.

Miss Tucker was tempted and yet unconvinced. She shifted her weight back and forth and brushed her long blond hair behind her ear. Her soft hazel eyes studied Julie as she pondered what it would be like to be wearing a Kappa Theta Kappa sweater. Her roommate Tonya was already going to rush the sorority, and it seemed like fun. She had heard stories about parties with fraternity boys and much drinking. She could not bring herself to ask Julie if any of these stories were true, because if they were not, she was not interested.

“CC!” She heard from behind her and recognized the voice immediately as Tonya’s. She turned to see her friend bouncing up to them. Tonya was a bit taller than CC, which was the nickname she had since first grade where the two had met. Tonya had gotten her brown hair cut short, which she deemed her ‘college’ look. “Hi, Julie! Have you talked her into it yet?”

“I’m working on it, Tonya.” Julie responded with a smile.

“Come on! They’re having a mixer tonight! I don’t want to go alone.”

“Alright, I’m in.” CC said finally with a shrug. Then she turned to Julie. “Just make sure there’s some guys there to mix with.”

CC and Tonya had lunch together in the dining hall. Tonya spent the meal chatting about how excited she was about possibly joining the sorority. CC mostly just nodded and looked about for boys she could deem worthy of classifying as ‘eye-candy’.

From there CC went to the first of her afternoon class. As a freshman she had the last pick of classes and she loathed her schedule. She had only one class that afternoon, but it was an anthropology course which bored her senseless. However, since she had yet to declare a major she was stuck taking the university’s requirements for liberal studies. She made her way across the campus and paid no attention to the building with their old cobblestone with the ivy attempting to overtake it at many points. She had lived there for an entire month and still had not noticed the gargoyles that sat perched atop many of the roofs. She came to her destination and moved with the flow of students into the building, and started up a flight of stairs to her class.

“Coming through!” An Asian man, a few years older than CC came barreling down the stairs, slicing through the mass of students in his way effortlessly. He muttered something by way of an apology as he passed by. CC thought of saying something, but another student beat her to it, yelling at the man, who had already turned the corner and was gone.

CC walked to the classroom with a few minutes to spare. Standing outside of the room were two men. She recognized one of them as her professor’s assistant, Mister Gunther. Gunther was an imposing man who did not seem to fit her idea of an academic. His blond hair was chopped short as if he was in the military, and he had a mustache and goatee. Gunther was talking with a student, but it was not one from CC’s class. He looked like a freshman and dark long dark hair pulled back into a ponytail. She had seen him before around campus. His cowboy boots made him stand out.

“Just see if you can find the books, Tommy. I know there’s a lot to go through.” Gunther said in a rather hushed tone.

“Don’t worry, Gabe. I’ve got this.” And with that the student hurried off, with his boots clicking on the tile floor as he hurried away. CC shrugged and passed Gunther as she entered the room. She took a seat near the back of the room as the professor entered. Gunther followed her in and sat in his usual seat at the front of the room. CC was hoping she would be able to stay awake for the class. She had already been caught napping once and was still embarrassed by it. She knew it would be difficult, as she could not think of anyone more boring than Doctor Carson Rogers.

* * * * * * * * * *

She had managed to stay awake in class, but despite that, she could not remember a bit of what the class was about. She was happy to have her classes over for the week and found herself looking forward to going to the sorority mixer that night. She dumped her books on her desk, where they would in all likelihood stay until Sunday when she would frantically try to complete her reading assignments.

She and Tonya spent about an hour after dinner picking out their outfits and getting made up for the mixer. Each had vetoed the other’s selection at least twice.

“Gawd!” CC griped. “There had better be some damn hot guys at this thing.”

“Well, we’re mostly there to see if we want to hang with these girls. The guys are just a perk.”

“They better be damn perky if they want me to join.”

“Oh come on! You don’t think the idea of joining a sorority is cool?” Tonya asked as she made some adjustments to her hair.

“I guess.” CC replied as she applied some make-up. The two were sharing a mirror in their dorm room.

“Oh, once you get there, you’re going to have a blast.” Tonya grabbed her toothbrush and toothpaste and headed for the door. “Be right back.”

“Sure thing.” CC watched her go and then turned back to her reflection. In the glass behind her image there was a person. CC gasped and turned quickly. She was alone in the room. She looked back at the mirror to see nothing but her face looking shocked. “Gawd.” She groaned. She felt silly for letting her mind play tricks with her. Tonya returned soon after.


“Hell yes! Let’s go find some beer and cute stupid boys.” They both laughed.

“Whoo. Did it get chilly in here all of a sudden?” Tonya asked. She passed CC and turned the heater up. “I don’t want to come home to a freezing room.” They left for the mixer. Despite the heater’s best efforts, the room did not get any warmer.

About this month's artist: Bridget once snorted orange-flavored Pixie Stix dust when she was younger, simply because someone dared her to. Not only would she be sneezing orange for a week after the incident, but many would blame the act for her current mental state. All evidence suggests otherwise, proving she was never the brightest sandwich in the galaxy even before the lapse in judgment.

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