Thursday, February 2, 2017

FIDELIS, a short story in two parts

It’s good to be back on the Internet with my blog. Readership hasn’t built back to where it was when they shut me off on the 3rd of January, so tell everyone you know that I’m back.

This week we get a two-part short story told from a young woman’s point of view. Now folks, I don’t know the first thing about a college-age woman’s way of thinking, but I don’t think I mangled it too badly. So here we go. This one’s “name-centric,” too… as was Pheobe.
Courtesy of Wikipedia commons
Fidelis Proctor Greenhouse. Sounds like a gaseous old windbag, doesn’t he? He’s not. He’s a dreadful sexy, way handsome senior here at Loma Linda College. Beyond description. Black hair. Green eyes. Pouty lips. And as proportionally perfect as the Taj Mahal. And his skin! My Lord, I’d give up ice cream for a smooth, tawny complexion like his. The strange thing is that he doesn’t seem to date much.
“I’m going to land that,” I said to my friend Mindy as we stood on the front steps of the campus library when he strode by talking to a couple of other guys.
“You mean F. P. Greenhouse? Tell me you aren't serious, Alice," she said with raised eyebrows.
I nodded. “Yep. That’s the one.”
“Girlfriend, he’s poison. Everybody knows that.”
“I don’t. You saying he’s violent or something? He’s cruel? Stands up his dates? Drinks too much? He’s gay? What?”
“All I know is nobody who goes out with him once ever goes out with him again.”
Well, I will. You wait and see.”

It wasn’t easy. I found where he hid out in the library stacks to study and casually took a chair at the same table and laid out a big book called The Astronomy of the Bible: An Elementary Commentary on the Astronomical References of Holy Scripture by somebody named Maunder. I picked that one because I heard he had a rad interest in the subject… astronomy, that is. He noticed the book right away.
“You into astronomy or the bible?”
I smiled, exchanged introductions, and launched into my planned program of attack. “Both I guess. But astronomy’s the new interest. I saw a program on TV about it last night. Piqued my interest, I guess.”
He tapped my book with a forefinger. “Well, you picked a good reference.”
“I’ve never noticed anything about constellations in the bible before.”
“You’re kidding. They’re all over the place. Creation of the sky, the sun and the moon preside, creation’s vastness… all in Genesis. The Bethlehem Star in Numbers and Matthew. A warning against worshiping the sun and the moon in Deuteronomy, Dark stars in Job. References go on and on.”
“Wow, you know a lot about the bible.” I curled a blond tress around my forefinger. I’d seen it done on TV once, and it looked like a good “come-on.”
He laughed, revealing double rows of white teeth. “I know a lot about astronomy. Not so much about the bible, I’m afraid.”
I moved into stage two of my plan. “I’m so dumb about astrology. Everyone looks at the night sky and says there’s Orion and Aquarius and Cassiopia.”
“Cassiopeia”, he corrected. “The vain queen of Greek mythology who liked to brag about her beauty. She was the mother of Andromeda. And Andromeda’s a whole galaxy.”
“Anyway, when I look up at the stars, I just see a whole bunch, some bigger than others, some colored a little differently, but I sure don’t see shapes.”
“It takes a little imagination, I guess,” F. P. said.
“And a little instruction.”
Lo and behold—as my mother would say—he came right back and bit. “I can show you some of them.”
“Great. When?”
“I-I don’t know. Tonight? It’s supposed to be clear. Have to drive out to a place down off Highway 14 where most of the light pollution’s blocked.”
“I don’t mind a trip down Highway 14.”
He brightened. “Really? How about I pick you up around four-thirty? We want to be in place before it gets dark. Sundown will be around five-thirty, and we’ll have to do some walking to get to the top from the parking lot.”
“I guess so.” I hadn’t planned on that much of my day being devoted to star gazing. But if it got F. P. into my clutches, it was a good investment of time.
“Sure.” I told him to pick me up at my dorm and prepared to leave.
           “I’ll bring a spare flashlight,” he volunteered as I made my way through the stacks back into the main library.

It seems Alice has hooked F. P. Can she reel him in and land him? Let me know what you think at Keep on reading, guys.


Next post will be at 6:00 a.m. on Thursday.

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