Written by Loren Logsdon
Wednesday, 23 October 2013 00:00
Late on the night of October 28, 2005, Bulgy Hypotenuse, a senior math major at Heliotrope University, was driving back to Weeder’s Clump on U.S. 136. Since he was feeling especially good, he was singing “It Ain’t No Sin If You Take Off Your Skin and Dance Around in Your Bones” as he drove along the empty highway. When he was about 10 miles from Weeder’s Clump, he saw a young woman standing by the side of the road waving her arms frantically. Since this particular area was desolate and the night was chilly, Bulgy concluded that she was in some kind of distress. Consequently, he stopped the car, lowered the window, and asked, “Do you need help?”
The young woman rushed over and introduced herself. She told Bulgy that her name was Cordelia Carpenter, that she lived in Weeder’s Clump, and that her car had run off the road and into a ravine because she had fallen asleep at the wheel.
“I’ve been waiting for hours for someone to come along. Can you take me home?” Cordelia added, her voice a frantic, hoarse whisper.
All this time Cordelia, who was wearing only a light sweater for warmth, was shivering so violently in the chilly night air that she could hardly speak. But Bulgy was so taken by Cordelia’s beauty that he failed to notice her discomfort. Instead he was thinking that fate had sent him a wonderful representative of feminine pulchritude.
Finally it dawned on Bulgy that Cordelia was freezing all the while he was getting the hots for this frail beauty who seemed to have materialized out of the night air.
“You must think me to be a total dullard, an insensitive clod, and the Clown Prince of the Prepubescent Libido to allow you to stand here shivering while my warm car awaits us,” Bulgy said smoothly.
Then in a gallant but nonchalant manner he gave Cordelia his jacket, opened the door for her, and raced around to the driver’s side humming “I Wanna Hold Your Hand.”
As they sped toward Weeder’s Clump on a completely deserted highway, Bulgy tried his best to engage Cordelia in conversation, but she seemed content to huddle in his jacket in silence. “This chick reminds me of Twiggy, the British fashion model who inspired an epidemic of anorexia in America several years ago,” Bulgy muttered under his breath.
In truth, Cordelia’s silence puzzled Bulgy because he regarded himself as a person of considerable wit and charm and certainly a favorite of the women of Delta Zeta Sorority. But as time passed like some clever thief taking from us our most valuable possession, Bulgy began to lose faith in himself. The only words Cordelia had said were to ask him to turn up the heat. “I’m cold, so cold,” she said.
When Bulgy arrived at the address Cordelia had given him, he was all set with that old strategy of “Will I ever see you again?” Before he could get the first word out, Cordelia thanked him, opened the car door, and raced up the sidewalk like Cinderella at the stroke of midnight. Sensing that he had missed the chance of a lifetime, Bulgy drove to campus singing “Someday I’ll Find You.”
All through the night Bulgy dreamed of Cordelia. In each dream, she would beckon to him enchantingly, but when he was about to embrace her she would slip away as if she was teasing him or playing some kind of game he didn’t understand. In one particular haunting dream, they were on a beach on a moonlit night, and Cordelia was walking several paces ahead of him. He ran to catch her, but the faster he ran the farther she receded in the distance. Finally she disappeared into a mist and he lost her. It seemed to him that she had wanted him to catch her, but he just couldn’t do so. He wasn’t fast enough.
Toward morning, Bulgy dreamed that Cordelia was standing at the foot of his bed, unclothed except for his jacket, which was draped around her shoulders. She was smiling and importuning wordlessly, with suggestive body language, to be invited into his bed. When Bulgy threw back the covers to welcome her, he suddenly awoke to find no one there. Nothing but moonlight and shadows and a chilly October wind that rattled the bedroom windows.
To Be Continued
[Professor Logsdon has taught 24 years at Western Illinois University and 27 going on 28 at Eureka College
Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 October 2013 14:14