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Kristin's Crucifixion: Beginnings

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I think this is a fantasy. Probably it never happened.

I am at a faculty cocktail party. Attendance is mandatory or I wouldn't be here. Boring does not being to describe it. But alumni need to be entertained, to be made to feel special and, of course, to be coaxed into writing large checks.

Inevitably some of the donors believe one of their entitlements is the right to hit on female members of the faculty. Actually that understates it. Some of them think their checks entitle them to bed female faculty members of their choosing. Fortunately I've learned the art of warding them off without giving so much offence that they stop writing checks.

I'm trying to disentangle myself from a particularly persistent "suitor". He's a man who made his money the old fashioned way. He inherited it. A tall woman approaches us. I'm tall for a woman at around 5'9" but I think she tops me by at least two inches. She is slender, has black hair, brown eyes and a not-quite olive skin. She is wearing a black lace strapless cocktail dress. I guess it costs as much as my wardrobe but hey, assistant professors of mathematics don't get paid well. I do my best with what I've got.

"Excuse us," she says to the man. Her voice is soft and cool. "Kristin and I need to discuss something urgent."

The man scowls but he backs off.

I notice our interlocutor smells vaguely of cinnamon and wonder whether it is a perfume or her natural odour. She is carrying an expensive-looking purse; nothing so crude as Armani or Versace. It looks handmade. She reaches into it and pulls out an envelope.

"This is for you. Read it when you're alone." She stares straight into my eyes, fixing my gaze on hers. "Be sure to follow the instructions exactly."

Then she leaves.

I put the envelope in my purse. I cannot explain why I do not discard it as the work of a crank.

There is something about the woman. I feel as if I am orbiting a black hole just above the event horizon. Will I escape while I can? Or will I dive in and be trapped? What am I thinking?

By the time I've extracted myself from the party, driven the two miles to my apartment, showered and settled down in bed it is 11:30 pm. I extract the envelope from my purse. Like the woman's purse it looks custom made from a heavy bond paper the colour of fine wine. This is no mass-produced product. Like everything about the mysterious woman it looks expensive.

It is not sealed. The top fold is folded into the throat. I open it carefully. Somehow I do not want to break or damage what is in effect a work of art in envelope form. As I remove the top fold I catch a faint whiff of that cinnamon odour.

Inside I find a cream coloured card with very precise handwritten instructions. They are addressed to "Dear Kristin" and signed "Persephone". The handwriting is precise, legible and obviously female. The ink is a deep blue. It is written with a fountain pen.

Ice runs up my spine. I've just moved closer to the black hole. I feel as if I'm being sucked into something from which I shall not be able to escape.

No, worse. I can still escape. I'm not yet inside the event horizon. But I don't want to escape. That's the terrible truth. Is it my destiny calling?
 

montycrusto

Slave Trader
Ice runs up my spine. I've just moved closer to the black hole. I feel as if I'm being sucked into something from which I shall not be able to escape.

No, worse. I can still escape. I'm not yet inside the event horizon. But I don't want to escape. That's the terrible truth. Is it my destiny calling?
Wow, that's some fine writing... I do hope there's more to come!
It is not sealed. The top fold is folded into the throat. I open it carefully. Somehow I do not want to break or damage what is in effect a work of art in envelope form
That's a really nice detail. Even the envelope has an erotic presence ;) Keep going, you've got me hooked
 

malins

Stumbling Seeker
Ha! A delicious mystery! A destiny! A Persephone has again crept forth, someone to follow to the underworld and back again? Who would really want to escape ;)
Anyway, I'm quite tall myself, perhaps just short of the mysterious figure, and I also have a hand-made purse... but everything else about me is different, and I'm completely harmless :D
 

phlebas

PRIMUS POENUS
Staff member
Anyway, I'm quite tall myself, perhaps just short of the mysterious figure, and I also have a hand-made purse... but everything else about me is different, and I'm completely harmless :D

Harmless?
I remain unconvinced dear Malin :D

Nice start Kristin, very nice.
And another academic? Competition for our Barb?
 

Barbaria1

Rebel Leader
Staff member
I think this is a fantasy. Probably it never happened.

I am at a faculty cocktail party. Attendance is mandatory or I wouldn't be here. Boring does not being to describe it. But alumni need to be entertained, to be made to feel special and, of course, to be coaxed into writing large checks.

Inevitably some of the donors believe one of their entitlements is the right to hit on female members of the faculty. Actually that understates it. Some of them think their checks entitle them to bed female faculty members of their choosing. Fortunately I've learned the art of warding them off without giving so much offence that they stop writing checks.

I'm trying to disentangle myself from a particularly persistent "suitor". He's a man who made his money the old fashioned way. He inherited it. A tall woman approaches us. I'm tall for a woman at around 5'9" but I think she tops me by at least two inches. She is slender, has black hair, brown eyes and a not-quite olive skin. She is wearing a black lace strapless cocktail dress. I guess it costs as much as my wardrobe but hey, assistant professors of mathematics don't get paid well. I do my best with what I've got.

"Excuse us," she says to the man. Her voice is soft and cool. "Kristin and I need to discuss something urgent."

The man scowls but he backs off.

I notice our interlocutor smells vaguely of cinnamon and wonder whether it is a perfume or her natural odour. She is carrying an expensive-looking purse; nothing so crude as Armani or Versace. It looks handmade. She reaches into it and pulls out an envelope.

"This is for you. Read it when you're alone." She stares straight into my eyes, fixing my gaze on hers. "Be sure to follow the instructions exactly."

Then she leaves.

I put the envelope in my purse. I cannot explain why I do not discard it as the work of a crank.

There is something about the woman. I feel as if I am orbiting a black hole just above the event horizon. Will I escape while I can? Or will I dive in and be trapped? What am I thinking?

By the time I've extracted myself from the party, driven the two miles to my apartment, showered and settled down in bed it is 11:30 pm. I extract the envelope from my purse. Like the woman's purse it looks custom made from a heavy bond paper the colour of fine wine. This is no mass-produced product. Like everything about the mysterious woman it looks expensive.

It is not sealed. The top fold is folded into the throat. I open it carefully. Somehow I do not want to break or damage what is in effect a work of art in envelope form. As I remove the top fold I catch a faint whiff of that cinnamon odour.

Inside I find a cream coloured card with very precise handwritten instructions. They are addressed to "Dear Kristin" and signed "Persephone". The handwriting is precise, legible and obviously female. The ink is a deep blue. It is written with a fountain pen.

Ice runs up my spine. I've just moved closer to the black hole. I feel as if I'm being sucked into something from which I shall not be able to escape.

No, worse. I can still escape. I'm not yet inside the event horizon. But I don't want to escape. That's the terrible truth. Is it my destiny calling?

We have a new professorial bard ... great writing!:D
 

malins

Stumbling Seeker
It's that "event horizon" that gets me excited
Uhh yes.
You go beyond that, over that horizon, to that place,...

...where all the properties of your individuality are reduced, crushed into a single infinitesimal point, and made irrelevant, by an inescapable merciless force.

A plain simple force that's all around you all the time and you hardly notice it,
but when it's focused in such a way it overwhelms all other forces...
(most especially those of life)

... and in the end it's just... the force of gravity.

So, that could in fact happen on a cross
.
And how could I escape?
Slip out of that physical shell, give up that human being.
Maybe for a moment, maybe forever... not my decision anymore... imposed.
 
PERSEPHONE'S MUSINGS

As usual Andrew seems to be right. She looks an ideal recruit. Right family background stretching back five generations. Not that that's so important now that we can sequence her genome. It's got everything right down to the epigenetic markers.

She's in the top quintile for primary psychopathy and about the middle for secondary. A perfect mix.

She's also amazingly disciplined. Her work on loop quantum gravity is making even some leaders in the field rethink string theory. Her proposal that space-time has a natural topography eliminating the need to posit dark matter hasn't made her any friends but she's holding her own.

I wonder what her pain threshold really is. How does she compare to Rosamund?.

Right now she believes she is following her destiny. She probably is. But if we're wrong it will be a terrible tragedy for her. We made a dreadful miscalculation with poor Jennifer. Those pathetic wails when we realised it had all gone horribly wrong.

But by then we were committed.

I feel drawn to Kristin. I want her to be one. I hope it hasn't warped my judgement.


TWO DAYS LATER

It is Friday. Following Persephone's written instructions I leave the university at mid-day and drive to my apartment. There I shower get dressed in casual clothes, blue jeans, a flaming red top and sandals with platform heels. I pack a change of clothes into a holdall and order an Uber vehicle.

I give the driver the address of an hotel in one of the city's outer suburbs. He wants to chat. Don't they always? But I'm not in the mood. Fortunately I've come prepared. I bury my head in a copy of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that I've included in the holdall. That overrated jerk, Edward Witten, has a paper in it. The usual drivel. He really wants a gong. I hope the Nobel Committee have more sense. He's getting on in years and I don't think he's cracked it so he probably won't be going to Stockholm. Good.

What am I thinking? On the say so of a complete stranger I'm going – who knows where? Who's a bigger jerk – me or Witten?

We arrive at the hotel. I think it started off looking shabby when it was built in the 1980s and went downhill from there. Still, it doesn't matter. I shan't be staying there.

I enter the lobby. There's a bar off to the side. I go in and order a mineral water. I don’t' want to leave for at least ten minutes. Make sure the Uber driver is gone. PNAS comes in handy again. It’s a great jerk repellent. It repels the sort of men who try to pick up women in shabby bars. Fortunately the bar is not busy.

The mineral water comes in a plastic bottle with a glass. I take one look at the glass and decide to drink from the bottle.

After a quarter of an hour I leave the bar and head to a women's lavatory on the other side of the lobby. I change into the brown slacks, faun top and white runners I'd packed in the holdall. No one pays any attention as I walk out.

I leave the hotel and start walking, following the route Persephone set out in her card. It's obvious what this is about. I'm laying a false trail. If anything happens to me, if I disappear, inquiries will start in the vicinity of Hotel Fleapit where the Uber dropped me off. No one will think I'd walked on another five miles. And, in any case, they'll be looking for a woman in blue jeans and a flaming red top, not my present drab attire.

It is a balmy late afternoon in spring. I enjoy the walk. I always enjoy fast walking. I could run but that may attract attention. Persephone made it clear that I had to disappear from the radar.

Now I am standing at the front door of a two story house in an unremarkable upper-middle class suburb. Struggling upper-middle-class I should say.

It is not the sort of house I would have associated with Persephone. It looks like it could belong to Mr and Mrs Mastercard. He is an accountant employed by a middle-sized company. She is a senior teacher at the local public school. They have two children they send to a private school whose fees they can't quite afford. Both kids are going through the sort of hell reserved for the children of families who are at the poorer and of their posh school's wealth spectrum.

The kids would be better off at the local public school where mom is a teacher. But the parents are trying to build a network with the other parents. Only they're not wealthy enough to cut it. Between school fees, mortgage payments, Air Jordans, Brooks Brothers, etc they're broke. Meanwhile the kids suffer and flail and fail.

I jerk myself out of my reverie. What sort of house did I expect? If what I suspect is true Persephone cannot live in an apartment. She needs a basement. A mansion, and somehow I'm sure she can afford it, in a really wealthy area would attract too much attention; a remote farm too inconvenient.

I stare at the door. It is made of solid wood, oak. There is no bell. Should I knock?

Is this the event horizon of my personal black hole?
 
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mongo

Governor
I think this is a fantasy. Probably it never happened.

I am at a faculty cocktail party. Attendance is mandatory or I wouldn't be here. Boring does not being to describe it. But alumni need to be entertained, to be made to feel special and, of course, to be coaxed into writing large checks.

Inevitably some of the donors believe one of their entitlements is the right to hit on female members of the faculty. Actually that understates it. Some of them think their checks entitle them to bed female faculty members of their choosing. Fortunately I've learned the art of warding them off without giving so much offence that they stop writing checks.

I'm trying to disentangle myself from a particularly persistent "suitor". He's a man who made his money the old fashioned way. He inherited it. A tall woman approaches us. I'm tall for a woman at around 5'9" but I think she tops me by at least two inches. She is slender, has black hair, brown eyes and a not-quite olive skin. She is wearing a black lace strapless cocktail dress. I guess it costs as much as my wardrobe but hey, assistant professors of mathematics don't get paid well. I do my best with what I've got.

"Excuse us," she says to the man. Her voice is soft and cool. "Kristin and I need to discuss something urgent."

The man scowls but he backs off.

I notice our interlocutor smells vaguely of cinnamon and wonder whether it is a perfume or her natural odour. She is carrying an expensive-looking purse; nothing so crude as Armani or Versace. It looks handmade. She reaches into it and pulls out an envelope.

"This is for you. Read it when you're alone." She stares straight into my eyes, fixing my gaze on hers. "Be sure to follow the instructions exactly."

Then she leaves.

I put the envelope in my purse. I cannot explain why I do not discard it as the work of a crank.

There is something about the woman. I feel as if I am orbiting a black hole just above the event horizon. Will I escape while I can? Or will I dive in and be trapped? What am I thinking?

By the time I've extracted myself from the party, driven the two miles to my apartment, showered and settled down in bed it is 11:30 pm. I extract the envelope from my purse. Like the woman's purse it looks custom made from a heavy bond paper the colour of fine wine. This is no mass-produced product. Like everything about the mysterious woman it looks expensive.

It is not sealed. The top fold is folded into the throat. I open it carefully. Somehow I do not want to break or damage what is in effect a work of art in envelope form. As I remove the top fold I catch a faint whiff of that cinnamon odour.

Inside I find a cream coloured card with very precise handwritten instructions. They are addressed to "Dear Kristin" and signed "Persephone". The handwriting is precise, legible and obviously female. The ink is a deep blue. It is written with a fountain pen.

Ice runs up my spine. I've just moved closer to the black hole. I feel as if I'm being sucked into something from which I shall not be able to escape.

No, worse. I can still escape. I'm not yet inside the event horizon. But I don't want to escape. That's the terrible truth. Is it my destiny calling?
That stirs the old interest
 
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