SEXY TRIGONOMETRY KILLS
I shouldn’t be telling you this but I have to tell someone.
I’m sure you know, we as individuals are a continuous surface with a hole in the middle; a donut, or topologically speaking: a torus. The north side of the hole is the mouth and the south side of the hole is the anus. We spin around that axis.
Our genitals cause that axis to move tangentially in a random migration.
Of course, even so-called random events follow a rule, most often in our experience expressed graphically as the “bell curve”.
I find all that elegant and reassuring.
What I find disruptive in my little mathematical Garden of Eden are the devils and angels that enter when we take a bite of the knowledge of Death.
Then my little mathematical Garden of Eden becomes a Mud Wrestling Ring where nothing is known until it is known and knowing changes what is known.
Sorry. My name is Wallace. Wallace Cox. I skipped my senior year of high school to be a freshman here. I didn’t have to. There was a girl I liked. I thought she liked me. I, I was wrong. I hate being wrong. But I think that there is no such thing as failure as long as we learn from it. Don’t you?
Sorry. I’m a Math Major. Yeah, in high school everyone called me “Quasar”. No, unfortunately I’m not a robot, so I do have feelings. It was a quantum barrier, as I’m sure you know what I mean, socially, that is, if you care. I think that that girl I liked was afraid…, never mind.
Anyway, I was glad to get out of that high school scene. College for me was the City Upon The Hill. Unfortunately, life is high school.
Yes, the City Upon The Hill. John Winthrop, the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, wrote that during a voyage to the New World in 1630. You know. It was part of a discourse called “A Model of Christian Charity”? It doesn’t matter.
But actually it is kind of to my point. When I got here my mind was filled with remorse and, as Hunter S. Thompson put it so well, fear and loathing. I found myself longing to return to star dust. I scared myself! Then in my fear I heard my mother’s voice saying to me “when you’re depressed go help someone less fortunate than yourself”.
My mom is star dust now. Maybe she is enjoying being star dust after raising me. But I still hear her.
Anyway, I volunteered to tutor fellow students having trouble with Trigonometry. That’s when I met Charity.
Dr. Wesley – he’s one of the coordinators of the tutor program, he’s from the Theology Department – anyway, Dr. Wesley thought that I would be perfect to tutor “this girl” whose boyfriend was in jail and who wanted to change her life and was trying to go back to school.
That first evening when I knocked on the door of the address that Dr. Wesley gave me, a young woman opened the door cautiously and then narrowed her eyes and asked me, “Yeah?”
Ì said, “Hello. I’m Wallace Cox from the college tutor program. Are you Charity?”
The young woman then relaxed and grinned at me and I thought she shook her head and she hollered over her shoulder, “Charity, your tutor is here,” then she said to me, “Come on in. You’ll do just fine.”
I asked her, “Excuse me? What will I do just fine?”
Down the stairs came another young woman. She could have been my age. She had long wavy sand-colored hair, her arms and legs were long and slender, she wore a white tank-top that bared her mid-riff, and cut-off jeans that exposed their white pockets against her tan skin. I noticed the tattoo of a tiny pink rose on her inner thigh.
And I saw the flash of disappointment in her eyes. I am an instrument fine-tuned to that frequency.
She said, “Hey.”
I said, “Miss Charity? I’m Wallace Cox.”
Charity smiled and asked, “Really? Well, Mr. Cox, I am not Miss Charity. Just call me Charity.”
The young woman who had opened the door was suddenly bustling out the door and called back to Charity, “Have fun. I’m heading out.”
Charity replied, “Fun, fun, fun,” then she muttered, “Don’t hurry back,” and then she said to me, as if in confidence, “That’s my boyfriend’s sister, the Iron Maiden. This is her house.”
I was drawn down the path of her easy intimacy and I said, “Are you staying here while your boyfriend is… away?”
Charity replied wryly, “My boyfriend is in jail, and you can say it. He’s a jealous moron. He almost killed a guy who was just talking to me in a bar,” and Charity started up the stairs, saying to me, “Up here.”
I couldn’t help watch Charity sway slowly up the stairs ahead of me while she continued her revelations and she said, “He’s going to be away now for five years. It’s already been two years. And his jealousy is worse than ever! He insisted that I live here with the Iron Maiden so she can keep an eye on me and report to him. Do you believe that shit?”
I replied to the back of those long legs, “I see. I mean, that is most unfair. Trust is the basis of everything. Even science. We trust that there are discernable rules for our existence.”
Charity turned to look back at me as I quickly deflected my eyes up to hers and she laughed, “It’s no wonder the Iron Maiden thought she could leave,” and then she turned again and I swear she wagged her derriere at me in an exaggerated manner. I noticed the tattooed flames emerging upon the exposed small of her back.
Great. So I was “safe”. No need for a girl to be on-guard around me. Wallace the eunuch. So, who, again, was the “less fortunate one” here?
Then I noticed the tattooed pink angel wings on her shoulders, protruding above her tank top.
She led me into her bedroom.
Before she switched the light on, her window was embracing the full moon. Her room was being lapped by the photons rebounding off of that full moon from the sun below the opposite horizon.
Charity hopped onto her bed and sat cross-legged and picked up the textbook that was lying there and she said with a smile, “OK, so make Trigonometry sexy.”
After the oscillations of her bounce upon the bed subsided I looked out the window at the full moon and I was suddenly inspired, pointing and saying, “The full moon was probably the natural circle that first got mankind thinking about the nature of circles, and angles, and triangles. That’s what Trigonometry means: the measurement of three sides. Those three sides of any triangle are like the Holy Trinity, if you will, because you can calculate just about everything from their unchanging relation. Like the area of a circle. How do you approximate that? Well, you mathematically cut the pie into wedges, smaller and smaller triangles and then use the unchanging relations of triangles. Trigonometry!”
Charity raised her arms in mock triumph and cried, “Tah-dah! Cut the pie!”
My pride then turned me into a disciplinarian and I admonished Charity, saying, “Do you want to learn this or not?”
Charity sat back and laughed, saying, “Take it easy, Mr. Cox. I was just joking. I want to learn,” and then she muttered, “I don’t want to be a cocktail waitress forever.”
I said, “Sorry. People are always making fun. They don’t know how important this all is.”
Charity said, “Go on. Seriously.”
I felt badly that I had admonished her and I said, “What I just told you about – using smaller and smaller triangles to measure the area of a circle – that was called the method of exhaustion,” and I joked lamely, “So don’t be surprised if Trigonometry can seem hard. At first.”
Charity actually laughed and said, “No wonder I get a headache from math.”
I added as encouragement, “Look, Charity, the ancient Greeks figured out Trigonometry over two thousand years ago and people today still struggle to work with it. Do not put yourself down. It always is difficult until you see the beauty of it.”
And then our eyes locked.
Charity broke our gaze and looked down at her Trig textbook and said, “Maybe you can help me with some of my problems,” and then she blushed and said quickly, “Trigonometry problems.”
I boldly sat beside her on her bed and I said, “Sure. Let’s start…, solving your problems. The problems,” and then I just took her textbook from her and buried my face between the crisp, unsoiled pages.
I finally said, “OK, this first problem,” and I looked up at her.
She was leaning toward me and I could see down her tank top. There was no bra, no bra.
Charity asked, “Yes? The first problem?”
I turned back to the page and I focused and I placed my open hand upon the page and I read, “Problem 1, The Angle of Subduction: Subducting oceanic slabs can plunge steeply or shallowly underneath the overriding plate. In modern subduction zones the location of earthquakes can show how steeply the subducting slab is plunging into the mantle…”
Charity placed her fingers upon my hand upon the book and I looked at her and she stared back at me and she said, “I know the answer to this one.”
Charity leaned toward my face with her mouth open and she closed her eyes. My eyes opened wide and I fell toward her face with my mouth open. I felt like the space shuttle docking with the space station. Too fast, too hard. But she seemed to like it. She ejected her tongue into my mouth and that was when I realized what a kiss was supposed to be.
We traded tongues. We scoured each other’s mouth.
Then Charity suddenly gasped, “Wait!” and she bounded off of the bed and turned off the bedroom light. In the rebounding moonlight she pulled her tank top off. Her breasts were like celestial objects to me. She unbuttoned her cut-off jeans and when she bent over to pull them over her feet she displayed those pink angel wings on her back. Then she stood and looked at me.
Charity said to me, “Your turn.”
I sprained myself yanking my clothes off. Charity laughed.
Charity stared at me and said, “I like your angle, Mr. Cox.”
Then she leapt at me and with a full body tackle we fell onto her bed. I turned her from on top of me. She raised her knees and she rolled laughing. I noticed again the tattoo of the tiny pink rose on her inner thigh. I kissed it. I lingered. I began to suck upon that rose, unafraid of the thorns in the back of my mind.
We integrated and derivated and subtended and cofunctioned and plotted harmonic motions until we heard the front door downstairs slam and the Iron Maiden calling out, “Charity? Are you awake? Why is that guy’s car still outside. Shit! Charity!”
I don’t know what was louder, the pounding of the Iron Maiden’s footfalls upon the stairs or the pounding of my panicked heart. I subsided as blood withdrew for fight or flight.
Charity had less clothing to recover. She then grabbed my underwear and socks and threw them under the bed, motioning for me to pull on my shirt and pants. I almost zippered my scrotum. I shoved my bare feet into my shoes just as the Iron Maiden entered the moonlit bedroom.
The Iron Maiden could see and smell in the moonlight and she howled, “Jesus fuck, Charity! Jesus fuck! You’re going to get us both killed!”
Charity howled back, “You don’t have to say anything!”
Something possessed me and I yelled, “Who would believe you?”
Charity and the Iron Maiden both stopped and looked at me like I was a burning bush.
The Iron Maiden then said finally, “Jesus fuck, Charity,” and she stomped out of the bedroom.
After the stomping subsided Charity said to me, “Gee. I was hoping that she was going to stay.”
That thought in my shattered brain caused a distal reaction and Charity noticed my recovery. She performed a few calculations by hand and she soon found my solution.
Yes, I’m still her tutor. She’s getting straight A’s. I’m still getting Big O’s.
I’ve still got about three years since he can’t get time-off for good behavior.
Yes, very funny. A twisted triangle, ha, ha.
I just have to make sure I graduate before three years. I have calculated all the angles to this “twisted triangle” a dozen times, trust me.
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