Paul and The Ghost of The Study Lounge. Chapter 1: The Physics of Ginger Ale.

paul

*the following is a fictional story. All characters and situations are not real. except for Paul, he is very real.  This is loosely based on true events.

“Just two more hours” I say out loud to myself as I sit stiffly in one of the many plastic lawn chairs that occupy the lush mahogany tables of the Boston University study lounge on the top floor of the Howard Johnson building.  I know budgets are tight but green plastic lawn chairs are a bit tacky for a study lounge not to mention impractical.  I reach down to the arm of the chair and notice a fracture in the arm as I swing the broken arm of the lawn chair back and forth.  Have I been here that long that I broke the arm while leaning or has it been broken this whole time? My mind is wandering too often, I need to forget about the plastic chairs and focus on my studies.  There’s a loud “whoosh” as I uncap my 20 oz diet Schweppes ginger ale.  The sound is amplified by the silence of the lounge; luckily no eyes are removed from their books. All of us locked together in this boring prison of a study lounge, surrounded by tables, chairs, windows overlooking campus and oil paintings on the walls as decoration.

I lose focus again and begin to scan the girl sitting closest to me only 2 tables away. She too has a bottle of ginger ale, not diet though. She is thin and pale, but attractive in an Anne Hathaway shovel face sort of way.  Her body, a hidden mystery underneath a red Boston University Hoodie and her hair pulled back in a pony tail to give me a clear view of the action going on in and around her mouth.  She’s chewing on a pen with hard bites and reading a book called “Madness in My Heart.” By Ralph Mario Poffo.  Could I ever be the madness in Anne Hathaway Shovel Face’s heart?  Her choice of reading seems more like recreation than study, but none the less she’s seems to be enjoying said book while vigorously feasting on her pen.  It seems that in only mere moments her bottom lip will be covered in pen ink.  My heart races with anticipation with each gnaw of the beaten and battered pen.
After a few more chomps I realize I’ve again lost focus and bury my head back into my Physics book. I power through paragraph after paragraph about nuclear physics, about alpha, beta, and gamma radiation.  I read about the energetic particles and energetic waves traveling through a vacuum, traveling through matter-containing media that are not required for their propagation.  This got me thinking about the serendipitous discovery Henri Becquerel made when he stumbled upon radioactivity, and about
how chance favors the prepared mind.  I wondered if my mind was prepared to discover something great.  Then radiation sways my thoughts to the half eaten chicken  I left quesadilla in my dorm room and heating it up in the microwave when I return.  Too bad my roommate Viktor had kicked the microwave and broke it.  He found its performance to be unsatisfactory and in essence he eliminated the microwave.  Viktor is an intense young man, a fellow physics student who is big into playing video games and his mother country of Russia.  Most people were scared of Viktor; “maybe he’s a spy” They’d whisper to each other.  I didn’t care if he is or isn’t, I like Viktor, he
makes me laugh. Thinking about Viktor and my dorm room made me realize I couldn’t keep my focus on my studies and maybe I shouldn’t bother.  As I looked up to see if Anne Hathaway Shovel Face had finished eating her pen I am surprised to discovered that she has left the study lounge.  The only trace of her is the empty bottle of ginger ale, not diet, left behind. In fact I was completely alone in the study lounge now.   I reached out for my ginger ale as I exhale and notice my cold breath escaping from my lips.  I pressed the bottle against my lips but I can’t enjoy the bubbly goodness of my ginger ale as a sudden chill has slithered up my spine.  I check my cell phone to see the time but the battery has died. “Fuck you Cell Phone” I exclaim with a serious tone.  Last I had checked it was well past midnight, and I had gotten so lost in my thoughts it could be close to 2 in the morning for all I knew.  I longed for the company of Anne Hathaway Shovel Face.  This uneasy feeling of being alone in the study lounge was taking its toll on my mind.

I looked around for another soul to comfort my weariness but it was just an old, sad, empty study lounge littered with green plastic lawn chairs.  I looked to the wall and studied the Oil Painting of Boston University founder Gentleman Smitty.  He is dressed like an English sea captain from the Revolutionary War. He is fully equipped with a puffy shirt and tri-cornered hat to tie together his ensemble.  His proud and stern face blended into the back ground of the painting as the foreground was dominated by a giant Clipper Ship. This painting was actually inspired by the poster for the Russell Crowe movie “Master and Commander:  The Far Side of the World.  In all the other study lounges were paintings of Smitty’s prized Terrier “Mr. Pants” but here in this particular study hall on the top floor of the Howard Johnson building, we get Gentleman Smitty. Next to him was another oil painting of Boston University’s most famous graduate Genna Davis.  This particular oil painting was of Genna Davis from the 1988 Tim Burton film Beetlejuice.  In the picture her jaw is detached about three feet apart and her eyes are placed atop of her elongated tongue in the center of what is left of her face.  I never had an issue with this particular depiction of our greatest alumni until this very moment.  Her eyes were burning a hole inside of my very soul.

I could just get up and leave the study lounge but that would spell defeat and I was as stubborn as a mule when it came to defeat.  What the defeat of getting up and going to my room would cause me was  undetermined as I realize I am over tired and not in my right mind.  I look down to my bottle of ginger ale and I study to bubbles smashing into each over and moving through each other.  I turn my attention out the window to the Boston sky line.  The beauty of the city is interrupted by a reflection in the window of a young woman, at first I think it’s Anne Hathaway Shovel Face but then my heart sinks as I notice that the features on the face of the woman are gray and undefined, like an undeveloped photo.  This odd vision frightens me but I can’t fight the impulse to snap my head around, and when I do the vision is gone.  Nothing but plastic chairs and Gentleman Smitty, laughing at me.  “This is stupid” I say aloud to ease my nerves.  I never should have started the day with 3 five hour energy’s; it’s got my mind out of sorts.  I try to convince myself as cliché as it sounds; this visions is a product of too much caffeine and too much studying.  I collect my belongings and grab my bottle of ginger ale when out of the corner of my eye, like energy particles passing through one another the indefinable featured face of the gray woman emerges through the Oil Painting replacing the face of Gentleman Smitty.

I gaze in shock at this woman’s face who’s is now occupying the painting inspired by the poster of “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.  I study her gray face having no depth or characteristics, but the more I gaze at her, the more features start to form and she is beautiful.  She locks eyes with me and I am motionless.  I should be filled with horror but I am more curious and anxious at this point.  Her lips move and the most angelic voice fills my ears as she says “The tower of power, too sweet to be sour, dig it! Oooooh yeeeeah!”  With that final prolonged “yeeeeah” in an instant her face disappears, replaced by Gentleman Smitty. My ginger ale crashes to the floor, spilling the remaining soda inside the bottle on to the floor of the study lounge at the top of the Howard Johnson building.

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~ by ATOM on February 27, 2013.

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