Neither Jess nor I could figure out how Timothy had managed to set the table so quickly. We came back through the corridor and saw him sitting on the floor in front of a small table in the living room. He had moved some of the bean bags out of the way so we could enjoy the view from the windows from the floor.
"Chopsticks?" Jess moaned.
"Aye..and theyíre good for ye too..."
"I donít know, Tim...what part of the food group does wood fit into...?"
Jess unfolded her napkin and set it in her knees. Tim poured some tea.
"Vegetable..." he answered, not looking up at her.
"Wood is a vegetable?" Jess asked.
"Only if you get it at the dining hall..." I said flatly. Tim snickered.
"You donít have a meal plan, Tim, and weíre stuck with them. Donít rub it in.." Jess moaned.
"Oh, Girls, yeíre given a clear choice as to where ye can get yer meals..."
We ate silently until we drove Timothy nearly mad with our greedy slurping. Jess poked at her rice with a single chopstick. Tim wrinkled his nose with disgust.
"Gimme that! Look now, ye take it like this..." he showed me, squeezing my fingers over the chopsticks in the correct position.
"Tim, do you think they should sell insurance for Chinese Restaurants? I mean, like chopstick splinter insurance?" I asked.
"Saw that..." he answered, his mouth full, "on Candid Camera, I did..."
"Can you imagine if you really were on there?," Jess asked. Tim shivered and looked around the room with wide eyes.
"I donít know, but sometimes I get the feeliní Iím beiní watched..."
"By who?" we asked unanimously. I picked up my glass of blue green something or other and looked up at Tim, raising my brow.
"Oh..that emm...some orange juice I got a bit carried away with..put some food coloring in there..."
"WHY?" I demanded, glaring at him.
"Tim, who do you think is watching us?" Jess asked, her notebook of inquiry out. I wondered if there was some law that said you couldnít analyze dinner conversations. Sheíd always described Tim as paranoid, and now I knew she was out to document it. At times she reminded me more of a news reporter.
Of course, Tim saw through what she was getting at. He had a deep sense about these things and prided himself with his ability for quick response. He also had explained to me how this had a great deal to do with his "irresistible magnetism to the female species..." Female species of just what, I never figured out.
He leaned over the table and smirked at her wryly.
"Wouldnít ye love to know..." he whispered. His wire-rimmed glasses had dropped to the end of his nose and he stared into her eyes. Jess shivered. He raised his eyebrows, smirking, quite satisfied with his retort and sat back, eating his rice with chopsticks.
Jess stared at him for a few moments before I changed the topic.
"So...beautiful day outside?"
Tim grunted. Jess continued glaring at him.
"Boy, love that Dr. Zilch...wasnít that lecture on the value of the whooping birdís call on the nation of..."
Tim raised his eyes, glaring at me and I grabbed for my tea cup as a saving grace. He was in a very crabby mood this afternoon and neither Jess or I knew why. He sighed, taking his tea and drank it down like a shot of vodka. He set the glass down and furrowed his brow with frustration.
"Do ye both have any idea how infuriating it is to go to lecture, only to have to listen to that..that nonsensical babble...that man is...downright.. bloody...." Tim turned three shades of red. The pots and pans in the kitchen began to rattle. He took a deep breath, trying to calm himself. "I canít see going there everyday to listen to THAT MAN..." he grumbled vehemently. "Isnít enough that I had to spend sixteen hours in the library, looking up bird calls of species in the Zulu rain forests?"
Jess managed to peep "yes" quietly.
"And isnít it enough that I have to sit tírough a conference with this demented crackpot and have him look over me essay and tear the tíing to bits?"
I nodded, apparently encouraging Tim to stand up and start pacing around. He ranted on about how nothing was ever enough for Zilch, as he so amorously called him.
"And..do ye remember the time he humiliated me in front of the entire lecture hall? I had to start step dancing so heíd let me be...I told him I hadnít brought the right shoes and I wasnít giving performances..and then...then..." Tim trailed off suddenly, clutching the window frame. He pressed his nose against the glass.
"What is it?" I asked with concern. I got up to see what he was looking at and only saw a small gathering in front of Starstrucks Coffee.
"That girl...." he gasped. "Who is she?"
"Do you see a girl, Tim?" Jess asked. She has her notebook out. Tim turned around, his eyes wide.
"YES, SHEíS REALLY THERE!"
Jess scribbled some more notes about Timís temper, before getting up to join us. I had no idea who the mystery girl was. She was dressed in short red skirt, her long black hair pulled back in a barrette. She wore a white blouse that seemed to glow in the sunlight. Tim stood transfixed, his face pressed against the window. Jess grabbed a handful of some noodles he had on the side of his plate and looked out the window.
"Itís Mary Zilch..."
"Zilch?" Tim gasped. "Kin to...Dr. Zilch!?"
"Oh...Iíve seen her..." I laughed. "Sheís in poli sci too..Yale I think....but sheís here to put everyone else down thatís going to state school."
"Itís Zilchís daughter alright....donít you remember when we were in lecture, Tim, and we had to watch those slides of Dr. Zilchís safari in Madagascar? His daughter was dancing and the lemurs started getting restless?"
Tim sighed. "Yes..and I got tírown from the lecture hall when I cheered a bit too loudly," he reminisced dreamily.
"I miss Mikey.." Jess sighed. I stared at my two lovesick friends.
"I need me coffee.." Tim grunted, standing up. He went to get his coat.
"And then thatís when Monica and Brandon were in Hawaii...he had the affair with the waiter...and then Monica got jealous and seduced him later on...remember the hot tub scene?" Jess gushed.
Tim sipped his fourth latte, staring at Mary Zilch from across the "coffee house".
"Why did she need to seduce her fiancť?"
I watched Tim for a few moments, lost in thought. I often wondered what had brought him to the USA. He possessed this peculiar sort of brightness and charm and nothing made him happier than his maps, a highlighter and coffee. He was the ever curious and scholarly student. Yet, this curiousity held a certain inherent mischief which I could only attribute to his exessive intake of sugar.
"Not him..." Jess groaned, "the waiter!" Jess was seated next to Timothy, and I, on the opposite side of the booth. Tim took another sip of his latte.
"Could ye pass me The New York Times...?" he asked. I handed it over, rolling my eyes at Jess.
"Thereís no times, except The New York Times," I sang on a note both Simon and Garfunkel. Timothy smiled.
"I miss Mikey...." Jess sighed.
"I always imagined Iíd meet a fairy prince and we would fall in love blissfully, hopelessly and desperate..." I announced dreamily.
"Fall in love? Over what? The sparkling in his eyes? You need common interests.." Jess insisted.
Timothy shrugged. "Does he have to be a prince?"
"Mikey and I enjoy complete compatibility," Jess said.
"You were probably taking one of those tests in the back of Sassy..." I grumbled.
"What could you possibly have in common with Michael?," Tim said.
"He lives in the basement of the computer science building and refers to his friends as his minions."
"Thatís just his way..." Jess whispered. I sensed she was already fantasizing about the next time he would bring her a basket of red pantyhose.
"I tíink that sheís with that fella...over there..."
I turned my head to see.
"Turn round!" he grunted at me. "Jessica..can ye see him?"
"MIKEY!!" she shouted suddenly, her eyes lighting up. Tim and I turned to see Mike standing there in a pair of blue jeans, a black Babylon Five T-shirt, with his trademark red sneakers. His clothes was singed and covered with ash, his hair slicked back behind his pointed ears. He had the distinct odor of something burnt and nameless. Yet, he was somehow ruggedly handsome and irresistible. Jess melted into the seat. I wondered if she would fall under the table and we would have to get a mop.
"Greetings, my unworthy plebeians..." Mike stood with his hands on his hips, awaiting his deserved praise.
"I hear yeíre gettiní ready to rule the world..." Tim called to him sarcastically. He snickered and rolled his eyes at me. Jess moved over towards the window and let Mike squish into the booth. He put his arm around her posessively.
"Thatís right..." Mike answered. Timothy was not too fond of him. He thought him arrogant, conceited and quite ridiculous. Mike thought the same of Timothy. Their eyes met, for a brief moment. Mike grabbed at the salt shaker and threw some of the salt behind his back at a couple seated behind us.
"HEY!" they shouted angrily. Tim raised his hand.
"Iím so dreadfully sorry. He slipped..." Tim worked his Irish charms. He could smooth anything over with those flashing blue eyes. Mike turned around and glared at the couple, trying to terrify them. He growled and turned his head.
"Yes, the world....to rule the world, would be the greatest vicarious deed one could do.."
Tim sighed, and rolled his eyes yet again.
"And how do ye propose to do this when ye know Microsoft already has the world in itís grasp?"
"Ah..." Mike said, waving a pointed finger in the air. "Thatís only until I suggest to Bill that there is more to be said of selling your soul..."
Tim scoffed. I gaped.
"Oh, Mikey....." Jess swooned.
"Yes, and you, my temptress, shall rule along side me in my abode..."
"The sub-basement of Furnas Hall..." I scoffed.
Mike glared. "The 666th sub-basement, thank you..."
"Oh, Mikey..what makes you so..soo..evil...?" Jess asked breathlessly. Tim was about ready to get up and leave. He counted his change, seeing if he could get another latte to go. I knew he didnít want any more of that latte since it was half empty. It depressed him.
"You canít go yet!" Jess shouted.
"Jessica! Shh..." Tim warned. "Sheíll hear!"
Mike was immediately interested. He leaned over the table, his dark eyes scanning the entire coffee house. He spotted Mary and raised his brow.
"Ahh...I see, Timothy, a girl has caught your interest? And would you like that beautiful girl?"
"Yup..." Jess cut in. "But heís afraid sheíll reject him... because she looks like sheís involved with that guy there.... maybe itís her boyfriend..." She took out her notepad and began scribbling furiously. Mike sat back, scheming.
"Say, Timothy..my dear friend...?"
Tim flared his nostrils. "Yes..." he grumbled.
"I could offer you some of my advice..." He spoke of it as if it were a patented commodity.
"Some of yer advice? Would that include wearing Brute and danciní round in red underwear? Ye can forget that because I havenít any soot to roll round in..."
Mike sighed, pretending to be painfully insulted. He lay his hand over his heart. "How could you not trust your dear friend, Mike?"
Tim looked up at me, flashing that crooked grin. Was he really supposed to answer that?
"Alright..what do you suggest, oh, evil master..." Tim bowed to Mike facetiously. Jess rested her head on folded hands, lost in endless bliss as she watched her demon in his element.
"Women want a man whoís strong, who takes charge...who is... level-headed yet, dark, and mysterious.."
Jess giggled with glee and clung onto Mike even more.
"Ohh.." Timothy sighed with awe, "I understand it all now..the real light of the world, Iím finally seeiní...so..I should go home and tírow a leaf bag over me head, is that it?"
"Such insolence!" Mike grumbled.
"I tíink a man should treat a woman as she needs to be treated... with submission and fervor." Tim said.
I nodded. "Yes, as a woman, I couldnít ask for more..."
"You would rather have some spineless codfish be your leader?"
"Who is talking about leaders?" I laughed.
Timothy sighed. "Sheís kin to Zilch..." he admitted as though it were some dread disease.
"Ooooooh weee!" Mike hooted loudly, clapping his hands together. Mary turned to see what all the commotion was about. Timothy sunk lower in his seat.
"Donít...do...that...." he snarled, gritting his teeth.
"What scandalous bliss is this?! How is it that I happened upon such glorious discomfort?!" Mike gushed.
Tim failed to choose an appropriate retort fast enough from his vast plethora of characteristic insults and curses.
"Because you sensed the presence of your temptress..." Jess growled. Mike turned and kissed her. Tim rolled his eyes.
"I can help you, Tim..Ē Jess told him, craning her neck to see Mary. "Do you see how his right hand is positioned next to hers? It reminds me of how in last weekís episode of Daybreak Island...remember with Travis and Miranda?"
"I tíink so..." Tim mumbled. "THERE....I tíink heís her fella.. thatís what....."
"What makes you think that?" I asked. I strained to see what was going on by watching the distorted reflection in my spoon.
"He let her borrow his pen..." he whispered.
"Tim..." I groaned. "Just go and talk to her..this is ridiculous. Just go and say hi..."
"Yes. Say, Ďhello, my name is Timothy..pleased to meet you...í
"What kind of a pick up line is that?" Jess moaned, rolling her eyes. "Tim...donít listen to her...tell her your name is Troy.. that always works..."
"Troy? What am I, the personification of a contraception advert?"
"No, but it sounds really sexy..." Jess said, winking at him. "Come on..." she urged. She tugged at his sleeve.
"Okay, okay....how do I look?" he asked. Mike raised his brow.
"Like a poor political science major, wondering how heís going to feed himself once he graduates..."
"Watch it, lad..." Tim barked at him. I laughed.
"Donít worry, Tim...you can charm her.."
"Yes," Jess encouraged him. "Letís see that smile now..."
Tim tooks a deep breath and straigtened his shirt out. He flashed his silly crooked grin at us.
"Do I look alright then?"
"Perfect..." I urged him.
He sighed and got up from the table.
We all watched him, giggling and smiling at him with encouragement. He furrowed his brow and walked right past Maryís table to the service bar, pretending to get some sugar packets. When he saw she was reading The New York Times, he was captified.
The Timothy Story ©1997-2000 Zucchtoons