Posted by Mavra on July 23, 2003 at 04:22:48:
Poster's IP was: 18.104.22.168
(even those centaurs that aren't 'fellows'!)
Here's the late 'latest' story posting of mine. I hope that the time discontinuity isn't too disruptive, but I've been under a bit of pressure and stress lately. I hope I can fulfill my New Year's Resolution of finishing writing by the end of this year.
Anyway, here's the story.
* * *
The next day I awoke with a start.
"Omigosh!" I startled, Ďsittingí suddenly upright in bed... a circular bed... by myself...
Realization came to me where I was; while not being my apartment, it certainly wasnít unfamiliar, but still, the time of day.
I quickly got my belongings together and muttering to myself. "Oohhh... darn! Darn! Iíll be late! As if Iím not behind enough as it is... thisíll only make things worse! Late.. late..! Damn!"
Hurriedly, I went to Argonís living room, and sure enough, there he was, on the Ďcouchí and fully asleep.
"Argon!" I hissed, "Argon! Wake up!" Further nudging and the removal of his blanket woke him up, albeit tiredly.
"Huh? Wha?" Was his morning greeting to me.
"Argon, Iím going to be late for my classes! Itís too far for me to gallop there, and Iíd be all hot, stinky, and sweaty if I did! Youíve got to drive me there! Now!"
He shook his head tiredly, rubbing his eyes, still waking up. "No, you wonít be, dear.. urf.. what time is it?"
"Itís... 9:30?!" I blinked, looking at the time on my watch.
"Right," he said, re-explaining things to me. "You told me that your Friday classes donít start until noon."
I nodded, giving a grunt of acknowledgement. "Iím sorry, Argon, youíre right, go on back to sleep."
"No, thatís alright." He said as he got out of his overnight Ďbedí and onto his hooves. "Iím awake now, and no doubt youíll be wanting to get back to your apartment to change."
I nodded, still feeling rushed but now also embarrassed. "Well... Iíd... yes, thank you."
Argon smiled, nodding and stretching, but tactfully saying nothing further.
* * *
In under an hourís time, I had finished showering and was dressed and ready for another day of ordeal at the university, thankfully it being a Friday, would give me a couple days reprieve before starting the whole routine all over again on Monday. Thankfully, Argon had Fridays off, so he was able to drop me off.
I smiled and gave him a kiss before I got out. "Thank you for your help in taking me here. This heat and humidity really gets to someone born and raised in Oregon."
Replying with a kiss of his own, he added, "youíre certainly welcome, Mavra. So, how long are you going to be today?"
"Iím not sure, after classes, I was going to try yet again over at the math tutoring lab, as odd as that sounds, to remember some of the basics of partial differentiation."
He nodded, encouraging me to continue. "And how long will you be there?"
I sighed. "Well, since today is Friday, itíll be closing early at 3:30. I would really want to stay longer to see about working out some more problems. There are some tutors there that are helping out the lower-ranked mathematic students that are in my class. Iím hoping to get some input from them." Egad, I *hope*!
"Ok, 3:30, right? Iíll be by then and pick you up. We can go to a movie or get something to eat?"
I smiled and nodded. "Certainly. Plan on being just a little bit later than that, closer to four or so, ok?"
Argon nodded and smiled. "Ok, see you then. Bai!"
I blew him a kiss and headed towards the building. No sooner had he left then I was Ďnoticedí again, quite suddenly so at that. I heard some more Ďcat-callsí being made (if you take making horse-like sounds at all Ďcattyí), but I quickly left them behind me as I headed over to my math class.
Upon my arrival, something that was expected by the sound of various comments being made as I trotted by the student body, I was again greeted by stares, not from something unexpected, no, not unexpected anymore, but still very much Ďnot the normí. I looked back at those staring, giving them an impression that unless they were about to say something to me (hopefully not unkind) that they should refrain from further ogling.
One student was attempting to be pleasant enough when he asked me, "uh... have you... umm, have you been able to finish Wednesdayís assignment... uh... yet?"
"Anope," I quickly and honestly replied. "I was going to the mathlab after class to talk to a couple of other guys in the class that tutor over there. I need some more Ďfreshening upí than what I had expected. Come to think of it, a good part of this is actually new to me."
"New? Uh.. what do you mean?"
"Well, the last time I took any class like this, we only started on second-order differentials, dealing with only the basics."
"Uh..." he started, "what class was that?"
"Oh, electricity and magnetism. Thatís why the field equation that Dr. Burnnes wrote up on the board was familiar to me. Thank goodness for my physics background." I made a little motion with my hands. "Whee."
"Oh, you took some engineering physics classes?"
"No, pure physics."
He looked at me curiously. "Thereís no physics majors here, just engineering... you already got a degree?"
I nodded and smiled, swishing my tail. "Oh yes. Back in í91."
"Wow," he said, then did a double-take. "Wait, you got a degree almost ten years ago! How old *are* you?"
Everybody nearby suddenly stopped talking, hearing ĎMr. Uhí saying something that normally shouldnít be said.
"Uh..." he said, trying to recover, "I... uh... only ask because you look so young!"
I smiled and nodded, complimenting him wordlessly on his re-applied tact. "Thank you, but seriously..." I bent far over and slightly crouched on my four legs to whisper into his ear, "... ssshhhhh... Iím 33."
"Wow," he said as his eyes went wide, "no kidding??"
Such tact! "Anope." I said flatly.
"Wow," he repeated himself. Trying to change the uncomfortable subject of age, he went for another topic that had often made those that I interacted with. "Uh, youíre not from around here, are you?"
I smiled. "Anope." That seemed easy enough.
"Uh, where *are* you from? Iíve not seen any... one like you before, except in ĎFantasiaí!"
Ugh, *that* film again. Ah well, at least it put centaurs in a good light.
"No, Iím from the other side of the country, Oregon specifically."
He nodded enthusiastically. "Iíll say! You couldnít get much further, or could you?"
"Only if I was residing in the Olympic Peninsula in Washington." I tried shifting the topic. "How about yourself... mmm... Iím sorry, but what *is* your name exactly?" At least I had the forethought of actually bringing up the concept of that pesky thing called Ďintroductionsí.
He smiled pleasantly enough and held out his hand. "Oh, sorry, my dame is Dale. Dale Sanders. Iím from up in Pennsylvania, around Pittsburgh."
I shook his hand and replied. "Mavra Mijo, from Portland, Oregon, but you already knew from where."
Smiling he nodded and asked, "I know this sounds funny, no, probably not considering everything else Iíve said, but I donít remember hearing anything about someone like you from out west."
No, he wouldnít, and Iím not surprised, but wanting to veer the topic away I jokingly commented on how weíve been Ďfighting the Indiansí out west for so long that weíve started to not only look like them, but also what they rode. That brought up a blank stare, apparently he either didnít get it nor like it. Ah well, I never was much of one for stand-up humor. Thankfully the instructor showed up by then and the remaining conversation was cut short by the class, which by itself wasnít anything exceptional, at least not since the first few days when I had made my initial presence.
As it turned out by pleasant coincidence, the two that I wanted to get in touch with for mathematic purposes turned out to not only be Dale, but also his friend from Israel, David Ziv. Dale was still your typical freckled, acne-faced post-teenager (almost, heíd be twenty in a few months as it turned out), but David was older, having served in the military already in Israel. The two worked well together in a synergistic manner that enabled both of them to achieve among the highest GPAs held in the university.
How very choice of me. The only problem was trying to meet up with them after class. The math lab was only marginally busy, thank goodness, for otherwise Iíd have a whole lot more trouble in navigating between the tables, instead of simply picking one up and moving it a foot or two. It was an odd dichotomy that caused people to stare, even though Iíve been at the university now for a couple of weeks. The combination of seeing a centaur for real and the actuality of my presence and size continued to take people aback.
Looking peacefully back, I asked, Ďis there a math tutor in the lab now? I need a refresher on partial differentials." Silence was the reply, so I again asked, "anyone? Anyone?"
Seeing that I was greeting by a deafening muteness, I pointed to a far corner of the room where I could keep my tail safe out of the way from being stepped on by anyone.
"Fine," I said, not at all pleased with my reception, "Iíll be in the corner over hear waiting to hear from a tutor when they arrive back from where-ever they are."
Frumping, I got out my materials to study, and hearing conversations start up again, mainly over math, but partially over certain Ďbarnyard proclivitiesí. I was about ready to pounce on anyone who seemed to be giving tutorial instruction when this one small lady came up to me with a grin.
"Hi," she greeted, setting her backpack upon the tabletop with a loud >thunk!< "I had overheard some of the other people around talking about the centaur going, er, being here, and I wanted to have a chance to meet her."
She gave me a polite glance, humanoid torso and equine lower body and all. "Wow, you really *are* part horse!"
I had to fight back a grimace and maintain civility. "No, Iím not part horse," it was really difficult in leaving out the quotes in my voice, "I am all centaur. The same blood that flows through the tip of my pinky also makes its way to my pastern. As a very good and close friend of mine puts it, Ďcentaurs are horse-like, but not like a horseí."
The young lady looked rather abashed, looking down, and said "oh, sorry."
I sighed lightly, not wanting to immediately alienate someone who was making an effort to be friendly. "Thatís ok, itís a simple enough misunderstanding." I smiled hopefully, "itís one of my pet peeves, and *I* am sorry for dumping the peeve litter box on you."
Her face brightened up once more to its original luster. "Naah, thatís ok. I tend to run off at the mouth before I engage my brain." Smiling as well, she held out her hand in greetings. "Hello, Iím Rebecca, but my friends call me Rebby."
I smiled as well and took her hand and shook it briefly. "Hello, my name is Mavra, and Iíve been called Ďhey youí." We both chuckled at that for a moment before I continued. "But Iíve been called ĎMaví and ĎMavieí too." I paused for a moment in mock-thoughtfulness, "odd, that..." before I gave a wink.
"So watcha doing here, Mavra?"
I looked around and saw that nobody was really tutoring anyone. "Well... I was hoping on getting a little bit of the receiving end of tutoring, but it doesnít look like itís happening right now."
"Tutor? Math? On what, Mavra?"
I sighed and showed Rebecca my homework. "This. Iím trying to dust out the cobwebs from what I did years ago in calculus. Partial differentiation."
"I know this! Can I help?"
I smiled and shrugged with both sets of shoulders. "Sure, why not?"
Rebecca looked at me oddly. "What did you do?"
I felt perplexed, and looked like it too. "Do? Do what? I donít understand."
"You shrugged, and... your whole body raised! Oops, sorry, your torso?"
"Oh, sorry, sometimes I forget things. It was a shrug."
I smiled and nodded, but returned to the subject at hand. "Iím sorry, but Iím in more of a need right now in re-establishing my mathematic skills than explaining and demonstrating aspects of my physiology, as interesting as that may be right now."
"Oh, right... ok, ah, this is how you do a partial differential..." She then started to explain the process to me, and I began to remember...
It was simply the basic application of the chain rule, something that I partially remembered, but over the years of non-use, the exact memory had partially atrophied. There were several other mathematical concepts that I also needed brushing up on, but I couldnít take it all in at once. I needed some time to let things simmer while I chew on this morsel. Hmm.. morsel.. speaking of..
"Oh, itís a quarter to three!" I looked around and duly noted that the lab had indeed closed and her and I were the only ones around. "Iím sorry, Rebby, but I need to get going."
"Thatís ok," she replied with a yawn and a stretch, "I wanted to go home anyway. It was sure nice to meet a cen.. to meet you. Can we meet again?"
"Sure, how about Monday for lunch, say around 1:30?"
She smiled. "Thatíll be great, thanks."
I chuckled. "Heh, no, thank *you*. For all of the help. Itís not easy trying to jump-start things again when itís been a decade since the last time a math class was taken."
She looked moderately surprised over the Ďdecadeí concept but I didnít allow her any further reply and quickly departed and headed to the elevator and to the landing beyond where I would wait for Argon in his van.
When I got to the concrete landing, I wasnít greeted by Argon, but instead by a smallish throng of manlings. I say manlings because they only had the general size and shape of men, but most certainly not the maturity and civility of gentlemen. This was demonstrated in the manner they addressed me. It was your typical insulting and rude behavior that Iíve seen over the years, a re-arrangement of jibes and cat-calls, something that had ended up classifying as ĎInsult Tirade 4a) Ancestry and Behaviorí. What made it distinct from the many others Iíve had the displeasure of withstanding was that I wasnít alone. While they were spouting off, Argon walked up behind them. It was only indirectly that they noticed his presence.
"Hey, Josh?" One of them asked the other.
"What happened to the sun?"
"My fiancť." I said deadpan.
Sure enough, Argonís eight-foot frame had totally eclipsed the sun from the two, the rest of the Ďgangí having now run off, leaving the two alone. Quite alone. With two centaurs. Two unhappy centaurs.
"Ahem." Argon cleared his throat. "I donít know how you Yankees conduct yourself in the north, but here in The South, we treat a lady with all of the dignity and respect she deserves."
Josh and Jim had since turned around and saw the mountain of muscle that confronted them. The contrast of light and dark accentuated his aura and silhouetted him against the sun. Needless to say, they both bolted and ran for their nearby car, one of those cheap economy models that had been Ďcustomizedí to look impressive, but how much could one really do with duct tape and hot glue?
Argon and I looked at each other and started laughing.
"No, wait," I paused in my laughing, "before they get away, letís teach them a small lesson in manners, please?"
Argon grinned and bowed, ushering me over. "Ladies first. Iíll follow your lead."
I nodded and quickly galloped over to the car and stopped just in time as the engine started and turned over. I noted it was rear-wheel drive, so I crouched down and carefully lifted up the rear, letting the tires start spinning, rapidly I must add, on their own. Argon was soon there and lifted the front. We started to laugh again, and this evoked shear terror on the occupants of the vehicle, causing us to laugh even more.
"Ok, Mavra, we got the tiger by the tail, whatís next?"
I nodded over to a nearby cluster of trees. "Over there. Letís put the car in between the two."
Argon nodded, and with his help, the car was placed, front to end, between the two trees, preventing them from driving away, but not getting out of the car. We laughed again and put our arms around each other and walked away as Jim shouted expletives over how we had Ďstuckí his car.
"Donít worry about ĎMr. Personalityí back there, Mavra. Iíll get things smoothed over by Monday and they wonít be bothering you."
I looked at Argon curiously, but he held up his hand. "Relax, itíll be fine."
Together, we got into his van and drove out to enjoy the rest of the day...
* * *
"Excuse me," a man had walked up to the two young men who were still cursing over what had happened to them and the car. "But can you tell me what had happened here?"
"Those two @%!@#íin horse-people messed up my car, man! They just left here laughing!"
"Horse people? Could you describe them?"
The other young man spoke up. "Yeah, man! They were horse-people! You know, like half-person, and half-horse! From the waist up! Or down! You know, man!"
The reporter nodded. "Yes, I know. Interesting..." He looked after the van that just turned a corner and disappeared. "Yes, interesting..."
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