Kimberly was it; in fact, she was the only girl for miles
around. Her mother, like herself, was a genetic oddity. Her father was the
principal of the high school that Jeremy attended.
Getting up close and personal with Leroy was unappealing.
Dorming elsewhere, in some private school that might, at best, have a student
body of hundreds of fellows and one or two girls wasnt worth the
additional effort. Simply, Jeremy had to get Kimberly to notice him.
Problem was, the rest of the high school, except for couples
like Ted and Lawrence, also wanted her attention. How awful the Lords of
Science had been in implementing their plan for reducing the size of the global
population! For the most part, men, who were lacking money, charm, or
frightening amounts of testosterone, would never be given the opportunity to
Jeremy wondered why Kimberlys dad had settled for running
a high school. He didnt seem the sort to want to get friendly with
youngsters in bathrooms or in locker rooms. Yet he could have demanded and
received nearly any social position as soon as he became possessed of a wife.
If he loved education so much, he would have been smart to
insist upon the title of college president, or of lead researcher in a lab. Why
a married man settled for a secondary education post remained a mystery to
Jeremy. Nonetheless, if Kimberlys dad hadnt moved his kin to
Hillsboro, Jeremy would never have laid eyes on the exquisite creature whom was
Women, even young ones, were rare, odd commodities. They were
round in places where men were angular, and were moody during times when men
saw no reason to increase or decrease their affective responses to stimuli.
Although females wore the same garments as did men, and, in Kimberlys
case, enrolled in the same classes as did youths, albeit always in the company
of at least two bodyguards, there was something about Kimberly that was
distinctly different from Jeremys other friends.
One winter day, Jeremy was able to discover what made men and
women so distinct from each other and why government agencies had stymied the
rate at which women were born. That revealing event occurred during a rainy
span when Kimberly sprouted foot fungus.
She tried to sooth her itch with potions and salves, which she
felt predisposed to applying during algebra and during creative writing.
Nevertheless, Kimberly took no comfort from those unctures. Resourceful Jeremy
became so distracted by her distress that he temporarily forgot about her rare
gender and reached into his pack to share some of the comfrey/calendula
ointment, which his house father always insisted that he carry.
Jeremys care provider was an ace herbalist and, as such,
his boys were the least scratchy, fastest healing, and most cleanly
complexioned of their schools adolescents. To boot, those half dozen
teens could be relied upon to supply bits and things that were good for healing
or for calming to the rest of the student population.
One of Kimberlys chaperones intercepted the proffered tin.
Kimberly slathered the goop on her soles, caring little that the entire class,
her teacher included, was caught up in watching her.
Jeremy poked around his backpack a little more, certain that he
not yet run out of vessels that might help his indisposed classmate. His hunt
was rewarded; beyond a musty gym sock, a few granola bar wrappers, many pencil
shavings, and three entwined sets of IPhone earbuds, he found a small tube of
homemade, beeswax-based, lip balm.
He handed that valuable cylinder over to another of
Kimberlys escorts, whom, in turn, passed it to Kimberly. The young woman
sniffed at the medicine and smiled.
Jeremy felt as though he had already achieved a betrothal. His
schools three hundred pound splendor was his for mating. Though keeping
her in chocolates would necessitate him picking some high falutin job in a
corporation or in government, neither of which option would dovetail with his
dream of working as a sculptor who wrote beat poetry on the side, such a
sacrifice would be worth gaining the chance to procreate.
He could be the one in one thousand guys who got to kiss a
pimply face every evening and who got to try his luck at making daughters. The
genetic engineering that had made women a rare commodity had likewise increased
their scarcity with each subsequent generation. Only the best of the best got
Sighing, he watched Kimberly run a finger along the top of the
chapstick. She smiled at him for a second time.
Jeremy moaned. Fortunately, the government paid for the nuptials
of any juvenile blessed to claim a wife. The boy weighed whether he should buck
class and go directly to the principal to ask for Kimberlys hand in
marriage or merely make an origami animal of the love note he had been penning
to her instead of taking notes.
As he weighed his routes, Jeremy gushed and blushed. That
sublime girl, the one who was sitting a scant few rows away from him, was
rolling his lip balm on her foul-smelling feet.
While he cogitated, Stanley, who sat two rows in front of
Jeremy, passed a few tissues to their schools maiden. Kimberly smiled
wildly at Stanley, bent to layer those absorbent bits on her feet, paused,
reconsidered, sat up straight, and then wove those paper expressions of
softness into her hair.
Stanley turned the color of harvest beets. Shortly thereafter,
one of Kimberlys burleys beckoned to Stanley. After he whispered
something into Stanleys ear, Stanley smiled like a monkey. He left the
Jeremy watched, saliva dripping from a corner of his mouth. He
didnt break into actual tears, though, until the principal and Stanley
entered the room arm-in-arm. The administrator patted Stanley on his back and
announced that a weeklong vacation had been added to the schools
calendar, effective immediately.
The class understood what had happened. As they gathered their
books, many of the boys tried to take cellphone photos of the couple.
Kimberlys guards confiscated all such electronics.
Last to leave was Jeremy. As he passed Kimberlys desk, she
stood, smiled, and returned his medicines to him. In the process, she lightly
touched the edge of his palm and then softly kissed the top of his head.
Jeremy was enthralled. Stanley might be marrying their
schools rare specimen of loveliness, but he, Jeremy, who had yet to take
biology, was going to have Kimberlys baby.