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Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Great Other Brian Incident

Arriving at the Illinois Renaissance Faire was not at all like beaming down onto the surface of a new planet.  The Ford Econoline passenger van had beenhot, sweaty and over crowded with nerds. Janet self-defined as a nerd.  So she was good with the nerds part of the equation.

Janet MacGivers was happy to have made itout to the day’s worth of mixing and mingling. She had studied hard all of September to allow herself that luxury oftaking the entire weekend off at the Renaissance Faire.  It was the biggest off campus retreat thatthe St. Jeff's College’s Star Trek Fan Club sponsored all semester.
 
As Janet disembarked, Admiral Toby "McDoucheBag" was shouting something to the group about the meet up time at the end of the day. Admiral McDoucheBag, actually a senior named Toby McMullen, was theclub's president and main organizer.  He fancied himselfsomething of a futuristic lady's man. He was egalitarian in most things, but almost completely unawarehe tended to stare too much at women in the club when he thought they weren't looking.  They noticed. This made others dislike him. They only called him "Admiral McDoucheBag" out of earshot. Many laughed openly behind his back. They figured inspace no one can you laugh.

What saved his reign as the club's president was that he would back off at the first hint you weren’t interested, which to the comfort of many always occurred long before anyone ever had to say something to him.  He was still slightly creepy in that overlynerdy way. Peoplehowever did respect him for knowing when to back off.

At the end of the day Toby was a passable club president. He did put together good events.

For this trip, Toby had organized three vans to set out from St. Jeff's College on Friday night.Janet's van had been unfortunate enough to draw the straw as the voyages "flagship", which meant it was Admiral Toby’svan.  It was clear Toby liked Janet, a freshmen, which was how she ended up in his van.  Janet was thankful that he never acted on his crushes. It still made the ride slightly uncomfortable.

Janet hadchosen to focus on the two boy "Ensigns" who had joined this year’s trip.  The first was a medium build, brown hairedguy named Brian Wyatt.  He was acomputer programming/engineering major and therefore had drawn the unfortunate fated “RedShirt”.  It probably meant that he was goingto die a horrible death to protect other crew members. Since membership, evenas strong as it was at St. Jeff's College, was not limitless he would be broughtback into the club after his death by declaring him an alternate universeversion of himself.

Being a Sociology major herself, Janet was also sportingthe red shirt of death, but since Toby was a purest and egalitarian, red shirtedwomen didn’t die very often.  He hadpicked up the philosophy from a professor who had once declared “I grade onscale.  I only give out one "A" per semester.  To be egalitarian, the A will be given to afemale student.”  Most of the guys haddropped that class.  It was also clear this professor didn't full understand what egalitarianism was all about.  Toby had stayed inthe class figuring he would only do A- or B+ level work.  He got a B+. The professor had later become Dean of School of Arts and Sciences.  He also later died alone.

The other "Ensign" was a boy that people simply knew as OtherBrian.  He had joined the club at thesame time as Brian Wyatt and hence forth had been know as "Other Brian".  The twoeven roomed together with a third boy named Edgar. Edgar had not joined the club. Edgar had been angered by the Admiral's choice in appetisers at the club info meeting and had left after he finished a free large pizza.  Other Brian had taken membership in the clubto a whole new level.  He attendedclasses dressed in full uniform and with his face painted a sheen of gold.  No one could ever remember seeing him without his golden contact lenses in covering his real eyes since that first meeting.

To say Other Brian was committed was an understatement.  He had given more than one person pause towonder if he was a futuristic android. He, as Janet’s friend Molly Schmidt had put it, was an "odd duck".  He was also thought to be a sophomore with a 4.0 GPA.  Truth was he did okay, but did not have a 4.0 GPA.  Being an android would explain that rumor.

Janet had begun to suspect that Other Brian had chosen tofixate on her to help him feel real emotions as part of his android fantasy. She did not want or need help him become a real boy.

Molly had ditched the group upon arrival at the faire.  She had a thing going on with a guy named Martin, who was with the faire's fight school.  They had met theCanadian border crossing.  Molly had beenattempting to bring back cheap Molson beer for the semester's alcohol supply.  Much more than the law allowed. Thankfully they had missed the overthe counter muscle relaxants she was bringing back for her dad.  The Ren faire guy had notrealized that a broad sword would be an issue at the border. They had helped each other make the most ofa mutually awkward situation. 

That left three other gals to pass the time with at thefestival.  Janet and the others got thedistinct impression that Tonya and Mychelle didn’t want to mingle with the restof the crew.  That was a bummer for Janet, theyseemed nice most of the time.  They had only become stand offish when the vanassignments had been finalized.  Theysplit off to join van number two’s crew upon arrival.

The last girl was Collette, and she was the hardest person in their van to like.  She had made it clear, having madelieutenant, she had first dibs on the Admiral.  Collette had declared "I will have kicked out the club when I am the Admiral's wife." Janet had been happy to have someone take Toby’s attention off ofher.  She just didn't like tha Collette thought of her as competition.  Toby and Collette later married, divorced and then remarried.

All these factors had left Janet and Brian Wyatt with plenty of timeto talk.  The main interruption had beenthe hyper-logical Other Brian. He had figured that proximity breeds attraction.So he hung out, hoping it would sink in. The fact that Brian and Janet were hitting it off, didn’t sink in forhim.  To mix metaphors, he was one hellof a propinquity blocker.

As the day’s events progressed from jousts to Shakespeare skits andShakespeare into minstrels Brian and Janet bonded.   Other Brian finally began to catch thelogic by the time they got to the sing along at the end of the. The boy who valued logic above all things, found himself confronted bythe logic of emotion.  He embracedit.  When his rage of not being picked by Janet finally stirred to a boil, he acted.  He was a sophomore andangry.  He had wasted two months of hislife pretending to be an android to impress a Sci-Fi chic. He didn't even like Sci-Fi. He liked Janet.

As he boiled over he screamed for all to hear. He had wasted the past two months. He wassick of the weirdness, the strange looks and the disapproving eyes of others.He was done. 

As he began to walk away, Janet and Brian begged him to calmdown. They wanted to explain.  He wouldhave none of it.  As he walked hestripped away the barriers to his humanity he had put up and his clothes. By the time he reached the parking lot he had stripped nakedand left the faire on foot.  He wasarrested before he made it out of the parking lot.  From then on, he was naked as much as possible.  He put in his will that he was tobe buried naked.

Janet and Brian continued to date after the event.  They tried to reach out to Other Brian.  He wouldn't hear it.  The rooming situation made things awkward.  Other Brian never got over Janet's rejection. He also hung out naked a lot.  He did however eventually forgive Brian.

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