TheSusie FashionText

Todd Perry
27 min readJan 13, 2024

This article is another beginning of my book, TheSusie FashionText, as seen in:

My novel is my work of fiction. My names, characters, places, and incidents are products of my imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities is coincidental.

NOTE: my AI-generated photos, which were also created by the fictional character named Susie, within her fictional universe, are meant to be plainly realistic, except for the two that show our first encounters with her husband and ex-husband; those two photos would have been noticeably doctored — not to distort but rather to highlight the danger of acting like there was just one true authentic narrative within worlds.

__CH1: Cliché Course__

I grew up in Northern California, but I went to college in New England at a Beyond the Pale area university, and then I started dating an off-campus IT guy named Al in late S1990, towards the end of my freshman fall.

I also got into it with my writing instructor that semester and lost, grading-wise, with regard to my love for starting sentences, fragments, and the like with “as” — it sets up amazing double meaning functions…

(Especially when folks read me fast, as if my conjunctions aren’t even there.)

But I prefer to read slow, with flow, like my hair, when I can.

And so we attended private parties all over the northeast region of the United States, because I enjoyed making jokes at parties, but a lot of people also liked what I was doing, for I enjoyed wonderful recaps with my man in tech after working those rooms like a social butterfly.

To that end, we crashed a happy hour in spring ‘S91 that was hosted by this guy, Ralph Alden, who was visiting from London.

But I began the evening by running my usual hustle, which was to stand near the center of the room in a hot dress and extract personal information from everyone who approached me.

As I planned on using my feminine charms to boost Al’s career, until he asked me to marry him, but part of why my hustle went so well was because he kept saying he didn’t want to hold me back.

Ralph, in contrast, responded to my presence by pretending to not notice me, and so I went out of my way to expose him as a hustler by standing near him and speaking loudly, but then he bumped into me, while continuing to ignore.

Hoping he’d acknowledge, I kept planting myself right behind him, because we were both standing in the center, refusing to approach.

But I repeatedly stepped out of his way, which enabled Ralph to parlay, while staying irate, by shifting his weight, into a date with my fate!

As I got flustered.

I bumped into Al’s drink.

Another bloke hit on me.

And then Ralph gave a fist bump to the dude who’d spoke with fake wit about me “being fit.”

For in my mind, they’d initiated their dis dump, while continuing to perform bliss, to make me feel remiss among their club of people who hisssss, and so I abandoned my hustle and confronted ‘em.

“Excuse me, Ralph, is it? It’s not ok for you to keep barging into my space,” I said, with my heart pounding, but he just stared past me, as the guy who’d hit on me grinned.

“Did they teach you to use the word ‘barge’ as a verb at a Beyond the Pale area university?” replied the guy, and then they shook hands and acted like everyone in the room was classy except for me.

So then I felt a shooting pain of negative energy scrape through the bottom of my rib cage, so that I curled my spine and retreated to the women’s restroom, because I’d been triggered, physically!

But everyone took Ralph’s side, and so I playfully danced my way back into his territory, while pulling positive energy up from my base, towards head crown chakra, as I’d learned to do in my transcendental meditation elective at Beyond the Pale.

And I refused to budge.

So that I grabbed Ralph’s arm, in order to avoid falling, after he’d knocked me off balance, but then he acted like I’d touched him inappropriately!

As he pulled his arm away from me like a basketball player who’d stepped in to take a charge, while falling backwards with authority.

Like so, Al got even more chill and easy going than usual.

But then everyone became horrified with me instead of Ralph, which’s what should’ve happened, because he’d started our fight, and so I leapt to the conclusion that arguing about it would’ve been futile.

For I hated losing, especially because I’d made the choice to hustle while letting everyone know, “I’m a computer science major at a Beyond the Pale area university.”

As I preferred to let everyone assume I was anything but an elite college girl, and then, after everyone had gotten drunk, I deployed my Al to share the real story about me with whoever was being the nicest to him at that point in the evening.

(Because running this hustle on competitive hosts like Ralph was more exhilarating than imposing artificial limits on my freedom in response to the concerns of people who tended to insinuate that I’d done something wrong whenever they learned a few more facts about what I’d been up to with my older boyfriend.)

Al also introduced me to his sustainable methodology of breaking social norms by telling hopeful stories about how tomfoolery in the face of adversity increased everyone’s authenticity, but only when I’d been approached with glee.

I was responding to people who wanted something from me, but then I became the only attendee of Ralph’s par-tay who wasn’t having fun, because I binged on bacon-wrapped scallops, by a window, in the corner, while everyone praised my boyfriend for not giving into my narrative, and so I tacked and went with the flow.

As I smiled a lot, I joined a series of conversations, and I made it my duty to reject guys gently.

Like so, I even got a chance to bump into Ralph again and ask, “Do you party at this location often?”

But his only response was to stay cozy and touch the exposed skin of my back, with his warm hand, low-key.

[(NOTE: Susie was not that skinny nor was Ralph that chiseled in real life.)]

Such that the characters the guys were playing at the party coalesced into composites, because the hard pass between just two of us had energetically taken over our room, and so I redressed and egressed with Al like a rejuvenated goddess, while a series of new energetic patterns came together within.

Whereby this sheltered girl, not in thought so much, but via word and deed, loved playing with the boys and then dating the ones who touched my heart in some way, but then I chose cheaply operating with a Speeder Span type in his thirties like Al instead of only dating people on campus.

So that I became a skeptic on the razzle, seeking to dazzle, like a decorative tassel, for Art Hazel, in my eyes, because I sensed the existence of far too many with unseemly intensity, not unlike Ralph, on the march at my Ancient Freight university.

As I loved wearing lace like a lady, leading with grace, and carrying mace, but after nine months of testing such limits, I had an intuitive feeling that what Ralph wanted more than anything else was for me to keep running the same hustle I’d started with Al but with His Excellency’s firm, Aquifer Billiard’s Capital, driving.

We’d gotten Ralph’s business card, but Al acted like normal at our Jolly-Hey! Inn hotel room, and yet I called my new man in finance the following morning:

“Data data,” I said, fecklessly enough, when he picked up and then waited for me to speak first.

“When can you start work in the UK?” he said.

“How do you even know who I am?” I asked, feeling caught off guard, again.

“I don’t,” said Ralph.

“I wanna shuck you beyond all recognition,” I replied, nonchalantly.

“And that’s why I don’t think an on-going conversation between us would end well, but I’m only saying that because you called me,” he said, flatly.

“We have an arbitrage opportunity, because everyone I’m supposed to follow right now is flailing, but we both need more data in order to respond appropriately. Do you relate?” I said, while laying on the bed in my hotel room.

“Job titles are serious, so what’s the true story about us?” asked Ralph, slowly.

“My consulting firm in tech would love to do some work for your hedge fund, so why don’t we start by getting to know each other better,” I replied, while grabbing a hotel pen.

“What do you want?” questioned Ralph.

“I wanna know what keeps you up at night, Ralph,” I answered, while resisting an urge to draw.

“Send me an invite for comedy night, but I’m not gonna pretend to trust you. SOS, your real name Susie?” said Ralph.

“So is my real name Susie,” I said, while starting to wave the pen like a conductor’s baton.

“That’s not a sentence,” he replied, but I could feel him smiling on the other end.

“Let me do the cover story,” I said, and then I whispered, “I got this,” while Ralph interrupted to say, “Are you joking, because this is a serious conversation. There’s no cover story.”

“It sounds like you’re in a bad mood right now, but we’ve had difficult clients before. This won’t be our first rodeo, Mr. Alden,” I deadpanned.

Ralph responded with a belated chuckle that struck me as unpleasant, but he regained his composure quickly, silence ensued, and so I lowered my voice and said, “What kind of computer do you ride?”

“Use. You meant to say use, Ms. Landing,” said Ralph.

“Huhhh! How did you find out my last name!” I said, while joyfully raising my voice and running a hand over the keyboard of my boyfriend’s laptop computer, as he’d gone out to eat breakfast, so that I could have our room to myself, during my all important phone call.

“I heard sound coming through the phone, but it had no meaning,” said Ralph, after an awkwardly long pause.

“Would you be more comfortable continuing this conversation in writing?” I asked, and then Ralph hung up.

But what I wanted more than anything, was for our sexcapade discourse to take root within the historical record, and so I sent him an email that implored him to present me with a contractor agreement, but then he did.

And so Ralph’s fund initiated a deal with my IT consulting firm, which I’d co-founded in high school and worked for full-time, with the job title, “Mascot Champion” on my business cards, during the summer before my freshman year.

As on May 19, S1991, a team that consisted of three members of my dance club crew, two of my co-authors in cyberspace, and I paid our way out to London, in search of a nondescript flat, so we could spend the summer writing computer code on the world stage, while I shamelessly attended parties with Sir Ralph and his associates.

Formatively, my sexual relationship with Al had been the foundation of the successful hustle we’d been running, but Ralph kept saying stuff like, “If we fornicate, then we’ll lose the option to work together this summer, full stop.”

But I’d become enamored with hustling in his world, and so I replied, tongue-in-cheek, “I’ll feel lonely and emotionally lost if we don’t start having sexxx… in at least some of the romantic nooks I keep seeing around every corner.”

“I don’t like saying this, but you’re putting me in a difficult position. I don’t want to tell you what not to say, because that can be a slippery slope, but at the rate you’re going I might have to,” blocked Ralph, matter-a-factly.

“I get you, but I just don’t understand why the world is so afraid of sex,” I added.

He replied, “My investment vehicle’s a well-oiled machine, Susie, and I want to get all the social data for good reasons that have to be kept private if we wanna keep advancing, and so everyone keeps assuming I want to use them, but that’s where you have an opening to help me respond to their push back with a flourish of innovation.”

“Did you practice that little speech in front of a mirror?” I countered, while rolling my eyes.

“This summer can be a huge win for both of us, because whatever you’re doing’s brilliant, as it turns people on, peacefully, Cali girl,” began Ralph.

“Your long-winded speeches are boring me,” I interrupted.

“And…, I can generate a profit in relation to our hustle before the end of summer, but we’re operating very publicly, so we need to be able to withstand 100% scrutiny,” said Ralph, with zero trace of irony.

“I’ll take that as a, ‘Yes,’” I said, and then my penchant for sarcastic inflection did the rest, because I was bluffing — I loved listening to Ralph talk British to me.

As we spoke on the phone every morning about our shared interest in excavating social data, but at the end of our fourth data sharing call, Ralph said, “In order to make money and not just spend money, you have to stop thinking about the money, and it’s better if you can do it without lying,” he said.

And then he ended the call and sent me an email:

SUBJECT: For the Record

BODY: Your consulting firm’s contract with my firm’s a big deal, Susie, because the pattern we followed’s a tried-and-true tool of empire that’s also nothing special, because our deal’s no different than any other link in a chain of network protocols, as it’s all about integrating the fringe, while deriving pleasure at the center. If you know you know, Ms. Landing. — Ralph”

I wrote back, “Re: Deriving or differentiating? HMS++”

“Wire sent,” replied Ralph.

And then Alden Elegant Enterprises sent me twenty-five thousand pounds, our first big installment, in accordance with said contractor agreement, because Landing was my maiden name, and HMS++ was a reference, made in jest, to the British Royal Navy’s prefix that stands for “Her Majesty’s (Hospital) Ship.”

[(Susie seeing and being seen while testing out a new brunette wig)]

As I got confirmation that my bank had received, I bought a new brunette wig to celebrate, but I didn’t say anything else to Ralph, so at the start of our fifth data sharing call, he asked, “Have you heard any pin drops lately?”

I replied, “I wouldn’t know what a pin drop sounds like, because I’m not a dressmaker to Queen Susie, like you are. How are you?”

“So much for keeping it professional,” said Ralph.

“Are you feeling emotional?” I pressed.

“So, I’ve been using nothing but a timestamp to label matters,” began Ralph.

“Can you use nothing but a timestamp to label me too?” I interrupted.

“And my timestamps represent the day, hour, minute, and second when I created each text file on my computer that exists to contain facts,” said Ralph.

“You’re acting like the future’s gonna be super masculine, with all your hard-power performances, and whatnot, but at least you’ve got the super part right,” I continued.

“Did they teach you to use hard-power as an adjective at Beyond the Pale too?” joked Ralph, as if to finally wake up and remember that what had happened on the night when we first met was still the real frame between us.

“I’m giving you a friendly shot across the bow, because I come in peace, but you’d benefit from seeing campus as I see it, for in ten years or less, you’re gonna be a sitting duck,” I said, while raising my voice with him for the first time.

“Excuse me? But’s ok if you wanna give aliases to matters, so if a fund we like hires an IT college woman’s firm for the summer, that could be ‘the dressmaker to the Queen deal’ or ‘the dressmaker deal’ for short,” said Ralph, so as to impress me, because he said those words faster than I could’ve.

“Can we be the short dressmaker deal, because your fund’s short-biased?” I replied, with uptalk.

“Do you realize the extent to which we’re perceived as tyrants, especially now that we’re colluding?” asked Ralph, triumphantly enough.

“Are we colluding?” I responded.

“Everyone acts like we’re lording ourselves over them whenever we’re seen together, and you aren’t aware of that dynamic?” replied Ralph, with uptalk.

“Are we?” I asked, even more hastily than before.

“God save,” mumbled Ralph, and then he fabricated more and more factoids about his upcoming social calendar.

Whereas I had no idea why Ralph saw our business contract as “a tool of empire,” but the way he’d said “it’s better if you can do it without lying” had turned me on more than I could’ve imagined prior to going global that summer, and so I made fun of him on subsequent calls by referring to him as “Mr. Alden,” but he acted like that was the same in every way as calling him “Ralph.”

For it didn’t sit well with me to call him nicknames or scold him with his full name, and so I started talking about Mr. Ralph in the third person, like a news reporter with an ax to grind.

As The Ralph, aka. ATRa, was like a video game console, because my Ra was building a platform, not just one rad racing game or another, and so I polled his political positions too, but only over the phone, because I was getting paid to remain loyal to him — and his countrymen’s language, English.

He also wrote, “Salespeople run the world because they have good reasons to keep concise but detailed notes about everyone they talk to, and I want you to help me go one step further and keep track of all the facts that’ll inspire me to allocate capital more efficiently than I otherwise would.”

“How should I describe myself in your knowledge repository?” I emailed back, while chewing gum.

“I like that you recognize my rep as mine instead of your or our, say that five times fast, and I’ll give you my best advice, which’s to write what you’d normally say faster. Write what you’d actually say about yourself to the fastest guy at the smoothest party in history,” replied Ralph, and then I ignored his neurosis and got religion.

As I became self-programming, while enhancing his stuffy text files with lines like, “I’m building a knowledge base for a brilliant investor, cause he’s the Sun King, I see in herstory, and I’m a shy calm-ish loony moony toony Susie.”

“A level of vulnerability too far?” replied Ralph with a comment inline.

So then I commented “a lov TF?” — to highlight the first letter of each word that he’d used.

To which he wrote, “.nO”

And then I moved on to my next task, because I felt that the way he’d written “No.” looked like a cartoon character with one eye enlarged.

For I just had to know if he’d done that on purpose, but no.

I moved on, and so I remained curious to know how close I’d gotten to materially poisoning our well with animosity.

But at parties, I used proper ‘lish to push plausibly true explanations for why I was interested in the people, companies, and trends King Ralph wanted to know more about, and it was all downhill from there.

As people kept on telling us everything they knew about his topics of interest, in the course of goading he and I to supply additional tidbits of information that might’ve accelerated progress within various quests to bed me before the end of summer, had I not been so mission-focused.

But in time and space, Ralph couldn’t hide his excitement over the fact that his “bank balance,” which was a phrase that started sounding to me like “dank phallus,” had trended upwards with me in the mix, because, “This ecosystem has no defense against us!” according to my rockstar investor, at his favorite secret pub, just before last call.

I also made field trips to bars that were far more swanky, where I lent shots of energetic warmth in perpetuity to my nerdy British banker man, which was the opposite of what most women like me did after making him as a hustler.

For I felt like the engine of a big piggy bank rotation station, at a celebration, for my home nation, as an American woman working abroad, but we eventually got preempted by an inside job, because Ralph must have told him about mwah — before and after I started telling jokes about “the French fashion mob.”

And then he who loved to say “Oui oui” stepped into the comfortable sphere of influence I’d found below the chandelier at yet another private house par-ty and said “Catholic, ballerina, computer nerd.”

But I didn’t know who he was, and yet he looked fashionable, as I moved in closer and said, “Lame,” while staring at his eyes.

“For Gaia I aim,” replied the daring man, in a tone that blended nicely with the ambiance.

“How dame know?” I said, hoping to blow up his composure, by shape shifting my energy faster than he could’ve anticipated.

“I’m 45 and Ralph’s 38. Only a computer nerd would hold the demand for her attention constant and be nice to both of us without any structure. Is this your first time rewriting the operating system for an entire social scene?” said the inscrutable man who’d preempted me.

But then he walked away before I had time to answer, and so I followed him.

Yet when I caught up, he moved in very close and said, “I’d like to give you a hat. May I?”

Such that I nodded, and he produced a stunning diamond encrusted headband from an oversized pocket inside his bespoke dinner jacket.

[(NOTE: Susie wasn’t that super skinny in real life, but Pierre was!)]

Whereby my heart skipped a beat, but I kept my muscles soft, and I held his eye contact, while he adjusted my headband, until it was just so, and then he dismissed me!

As he said, “They’re waiting for you to return to the center of the room!”

So then I played along, but he revisited my platform ten minutes later to say, “Hey Susie, there’s someone I’d like you to meet.”

For he kept putting his hand around my waist and showing me off.

But if I hadn’t spoken French, he might’ve lost interest.

And yet I knew enough to keep him enchanted on every occasion when he dismissed me again, using the same words: “Vous êtes désirée au centre de la salle!”

But then he came back to borrow me from my platform at the center on repeat for the rest of the evening.

And he kept using those same words, because he was making fun of me for being a computer nerd.

Like so, he whispered, “‘Against all odds’ it’s a pleasure to finally introduce you to ‘je ne sais quoi,’”

As I was his fembot, with a wrench, fresh off the bench, who became desired at the center, along with my ode code writer mensch.

But then I whispered back, “We’re touting the guy in the cute suit as, ‘against all odds,’ because he overcame obstacles to be here, and the guy he’s talking to’s, what?”

I also paused our advance across the room by pulling down his arm.

And — that’s when he stole his first kiss from me, while I belched the word, “Men.”

But the inscrutable, fashionable, and unabashedly dark spider henchman just shivered.

For I caught part of him hesitate for an instant, before all of him fell in love with me forever, because my first older boyfriend Al had convinced me to assume a guy’s in love with me unless I had a newsworthy reason not to.

But as-part-a-me wound down, Ralph left without saying goodbye, and my preemptor swung by to say, “I’ve one more soiree to attend this evening, and I’d like nothing more than for you to join me as my date there too.”

“Oooooh, why?” I said, with aggressive sarcasm.

“It’s a poool party, but maybe we can find something for you to wear in my limousine that’s clean,” he said, with a smile, and then I thought about being mean.

As giving back his headband and walking off like nothing had happened would’ve become my new textbook definition of slaying a man, but I wanted in, so I did the opposite, As followS:

“Are you a swimwear model too?” I said, with a fake grimace.

“My name’s Pierre Babineaux,” he replied, warmly, but then I just attended to my posture.

And I let ’em win for the rest of the evening, so that we could operate efficiently as a team, because the secret to Pierre’s success was sustainable hyper-activity.

But I was closer than anyone he’d ever met to being a female version of Ralph, his confidant.

Such that Pierre B. had me in his Parisian hot tub 48-hours later, but everyone seemed more worried than I was about our age difference, and so I went out of my way to act like a hot mess.

Whereby I rode on the back of a motor scooter in order to buy a pack of cigarettes, which was the root of all-evil, according to my health nut PB.

[(Susie riding with the best guy she met who had a bike with her name)]

As several strange men gave chase, while I danced along the River Seine, and so I fantasized about toying with my new boyfriend by having sex with younger men who were more tame, but then I conspired with Ralph via pay phone to do the opposite, because Pierre was closing in on my location.

For my coy friend advised me to, “Focus on focusing, because it’s great you’re going right at it during your first summer in college, but PB and I can’t protect you from chains of events we’re not involved with.”

And so I asked him, “What did you do with a chain?” as Ralph hung up.

But then Pierre caught up to me and said, “I’m not your therapist, and you shouldn’t be fooling around with my friends while claiming to be my girlfriend,” as I closed my phone booth door in his face.

“How did Walph get you to approach me?” I pressed, after Pierre’s fancy footwork blocked me from closing the door all the way.

“Please… R. A. and I are serious individuals with enterprises,” mused Pierre, while I put both hands on my door, in order to stop him from coming inside.

“You’re supposed to be mad at me, and I think you’re lying,” I said. “If Dalph did something bad, I’m sure you’d know all about it.”

“This’ another error; you shouldn’t be escalating with me by intentionally mispronouncing my friends’ names,” said Pierre.

As I lit up, while continuing to hold him at bay, with my other leather gloved hand, firmly placed on our door, near the latch.

“I’m joking, because your rules of the road don’t apply to me,” I said, while taking a drag on my Walrus Kangaroo cigarette.

“It may not feel this way to you right now, but even you can only house your body in one place at a time, and your words are making me sweat. Why?” said Pierre, lowering his voice.

“Nobody ever knows if anyone’s hiding something or not, because if we’re in love, then I’d believe you’re being authentic, but I’m feeling emotional, instead,” I deadpanned, while lighting-on-fire the page in my journal where I’d started to frame myself as a student-journalist.

“I’d prefer to have conversations like this on the yacht,” replied Pierre, as the reality set in for him that he was never gonna know what I’d written on that page, even though he’d cornered me sooner than I’d expected.

“Where’s your yacht now?” I asked, with a newfound resolve to always wait for everyone to frame me, more and more, before I even thought about how I wanted to frame myself, and then Pierre spun a new narrative about how he wanted me to help him gather data about “an oil pipeline.”

“Is your oil pipeline a euphemism for the impending fall of the Soviet Union?” I shouted, while pulling him into my phone booth, as opposed to slamming its door on his fingers, after he’d stopped applying pressure from his side, because he’d gotten comfortable, soon enough.

“An oil pipeline’s an oil pipeline,” replied Pierre, while struggling to get control of my arms.

“Won’t that expose me to risk?” I whispered, while nicking his ear with my tongue.

“Not a lot, but I’d like for you to show me everything you know about faking feminine insecurity, seeing as you don’t seem to have ever been more insecure than you are right now, and it could also be a lucrative project for us, because, if we get the data, I’ll make trades, and if my trades are profitable, then we’ll have more runway to project confidence that indulging in summer flings like ours is good,” said Pierre, while holding my wrists just right.

“I can give you more bad data about human vulnerability than you can give me bad data about French culture. It’s a deal,” I confirmed, just in time, before we started making out, so as to fog up our reflection in his booth door’s glass.

My Pierre called me “Howard” while showing me how to act masculine without getting caught.

And then we fooled around some more, because I was losing my mind in the beating heart of a thousand cathedrals, while we drilled for data about “an oil pipeline” at internecine balls that were full of people who were professionally obligated to attend.

And I internalized the skill of sensing when he was breaking his flow in order to demonstrate behaviors he wanted me to emulate.

As he started referring to me as “the nuclear reactor,” and so I referred to him as “the luxury hotel,” because it’s reasonable to say, “The hotel said this, the hotel said that.”

That’s how people talk, but it’s not reasonable to say, “The reactor said this, the reactor wants that,” and so I silkscreened a t-shirt with the quote, “Atomic physic’s not an occult science,” because I wanted him to stop me from taking it on tour around town, and then he did, but artfully, with a paint brush and his best beret in hand.

For Ralph had taught me how to earn respect while acting feminine, as part of his flagship strategy for printing money by treating socializing as a zero-sum game, but only Pierre had inspired me to lie like a Frenchman in love, because he’d developed a reoccurring dream about marrying me.

But instead of impregnating me or asking me to get engaged, he dressed me up like a designer who wanted to sell sex.

He also said, “Dreams represent subconscious emotional attachments that’ve just been released,” and so I responded to his sleep talk by describing my dreams about him:

“I dreamt you were wearing a wire under your sport coat!”

“I dreamt I was buying sandals with you in San Francisco.”

“I dreamt you were really, really tall. Like Atlas, babe,” and that last one got him to laugh submissively, while we partied with reckless abandon into the dawn of a new era.

In summation, Pierre’s submissive laughter was the true, authentic currency of unified Europe, and I was minting it in the summer of S1991, because I had big ideas, but the scope of my dreams was even bigger.

As I’d hoped my summer in Europe with Pierre and his friends who worked in fashion would never end, but I went back to a Beyond the Pale area university that fall.

[(Susie sorting through original texts and journal entries in S1991)]

So that I immersed myself in language like never before, but then I became the first woman I knew who’d used the World a wide Web to declare computer science as her undergraduate major, because I enjoyed reading all textbooks as satire.

And so I told my professors, “My objective’s to build robots at’re per-fect-ly evil in their… presentation.”

For I mesmerized my cohort by fidgeting with a Cubik’s cube behind my back, while writing on dry erase boards, in the heart’s center of the compsci building.

But then I cajoled everyone to speak plainly, and so lots of people shared with me the data about what they were doing.

And yet I also endured a local maximum of bizarre approaches from guys who wanted to perform sex acts with me.

As contrarian investors, Ralph had supported my sarcasm, but then Pierre’s attempt at refining me had only increased our confidence, because the cracks we’d noticed in the foundations of human civilization were serious.

Such that I sent a smoke signal to the social set by talking comfortably about sex toys in front of Cecil, who’s one of the most sought after preppy guys, even though I still wanted computer skills to become my primary claim to fame.

But my laughably formulaic program of deceit by omission mostly just made me even better by default at giving men what they thought they wanted in bed.

And so I handled my unwanted notoriety during sophomore year by ignoring everyone who flirted with me, while caring even less about what people said than I had as a teenager.

Whereby most of my admirers retreated, but a handful colluded to siphon my credibility, because I kept my balance by borrowing the imprimatur of experience — by using proper English, mostly, even though the magnificent merge of R&P’s old world lexicon back east with my new word art play out west had only just begun.

[(Susie posing with Cecil in early S1992 at a global perspectives event)]

But I could never remember which sports Cecil played, in addition to rowing crew, and so he magnanimously declined to take me seriously.

[(Susie playing a game of liar’s poker with Lester just before dating)]

I also did spring break in Florida with my girlfriends from freshman year, but then I started dating Lester, a classmate from the country who’d waited until we’d become properly acquainted as fellow travelers in the Sunshine State before stepping out into the cold and making his move on me.

For Lester was doing a tour of duty for a greater cause, and his boys stood tall, while I framed them as aspiring writers, because the style choices I was making on and off the golf course were wonderful to behold, and that was good enough, for a while.

But then I evaded their writerly questions about my past by telling them, “We’re representing the money.”

As they played S80s pop rock mashed up with island music on their boom box.

So that I could ignore our own generation’s grunge vibe, which was taking the world by storm.

And yet my country guys still thought I was great, especially when I wore wigs in order to see what we were like with me as ginger or brunette instead of my usual blonde.

We got the top level data about American culture, along with our girlfriends, but then I exchanged it for raw, west coast data, via my co-workers back home in NorCal.

For my body crunched all of it, like a cray supercomputer.

Up the coast, my mates who’d toiled while I partied were getting street cred for making money as freewheeling IT consultants, but I wasn’t.

And so I considered moving on from my East Coast college compsci classes, to become a rock journalist, which would’ve made sense, following the local success of the band I’d started in high school, “Air Cover.”

But then I confessed to Lester, “I’m at risk of losing my faith to a sexually charged infatuation with technological progress.”

And yet I wasn’t surprised when he responded non-verbally.

As we both went to church 12 hours later, like usual.

Such that I felt like a geopolitical craft named Susie, but the personal computer was to become my engine.

Whereby we kept our flat in London, near the airport, As followS:

1. I sent Ralph a brochure that framed him as the head of my consulting firm’s UK office.

2. He returned fire by sending a shipment of souped up water guns to the flat.

3. Pierre pretended to get upset, while playing golf in Scotland.

4. But he kept the pre-screened clients flowing.

5. And so small businesses all over northern France paid full-price for our customizable data dashboard that ran on Cat computers.

For Dog Foodboxes had won the war against Cat computers for market leadership, but then Pierre became one of the first people in Europe to see the evil Dog Computer Foodbox empire for the hustle that it was.

And so he knew everything associated with Dog Foo would get dirty, but only in the optimistic sense that anyone who’d disregarded them would gain a strategic advantage.

As he promoted Cat with style and discretion, Pierre talked up my consulting shop that developed Cat computer Data Bases.

And yet his fans kept associating my Da Ba shop with our summer fling in all the right ways, because everyone wanted to help him cleanse his name and stay warm in the winter by selling my software to a thousand French cheese, milk, and cosmetics producers.

But I never stopped telling The Ralph that I was in love with him, because he still felt I just wanted to make fun of him while hanging out with guys like Pierre.

And so he hid in our chat room, while bombarding me with questions — about how to explain what he did for a living to all his other would be editors like me.

For I told him, “Stop imitating world war-time hustler language, laden with fake, spent-lead sentence structure variation: move ahead instead with reality-speak that features my most coveted conjunctions out west: but, and so, but then, and yet, like so, as, for, so that because they’re so perfectly natural, long as you don’t repeat. Don’t repeat any of ‘em!”

“Your formulaic way of writing could be decompressed and elaborated into boatloads of media-friendly prose by an AI that repeatedly predicts what word comes next,” replied Ralph.

“Yet my way of talking isn’t the grease’s the wheels,” I typed.

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Last content change: Jul. 10, 2024 at 7:20pm ET

Copyright © 2024 Todd Perry. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Susie and Heather before and after they started dancing in the spring of S1993



Todd Perry

Todd taught computer science on the east coast from 2001 to 2005, and then he developed software in Palo Alto, CA, from 2006 to 2010, first at PT and then FB.