Askeladden went to Gambles. Co-ed Aymee’s scissors possessed blunt ends approved for usage in the dorm. Askeladden, bewitched by Aymee’s buxom cubist figure, learned that one way to get a sure rise out of her was to bake pork mysteries in a smokey Soviet oven directly beneath her yawning window. Wrong mouths said of Aymee: »She is her own botched landing at the Bay of Pigs.«
On the back of her shaven skull Aymee had a striking birthmark in the shape of a peace sign camouflaged by a dart board tattoo. One night Askeladden, fresh from worming through world affairs, asked his corridor counselor, »Where do birthmarks come from?«
The corridor counselor replied, »Didn’t your mother ever explain the birds and the bees? Birthmarks are delivered by the pecker of a stork.«
The following morning Askeladden had an aimless pint too many and shared the empty from clear across Gambles Commons with the back of Aymee’s head. It was an incredible toss, an Agamemnon hurl that will surely be commemorated at each of Askeladden’s forthcoming annual life celebrations, but on that morning Askeladden was stiffly collared and swept before Dr. Archibald, Proctor of the Gambles Commons. Dr. Archibald, who had learned something of everything, but little of anything else, decreed that Askeladden apologize to Aymee by buying her a Rauschenberg Rorschach worth its weight in an aluminum frame – or face a stretch of housing with the trolls who lived beneath the suspension bridge.
Askeladden: »You mean?«
Dr. Archibald: »Not exactly.«
»When was if ever an option.«
»Is the flip of a troll’s plugged coin, my lad.«
Askeladden couldn’t afford a Rauschenberg Rorschach so he asked his old friend Kandinsky to fashion him a fake – fakes being a major forte of Kandinsky’s ever since he began decorating onyx pen stands in the manner of Koons. In nearly everything Kandinsky out-putted either a porcelain elephant trumpeted, or a wicked wolf cried Boy! Many of Kandinsky’s motifs appeared machined to offset the mad roll of a pontoon tourist vessel violating the waters off North Korea. Kandinsky quickly performed the counterfeit Rauschenberg Rorschach by attaching purple typewriter ribbons to his ugly rugby cleats and jumping about a sheet of papyrus pressed from the pith of the reeds choking the troll suspension bridge. It was all over almost before it actually had all begun.
Askeladden pounded on Aymee’s door in a hurry to bring things to a genuine close. His brain by now was working at nearly one-hundred miles per second attempting to parse the mad pell mell of unregistered events. Aymee opened the door slowly, as if she had risen all too quickly from a scissors-legged squat over a worrisome health assignment. Her head was half-wrapped in a towering, ivory Gambles towel. Were Askeladden a jackal, he would have believed that Aymee stood 6’3”.
»For you,« Askeladden said, handing Aymee the aluminum frame bearing the fake Rauschenberg. »It’s a Rorschach, a magic mind-reading trick except if it were a magic mind-reading trick it wouldn’t work. It’s Dr. Archibald’s way of me announcing that I’m sorry.«
Aymee said, »You really shouldn’t have.«
Askeladden said, »Well, I sort of didn’t have much choice. It was either this or take my chances living with the trolls. But what a gifted toss, huh?«
»You’d think I had a target tattooed onto the back of my head.«
»Well, you do. You sort of realize that, right?«
Aymee examined Kandinsky’s Rorschach. What she saw was, »Here’s a bird from one of those families of birds that gave up on flight. Giving up on flight – how strange of a strategy is that? If I believed in evolution the idea of giving up on flight would turn me into a creationist.«
Askeladden said, »You should really let your hair grow.«
Aymee undid the ivory towel, revealing a comely crown of innocent peach fuzz. »Two wishes remain you,« she said.