Part I can be found here.
I always love visiting the mall in a college town on a Saturday. You see, I’ve found that while men usually want to get into and out of the store as fast as possible, women like to take their time and browse, walking back and forth from store to store. This means that the women tend to stick around at least five times as long as the men. And today, they were literally everywhere – gorgeous girls wherever I turned my head.
Of course, this fact was lost on most of my companions. Spock was wearing the wide-eyed confused expression that appeared whenever he was thrust into unfamiliar social situations, and Mr. Chips was fairly indistinct in the background of our group. Johnny must have been aware of the babes around him, but his attention was primarily focused on the machine we’d cobbled together.
I turned to Johnny. “Okay, Mr. Genius, what now?”
Johnny was holding the modified voltmeter aloft, waving it around and watching the dial and display fluctuate. “Now, this tracker ought to be able to trace the most compatible pheromones it can detect in relation to the sample loaded into it. We just follow the signal to the most compatible female!”
I shuddered at this cold description of love. “Who’s sample is loaded into it?”
“Mine, of course,” Johnny replied absently. He began wandering off into the mall, and the rest of us hurried to follow.
Johnny took his time, meandering back and forth as the output from the device shifted, but we eventually ended up in front of Victoria’s Secret. I stared up at the shop. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” I said as we headed inside, looking incredibly conspicuous.
Once inside the store, the meter seemed to improve somewhat in accuracy, and I watched in disbelief as Johnny cut a path straight towards a dark-haired bombshell currently looking at the selection of lacy black thongs. “There’s no way,” I muttered under my breath. The girl in Johnny’s sights was at least an eight, and probably closer to a nine. On his best days, with a few drinks in him, Johnny could maybe hit a five. I winced in anticipation of the inevitable crash and burn.
A minute later, I opened my eyes again. To my surprise, Johnny was holding his own! The girl was responding to whatever he was saying, nodding and looking interested in him! I had to pinch myself several times to make sure I wasn’t asleep.
After another couple minutes, Johnny strolled back, looking overly nonchalant and waving a small scrap of paper at us. “Proof!” he exulted. “We totally hit things off! My machine works!”
I snatched the tracker out of his hands. “Hold on,” I said. “We need a real test. How do you switch out the sample loaded into this?”
Taking the device back from me, Johnny flipped it over and pulled open a small compartment on the back. “It reads off any biological material in here,” he explained. “Hair works fairly well.”
“Great,” I replied. I reached out and yanked a hair out of Spock’s head, ignoring his wordless complaint. I shoved the hair into the chamber. “If this thing can find Spock a mate, we know that we’ve got a real winner on our hands.”
I closed the chamber and flipped the device back right-side-up. Sure enough, an arrow appeared, fluctuating back and forth as it searched out the detected complementary pheromone signal. I grabbed Spock’s arm and set off following the arrow.
Strangely, the device didn’t lead us to any store, but instead to the doors heading out of the mall. I glanced back at Johnny as we reached the doors, but he looked as blank as I did, so we headed outside. We looped around the building, eventually ending up in the back near the dumpsters.
“This really doesn’t seem to be working,” Spock commented as we walked past the rows of garbage receptacles.
“Hush,” I commanded as we pressed on. “With the amount that this thing is fluctuating, we ought to be pretty close – wait!” I came to a sudden halt as I heard rustling behind one of the large garbage bins. Was it a homeless man? Was this Spock’s perfect soulmate? Was Spock gay? I somehow doubted it – a gay man would have enough fashion sense to not tuck his shirt into his white underwear.
A moment later, the source of the rustling emerged – a large tabby slunk out from between the bins and looked up at us. At the sight of the cat, I had to laugh. “Johnny, I think your machine needs more work,” I chuckled, handing the voltmeter back to him. “Either that, or the best that Spock’s going to score is a street cat, and I don’t think he feels that way about animals.”
“It should have worked,” Johnny complained as we headed back around the building. “I mean, it did so for me!”
“Maybe that’s just the confidence it gave you?” I suggested. “Who knows. Wait a minute, where did Spock get off to, anyway?” I turned and looked around. Johnny was walking beside me, and Mr. Chips was contentedly munching on a snack he had pulled from somewhere, but of our super-geek there was no sign. If I had known where he was, I might have been more concerned about Johnny’s device.
Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, Spock was still in the back of the building. He had squatted down on his knees and was beckoning to the cat. “Here, puss puss,” he said, the words sounding strange in his mouth. “Come here.”
The cat seemed reticent at first, but slowly crawled out of the crevice between the bins and moved into Spock’s arms, purring loudly as it realized that this strange human meant no harm and was offering scratches behind the ears. Spock scooped up the purring cat, a smile breaking out on his face. “Good kitty,” he murmured. “Do you want to hear about Augmented Backus Naur metasyntaxes?” The cat closed its eyes in contented agreement.