August Roault, the egotist, yes, infant terrible, wunderkind, polymath. At age twenty-one, silver-haired philosophers and mathematicians were attending his seminars. At twenty-two with a freshly minted Ph.D., he filled amphitheatre lecture halls and spoke slowly in deep baritone on the relation of integers to human consciousness, with particular attention paid to a system of interrelated, harmonic paradigms. Something like an atomic supernova in intellectual consciousness occurred with its publication…an international bestseller, fifty languages, hardcover, soft cover, special signed editions, audio books, e-books…God…the aftershock twenty years later, still his biggest moment in his career, age twenty-three, and the rest…well, a high set of peaks—Himalayan for sure—the later work even better in his estimation. But everyone related to what he called his Big Bang book…The Integer argument, unifying force of the human mind. Very few have ever read his magnum opus…fewer still had a critical opinion. Most were fans of “smart people”, “geniuses,” “wizards”…August as cult figure turned familiar with the nickname…Oggie for his inner circle…yet no one really knew him without the blinding reputation. Loneliness hovered around his reputation for genius. Not all bad.
So, it had been a life of academic rock star status…with groping high I.Q. groupies at every campus. And Oggie had had his fun in the bedrooms and hotel suites of some of the choicest good-looking bright women in the world.
Oggie looked in the mirror of his mid-40s bachelorhood and saw the roué…the bags of pewter under the frazzled eyes…exhaustion…a hotel suite behind him, the chrome harsh light of noon checkout, the stabbing glare…and in the bed still…a young thing…doctoral candidate at Harvard’s program in nanotechnology…a philosophy of science specialist, her main focus on the exhaustion of form and meaning and its ethical implications for a limit on miniaturization. The cascade of lush copper hair over a freckled shoulder, luscious breasts, a firm full voluptuous woman in leather boots and cashmere, pearls and a diamond wrist watch, from money, she stared at her conquest, he at her…and knew her emptiness had successfully absorbed his Integer-ness.
“Zero takes one,” she had said the night before, her full lips forming a warm wet sharp-toothed “Ooohhh…”