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George Halifax

He’s mentioned earlier in “Tami Beethoven” but only in Part 53 do we get to meet him. And immediately try to forget him.


Once again, Acting Dean Anthony Noyes looked out the big bay window of his ninth-floor office, this time onto a campus white with the aftermath of the annual April blizzard, and once again beheld Tami Smithers, the all but certain valedictorian, this time hanging from a bare tree whose branches were thick with white. Her legs crooked back over the branch, red toes wiggling, she was conversing with some friends who were standing around, apparently in the process of climbing down when they arrived. Her short plum-colored hair hung down a bit, her face a little flushed as one would expect. Her breasts, tight and hard as always, tended ever so slightly downward in their upside down position. Her arms hung down to the ground, fingers playing in the snow. In her stretched out position one could see her firm, concave tummy, the secret envy of every woman on campus.

Presently she flipped her feet forward and somersaulted onto the ground, snow up to her ankles, with the nonchalance of a trained gymnast. Now, bookbag slung over her bare shoulder, casually skiffing the snow ahead of her with her toes, she continued chatting with them as they made their way down the concourse.

It was poetry in motion, the beauty of the feminine form at its utmost, the true essence of femininity, the spirit expressed in flesh, that had inspired DaVinci, Velasquez, Renoir . . .

“Look at those titties! Lord Almighty!”

Noyes closed his eyes in quiet toleration as he heard the not-unexpected babblings of the college lawyer.

The “new” college lawyer, that is. After the departure of Henry Ross the Hiring Committee, shell-shocked by the revelations, had overreacted. They hired an old friend of Professor Emeritus Jan Latimer, one George Halifax, who was to Henry Ross as matter is to anti-matter. Or maybe the other way around. They wanted to turn the page on Henry Ross, secretive, wiry and thin, always impeccably dressed, with a background as a prosecutor, and a maze of complicated and, it turned out, evil thoughts behind his Sphinx-like face.

George Halifax was grossly overweight, and was always stuffing himself with pretzels or potato chips, many of which could be found between the couch cushions in his cluttered, disgusting office. His tie always rebelled at staying tied around his bulging neck, his shirt at staying tucked. He babbled constantly and sometimes incoherently at anything that might cross his mind, usually not touching anywhere near his legal experience, which had been mostly in entertainment law.

He also talked very often and very fondly about his wife Ethelinda, whom Noyes had met at a luncheon once, as she and George crowded everyone out from the buffet table. Ethelinda weighed only slightly less than George. Try as he might, Noyes could not help contemplating the logistics involved in their sex life, which George referred to often, and which, Noyes concluded, must require some kind of winch-like device.

“Man, those nips must be rock hard in that cold! What a super woman! Isn’t she a babe? You got to admit -- ”

“Yes, she is attractive, George,” Noyes said limply, trying to shut him up. What could he do? George Halifax had one thing in common with Ross, and that was that knowing what he did about the Tami Smithers affair, he was basically unsackable. And he had a good heart (being the Anti-Ross) and seemed to know enough about the law to -- well, as Noyes said to Professor Girardo at a faculty party, “He’ll do for now.”

Halifax popped a pretzel into his mouth (he had a batch in his jacket pocket) and munched as he watched Tami as intently as if he were 18 again and watching a peep show in Times Square.

“Now George -- ”

“Really a super woman,” Halifax continued. “Popping off 136 times in a row! Can you imagine that? I know it wasn’t her idea, but even now, I bet she could rattle off a few dozen between classes, with the help of her army of pussy lickers. Girls just have it all over us guys. Me, my record is three, and that took all night. E (his shorthand for Ethelinda) tried and tried to get another but I was limp as a wet noodle and half dead.”

Again, Noyes thought of winches. He tried once again to interrupt these observations, the likes of which Halifax had made many times. “George!”

“What?”

“George, we have to talk about this new development.”

“What?” Halifax spat out a speck of pretzel as he spoke, his eyes still glued on Tami.

“The unfortunate news about her brother.”

“Oh, man,” Halifax said, wiping the pretzel flecks of his jacket as some hit Noyes -- “sorry” -- then he observed, “That’s rough, ain’t it. What a dry socket that hellhole is. What a monumental f***up! And most of the world saw it coming!”

Noyes nodded.

Halifax continued, “At least he’s not a casualty.”

“No, thank God for that.” Noyes looked out over the horizon. “Almost four thousand dead, fortunately not yet including Joseph Smithers, age 20.”

“Not so fortunate for the four thousand... This will be a big blow to her.” Halifax made a futile effort to straighten his tie, something he did automatically about 500 times a day.

Noyes quickly reviewed, “He was supposed to return in May, to help with the father’s hardware store, which is struggling. The father’s health isn’t too good either.”

“Yes, he drinks a lot of beer, probably in heart attack country,” Halifax said, without irony.

“So what can be done?” Noyes said.

“I looked into it like you said. Not a good idea to make this known before the news is officially out. But then we can send a signal to the International.”

“Is that all? Can’t we get her home before the semester ends? Give her her degree early?”

“Don’t you think that would raise eyebrows? I mean, be honest.”

Halifax was right. Noyes had been thinking of how to avoid the commencement, only six weeks away, with the very naked Tami Smithers on view for the local cameras and, horror of horrors, finally attracting the national press. The local press had been tactful, but the national press was full of vicious armchair masturbators... The name of Campbell - Frank would be synonymous with “radical nudist college”...

But, George was right, trying to avoid the commencement situation was probably impossible. So maybe angling to get Ms. Smithers a (bare) leg up on the International was the best hope.

Consuming another pretzel, which was his idea of a diet (his usual pocket-stuffer was cookies), Halifax said, “It’s safe to talk to Girardo about amending her application.”

“Oh, good. That’s very good.” Somehow Halifax had gotten Professor Albert Girardo, Chair of the Fashion Technology Department, to play ball. Which Noyes had never been able to do. Give Halifax that much, he could be a successful schmoozer. Maybe because he was so honest about his intentions. Another stereotype about lawyers, shattered.

“Should we do it on our own?” Noyes said. The application had a separate section to be filled out by the sponsoring institution, which the candidate did not see. They could put the words of Tami’s family hardship there.

“Yes, from what we know of her, she won’t want any special consideration.” Munch, munch, swallow. “Best keep it secret from her.”

Noyes shook his head. “She might need such special consideration, with those weird designs of hers.”

“Albert said something which I think is right. She’s been naked so long, she probably forgot what clothes feel like. I hear she doesn’t even think of herself as starkers. She thinks her pussy hair and her head hair is her clothes.”

Noyes winced at the language. Despite all he had been forced to witness the past three years, he was still a churchgoer. Not like Halifax, who bolted from the Catholic Church years ago.

“When she gets back into clothes, it’ll be a shock.”

“You think so?”

“I know so.” Another pretzel. “The Chalfont people figured that out a while ago. The deal is, she gets her rocks off so much while naked, her body now thinks that clothes mean pain. This week they’ve finally started a program to desensitize her.”

Noyes’s eyes widened. For a long time Abu Jamal had refused to tell him what was going on over there. “Why didn’t you tell me that?”

Halifax shrugged, causing the tail of his shirt to finally pop out. “You never asked me. Uh oh, here she comes.”

Tami, having taken leave of her friends, was heading toward the administration building. Whatever reason Tami had to come to them, they dreaded having to face her, while keeping secret the bad news about her brother. It was impossible to lie to Tami Smithers. Even keeping something unsaid would be detected somehow, through those extra-sensory nipples.

Noyes and Halifax both exhaled as Tami turned to the right. Evidently she was going to the fashion building. And now a big soft snowball planted itself squarely into the bush of her plum-colored pubic hair. She dropped her bookbag and ran for revenge, her bare feet knifing through the snow, no doubt soon to overtake her booted and heavily clothed assailant as they both ran out of view.

“The kid in clothes doesn’t stand a chance,” Halifax observed. The two older men were about to turn away from the window when Tami re-entered their view, her flushed-skin nakedness prone and wrapped over the shoulder of a tall athletic hispanic girl, preceded by two other girls who carried one bare foot over their own shoulders. Tami’s bare butt cheeks, wet with melted snow, glistened in the sunlight. It was like barbarians hauling off precious pillage after a raid, and their captive did shout and beat her fists against the hispanic girl’s back, though her distress was only playful. They carried their naked captive out of sight, to a place unknown.

“There they go again,” Halifax said, munching another pretzel. “What a sight. This is better than all that intense, graphic pornography. I tell ya Tony, I love this job!”

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