monkey gargoyle, photographed at University of Toronto

Adam is tucked away in a study carrel in the back of the library, totally caught up in creating his software architecture plan. Crunching numbers, verifying, testing, he’s totally oblivious to the world around him. Which is why he hasn’t noticed it’s getting dark. Or Barbie, when she finally makes an appearance.

Standing in the doorway, Barbie scans the room, trying to spot the computer guy who has her laptop. She’s never been in here before, and it’s bigger than she thought it’d be. If she had actually looked for him in the oval she’d have it now.

She could be home already. But it was so warm and snuggly in the sun, too much fun laying in the grass smoking up with her friends to go hunting up her laptop. Of course if she’d got her laptop from Alan things wouldn’t have got out of hand with Jose. That’s gonna be so awkward.

It’s one thing to lust after him in her head and mess around with that great body in her fantasies, but she knows she’s damn well given Jose ideas now. Hell, she’s given herself ideas. That was too close, she needs to get laid.

And soon.

But goddamn she is not gonna end up like Tam, stuck with some loser. Or her dimwit cousin. God, who is stupid enough to get knocked up these days? Even if you don’t want an abortion, there’s always adoption. You don’t have to marry the guy and wreck your whole life. She will just have to steer clear of Jose. Don’t think about it now. Just find the guy with her computer.

She walks through the main area, there are a few guys who might be him, but she’s not really sure what Alan looks like actually. Ordinary looking. With a tie. But it’d probably be a different tie today, so that might not help very much.

Barbie cruises around the perimeter. Some of the possibles catch her checking them out and look up hopefully, but she ignores them.

He had brown hair. Or was it black? Not blond anyway. Maybe dark, uh dirty blond. Um. No glasses. Kinda like Dilbert, actually. Duh. For sure he isn’t any of the guys working at the common tables in the center of the room. She walks along peeking in the carrels, looking for her computer case. That she’ll recognize.

And finally, Barbie sees it. She comes up behind the guy, taps his shoulder. Skinny, not muscular like Jose. She’s pleased to see she was right, he’s got brown hair. He turns around and smiles when he sees it’s her. Yup. He is wearing a tie too, with some kind of … what is that spaceships? … yeah, spaceships on it.

“Hey, where were you? Couldn’t find you at lunch.” Barbie bestows one of her brightest smiles.

“It was so crowded and I looked but you weren’t anywhere. I think the whole school was out in the sun.”

“I am sorry, Barbie, I did try. We probably missed one another because it was crowded and we were both moving.”

“Probably. Then I had a class. Sorry I missed you.”

Adam smiles happily, “Oh that’s fine. Have you got a moment now? We can go over it.”

Barbie frowns prettily, “I wish I could but I promised my Dad I’d have dinner with him. My folks are divorced and I don’t get to see him very much.”

“That’s alright.” He pulls her computer case out from under the carrel desk and hands it to her. “Let me just tell you, I’ve installed the new Ubuntu distro, and upgraded all your open source software, Open Office, Gimp, and Firefox. I set up a directory structure I think you’ll like but if you have any problems give me a call and I’ll get you fixed up, okay.”

“Oh wow, you did all that? That’s amazing.” she gushes. Adam smiles, feeling terribly pleased with himself.

“Hey, you know,” she says glancing down at the computer bag, “There’s one more thing you could help me with, that is if you’ve got the time?”

“Yes, I have some time tonight. How can I help?”

“It’s these,” she says. Fishing a couple of CDs out of her purse she hands them to Adam.

Adam looks at the cases, Black Eyed Peas ‘The E.N.D.’ and Coldplay ‘Viva La Vida’. “What is the problem? Do they skip in your player?” he asks.

“No they’re fine. My friend loaned them to me but I always have so much trouble making copies, I thought maybe you could put them on my MP3 player. Or even just show me how to do it?”

Adam’s face isn’t happy any more. “You can’t do that.”

Frowning. “I know, that’s why I’m asking for your help, because when I try to do it something always goes wrong. The Peas aren’t supposed to sound like the Chipmunks, you know?”
“No, that’s not what I meant at all, Barbie. I meant that it’s illegal to make copies of CDs.”

She shakes her head, frustrated. “I don’t think so. Everybody does it, and that’s why she gave these to me so that I could copy them. She knows I’m gonna, she said it was okay.”

“That doesn’t matter. She can’t give you permission, she doesn’t have the right to …”

“Of course she does, they’re her CDs. I was with her when she bought them.”

“She may have bought them, but that doesn’t mean you can copy them. That’s against the law. You could get in trouble. She could get in trouble. If I copy them for you I could get in trouble.”
Barbie stands up, frustrated “That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard. She owns them, and she gave me permission.”

Adam purses his lips and frowns. “Please let me explain. She owns the compact disks, right?”

Barbie’s eyes narrow and she looks at the guy. She knows he likes her. Why is he giving her a hard time? It doesn’t track. She’ll give him one more chance. So she says tentatively, “Right.”

“But that’s not the same as owning what’s on the CDs.”

Barbie just stares at him, confused, like he’s some kind of little green man getting out of one of the spaceships on his tie. She tosses her hair in frustration. “They aren’t blank CDs. If they were blank CDs they wouldn’t have cost as much.”

“Yes she bought them,” he waves the CD, “But she didn’t buy the right to copy them.”

“Of course she did. She owns them. Who else would have the right to copy them?” she asks, amused.

“Whoever made the CD.”

Barbie crosses her arms, and looks at him, no longer confused or amused. “You’re telling me the only one who can copy The E.N.D.” Barbie snatches the CDs from his hand and waves them in front of his nose, “is the Black Eyed Peas? That’s ridiculous. How am I supposed to ask big stars for permission?”

Adam says, “Of course not, that is not what …”

But Barbie can’t hear him. She won’t listen. “I mean just ’cause I can follow on Twitter doesn’t mean he has time to talk to all the Peabodies. I mean, he’s brilliant but he’s busy writing music. They don’t print their phone number on the CD.” she says, petulantly now. “Even if they did, am I gonna call up or Fergie and ask if I can copy Tamara’s CD? They’d be on the phone all the time, not making music anymore.”

“It is unlikely that the band would be allowed to give permission anyway. It would be the record label or …”

“Wait a minute. I may be a blonde but I am not dumb enough to think that can’t give me permission to copy his own freaking CD. That’s just nuts. Why are you giving me such a hard time? Are you mad I missed you at lunch? I said I was sorry.”

“I am not trying to give you a hard time, but my brother is an Intellectual Property lawyer. Could I just show you?”

She looks at his outstretched hand and hesitates a moment. Just she really doesn’t have any more time right now. Not after having had to chase all over looking for the guy. So she stuffs the CDs back in her purse. “Look, just forget it.” She grabs the laptop case, mutters, “Thanks,” then turns on her heel and stalks away.

Adam sits there, stunned. Watching her walk away.

Barbie is annoyed. No, not annoyed, angry.

She’s really, really, angry.

How could he be so stupid? She liked him. She even kissed him once. Why couldn’t he just enjoy it? Why does he always have to be so anal? Barbie was happy he fixed up her computer.

All he wanted was to help her. He doesn’t want her to get in trouble. Why doesn’t she understand? Now life is truly miserable.

It was better when she didn’t know he existed. He could quietly admire her and hope she might talk to him some time. Now she knows who he is and he’s made her hate him. Adam buries his face in his hands.

He didn’t even have a chance to give her the mug.

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