Madison.TheDarkSide.Wisconsin.ChapterNine.TheScholars.

Chapter Nine

The Scholars

 

The Capital Times

Saturday, July 10, 1920

“The Legislature met in session yesterday   to discuss the continuing problems being experienced with the students of the University of Wisconsin.  The Volstead Act has done nothing to encourage the young students to maintain sobriety, and in fact, the sources of alcohol being outside of the law, has made it more possible for the young students to obtain alcohol, and other substances regardless of their age.  The Legislature studied the problems for most of the day, and adjourned for more intense study.  Bi-partisan study groups were formed and met unofficially at the Park Hotel in the Billiards Room on the second floor later that afternoon and evening.”

 

Madison, Wisconsin was a college town almost from its first breath.  The population was still small in 1849, on February 8, when Professor Sterling held the first class.  Although the written records are lost to time, verbal history has it that the first drunken students getting into trouble on State Street were observed at about 8 pm, on February 8, 1849.  It is said that the first local girl, “townie,” gave birth to a bastard child, conceived during a drunken condition, on or about October 8, 1849.  Since Professor Sterling’s first class, successive generations of students at the University of Wisconsin, the real one, not one of those letter campuses, have done their best to maintain drunkenness and debauchery as well established minors in their fields of study.

 

Jeffrey was not among the hung over in his Fraternity House on Langdon Street that Saturday morning.  After his job was completed at the Ice Cream Parlor in the two hundred block of State Street he bicycled over the Green Bush district where he was employed at a front door man at a speakeasy.  The work was really not difficult, there was a code word, rarely changed, whispered through a sliding panel in the heavy oak door.  Jeffrey and one other door man would open the door, and it opened outward for additional security.  The visitors would enter the small anti-chamber, and would have to wait until the door was closed and locked.  Then, at the second door, the sliding panel opened, and another doorman asked that night’s code word.  If the visitors knew the word, they entered, if they didn’t, a door to the side was opened and they had to leave.  Finding themselves in the alley of a speakeasy was not a way to impress a date, and sometimes the dates were quite angry, angry enough that they told their male companions to take a hike, and tried to get in on their own recognition.  Sometime it worked, especially for the pretty ones, especially for the ones whose dresses were loose, especially for the ones who were the founders of the theory that pretty girls should reward the guys at the door.  Jeffrey liked the rewards. 

              One of the rules was that the doormen did not drink alcohol when at work at the door.  There were stories of one guy, Named Fast Eddie, because of his work at the billiards table, who did drink at the door, and two of his fingers were disrupted.  Whether or not that actually was the story, the story worked.  Plus, if you were drunk, you missed the tips as the partiers left the warehouse on their way home.  The management did encourage the doormen, only at the end of the night, to drive the more tipsy to their homes, and as a result, they got very good tips.  The speakeasy, in the back room of a fruit and vegetable warehouse at the point where West Main met the railroad yards, was a hit with the more affluent of the area.  It was not unusual to see the parking lot full of Cadillacs, Packards, and the other vehicles of the affluent.  Frequently, the chauffer driven cars were clustered together, and the drivers had an area on one of the loading docks with chairs and some boxes that they could be comfortable in.  The doormen, only at the end of the night, for both were required to be on duty at the door when the liquor was out, would run to the drivers and tell the chauffeur that his people were ready to leave.  The ride back on the running board was exhilarating, to say the least.  The speakeasy usually ran from 9 pm to 1am, usually not much later.  After his shift there, Jeffery sometimes walked Marcy, one of the cigarette girls to her rooming house on Langdon, not far from his fraternity.  Walking from the speakeasy to the Langdon Street area was mostly through residential areas, and was not dangerous at all, but a girl liked the safety of a young man, and the companionship was welcome.  She always rewarded him with a kiss from the safety of her rooming house, knowing that the house mother was watching from her window, right there, overlooking the porch.  If the goodbyes heated up, she used her knuckles on the glass, and once, with sufficient force that a crack in the glass was a result. 

 

That night, the bushes alongside one of the mansions on Wisconsin Avenue provided some degree of privacy for the couple.  Still a ways to go before they became truly intimate, the adventure did little to satisfy the hormonal desires of the two to consummate, but the building tension was not at all unpleasurable.

 

This Saturday, the alarm signaled time to awaken.  Jeffrey had an appointment with his Professor, Professor Steven Hawk, another Madison boy of achievement.  He too had been a soda jerk while he worked his way through the University with a double major in both Physics and in Mechanical Engineering.  The professor was in constant correspondence with the leading men in both field, particularly that of Physics and the theories of the smallest particle, the atom.  Letters to and from the leading universities in both Germany and Austria were about two weeks from posting to arrival, but, they were informative, and the trials of living in post war Germany and Austria had to be read to be believed.  The professor lived in a house in University Heights, a large home for one person, up on one of the highest points in the Heights.  From the Engineering School, it was only a 10 minute walk to the Professor’s home, and Jeffrey had always enjoyed the sight of the house with its’ attached two car garage.  The Professor was an avid car man, in the garage was a 1920 Stutz Bearcat, a series K, almost $3900 in cost.  The other car, a Cadillac coupe, was sharp in its own respect, but, the Stutz, oh, the Stutz, and man would kill for a car like that. It did not even occur to Jeffrey to question as to how and why a Madison boy, even a professor, could afford a huge house, and not one, but two cars, especially when one of the cars was double in price to what a professor would make in a year. 

 

Jeffrey was just a little winded when he arrived at the Professor’s home.  He could see the Professor, silk shirt and tailored slacks on the porch, eating a breakfast.  His housekeeper, a German woman in her late thirties, was attending to his needs and pouring coffee.  The woman’s husband, also a German, was the yard man, chauffeur when needed, and kept up the house, painting and making repairs when needed.  Their daughter, Hilde, was only about 16, but, a fine replica of her mother, about 5 foot 2 inches in height, with blond hair, cut short as was the fashion in those days, and the beginnings of the fine figure that her mother was known for.   Magda, the mother and house keeper, carried herself with the carriage of the aristocracy.  Jeffry had wondered about the family, and he knew that they had been in Germany during the war, but left soon after the Armistice day   surrender.  He knew also that Karl was an expert around machine tools, and the Professor had several of the finest in the basement workshop.  Jeffrey had been amazed when he saw this basement.  In a day and age when a basement was low ceilinged, dark, and damp, the Professors had almost 9 foot ceilings, painted walls, and incandescent lights every 10 feet, in rows about 10 feet apart.  Even the walls were painted, and being on a hill, there was a large door, not an ill-sealing garage door, but one built by craftsmen who were able to obtain a tight, weatherproof seal against the elements.

 

Professor Hawk greeted Jeffrey, and motioned him to the table set on the porch.  Mrs. Krupp, who had told Jeffrey to call her Magda, but her husband preferred Mr. Krupp, brought Jeffrey a cup of fresh hot coffee, and some grape juice, freshly squeezed from grapes from the Professor’s arbor.  She inquired if he would like a full breakfast, or perhaps toast with jam?  It did not escape Jeffrey, that when she had set the coffee down on his right side, her dress had dipped, providing him proof that German women were sturdy, and built for the long haul.  She truly was magnificent. 

“A full breakfast would be great, Magda,

“Yes Sir, and thank you, sir.” 

With that she left, leaving the Professor and the student alone at last.  They could see Karl patrolling the lot line and trimming the hedges as he saw fit.  Mostly, he was taking the errant branches of the hedge, and weaving them back into the hedge, making for a sturdier, more Germanic hedge, than if you just cut the outliers off. 

The Professor started.

 

Our research in the Physics department is looking at the energy in the most  small  particles, which we believe have tremendous power within.  As you probably realize by now, Karl and Magda are not from German peasant stock.  Karl was a leading physicist before the war, and even Magda has a degree in Chemistry from the leading institution in what was Austria-Hungary.  She is working on an advanced degree in Physics.  Their combined knowledge is without comparison, and knowing that, we sent people to find them in the wreckage of post-war Germany.  With my connections with the   War Department it was not difficult to get their paperwork stamped allowing them to come here as my servants.  We are in collaboration with the Eastern Universities and there is great work to be done here.  Are you interested in being a part of this great thing we do?”

 

At first, Jeffrey had trouble finding the words.  But, with weighed, cared precision he answered. 

 

“Yes Professor, I am interested, I do want to be a part of the future, and not a student only of the past.  But, why me, I am just a second year student, without even much of the chemistry classwork completed.”

“Jeffrey, you have be watched for four years.  When the United States entered the war, the word was sent out to military men who were in positions to observe young men.  This was teachers, professors in the university, and men in factories who could see who the best and brightest apprentices were.  Your chemistry teacher, here at Central High School told us about you after his man talked to him.  You were watched and monitored.  We know about your school work, your work as a jerk on State Street, even your work at the warehouse after hours.  How is that beautiful cigarette girl, what is her name, hmmm.  What is her name,   ah, Marcy.  A wonderful girl, smart, bright, and an expert in her own studies.  Do not tell her, but we have our people watching a number of young people of both genders, and she has been noticed.”

 

Jeffrey eyes remained calm, but he was more than a little surprised.  Did he have any secrets that these people didn’t know about?  Why were they watching, and what did you do when you worked with them. 

“Professor, count me in, I do want this, and I will work very hard for you.”

“Excellent, there will have to be a few changes.  Your time will become very valuable, you will be given tasks that are not understandable, but you must just complete them to the best of your ability.  You will give notice to the job on State Street, but you will keep the job at the speakeasy.  We need a place like that for meetings, and discussions, and sometimes for delivery of things.  We want a man there to evaluate the safety and background of the place on a nightly basis.”

“You pay will be excellent, but you will be required to perform flawlessly.  ‘No’ is not an option when we give you an assignment or an order.  We will start you at $100 per week, each week.”

Jeffrey’s heart sank. What the hell had he gotten into?  It took a soda jerk, full time, over a month to make that kind of money, almost two months, and he had been there since January, a full six months and had barely made two times that amount for half a year’s work, although part time, true enough.

Nodding, Jeffrey said.

 

              “That will be fine, more than generous, and shall I stay at the house on Langdon?”

 

              “Yes, you will continue to do that which a student does, sleep in late on the weekends, go to classes, do the work for the classes, eat and sleep at the house.  If you need a car for our work, there are Fords and a truck in the stable at the back of the yard.  We have a new door installed, so the exit from the stable can be up past the house, the normal way, or out the back and through the short distance to the street behind the house.”

“Now, your physical fitness is of prime importance.  You must be strong, fit, and able to swim, run fast and long distances, Karl will instruct you in fencing, sword work, fisticuffs, and other manly skills.  You will also be trained in shooting, both revolvers, and rifles.”

 

“We are done here now.  Magda and Hilde will take you over to the lake, by the farms on Picnic Point and you will swim.  They are both excellent swimmers, and will evaluate your form, and duration in the water.”

Magda returned, not with the full breakfast he had requested, but with an apple, and one piece of toast, with jam. 

“Can’t have you cramping up in the water and dying before we even start our work now, can we?”

Hilde entered the room, dressed for the warm weather in a light cotton shirt, and a pair of shorts, as was the fashion now with young girls at the gymnasium.  Smiling, she said.

“Hurry, Karl has brought the Ford around, it takes too much time to walk today, and we will have to get you worked up to run to the Point in the future.  Grabbing the toast, he finished the juice, and took the coffee cup with him to the car.  Oddly, Hilde was in the driver’s seat when he arrived, and Magda was behind her, with the door to the back being open indicating where he was to sit.  Once in the car, he wished for a place to put the coffee cup.  While Hilde drove, in a professional manner, smoothly but briskly, he thought of a design that would hold a cup of beverage, someday, he would have to do something about that idea.

 

As Hilde drove, Magda explained.

“The area known as Picnic Point, as you know is farmland which comes out from the point to the drive, and wraps around up the hill.  People think that the farmers working the land own the land, but, the Professor and his partners own the Point.  There is nothing but grazing land out on the Point, so, when we want privacy on the Point, we let the cows graze.  Nobody wants to mess around with a ton of cow, and some of the cows are pretty territorial.  The farmers post a sign that says “Grazing Beef on Point Today,” and nobody goes out there.  They posted the sign yesterday, so we have the place today.” 

 

Hilde called back from the driver’s position.

 

“We park just off the drive, and go by foot.  With the cattle there, we have to watch out for them, and use the trees as cover if they want to attack us.  Usually they ignore us, but the young bulls are pretty mean.” 

 

The arrived soon, and after leaving the car, each had a towel.  Jeffrey was so taken by the beauty of the day and the beauty of his companions,  that,  he didn’t even think of the question of bathing attire.  After walking about 300 feet past the fence into the land, there was motion in the brush off to the left.  Two young yearling bulls, broke through the brush line, and taking note of the invaders, started walking with steadily increasing gait.  Jeffrey and his companions took note, and there was good tree cover about a hundred feet ahead.  Although there was a path through the trees, used by the students when they looked for cover for picnics, and other adventures of the inquiring mind, the trees themselves were somewhat close together, close enough for a human to almost run through, but the larger animals would find it rough going off of the path. 

 

The females of the trio, after taking off their shoes, ran like gazelles across the pasture.  Jeffrey was hard pressed to keep up.  Over her shoulder, Hilda laughed at him.  “You don’t have to be able to outrun the bulls, it’s just that you have to outrun at least one of us.  They won’t run past a slo-poke to catch the fast runner.” 

Now in front of the fast moving hamburgers, Jeffrey calculated the distance between he and the animals, between he and the approaching woods, the approximate speed of the animals, and the approximate speed of his own running.  Although he somewhat enjoyed the complexity of word problems with multiple variables and constants, all he knew about this word problem, was, success would be success, failure would be failure, and there was no extra credit for showing his work.  The woods were now right here, and he went two steps down the path and veered to the left, between two trees of perhaps eight inches in diameter.  The young bulls came up short, and not seeing the women, and noticing that Jeffrey was now impossible to reach, they backed down the path to the pasture, and wandered off.  They weren’t the brightest animals in the barn, but they certainly ate the most, and growing boys will put eating above almost all else, regardless of breed.

 

Returning to the path, Jeffrey saw the forms of both Hilda and Magda about 50 feet down the way to the beach at the narrowing of the Point.  They were laughing, and a few steps at top speed put him right behind them.

“Watch out Hilde, another wild bull is loose and is sniffing after us.  I think that it has a hankering for you.  Protect yourself, my little one.”

“Oh no, Magda, the bull is fresh, and he seeks experience, you are the one who should run and hide.  For I think that he is seeking an old cow to teach him the tricks?”

“Old cow, you little bitch, I’ll teach you who is  the old cow.”

 

With that the two ran down the path, and Jeffrey was hard pressed to keep up with them.  They arrived at the narrowest part of the point, and to his amazement, the two barely stopped running, and stripped off their clothing.  In seconds they were free of all cover, and still running they were in the water up to their waists.  Beyond the many wonders of today, Jeffrey had been introduced to two women, who were supposed to be mother and daughter, who talked like harlots, didn’t wear underwear, swore, and swam nude.  He ground to a halt where there clothing lay on the grass.  They turned, and Hilde called out.

“Your turn, school boy.  Can’t swim with your clothes on, can you now?”

He looked at her, the water somewhere between her knees and hips, with the secrets of Eve presented for his inspection.  Just then, the beautiful buttocks of Magda rotated, along with the rest of the older woman, and he saw all of her two.

Magda said, “Your turn, this is your first order.  If you are to obey, you must strip and join us, for we are to evaluate your swimming abilities.”

Putting it that way, he accepted that the two were his superiors, at least now, and his shirt joined their clothes on the grass.  With the suspenders down, he hopped while the shoe and sock on first one leg, then the other took place on the grass.  Finally, the time had come, the two females were watching, as he unbuttoned the trousers, and they let gravity take over.  He slid his thumbs into his underwear, and it left him as Adam, but with two Eves, each more lovely and delightful than the other.  He ran a bit into the water, and a few bits of laughter escaped both of them as his maleness almost took flight.  He joined them, thankful that the water wasn’t too cold.  Clear is was, thanks to some wind and storm earlier in the week that had shook the algae up and disposed of it.

Magda spoke first,   “We will evaluate your swimming, both for speed and form.”  First, we will look at your form.  You can swim with Hilde up to the tree that overhangs the water.  From there, you will turn back and swim as fast as you can to me.”

Hilde had moved out a bit, and the water was up to the start of her breasts, the coolness had brought her nipples to full attention.  She nodded, as did Jeffrey, and Magda announced the start.  Jeffrey had swum since he was a minnow, and had taken training while in high school in the Red Gym on campus.  He had placed well in competition, and while at the university, he still swam at least three time per week, sometimes for speed, sometimes to see how many laps he could make without stopping.   This race was different,   he went at about half speed, so Magda and Hilde could watch his swimming patterns.  When he got to the tree, he stopped, at about the same time as Hilde did, the water now slightly over the top of her breasts, the wet hair hanging down over her head like a frame on an oil painting of a sea nymph.

Magda called out, “When I say go, swim as fast and as hard as you can.” 

Under her breath, Jeffrey heard Hilde say, “If you can catch me, you can have me.”

He was shocked, and somewhat excited by this wager. 

”Go”

Now he knew why Magda called her a little bitch.  She had jumped the gun and was a full length ahead of him.  He put all that he had into his arms and legs, and the crawl had never been done with as great an incentive at the finish line.  Almost a minute later, Jeffrey crashed into Magda, running her over.  Luckily, he did not scratch, dent, or bruise her with his powerful arms.  He knocked her over and felt the curves of her body under his as his momentum carried him over her.  Stopping, he found her under water, and lifted her up.  Coughing out a bit of water, she was none the worse for wear.  Apologizing profusely for being in his way during the race, she rather enjoyed his arms around her, the wetness of the water amplifying the feeling of his skin on hers.  As she got her wits back, Hilde swam up.  “So, I lost the race, and you got the boy, what kind of a deal is that?” 

Magda looked at Jeffrey, “Did she make you a bet down by the tree, what did she bet.”

 

Not wanting to lie to his instructor, Jeffrey repeated, “She said, if you can beat me, you can have me.”

Magda looked at Hilde, and asked “Is that so?”

Smiling, Hilde replied, “I just wanted to give him some motivation.”

By now, the trio was in water that to him was about knee high, and for the smaller Hilde was half-way to her waist.  With a quick move, Magda took   Hilde’s arms and sliding one of hers locked behind Hilde’s elbows, lifted her feet off the sandy bottom.  Looking at Jeffrey, Magda said, “Time to collect!”

Magda turned slightly, and Hilde cooperated, bending one knee while keeping the other straight.  She was able to lock her legs around Jeffrey’s waist, and with some help from Magda, who released her arms and gave her a lift up to where she clung to the new recruit like a koala bear to a eucalyptus tree.  Suddenly, Jeffrey found himself with a pint size water nymph clinging to him, and that which had always been done in small rooms, with closed doors, was happening in the lake, for God’s sake, with her mother, for God’s sake, not just watching, but making it happen.  Jeffrey thought to himself, steady yourself old man, you might get to like this line of work. 

 

An hour later, needs had been satisfied, clothing was now back on now dry bodies.  The three made their way through the woods, and got back to the car with no incidence with the bulls.  Might have been professional courtesy, bulls to Jeffrey, for he had bred both of the fillies.  During the resting stage, he was notified that the two were not mother and daughter, not even sister and sister.  They were both students at the University in Berlin, and the Head Professor in the Physics department had taken them both in protective good keeping when the war made life difficult in Berlin.  Hilde was truly only sixteen in years, at the close of the war,  and had been a first year student last year when Karl had made good his escape to the United States.  Magda was a graduate student in physics, aged 27.

Papers were much easier to prepare to be more in order for a Professor, his younger wife, perhaps his second wife, and his daughter, a mere slip of a teenager.  If was not difficult for Hilde to act a few years younger, perhaps 13, and similarly, it was not difficult, with no makeup, stooped shoulders, and a quiet countenance, as would befitting for a wife of a professor, not difficult indeed for Magda to act like a woman of 33 or 34 years.  When it was clear, they both shared the professor’s bed, for he had made it possible for them to live in comfort, with heat when it was cold, clean water to drink, and good food.  Plus, his work in Physics and Mechanical Engineering was interesting and both women were quick learners in these fields as well as those of chemistry and math.  From the professor’s viewpoint, the two women were the perfect cover for a professor on a vacation, where if he had tried to flee the country with two male graduate students, there would have been suspicion, inspector supervisors would have been called, and disaster predicted.  This way, he had two magnificent brains, plus two women in their prime, who looked at him as a god, or at least a king.  And his new partner, the professor in Madison, Wisconsin, made it all work.  Wonderbar. 

 

The two professors were involved with their bottle of single malt, a fine Scotch sent to them by another colleague at the University in Glasgow.  They both heard the Ford pull up the driveway, no doubt driven by Hilde, who, was after all, a very good driver.  Stopping near the front door, the car came to a halt and the three disembarked.  Up the steps all three joined the two seniors on the porch.  Magda reported, “He is accomplished in all tests given, he swims properly, he swims fast, and he is motivated by reward.  He will work fine in our objectives.”

Jeffrey was not sure that this was interpreted by the two professors in the same way that it had happened, but, it was positive, and that was good.

 

Hilde returned with a tray, with three glasses of lemonade, for the three travelers, for they had worked up a thirst in their efforts.  After sitting, she addressed Karl, “Will the swimming continue, or what is the next area to attention?”

Karl, in thought answered slowly, “We don’t want to wear out the boy the first week, perhaps just some time with his studies, and perhaps some running on the roads west of here so he builds his lungs and legs.  He can run, and you, Hilde, can motor behind him with water.  You can time him to see how long he lasts and how he improves.” 

 

With that, a light supper was put together, and after, Hilde asked Professor Hawk if she could drive Jeffrey to his job at the warehouse speakeasy, because he was due there soon, and it was a distance to get there, even with the cooling of the day, now that the sun was setting. 

Professor Hawk agreed that there was a timeliness factor in the situation, and felt that the car would be best.  The two youngsters entered the car, and left.  Although this was perhaps a 10 minutes trip at most from the house in University Hills, to the location at West Main Street, there was almost a 40 minute change on the clock before the lad, somewhat out of breath, and definitely moist with sweat left the car and took his place at the door to the speakeasy.  As the Model T left the parking lot, his partner at the door looked at him and said, “Is she old enough to drive that thing, and is her daddy knowing that his little girl is ferrying college boys around?” 

With a smile on his face, Jeffrey replied, “Her daddy is fully aware of his little girl, and what she does.  She is more of a handful then she looks, but she is a pleasure to spend time with, even with her mother present.”

 

 

 

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