Pickle Panda Find Love in the Time of Robot Bees: Part 1, Ch. 3

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Part 1, Chapter 3

As soon as Meghan started shouting about the panda, Ramses could sense, instinctively, that something was wrong. He was already turning towards her when she started fainting, and, moving swiftly with a grace that belied his great size, was there to catch her as she fell.

“Is she OK?” asked Kelsi.

“She will be fine,” he said, effortlessly lifting the limp Meghan Watson in his powerful arms. “I know her. She is the math tutor. I will take her to her office. It is only across the way.”

Pickle and Kelsi just stared at him. “Who- who are you?” asked Kelsi.

“I am Ramses. Ramses Young,” he said, in a deep, heavily-accented baritone that rumbled out of him as he walked away from them.

“We should-”

“Follow them?” asked Pickle, flustered. “We should, definitely. Who does he think he is? Do you see the way he’s just- Just walking around like that?”

“He’s so hot.”

“What!?” said Pickle, stunned. “Are you insane? You can’t-”

“Come on. We’re going,” she said, snapping a leash onto Pickle’s vest.

“The leash!? You bit-” he was cut off by a yank on the vest that pulled him sideways. Even though he was almost a foot shorter than Kelsi, Pickle weighed nearly 250 lbs., and was significantly stronger than most humans. Even so, the only thing more humiliating than being put on a leash was to be seen fighting the leash, and Kelsi knew it.

“UGH! You suck! Come on!” she pleaded.

Ramses Young could barely fit his massive frame through the door of the small office, but managed to gently place Meghan on the small leather sofa taking up half the floor. He studied her a moment, satisfying himself that she was breathing easily and simply asleep. He positioned her, protectively, so she wouldn’t fall off, then turned to go. Ramses’s path was blocked, however, by Kelsi and Pickle.

“Do you know Miss Watson?” he asked.

“Um, who?” asked Kelsi. “Oh! Her? No. We were just, like, standing in line for coffee, and she started screaming at everyone.”

Ramses looked at them attentively, but didn’t speak.

“Are you seriously just going to stand there like that and not explain-” started Pickle.

“You promised you would shut up,” said Kelsi, through the gritted teeth of a pretend smile.

“I didn’t get any coffee,” explained Pickle.

“You upset Meghan,” said Ramses. “I hope she did not hurt you.”

“Hurt me?”

“Yes. When she knocked you down in the coffee line.”

“Oh! Yeah, I’m fine,” she said. “It’s Kelsi! I’m Kelsi, I mean. Hi. You said your name was- Ramses? Right? Are you, like … a student?”

Pickle couldn’t believe it. Ramses was huge, by any standards, but from Pickle’s perspective he was an absolutely massive creature who seemed to have to stoop to get through the door. Ramses’s biceps were easily thicker than Kelsi’s waist.

“I am a student,” explained Ramses, through a broad and expressive smile.

Kelsi thought about the situation. She was standing in a hallway with a talking panda, outside a tiny office that she was certain had recently been a supply closet, and trying – trying hard – to flirt with the oddly attractive Ramses. Also, there was an unconscious woman on a sofa. It was awkward. “So, Ramses. Um, what classes are you taking this semester?”

Pickle was floored. Kelsi was flirting with Ramses! She was flirting with this-

“I am taking these classes,” said Ramses, handing Kelsi a crumpled print-out that he’d pulled from his pocket.

“Where do you even buy pants-!?” started Pickle, before he was cut short by a yank on the leash from Kelsi.

“Hmm …” said Kelsi, sounding disappointed. “I’m a freshman, these are all junior and senior classes.”

“If you are interested, perhaps you can join the animal rights club,” said Ramses. “We meet every Tuesday. Our first meeting is tomorrow.”

“Animal rights!? You’ve got to be kid-” the leash cut him off, again.

“That sounds great!” said Kelsi. “Here, let me give you my number.”

There was a murmuring from behind Ramses as he took the crumpled class schedule back from Kelsi. “What? What happened?” It was Meghan, just coming out of her faint.

“Are you OK, Miss Watson?” asked Ramses.

“Yeah. Yes, I think so,” said Meghan. “I guess that panda freaked me out a bit. How did- Ramses, did you carry me here?”

“Ramses carried you here from the library, and we came with him. Sorry we scared you,” said Kelsi. “Come with me, we’ll get you cleaned up. Ramses, can you wait here with Pickle. He won’t try to run away or anything.”

“Pickle?” asked Ramses as he looked down at the panda. “Yes, I can wait with Pickle.”

As Kelsi led the woozy Dr. Meghan Watson to the ladies’ room to freshen up, Ramses stared after them. Pickle glared up at Ramses. Neither moved until the young women were out of sight, but they both noticed that Kelsi had looked back at Ramses just before the door shut.

Tense seconds passed before Pickle spoke. “What, exactly, do you think you’re doing?”

Ramses sighed deeply, saying “I do not understand what you mean.”

“You do.”

“I get by. I live out my days and do my best. Like you,” said Ramses.

“Oh, no. No. Not like me,” said Pickle. “Not like me at all. You’re just openly flirting with- Wait. Wait, wait, wait, WAIT! Have you been on dates with like, actual girls?” He asked, incredulously.

“Yes,” said Ramses. “Of course.”

Pickle thought for a moment. Considering the gravity of what Ramses had just said, before finally asking “… and they just never mention the fact that you’re a talking gorilla?”


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