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By Bacarolle


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Chapter 1

George was sitting in a restaurant. The situation seemed eerily familiar to
him. The brightly colored lights were annoying him and the air conditioning
was turned up way too high.

At first it came to him in the form of Déjà vu, but then he remembered it
had been a dream. A rather elaborate dream. He knew what was going to happen
next. A midget was going to start a fight with the manager. They'd be at
each other's throats.

This didn't happen, much to George's dismay. He sat there by himself eating
the beautifully prepared dinner.

He left the restaurant in a hurry. He hated Déjà vu. He hated looking like
a molester, alone in a restaurant. He hated being a tiny old man who had
never accomplished anything with his life. When he was younger, he contained
huge romping delusions of grandeur, but those had been quelled out of

Now he was just waiting to die. He was too much of a wimp to kill himself.
Also, that would be a rather childish step to take. He had gotten this far

Of course, it's not like life was horribly unbearable for George. In fact,
his laissez-faire attitude, coupled with the fact that he held no strong
convictions, caused him to glide through life rather effortlessly. It was a
rather lukewarm experience. George's thoughts weren't lukewarm, buddy. No,
they glinted and exploded. His thoughts were well manicured and cultured
works of art. His speech was an entirely different story, though. All
fragmented and jagged.

He finally made it to his apartment. What a lovely little cornucopia it
was. Dark and brown, it lighted up his life. It was really a home to him,
not just a house. He had been living in it for twenty years now.
George spent most of his time alone. He was just old and his thoughts
burned with reflection. This left little time for human interaction. He had
already done the whole human interaction thing anyway.

He had had childhood sweethearts. He had had chummy war buddies. He had had
best friends he could confide every slice of his soul in. He had even had
the whole children and marriage thing.

He preferred nestling in his own thoughts, to any of this.

He took out his rotting old pipe and put it in his mouth, as he flopped
down on the couch. He eyed the book sitting on the coffee table for a couple
of seconds. Three hours later and the book was read. He watched the news,
even though it made him angry every time he watched it. He was a creature of
habit, of course.

"Wow, time goes by oh so fleetingly", he thought to himself. "Ah yes, it
feels like only yesterday. I was the young idealistic chap who dreamed of
being a famous painter."

"F--- you, bitchy bitch", he muttered to the news anchor.


Chapter 2

As with most things in his life, George's love of art had come to him, not
the other way around. He would've been happy as the manager of one of his
father's stores, but his friend, Lewis, had a penchant for the various
creative endeavors that trap people into lives of abstraction. He would
expose George to great literature and great art, against his own will. Well,
being the impressionable young man that he was, he eventually gave in to
this arty avalanche of pretentiousness. He was at the age where his identity
was shaped more by his friends than by his parents. His parents started to
wonder about that boy. He was becoming too snobby for their liking. George's
speech still remained rather raw and rebellious, though. Only rarely was it
finely peppered with words such as "Effervescent" and "Extemporization".
By the time he was seventeen, the prospect of managing a drug store seemed
so distant from his own identity, he felt nauseous every time he thought
about it.

Actually, his dream of the midget getting in a fight with the manager
symbolized something rather significant, which by now George had all but
forgotten. His father was the manager and he was the little midget with his
pansy, faggy artiness that is father despised. George's father was mistaken,

George wasn't even close to the stereotypical pansy. He was stronger than
his father was and he even worked on construction sites in the summertime.
Large beads of sweat would cling to his broad shoulders, as he yelled a
chorus of profanities along with the other construction workers. And no, he
wasn't very homosexual at all, although his father would've loved to think

At age 18, George sat inside his father's drug store, in order to tell him
that he was going to art school. The brightly colored lights in the store
were annoying him and the air conditioning was turned up way too high.
"Georgie, art is for fags."

"God, pop, you're a real asshole, you know that?"

"I don't know what else to say to you. Art is for fags. I don't want my son
to be a fag."

"Wha-Wha, you just think that I do art and suddenly bing bang bam, I'm a

"I don't know, I don't- I'm I really don't understand half the s--- you do,
but I don't want you going off to art school and being around all those

"Dad, god, if you're worried about me being homosexual or something, I'm
not. Okay?"

That's when his mom came in. She had curly hair and a pointy face.
"What's all this whining about?"

"Mom, I'm going to art school."

"Listen to the kid talk. Who the hell gave him the idea to go to art
school?" said his dad.

"Oh he's been saying that for over a year, Harold. It's just one of his

"Mom, it isn't one of my phases. It's something I really enjoy doing. Why
can't you just let me do something I enjoy doing, okay? I- I mean, you've
seen my paintings haven't you? It's not that bad, I mean, hell it was good
enough to get me accepted to art school."

"Oh Georgie", said his mom. "Art just isn't a, how do you say it, a viable
way to have a secure and happy life. We want you to be happy."

"What your mother is trying to say is that we don't want you to become a

"God you people make me f---ing sick! I am going to art school, okay? Why
the hell can't you just let me go to art school and if I screw up it will be
my own f---ing fault."

"Stop yelling, the store is opening in a couple of minutes", said his dad.
George glared at his father and walked out of the store. He went right to
his house, which was next to the drug store.

He took a nap and a couple of weeks later he took off for art school. His
parents didn't stop him. They were rather weak people. They possessed strong
convictions, but had no way to actually put them to practical use. George
was going to be a famous artist. He would ramble on excessively about how
his parents shaped his fractured identity during interviews from all the
famous magazines.

Chapter 3

Of course, George never became famous. A couple of his paintings hung over
the fireplace. Occasionally, someone would say something to the effect of,
"Gee, that is an amazing painting. You really should be famous." And then
they'd think to themselves, "It's a shame that old man wasted his talent
away. He really could've been famous." Little did they know, he had worked
his ass off trying to become famous.

It was impossible for George to live in total solitude. After watching the
news show, he remembered that his children and grandchildren were coming to
visit him tomorrow. "Condescending bastards", he said to himself. He knew
that it wasn't entirely their fault. It's rather hard not to be
condescending to a seventy eight year old man who uses lots of vulgar
language around small children and doesn't have very good hearing.
They'd do that whole third person thing around him too. "Wow, look at Pa-pa
lift that that chair. Wow, he should be in the Olympics." They'd have long
and philosophical discussions about him while he was in the room. It was
rather unnerving.

He sunk into sleep for a few minutes and then woke up with an intense urge
to take a walk outside. It was nearly twelve o' clock at night. "I've always
been quite the night owl", he thought.

So he walked calmly outside into the frightening night. The overwhelmingly
youthful night. Packs of gleaming youths were shouting jovially, loud enough
to overwhelm George. Intense, sweaty women were pouring out of dance clubs.
"I shouldn't be here", he said to himself. He was right. The whole scene was
a wild orgy of tight bodies. He was ghostly, emaciated, and wrinkled.
He walked further and further, away from all the dance clubs. He went into a
nice old bar where there'd be old lonely men there, not like him at all. The
bartender was nice and fat and bald. The place was full of lonely people,
but George couldn't identify with them. They were all sad and lonely because
their lives hadn't been fulfilled. George was content and lonely and just
waiting to die. It depressed him to be in a bar with all these people so
obviously different from him.

"I really do feel a sort of empathy with all these tattered souls- all their
lives ruined by insignificant little things. I'm different. I think in the
big picture", he thought to himself.

He started obsessing over the man with the bloody nose, sitting in the
corner of the bar. "Holy s---, what's the matter with him?", he thought. It
wasn't anything big, the man had some crimson blood seeping out of an
orifice. He looked like an otter and had a ponytail.

The bar was dark and brown, just like his apartment. He had been here before
on occasion, and the bartender gave him a corny wink of acknowledgement.
George forgot about the man with the bloody nose for the time being because
he wanted to get drunk. He hadn't gotten drunk in an extremely long time and
now it was time again.

"Hey George-o!, how's it going", said the bartender with the cherubim face
and handlebar mustache.

"Oh fine, fine", said George as he took a seat on the barstool.
"How's the grandkids?"

"Ah, the little brats!", said George half-jokingly.

The bartender gave out a large, fake, hearty laugh that his customers just
loved. "So what'll it be tonight, pal."

"Oh, how about some scotch on the rocks."

He kept on ordering more and more drinks, and as he got dizzier and dizzier,
the concerned look on the bartender's face became more ludicrous.

"I think you've had enough there, george-o"

"Well, you-y you shutup, there, ah mister!"

He had had enough and knew he had gotten drunk enough to be in a nice
dizzying confusion. He went over to the man with the bloody nose.
"I couldn't help but notice, your nose is all bloody, why's that, young
man? Please do, do tell me."

He passed out before he could get an answer and was promptly transported to
the hospital. His children were ashamed of him getting all drunk and
everything. They told their kids in hushed tones that grandpa had done a bad
thing and that's the only reason he was in the hospital.

He was sitting there thinking about how ludicrous it would be for him to
kill himself. He was a ludicrous man and once he got out of the hospital he
put a plastic bag over his head and suffocated till his heart stopped. The
crudeness of his bitter voice box was quelled out of existence.

Chapter 4

It was so absurd, he didn't even feel dead. He wasn't floating or anything.
He definitely still existed. He was thinking and it looked as though he was
sleeping, because all he saw was black, interrupted by the occasional
daydream. This was rather anti-climactic, and George was dismayed.
The fear that he wasn't actually dead kept on reverberating throughout his
thoughts. "I have to be dead, I felt that vague sense of euphoria as my
heart stopped." Maybe he was just in a coma in the hospital. Maybe all of
his boring relatives were crowding around his tiny body, wondering why he
would do this to them. Maybe his grandkids were even praying for him every
night by their bedside, hoping grandpa would wake up from his nap, or
whatever their stupid parents told them. George was appalled that he thought
so lowly of his family. He loved them unconditionally, of course, but that's
different. The one thing he couldn't do was respect them.

He had respected few people in his life, being quite snobbish. He had
respected Lewis, because Lewis knew how to tick him off in a sincere
fashion. Most of the time, people would tick him off in a cartoonish
fashion. George could think of some smart-ass response to that, but not to
Lewis's genuine look of concern.

"George, I think you might be heading for a severe form of psychosis later
in your life. Your personality is all fractured. There's something about you
which scares the living s--- out of me, and I think that you're either going
to be famous or miserable", said Lewis, rather proud that he was able to put
his thoughts into words.

George was obviously pissed off by this, but he couldn't say anything.
Lewis was so sincere and so honest about it, it made George nauseous to even
think about getting all vindictive on his friend. It was 1937. They were
wearing all of their 1930's clothes and smoking on their 1930's cigarettes.
They were young idealistic chaps sitting on one of the various benches
outside of the school, munching on their lunch.

"What do you mean? I'm not crazy, okay?"

"I'm not saying that you're crazy. I'm really not, but, you see, I fear
greatly for you. I can imagine you getting yourself into quite a large

"F---ing bastard, he's concerned that I'm potentially crazy. Why can't he
just call me crazy and get it over with? God, what the hell, I can't divulge
my avalanche of insults upon him, he seems so genuinely real, and really
trying to aid me to lead a better, more prosperous life.", thought George.
He gave a look with his eyebrows all crinkled, implying he was scared of
what Lewis was saying.

"Most artists have been crazy", said George.

"I hope for your sake that you become a famous artist, George. More luck to
you, hey fame is sometimes the last refuge for crazy people."

"Hey, asshole, I thought you said I wasn't crazy!"

"You're not, but you have the potential to become very crazy later in your
life", said Lewis as if he was reading from a scientific textbook.

George was obviously the submissive one in this relationship. It lent
itself to the fact that he respected Lewis. Lewis only half respected
George. He saw the potential for George's greatness. He saw that he was a
hell of a good artist. Far better than himself or any of his friends. He
also saw that George was always defensive, and he couldn't respect that.
Eventually the conversation shifted towards their social life. "So, uh, I
here you have the hots for Lucy?", said Lewis.

"Uh, yeah sure do."

"You should ask her out already, I'm sure she finds you to be quite the
dapper young man. You're so talented too, my god if I was a woman I'd be
screwing you left and right."

"Shut the hell up."

"You know, your being rather rambunctious today. You should really get some
more sleep you know, pal?" His tone became a more nasal and condescending
than usual.

" I don't buy that sleeping deal. I'm a night owl, baby. I'm the f---ing
king of the night, you know pal?", said George.

Lewis laughed at the friendly rapport they held from being familiar in a
pal sort of way. They gossiped on and on, like old ladies, for the rest of
lunch. Lewis had decided it was time to ask out Lucy. She was so angelic and
he wished to dirty her.

Unfortunately, he didn't get to dirty her, but it all ended up in him
finding his girlfriend. Lucy was a mass of blond. She looked like an angel
food cake. She loved animals, like puppies. She had a beautiful body and
that was about the only reason Lewis could stand her. She was repulsive. So
he went on his mission to ask out Lucy, despite the fact that he found her

It was right before biology class and they were learning about (gasp)
reproduction. George found it to be an extremely sexual topic and couldn't
help but feel all sexual in Biology. His crush on Lucy overcame his hatred
for her.

"Hey, Lucy, um are you doing anything this weekend?", said George, sounding
like he really didn't want to say anything.

"Well, I don't know, I have band practice."

"Really, what do you play?"

"The flute."

"Oh, okay", he said. He couldn't stand the flute.

"Well, anyway, Lucy I was wondering if you wanted to go catch a movie with
me or something."

"Wait a second", said Lucy in a tone of realization, "are you asking me

"Uh, yeah."

"No, I mean, you're sweet and everything, but I can't. You're, I don't
know, you're a, well I don't know how to say this without offending you?"
George was angry now. All he could feel was intense hatred and revulsion
for that blond bulbous mass. He wanted to puke all over her.

"Say it."

"Fine, fine. Well, you're an odd boy, George. You are a really odd boy and
I don't think I could ever go out with you. Your so artsy and everything. I
just can't deal with that type of stuff."

George was angry enough that spittle was coming out of his lip. "What the
f---? You know, Lucy, I really don't think that highly of you. I mean
goddamnit, you're one of the least f---ing intelligent people I have ever
met, okay? God just get, get out of my face you imbecile. I'm ashamed I'd
ever want to have anything to do with a girl like you." He said it louder
than intended and the whole class was silent. Actually it was silent except
for one girl who was laughing at what George had just said and they soon
became inseparable.

Chapter 5

George wished that he could stare at the ceiling or something. All he saw
was a long, unending mass of black. He was scared he'd be reduced to an
infantile state. He had heard that when people are isolated in total silence
and darkness for a long enough time, they go insane. Of course, George was
used to being alone. At least he was having time to contemplate.
He didn't regret killing himself, that's for sure. It was time for him to
die, anyway. Everything had been irritating him more and more. He felt out
of the loop. He couldn't quite understand it himself, but there were clues
for him to realize this. It was the way his children talked to him like he
was a novelty item. It was the way he felt like a pervert, intruding and
interrupting everyone else, wherever he went. It was the way everyone talked
about their routines and structures. He didn't have any obligations anymore.
Sure there were his relatives, but they were independent go getters. He
could feel no sense of pride in having raised a marvelous and successful
family. For some reason, they all seemed rather tepid to him. None of them
shined with the great energy that he so much desired when interacting with
people. He didn't mean the outgoing, socially energetic types. He meant the
types that burned with the need to at least create something original. Not
even that, though. It was the types that loved, really loved what they were
doing. He got a kick out of that. He got a kick out of the man that greeted
him every time he walked into the grocery store. He got a kick out of
overhearing kids addicted to the latest video game. His kids were either
consultants, lawyers, or engineers. He loved them all. That was the problem.
All he could do was love them, and nothing more. There wasn't even a sense
of friendship among them. He had given them the best of opportunities, and
they drank it all up.

"Was I a bit crazy? Sure I was. I know I had to have been. S---, I
committed suicide. I actually did it, but it was a rather rational decision,
wasn't it? I've had a good life, I suppose. Why not choose to end it at the
right time? I could've become a degenerate, senile old vegetable if I had
let myself live. It was a healthy, mature, decision I reached and here I am
staring at nothing. I killed myself to get nothing, which isn't nearly as
bad as the something I had." George's thoughts were flowing out of him, more
easily than ever before.

"Will all those people I sort of knew feel guilty? Or will they say I was
crazy? Will they feel sympathy? Frankly, I don't care. I hope they don't
take it too badly. I mean, surely, my grandkids will get over it soon
enough, won't they? It can't be that traumatizing. I was seventy eight years
old. Maybe they'll all cry at my funeral, but they'll get over it soon
enough. The eulogy will lift their spirits. They'll get to see all the old
family members they haven't seen in a while. Soon they'll be back to their
nice happy routines. I'm glad I killed myself. I don't have to deal with not
living when I'm actually alive."

He stared into the blackness and sighed.

"That's a rather immature way to look at it, you know"

"I know, but immaturity is a human invention. It has its faults, just like
anything else. It can be used to manipulate and take advantage of others,
just like anything else."

"Every f---ing thing is a human invention!" He wanted to scream it at the
top of his lungs, but realized suddenly that he couldn't feel his mouth.

"That's funny. I must've been so lost in my thoughts that I didn't realize
anything was missing." He actually wasn't sure if anything was really
missing, but all he could feel was his mind.

"I love my mind."

He wished that he could yearn to go back to life, but he didn't. He was
obsessed with his own thoughts. Perhaps it was a bit egotistical, but he
couldn't help himself.

He rambled on and on, contemplating and just thinking nonsense. It was all
great for him. He owned every last bit of it, every last glinting,
reflecting bit of it.

Chapter 6

"I never even wanted to get old. It's a horrible, horrible thing getting
old, and I wouldn't wish it upon anyone else", he thought.

He thought back to the time when he was nine years old and working in his
dad's drug store. That was the first time he realized how depressing oldness
could be.

It was a hot summer day and all the tourists were there, vacationing on the
beach. All the pasty old people were there. George was at the climax of his
childhood. He was full of hatred for adults. He didn't hate adults actually,
he just thought they were the most piggish people in the world. He always
reminded himself, though, that he'd be an adult one day. Right now, his main
goals were collecting a huge baseball card collection and becoming a dolphin
trainer. He loved dolphins. He had only seen them once, on a field trip to
the aquarium, but he had read countless books on the subject and knew that
dolphin training was his calling.

He was at the register and a lanky, tall old man walked in. The old man was
shaking continually and limped around the store. His face was long, like his
body. His eyes were two tiny brown dots. The man had done some intense
research the night before, and was scouring the store for every single sale
item he could get his grubby little hands on. His mouth was shaped into a
frown. Not a normal "I'm sad" frown, but a tight unmovable one.
The old man would not lower himself to buying something at retail price. He
was a savvy, "I don't take s--- from nobody" man and he knew it. The process
of finding the sale items took him at least an hour or so, because he moved
so slowly. Finally, he came up to the register with at least twenty items.
George rung up the cologne the man had purchased at 6.99.

"It's 3.99", said the man.

"The price tag says 6.99", said George.

"But it's 3.99, I saw the ad for it."

"I'm afraid you're wrong, sir."

"Listen, It's 3.99. Don't try and cheat me out of my money."

George was rather stubborn. It was only his dad's store. He didn't have to
impress his dad with being friendly to the customers. He saw no reason to
give this man an unfair deal.

"Sir, I'm sorry, but I can't give this to you for 3.99. I can't give you a
better deal than all the other customers in this store. I'm sorry sir."

George was feeling very moral and patriotic now.

"I want what's rightfully mine now, or I will never come back to this
store. Do you here me? I saw that item on sale, now give it to me on sale!"
The old man's frown had become unreal. George had never seen someone's lips
go so low before. There were tiny little tears forming in the old man's
eyes. The old man knew he was right. There was no other way it could be, but
he was totally wrong. George saw the old, pathetic man, with his little tiny
tears, and his face of strong conviction. He realized that this old man was
trapped in something. Maybe it was his haggard, falling apart body.
"Okay, okay, sir. Here you are, the cologne for 3.99. I'm sorry." The old
man just looked at George and frowned. There was no way George could ever
redeem himself.

Later that night, after a football game on the beach, George was lying in
his bed and thinking about the old man. He nearly cried when he thought
about the horribly misplaced pride the man possessed.

Throughout his entire childhood, old people had intrigued George. It was
more their physical attributes, than anything else. He loved how sometimes
their faces resembled caramel candy, or raw dough. He loved all the little
liver spots on their legs. He loved their old fashion dialect and missing
teeth. The thought of himself becoming so wrinkled and odd, yet beautiful
looking, fascinated the hell out of him. He could see the old man's tiny
brown eyes glaring at him and was quick to remind himself that growing old
wasn't typically a very good thing.

Soon enough, he did become a caricature of himself. A tiny, frail man, with
large eyes. Little thin wisps of hair covered his head, the few remaining
survivors of a horrible holocaust. The only feature that retained any bit of
youthfulness, was his chiseled nose. His nose was a perfect specimen, and
always had been. There were no bumps or unwanted bends. It wasn't unusually
large, but it stood out because it was so perfect.

"Humans aren't supposed to live as long as I did", he thought to himself.
"It's like some horrible sport, trying to increase longevity. It's some
horrible joke someone's playing on us. There will be four hundred, five
hundred year old people, but does that really matter? Their all going to end
up like me in the end, right? It's a sick, nearly humorous struggle, this
whole longevity thing."

For a couple of minutes he contemplated what had happened to him.
"I'm still alive."

Chapter 7

Well next thing he knew, he saw in front of him a spiritual entity. It was
his wife. His dead wife. "Maybe I am dead", he thought to himself. He saw
her in her youthful beauty, not the cancer ridden woman that she had been
before she died. He looked at her and felt ashamed that he hadn't been
thinking about her as much as he should've been. He had loved her, of

"Hey, Sarah. So now that were both dead and everything, what's next?"
"George, don't you realize what you've done?"

"Uh, yeah. I killed myself to escape my problems."

"Don't you realize that your children and grandchildren needed you? God,
George, how do you think they feel?" George rolled his eyes. Sarah had
always been a disgustingly moral person.

"Actually. To tell you the truth, I don't think they really needed me at

"You performed a totally selfish act just because you were a little sad.
God, I wonder why I even married you sometimes."

"Well, yeah that's what I did. But I don't see any hell or anything, do I?
There's no grand punishment for all my horrible deeds."

They were silent for a couple minutes.

"Well, it's sure been a long time. So, um, how have you been?", remarked
George, just to break the silence.

"Dead." He laughed at that. At least she could be sort of funny sometimes.
"Well, I mean, is there any of that heaven stuff?"

"It's all very complicated, George. But I'll have you know that what you've
done won't go unnoticed. Don't you know that there are consequences for your
actions? God, haven't you figured that out yet? You're seventy eight years
old, for crying out loud!"

"Well I mean I won't be burned for all of eternity or anything, will I?"
"God is a spiritual entity who will show mercy to anyone who can earn it. I
believe, George that you can earn it." That was funny. God matched her
interpretation just as she envisioned it, while she was alive. George opened
his mouth to speak, but then remembered he wasn't supposed to have a mouth.
"What the hell is going on?", he thought out loud. That's when he realized
he was having a dream and that's when he woke up and total blackness
enshrouded him once more.

"Well, I'm glad that whole ordeal wasn't real." It's not that he disliked
his wife, but she was so moral and sometimes he felt like puking all over
her. Sometimes, though, he felt great honor in how moral and honest she was.
That was why he married her.

He had met his wife after art school and the (for him) short-lived war,
while working at an ice cream place called the Big Scooperama. He wore his
doofy little cap and said hi to the customers in a doofy little voice. He
didn't know what the hell to do with his life but paint some crap and try to
sell it, while performing different crappy jobs at menial wages. He had put
his art to some commercial use, though. He was able to sell his logos and
designs to a couple of companies. But still, he was dreaming of far bigger
things. He was going to be a crazy, drunk, alcoholic, wild man, who in his
spare time created breathtaking artistic creations. This never happened, of

His shoulders were still broad and his hair was still shiny, but his
youthfulness was starting to become impaired by something. It was possibly
the stubble on his face, or the glasses that he had started wearing. He was
rumored to have entertained many lady-friends in the sleepy little town. He
was still living in the beach town, down the street from his parents. They'd
help him out in emergencies, because they loved to help him when he was down
and out.

He was having fun playing the part of the smiling, bubbly, ice cream man.
All the little kids there loved him. He'd give them especially big servings,
even if it was in the kiddy size. And that's how his wife met him. She was
frequenting the ice cream place on a regular basis. She had just moved in
from upstate New York, and now was glad to be right on the ocean, right in
the heart of Cape Cod. She had recently gotten a job as an elementary school
teacher. She loved teaching and she loved having the summers off to
entertain her male friends. She also had her group of single women she
gossiped and chatted with. They often came in the ice cream restaurant
screeching and chuckling at the top of their lungs in a way that only the
members of their group could understand.

She was always with people, being a very social person. She was always
ready to discuss the latest topics, with intelligence. She wasn't at all
what one would call a "flake", but she carried around her, an air of
lightness and buoyancy which permeated every aspect of her personality.
One day she came in alone and George was happy. He had been waiting for
this. He had noticed her, first physically and all that, but then he noticed
that she wasn't nearly as dumb as her friends or the male friends which she
entertained. George felt like a cartoon when he was in his doofy little hat.
He felt so chipper and so unlike himself. He felt androgynous in some
respects. This wasn't a good thing for meeting this woman. He wanted to show
her all of his male braggadocio.

So it was around 9:15 at night, right before the place was going to close
and George saw her sitting there all alone. She was smiling about something,
looking around the place. She didn't seem sad. That wasn't good. If she had
been sad, George would've been able to go up to her and ask in a sincere
voice "You look pretty down today, what's wrong?". He might've even consoled
her to some extent. She went up to order her ice cream and George got ready
to do whatever he was about to do.

"Hi, um, I'll have a small coffee ice cream." George didn't like this
formality she was displaying to him, like she was just any other customer.
He had to break this at once.

"Hey, so why're you all alone tonight? You're usually with all those other
people." She looked at him for a couple of seconds, sort of confused.
"I don't know- I thought it would be nice to go for an evening ice cream and
you know, just think about things."

"Well, I'm not a very good judge of personalities or anything, but you seem
to be a pretty social person. So how about I join you. I mean there's no
more customers or anything, so how about it?"

She gave him a strange look, almost a "what kind of sicko are you" look, but
she was feeling lonely in some respects and he seemed perfectly respectable.
George saw the strange look on her face and just smiled back in a "I'm a
friendly ice cream guy" face.

"Well, I suppose I could use the company and hey, I suppose you could too."
She gave him a friendly smile. George took of his stupid hat and went to sit

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