He tried out a variety of forms, some old and some new. He tried to engage me in a political discussion as Lefty and Lucky, the conjoined twins, but their hearts weren’t into it. You could tell.
“I think corporations are people,” Lucky said, with no force of conviction.
“Idiot,” Lefty said. “If you cut them, do they bleed?”
“I dunno,” Lucky said. “Maybe.”
You can see how it was going. Normally a discussion of this sort would create a string of invectives that would fill an old sailor like me with envy. The conversation drifted away and I ignored the two of them. Spring had arrived and I had other things on my mind.
Next time I saw him, he had shifted his shape to young Charlie, the youth from the delta, still contemplating his future.
“I can’t decide between them,” he said.
“Oh,” I said. “You have choices?”
“Yeah” he said with a wistful air. “Pro-football or pro-basketball.”
“Aren’t you a little small for either? You are undernourished.”
“Yeah,” he said. “I really don’t like either one of them too much anyway.”
I sensed something was wrong.
“C.W.,” I said. “Are you homesick?”
“Am I what?”
“Are you missing your home planet?”
“Why the hell would I miss that dreadful place?” When I turned to look at him, he had assumed another of his favorite shapes, Arnie the Third—the Young Republican. His chinos were so freshly starched that I thought they would crack if he walked, He looked at one of his Gucci loafers and then back at me with an annoyed look. “I’m in the greatest country in the history of the world,” he said. “Why should I go back to where I would have to have a job?”
"Oh,” I said. “Do they not have trust funds in Falloonia?”
He sniffed. “Not only that, you have to live among the Calarenthistors.”
“Oh, just imagine having to mingle with public-school graduates here on earth.”
“C.W.,” I said. “Would you mind telling me what the hell is worrying you?”
“Me? What do you mean? What on earth do I have to worry about?”
“Look,” I said. “I’ve known you for, let’s see, over three years now.”
“A friend can tell when another is troubled.”
He dropped his head. When it rose, I could tell he had made a decision. “It’s this month,” he said. “April.”
“One of your poets said it is the cruelest month. Now I believe it. They’re going to take my things away.”
“He was talking about vegetation rituals,” I said.
“About the practice of ancient cultures to offer human sacrifices to make the earth come alive again after winter.”
“You don’t do that anymore?”
“Well, we have abstracted them into harmless imitations, like beauty pageants.”
|Well, if they only sacrificed the|
most powerful or the most beautiful,
neither I nor Big Dope would
have much to worry about. - C.W.
“You don’t actually demand sacrifices from people like me?”
“Are you kidding?”
“They aren’t going to take my inheritance away and make me work?”
“Hot damn,” he said smiling and shifting into Eddie Bob, the Happy Redneck. “Let’s go plant some corn.”
Spring fever. It affects us all.
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