Nerd

THE NERD
by Larry Shue
Willum

Six days. Has it been just six days? To think—only a week ago, the day before my birthday (he gives a sad little laugh) Tansy was leaving, the hotel design was being rejected and rejected…I found out I was being audited by the IRS—and in my folly I imagined myself unhappy. He … he follows me. He seems to have unlimited time, unlimited funds — brother Bob*s life savings, I guess — he takes an interest in my work, he goes with me into town. The other day — I*m not sure I can even talk about this yet — the other day, I had to take a commuter flight to St. Louis—that*s where they*re building the outside elevator for the Regency — and Rick wanted to come along. So I said, well, okay, it won*t be much fun, but—. So, Rick came along. Everything*s fine, he*s sitting next to me on the plane, a DC-8, I think. He*s wearing a little pilot*s hat he bought at the airport; he*s leafing through a bound copy of Redbook. Then suddenly — suddenly the plane starts shaking, the safety-belt lights come on — people are in fact starting to get alarmed. So what happens in the middle of this? Rick jumps up, stands in the middle of the aisle, and shouts. (Finding it difficult to say.) and shouts — “Urinate! . . . Urinate, or your kidneys will explode!” Honest to God. And I think—I mean I*m really pretty sure — some people did. I mean, he was wearing this dumb little pilot*s hat, and that white shirt and tie he always wears. And, you know, in a panic situation like that—. Anyway, naturally, the next thing we hear is the pilot saying, “We experienced a little turbulence back there but we*re out of it now, and we*ll be landing in St. Louis in one minute.” And Rick just sat down again, with no idea how many of those people wanted to murder him. I think he only escaped because the ones who really had the grounds didn*t want to stand up. It*s a hundred things a day like that. Little things mostly, but they*re starting to take their toll. I*m becoming irrational, snappish—.I don’t know what to do.

 

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