The time had come.
The still form waited.
And the switch was thrown.
The air crackled suddenly with the burst of a dozen suns. And
Dr. Frankenstein stood back from it all, face glistening with
the spark of science and unholy fire.
"Look..." he shrieked, "It's moving, it's alive,
it's alive, it's alive, it's alive, IT'S ALIVE!"
The monster quivered with the first ebb of life.
There was a sharp peal of thunder, and then-from out of nowhere-a
chorus line of spangled showgirls paraded into view. They danced
by with their high leg kicks as an old man in a tux and a sad
excuse for a hairpiece stepped forward.
"Howdy, folks! Are you looking for used cars at an unbeatable
price?! Of course you are! Well, come on down to Crazy Eddie's
Automotive for the best in-"
An empty beer can bounced off the screen with a hollow plonk.
"Damn TV movies!" cried Alfred. "Why do they have
to jam commercials in our face every five seconds?"
"Gotta pay the bills some time," said Wes. Alfred's
friend lay stretched out in a nearby chesterfield, bobbing his
foot to Crazy Eddie, and digging into a mangled bag of Cheetos.
Wes offered up the bag and Alfred just waved him off.
"Aren't you sick of this crap?"
Wes blinked his eyelids and looked at Alfred like he'd just asked
him what the capital of Azerbaijan was.
"Sick of what?" he said finally.
"All these ads! It was never this bad when I was a kid!
Now it's ads at the movies, the mall, ads on the space shuttle...where's
it all end for Chrissake?"
"Yeah. And I hear you might get cancer standing too close
to the microwave..."
"Laugh all you want," said Alfred, wagging a finger
at him. "I know how these guys work-they're all slick operators.
All they want is my wallet! I work twenty years for those bastards
and they still won't get off my ass..."
"Fred," Wes said, getting up to go, "That's life,
buddy! You know, sometimes I think you've got adverts on the brain.
How long's it been since you retired? Two, three years now?"
"Look, why don't you get a hobby or something? Take your
mind off it. Or take some classes! You should see all the lonely
babes they got down at the Y..."
"Agh, what am I supposed to do, Wes? Ballroom dancing? These
legs ain't twenty-one anymore."
"Yeah, I know the feeling," said Wes with a shake of
his head, "Well. It's getting late. Thanks for the beer,
buddy. Just think about what I said, huh?"
After his friend left, Alfred pressed the volume button.
"Nabob," the voice said, "The coffee that brings
new meaning to the word-ecstasy!" Alfred cringed. He waited
for his movie to return, took a sip of his Labatt Blue, and fell
into an uneasy sleep.
When Alfred came to, he could hear someone talking. He looked
up at the TV set. An older man in a crisp business suit was busy
talking, talking, talking-about himself. Warning...infomercial
alert, Alfred thought. He was just about to turn it off for the
night when something sparked his attention.
"A lot of people find themselves overwhelmed by our hectic
society," he said. "We have to help these people, and
I believe our institute has found a simple and affordable solution.
Through our series of professional treatments, we're able to remove
their troubles, put their minds at ease, and yes, help them lead
more healthy, productive lives."
A toll free number appeared across the bottom of the screen.
"Call now for a free consultation. Here at The Bettlehopper
Institute for the Mind, we're here to talk. We're here to help.
Please. Call us today..."
Alfred dropped the remote.
"It's very simple," said Dr. Bettlehopper, smiling across
his rich mahogany desk. "All we have to do is isolate your
problem and our treatment will do the rest. So. You say you feel
inundated by the media?"
Alfred sat across the room, drumming his fingers against his
armchair like a West Point recruit.
"Yes, Doctor," he said, "I can't stand it...on
TV, I see ads. In papers, I see ads. In magazines, I see ads!
On people...I just can't take it any more."
"I see," the Doctor said, sifting through a series
of applications. "There's really a lot of information out
there we don't need to know, and your problem is not uncommon.
Let's see...widower. No children. And you're a copywriter?"
"Was...yes, sir. At Brooks & Hobbart. Twenty-three years."
"Says here you were let go..."
Alfred drew a few circles in the rug with the tip of his shoe.
He paused, a bitter edge coming to his voice.
"I think 'company restructuring' was the phrase they used.
But I prefer to call it...creative retirement."
Dr. Bettlehopper scribbled something down on his notepad.
"Oh dear," he whistled, "That complicates things,
doesn't it? Well, in your case, Mr. Timmins-since the problem
is so delicate-I think we'll have to give you the full treatment.
What we'll do is stop your sensory impulses before they reach
your central nervous system, and hence, avoid any unwanted stimuli
from preying heavily on-"
"What's that in layman's terms, Doctor?"
Dr. Bettlehopper reached over and pulled a circulatory chart
of the human body down on the wall behind him.
"We'll have to staple your brain."
Alfred jumped to his feet.
"Relax, Mr. Timmins. Relax! Let me explain..." He whipped
a collapsible pointer from his vest pocket and directed Alfred's
attention to the chart. "See, it's much like having your
stomach stapled to reduce the amount of food intake-only here-we're
reducing your sensory intake. This way you won't even notice the
things that used to bother you...like junk mail or ads or..."
"Yes, but Doctor I-"
"Mr. Timmins...Alfred. How old are you?"
"Sixty-two in May. Why?"
"Do you have trouble sleeping after seeing, say, the latest
"Those ones with William Shatner?"
"The singing ones, yes."
"Or get migraines dealing with telemarketers-"
"Yes... Yes, I do."
The Doctor leaned forward. His words took on a clear, soothing
"Then you owe it to yourself to have this procedure done.
Just think how much easier your golden years'll be without these
things plaguing your mind. No more stress, no more high blood
pressure. And all for five hundred simoleons. We can set you up
Alfred stared at the map of veins and arteries and mulled over
his options. He didn't want to have his brain stapled. But hell,
what was he supposed to do? Still, he could really use that new
pair of snow tires-
"Ever been to Hooters, Alfred..?"
"Uh... Sure, why?"
"You know. Be surprised what the girls look like...without
all that clothing getting in the way-"
Dr. Bettlehopper gave him the thumbs up sign like he was about
to hand over the keys to the Mustang Ranch.
"Beats the hell out of curly fries..." he said.
After a moment of silence and a lot of thought, Alfred knew only
one thing. He didn't just need that operation-he had to. The Doctor
smiled, rubbing his hands together while Alfred brought out his
The following afternoon, Dr. Bettlehopper walked into one of the
recovery wards. The room was full of patients, all of them over
fifty, all of them sporting the latest in bandaged heads. Alfred's
bed was in the corner by the window. As the Doctor approached,
Alfred was sitting up, basking in the afternoon light playing
in from the nearby sunroom, and intently reading a copy of The
Cat In The Hat. He didn't pay the Doctor the slightest attention.
"Well, Alfred...how do you feel?"
Alfred looked up at him blankly.
"Feel..? Fine. Tip top!" He paused. "Who are you?"
Dr. Bettlehopper smiled and considered his notes.
"Good. You're progressing nicely. Now remember, don't overexert
yourself, Alfred. That means for the next two days, no complex
thought. None. Nada. And whatever you do, don't even think about
Alfred blinked a few times. "When do I get out of here?"
"Friday at the latest. You should be able to navigate the
parking lot by then. I'll drop by later this afternoon to see
how you're doing. And bring you some colouring books."
"Hey. I'll be here!" He paused. "Who are you?"
Dr. Bettlehopper turned to leave and stopped. He glanced over
Alfred looked up from his book. "You say something?"
"No, no," he said, checking off his clipboard, "Nothing
On Saturdays, it had always been Alfred's practice to do his grocery
shopping. So, on the day of his release, creature of habit that
he was, Alfred found himself wandering through Food City with
his shopping cart. This time, however, he wasn't wandering so
much as standing in the midst of it all-staring in wonder.
Everything was white.
It was like the entire store had been scrubbed with bleach. Every
sign, every product was blank-their packaging vanished from sight.
Even on the drive into town, Alfred couldn't help but notice how
the world had changed. The billboards, the shopping malls, the
storefronts-all the ads were gone!
Alfred walked the aisles, and marvelled at how everyone was so
oblivious to it-while he picked up cans, and laughed. Alfred ran
his fingers across their blank faces, smiling to himself. He was
in heaven! It was like walking through God's own convenience store.
He stopped his cart at a small, elderly woman with blue tinted
hair and an ill-fitting sweater. She was busy examining the shelves
in front of her.
Alfred looked around and sighed.
"Beautiful," he said.
"What?" said the woman.
Alfred waved at the merchandise in front of him. He picked a
can out of her cart.
"Isn't it wonderful?"
The old woman looked at the tin in Alfred's hand-clearly a can
of Dr. Ballard's Chunky Beef Mix For Dogs. She stared at Alfred
like he'd just stepped off the mother ship.
"You're one sick puppy! Who let you out?"
Bewildered, Alfred fingered the bandages at his head, and tried
to explain himself.
"But don't you see?" he sighed, holding up the can.
"It's horsemeat!" she cried, snatching it back, "And
that's just what you'll be if you don't get outta my way!"
Spinning her cart around, the old woman shuffled in the opposite
direction, looking over her shoulder at Alfred, and disappeared
round the corner. He shook his head and went hunting for breakfast
But when he got to the next aisle, Alfred suddenly realized his
predicament. He remembered where everything was located, but how
was he supposed to tell white from white? And what the hell was
that cereal he always bought?? Down the way, a wiry clerk stamped
a wall of products furiously with a pricing gun.
"What've you got there, young man?" he asked, pointing
at his boxes.
The clerk looked up, and snapped his gum. "Frosted Flakes,
No... That didn't ring a bell.
"Uh... What else does it say?"
The teenager stared at the turban of bandages and fingered his
pricing gun a little too uneasily for Alfred's taste.
"Glasses," he added, "Left them at home."
"It says: 'They're Greeeeaaat!' sir..."
"Okay-but what's the one that's round and delicious with
different colours? You know."
The clerk looked at the bandages again.
That wasn't it either. But he'd try anything once.
"That's it!" Alfred lied, grabbing the cereal.
Hm, didn't expect anything like this, he thought, looking over
the blank box. But if this is the only price I have to pay, then
so be it.
"Hey, what happened to your head?" the clerk quipped
behind him. Alfred thought for a moment. He threw back his shoulders.
"Bar fight," he said and wheeled his cart away.
A week later, Alfred and Wes were sitting in the stands, taking
in the latest tilt between the Leafs and the Red Wings. Alfred
just stared into space, a foolish grin spread across his face,
while his friend swept the crowd with his binoculars.
"Jesus H. Christ," Wes muttered during the first intermission,
"Leafs're getting their lunch handed to them tonight. We
should've scalped these babies when we had the chance!"
"Guess it would help if I could see who's playing, huh?"
Wes dropped his binoculars into his lap.
"What? You mean...you can't see any of that?"
"Not a thing. Looks like the Mr. Clean Invitational down
"No shit. Not a corporate logo in sight."
"Wow," said Wes, crunching thoughtfully on a cheese
puff. "That treatment's really done the trick. And once you
lose that whole Maharishi look, you'll be off to the races!"
"I'm telling ya, Wes," laughed Alfred, "This is
sheer bliss...go get your head stapled before it's too late!"
He lowered his voice with a conspiratorial wink. "Get this...I
haven't seen a tampon commercial...in six days!"
Wes shook his head in astonishment.
"Well kiss my ass and call me Charlie! Where do I sign up??"
He smirked before checking the time on the scoreboard with a sense
of urgency. "Hey Fred...I'm gonna get me a Bud. You want
Wes got up and fished his wallet out of his jacket.
"Forget it," he said, rolling his eyes.
Alfred was lying back in his bed early one morning, thinking to
himself while the sun streamed in through his window. These days
he was sleeping like a newborn babe. For the last several weeks,
he'd been watching TV without interruptions, reading magazines
with lots of blank pages and listening to periods of silence on
the radio. And for the first time in his life, no one was trying
to sell him something he didn't want. It was all so liberating!
Wow, he thought, life is great! Nothing to do but sit back and
Suddenly his clock radio alarm made a little clicking noise.
Alfred listened to the silence for a moment, then smiled as Elvis
began to sing Jailhouse Rock.
Ah, there is a God...
Alfred jumped out of bed and headed for the bathroom, trying
to plan out the day ahead. Think I'll hit the library today, he
thought. I've always put off reading, and it's time I stopped
putting things off. He wandered over to the sink, grabbing his
razor and a blank can of shaving cream. He began spraying it across
his face and stopped to look in the mirror.
There were three sports cars stuck to his forehead. Alfred laughed
to himself and threw the fridge magnets onto the counter beside
"Damn side effects," he said.
The library was full of people that morning when Alfred ran his
eyes along the bookshelves, trying to find the one he was looking
for. Tollhouse...Tolman...Tolstoy. He brought a massive tome down
from the shelf.
Leo Tolstoy's War And Peace.
Alfred had seen this book before, but he'd never been brave enough
to tackle it. Hell, closest he'd got to scholarly reading was
the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Just looking at a book
like this would've been enough to scare him off. Today, he felt
up to the challenge. He carried it to a table at the far end of
the library and started to read.
"Stand back-give him air!"
Alfred blinked his eyes open, realizing, much to his dismay,
he was sprawled out on the floor. Four women were standing over
him, each of them probing him for some sign of life. A librarian
was busy taking his pulse. She let go of his arm as he came to.
"False alarm, girls," she said. "We got a live
"Looks like you fainted," said one. "You were
just reading there and-"
Alfred got to his knees and surveyed the table beside him. There
was War And Peace-still open to page four.
"You gave us quite a scare."
"Sure he doesn't need mouth-to-mouth?" said an elderly
woman from behind. "I'm a little rusty but-"
"Uh, thanks," he said, trying to shrug them off. "I'm
fine. Honest. Just a little dizziness-that's all."
Certain he was all right, the women wandered away while Alfred
stared at his book, confounded. What happened? he thought. He
started to read once more, and to his alarm, he began losing consciousness.
Alfred slipped momentarily and caught himself just before slamming
face first into the book. He could hardly read a word.
"What's going on?" he muttered.
When he got home, things got even worse. Alfred snapped on his
set and laid back to try watching TV. But he could hardly understand
a thing. After a few hours, the only thing he could take in without
a lot of intense concentration was Dr. Phil. Alfred massaged his
temples with a wet dishcloth.
Dear God, he thought to himself. The operation... Something's
gone horribly wrong... But...that's impossible.
Just as Alfred tried to convince himself everything was okay,
the doorbell rang. He got up, undid a couple bolts, and swung
his front door open. A girl, no more than ten or eleven, stood
framed in the doorway, wearing a blue Girl Guide uniform and the
smile of a cherub. She batted her hazel-green eyes, small hands
holding out a pair of coloured boxes.
"Hi, mister. Wanna buy some cookies?"
The little girl screamed back, throwing all her vanilla crèmes
into the air, and scrambled for the driveway like a frightened
Alfred slammed the door behind him and fell back against it, his
eyes gaping off into space. His hand trembled as he wiped a bead
of sweat from his brow and stared down at it. He tried to think,
but in that wild feverish moment...only one thing came to mind.
Alfred turned and dashed for the garage.
In a few minutes, he was breaking speed limits on his way to the
Institute, until the wail of a siren cut through his winding trail
of dust. Cursing his luck, Alfred slipped his foot off the gas
as an O.P.P. cruiser began filling up his rear view mirror. He
edged his Dodge Dart over to the side of the road. An officer
got out and marched over to Alfred's window, tapping on the glass
with her pen. He rolled it down.
"Sign back there says 'eighty kilometres,' sir," she
said. "You were doing a hundred and twenty... Didn't you
see the sign?"
"Sorry, ma'am," said Alfred, "But I've got a staple
in my brain."
The officer stared at Alfred a moment before speaking.
"Right," she said, handing him a ticket. "I'll
keep that in mind..."
"Take it out?!" cried Dr. Bettlehopper, practically
choking on a mouthful of coffee. "What do you mean take it
out?? We just put the thing in!"
"You don't understand-I can't concentrate! Anything tougher
than your average stop sign and I black out...books, TV, anything!
And what's worse-I'm noticing ads all over again!"
"Uh, oh! What do you mean, uh, oh!?"
"I was afraid something like this might happen. Sounds like
your staple has shifted and damaged your other thought processes-"
"Well take it out then!"
"It's not that simple, Alfred," said Dr. Bettlehopper,
gesturing at his chart. "See, the brain's an extremely complex
instrument. Once it's been tampered with in our own special way,
the procedure can't be reversed. I'm sure I told you that...after
"Oh. Sorry if it slipped my mind-but I was reading Winnie-the-Pooh
at the time, you son of a bitch!"
"Really, Mr. Timmins... There's no need for that tone of-"
Alfred bolted for the door.
"Wait! Where're you going??"
"If you can't help me, I'll find someone who will!"
The doctor dove in Alfred's way. He whipped off his glasses.
"Alfred...please. If something like this got out, the Institute
would be ruined! All of our good work, right down the drain. Think
of the scandal...think of the lost jobs! Think of my house in
"I CAN'T! I'VE GOT A STAPLE IN MY BRAIN!"
Alfred flung the door open, only to find himself face to face
with an orderly who looked ten feet tall and bulletproof.
"Sorry, Alfred," said the Doctor, "But you don't
leave me with many options. I'll have to keep you confined until
we can figure something out for your condition. You understand.
Show him upstairs, Maurice..."
The burly orderly led Alfred away with a pair of soft but iron
Alfred lay back on his bed in his private room, the evening settling
over his window in one dark muddy streak. He tried to think of
what to do but it was getting harder and harder all the time.
No matter how much he pondered his predicament, it always came
back to that staple. He had to get rid of it, somehow, and waiting
for Bettlehopper to put him back under the knife was hardly a
He tried thinking of a hammer and chisel taking the staple out
of his head. Nothing happened-so he switched to a pair of needle-nose
pliers. But after concentrating on them, he got so tired, all
he could picture was a simple pair of tweezers.
This was hopeless. He walked over to the window and looked down
at the darkened asphalt three stories below. It would be so easy...just
to slide the window open...get out on the ledge and end...it...
Alfred hadn't bothered to check it-and much to his delight-it
slid smoothly open. He looked around. There was a large pine tree
just beyond his window. If he timed it right, he could jump across
and slide down into the courtyard. He couldn't see anyone through
the tangle of mangy bushes below, and the chance of being spotted
this time of night looked slim.
Alfred got out on the ledge, steadied himself, shuddered, then
jumped out into the darkness.
As he raced along the boulevard, Alfred dodged the passersby,
knowing Bettlehopper was sure to find him gone. He had to make
a big adios-and fast. The question was: "How?" Four
blocks away, Alfred spotted the bus station. He'd always passed
this one by on the way to the Institute...now, he wasn't so sure.
In its place was the same building. But all the signs looked as
if they'd been written by an autistic Chinese boy...on Ritalin.
He scrambled inside and considered calling Wes or one of his neighbours,
but their last names wouldn't come-let alone their phone numbers.
All Alfred could think of was Bettlehopper-and getting the fuck
out of Dodge.
The bus station was nearly deserted at this hour. Through the
smattering of late night commuters, Alfred spotted a rack of brochures
and ran over to leaf through them, hoping to find some place,
any place he could hide, if only to recuperate for a while. Sure,
a few of them looked vaguely familiar...but he couldn't read a
That's when something caught his eye. Why hadn't he thought of
it before?? He grabbed the pamphlet and hurried for the nearest
wicket. He slid the pamphlet to a bored-looking TTC girl behind
"Excuse me. Where's this..?"
"Bettlehopper Institute for the Mind... That's just down
Alfred stopped. He went over to the brochures again and came
"No, wait. This one here..."
"World's Largest Magnet? That's Boise, Idaho. Bus leaves
in fifteen minutes."
"That's it! Thank God. One please." Alfred grabbed
his wallet and fumbled through it like a schoolboy trying to unhook
his first bra. He looked back and forth over his shoulder, scanning
the crowds for Maurice or any of his well-fed friends, and threw
something at the ticket girl.
She took the card and peered over it at Alfred.
"Sir-we don't take library cards."
"Right, right. How about this?"
"Or Bandito Video. But I'll be happy to take that MasterCard
you've got there."
Alfred sighed and paid for his ticket. The girl was just slipping
it back to him when her bracelet flew up against his head with
a sudden thunk.
"Hey!" she cried, trying to pry her wrist free, "Gimme
"Agh! Stop...playing with my head. Gimme back my head!"
Alfred struggled back and forth with her arm, pulling the girl
across the counter like he was trying to land an eighty-pound
"Let go!" she snapped, nailing him with a few anxious
"Let...go of me-"
"Just hold still-for Chrissake!"
The catch finally broke and the girl stumbled back. Alfred flipped
the bracelet into the palm of his hand and the two of them looked
each other over in horror.
"What are you..?" she breathed at last, "Some
kinda circus freak?"
"Honey-you don't know the half of it!"
Alfred threw the magnetic therapy bracelet over her head and scrambled
away, feeling like the escapee from a mental hospital that he
Fifteen minutes later, when the bus pulled away from the station,
Alfred put his head between his knees, and gasped a long sigh
of relief. He cleaned a smear from the window with his sleeve
only to notice a slow-moving van drive by-was that "Bettlehopper
Institute for the Mind" plastered in black across its side..?
Alfred ducked down in his seat.
On the road out of town, Alfred finally settled in and relaxed.
Sure, he had a staple in his brain. No luggage. And he couldn't
concentrate any more than the average potted plant. But he was
taking a vacation for the first time in years. That had to be
worth something! Once he got out to Boise, he'd find the World's
Largest Magnet, use it to take the staple out, then he'd take
a few days off and call his friend... His friend..? Well, he'd
call somebody. Yeah, thought Alfred. This'll work out perfectly.
He picked up a magazine he'd found underneath his seat and opened
it up. Alfred blinked his eyes in disbelief.
Time Magazine, it said.
He could read! He flipped from page to page, and like before,
he could read everything-even the ads! He couldn't believe his
"It's a miracle..." he whispered with a smile. "I
think...I'm back to normal!"
He began happily reading his magazine while the last few people
were getting settled on the bus. An attractive young brunette
approached, dragging a large suitcase behind her.
"This seat taken?"
"No, go right ahead. Here-let me help you with that case."
"Oh, don't trouble yourself..."
"No trouble." Alfred smiled and picked up the bag,
only to realize he'd made a huge mistake. What did she have in
this thing? It felt like the girl was smuggling silverware. Kicking
himself for opening his mouth, Alfred was lifting the bag shakily
to the overhead compartment when the bus made a sudden turn, and
the suitcase came down on his head like a runaway locomotive.
He crumpled to his seat. Alfred felt a searing pain in his head,
as if the Green Bay Packers had just used it for field goal practice.
"Rrrz Yyytz Mmmimmimkk??" the girl was saying. For
some reason, he couldn't tell what she meant, but Alfred shook
himself and smiled, trying to act like nothing had happened.
"No, no, it's okay," he said. "I'll be all right."
He looked over at the girl, and instantly, she disappeared.
Alfred jumped in his seat. She was gone! He looked around the
bus. One by one, all the other people were starting to disappear.
Alfred shook his head-rubbed his eyes -and everyone had vanished!
He started screaming and ran for the door, his head still pounding
like a jackhammer. The bus screeched to a halt and Alfred ripped
open the doors with all the strength he had left. Outside...it
was just the same! Buildings, houses, trees-all of them were winking
out in the fields around him.
And Alfred started screaming again. His brain was on fire as he
ran out across an open field and into a sea of nothingness.
Constable George Miller stood on the outside of the police barrier,
a limp breeze blowing through the nearby field, a fine trail of
ash rising from the hedge behind him. Officer Lou D'Amico was
walking in from the road, slowly trying to cut a path through
the sizable crowd that had started to gather.
"Hey, Lou!" cried George, "Looks like the circus
came to town!"
"No kidding," said Lou, glancing around, "What
the hell's going on?"
George lifted the police ribbon for him, then followed Lou back
to the hedge. He pointed to the scene beyond. There, in the middle
of the grasses below, was an immense crater. It was covered by
a huge black metallic object like a volcanic rock, a faint trace
of heat rising from its edges. Lou immediately noticed a small
pair of legs protruding from underneath.
"Name's Alfred Timmins," said George, "Bus driver
said this guy went cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs last night and just
jumped off his bus. Then he ran across this field and there was
this big explosion. Guess that's about the time he got hit by
the meteor." "Shit. What're the chances of that happening?
You'd think the thing was attracted to him or something."
"Don't know. But I sure hope they get this thing mopped up.
The media're having a field day with this one." He pointed
nearby to where a camera crew from CityTV was busy interviewing
an older man in a Maple Leafs jacket. Wes cradled a bag of Cheetos
in his hands.
"This is all very sudden, Mr. Phillips," said one of
the reporters. "It must've been quite a shock..."
"Yes, it was," said Wes with a nod of his head, "Guy'd
been my best friend for years now..."
"One of the finest, most considerate guys you'd ever want
to meet. Bar none."
"And just how are you coping with this terrible tragedy?"
"Quite well, actually. It's incredible the people here today.
See, some friends and I've got some stuff at the car over there.
Here...I just got a new batch made up! Check this out..."
Wes unzipped the front of his jacket and peeled it back to reveal
a black t-shirt with crisp white lettering.
"My Friend Got Hit By A Meteor," it read, "And
All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt."
"Wanna buy one?" he said..