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Chapter 2: Legs and the Duck

       She was five feet, ten inches tall. Her shoes were black and her hair blonde. Somewhere between the two,
she had on a light blue t-shirt and a short skirt of the same color. Between skirt and shoes were the appendages
which had given her the appellation by which she was most commonly called.
       These same appendages now carried her off the curb, into the parking lot, and towards a man who had just
left a car. She had by now already taken stock of his appearance. Average height, brown hair, navy blue Dockers,
white dress shirt, short sleeves, one pocket, blue tie, horrible pattern. His keys were in his front left pocket and his
wallet in his back right. His hair was short and corporate. The typical white, suburban yuppie. His walk was aimed,
but not forceful. All this she had ascertained within seconds of the closing and locking of his car door.
       She walked up to the man, and began talking to him. She had some story or other about not being from the
area and needing bus fare or something like that. Frankly, she didn’t even know what she was saying anymore.
She just said it and it was automatic for her. About 236 seconds later, the man was walking into the mall, and she
was walking away with five dollars of his money.
       That was the fifteenth one of the day. It was getting to be that time where she’d have to move on, or the mall
security might start getting suspicious. While all this was happening, somebody had been watching her from
above. Just now, as she was about to walk away, that somebody decided to change forms.
       A young man with tousled hair and clearly unwashed clothes walked up to her.
       “Well, hello there, Legs. Mind if we talk for a little while?”
       “How do you know my name?”
       “That’s your name?” the man responded unbelievingly.
       “Well, not my real name. It’s what I’m called, though.”
       “Well, what’s your real name, then?”
       “None of your business.”
       “Well, None Of My Business, I have something urgent to discuss with you. Mind if we speak? Perhaps in the
food court?”
       Legs stared at the man for a moment, not entirely sure that she should trust him. Actually, she was fairly sure
that she should probably not trust him. Something in the way he grinned, however, told her that she wouldn’t have
much choice in the matter. The eyes of the security guard that she now noticed being trained at her back was the
final thing that she needed to be convinced to go with this guy.
       “All right. Food court. But, you’re paying.”
       “Certainly. I wouldn’t want to have to make you spend any of your hard-earned money. How much did you
get off that last guy, anyway?”
       “Five dollars.”
       “That’s it? Hm. Perhaps you’re not the one I was sent to speak to.”
       “Sent? By who?”
       “It’s ‘By whom,” not ‘By who.’”
       “Well, I know that. Just never made any sense to speak in perfect grammar all the time. Seems like a useless
waste of energy that could be used for something better.”
       “Then again, maybe you are the one.”
       “So what should I call you? You already know what I’m called.”
       “I have no name.”
       “Just call me Duck.”
       “Don’t ask why. Maybe if you’re really lucky, you’ll get to find out later.”
       “Okay, then, Donald, let’s get in the mall before Officer Friendly over there decides to get a more close-up
look at us.”
       “Good  idea.”

       The pair sat at a two-seat table in the food court, carrying plates of “Cajun” food. The table was a sort of an
indescribable reddish-orange, the sort of color one finds only in food courts and fast food restaurants.
Immediately after sitting, Duck began eating his bourbon chicken voraciously, either forgetting or neglecting to
use utensils. Legs simply watched for a few moments, partially disgusted, partially annoyed, partially impatient,
before she finally decided to speak up.
       “I thought you wanted to talk to me.”
       Duck looked up from his plate with a sort of stunned, uncomprehending look, and muttered “Oh, yeah. That.
Sorry, I forget about things sometimes when there’s food. I get a bit carried away in eating, you see...”
       “Yes, I do most certainly see that. So, what did you so urgently need to tell me.”
       “I need to tell you,” he said, pausing for emphasis, “About existence.”
       “Existence? Really? This should be interesting.”
       “That’s not all. I also need to tell you of the very important you are to play in the very near future.”
       “And what might that be, Howard?”
       “You will end the world.”
       “Again? I just did that last Tuesday. Took weeks to clean up after that.”
       “I’m not joking.”
        “I’m sure you’re not. You’re just insane.”
       “Thank you, but what I’m saying is true.”
       “Of course. So, what is it of existence that you need to tell me before I end it.”
       “Oh, good, so It won’t take too long, then.”
       “Not as long as you probably think, no. But I should really get started.”
       He looked about for a moment, muttering such profundities as “Uh,” and “Er,” before finally getting a good
look at the chair behind his, and noticing something happen.
       “There! That’s it!”
       “What is?”
       “That chair. There’s a noodle on it.”
       “How terribly interesting.”
       “That woman at that table over there, she came over to this table behind me, was about to sit in this chair,
saw the noodle, and walked to a different table.”
       “And this is supposed to mean what?”
       “Then after she left, the cleaning lady took notice of the fact that something had driven her away from that
particular table. So, she came over here, wiped off the table, and took no notice of the noodlechair whatsoever. I
imagine several other people will be walking away from that table before the secret of the noodlechair is ever
discovered. Who knows how long that’s been there already.”
       “That explains absolutely nothing.”
       “It explains more than you think. There will be a time, very soon, when you will know what the noodlechair
means. In the meantime, I must be going. I’ll see you again, though.”
       “I’m sure you will. Thanks for the food.”
       “No problem,” he said, standing up, “See you later.”
       “Goodbye,” she said, waiting until Duck was out of earshot to add, “Psycho.”

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All text 8 2004 R.