Billy and Cleopatra

The bus to the grocery store was now twenty minutes late.

Billy frowned. He’d been looking forward to this day off for weeks and did not want to spend much more of it waiting. The craving for Chocodiles was now almost unbearable.

“Excuse me, but do you know why the bus is so late?” he asked the grey old man sitting next to him.

“I’m sorry, son, but the bus isn’t coming today,” coughed the old man. “The drivers are on strike.”

“If you know the drivers are on strike, then why are you waiting here?” asked Billy.

“Old habits,” explained the smelly old man.

“Ah,” said Billy, not wanting to probe any further.

The old man then asked him if he would like to buy some life insurance, but Billy turned him down. Probably a scam, he thought to himself as he began walking to the grocery store.

He didn’t mind walking. It was only a few miles and the weather wasn’t bad. But soon it started to rain.

Thinking quickly, Billy sprinted to the nearest overhang and used it as a shield from the shower. As he waited for the storm to pass Billy heard a noise and realized he was not alone beneath the overhang. The noise came from a girl about his age, who had also sought shelter from the storm.

“Who are you?” asked Billy.

“My name is Cleopatra,” said the girl. “What’s yours?”

“My name is Billy. What’s yours?”

Cleopatra laughed at his redundant question but quickly realized he’d asked it earnestly. “Um, I just said my name is Cleopatra. Don’t you remember?”

Cognizant of his foolish redundancy, Billy panicked. “Uh… uh… Your face is pleasant!” he shouted and sprinted away out of sheer embarrassment. He was terrible at talking to pretty girls and he hated himself for it.

He ran and ran and ran and finally stopped running when it ceased raining. As the sun began to once again peak through the clouds, he looked to it, hoping to find in it some solution to his girl problem. Instead, something hit him in the head from behind, and he blacked out.

His head was throbbing and everything was spinning. He heard a soothing voice say something, but he couldn’t make it out. Slowly everything stopped spinning and he realized that the soothing voice was coming from none other than Morgan Freeman.

“Morgan Freeman!” exclaimed Billy. “You’re Morgan Freeman!”

“Yes Billy, I am Morgan Freeman, and I’m here to talk to you about something very important: your inability to talk to pretty girls.”

“I — I don’t have a problem talking to pretty girls.”

“Oh really? So what was that whole ‘your face is pleasant’ episode about then?”

Ashamed, Billy didn’t reply.

“You see, Billy, there’s something guys like me have and you don’t, which makes us particularly effective at talking to pretty girls. Do you know what I’m referring to Billy?”

“Confidence? Charisma? Fame?” guessed Billy.

“No, no, no — none of those, boy!” replied Morgan Freeman. “I’m talking about beards!”

“Beards?” gasped Billy.

“Yes, beards. But, unfortunately for you, most twelve year old boys can’t grow beards. So I guess you will have to wait for a while before you can talk to pretty girls.”

“But that can’t be how it works, Morgan Freeman!”

“Well it is. And now I’ve got another question for you, Billy: Would you like to buy some life insurance?”

“NO!!!”

Billy screamed and jerked awake. He found himself lying on his back in the middle of the grocery store candy aisle. Lollypops, gumdrops, and, of course, Chocodiles stared down at him like familiar friends.

Billy let out a sigh of relief. Only a dream, he thought. Then he noticed Cleopatra sitting next to him and bolted upright. “What happened?” he asked the pretty girl. “What am I doing here? Why are you here?”

“I, um, kind of knocked you out and dragged you here,” said Cleopatra sheepishly.

“Well why in the name of Morgan Freeman’s beard did you do that?”

“Well, honestly,” said Cleopatra while fidgeting with a strand of her hair. “I’ve never really known how to act around handsome boys.”

Billy couldn’t believe it. He had finally met a girl who was just as bad at interacting with members of the opposite sex as he was! As his heartbeat quickened, he tried to think of something, anything to say in response to this, but the right combination of words would not come. Yet, remarkably he knew this wouldn’t be a problem because she and he were equally awkward. They were perfect for each other! There was absolutely nothing he could say that would ruin this perfect moment. Nothing! So, without thinking, Billy reared back and let his words fly:

“Would you like to buy some life insurance?”

Sadly, Billy was wrong.


Originally published at joeboettcher.tumblr.com.