Arnie Walldrop was despondent.  His life was not turning out the way he planned.   He was gay which was fine except he always imagined being married with children.   His parents couldn’t understand why he wasn’t more like them.   Arnie was an office temp.   He wasn’t good looking and he didn’t have a boyfriend.   Arnie could not visualize a happy future for himself.  He was depressed.   He sat at the bar sipping bourbon when a large pink poodle came in out of the cold.   The poodle sat down next to Arnie and ordered a Shirley Temple.   The bartender didn’t even blink – that’s when Arnie realized something was drastically wrong.  Everything changed.  Arnie found himself in a pretty, white house with a perky wife and two infants.   Marjorie, his wife, was complaining about the lack of money and unpaid bills.   Arnie imagined a laugh-track going off in his head and he was not happy.   When he saw the blue chicken in the middle of the road,  he knew he was in trouble.   He imagined himself as a hard-boiled detective with a problem to solve.  It was a complicated case that involved a missing person.  Everything about the case seemed familiar, but the evidence didn’t make sense.  He was unable to discover the identity of the missing person.   His client was an actress he recognized from an old TV show about wise-cracking aliens.   She was some dish and Arnie was about to reach third base, but when he caressed her breast she started talking about Traveler’s Insurance.  Time seemed to jump and Arnie was standing before a man in a white coat.  The doctor was extolling the value of Lexapro for depression.   Arnie turned and faced a mirror, but he could not recognize his reflection.   A moment later he found himself in the captain’s chair on the bridge of a space ship.    He forgot his real name.  He had the vague memory of a blinking TV.  His life had been absorbed and now he moved from episode to episode, from commercial to commercial. He no longer had to worry about demands and expectations.   He no longer had a real identity.  He was just an image composed of electrons and pretty dots.


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