Chapter 4.3X

Double-J turned and resumed walking down the fire road, with no indication to Annie that she should follow, as if attempting to abandon her as they had both earlier abandoned his derelict car.

Annie rushed up beside him, prepared for a reaction which did not come from Double-J, who stared calmly down the road in front of them as they scrunched-scrunched along.

They walked silently for several minutes, until a movement of light above them caught Annie’s attention, causing her to point upwards and say, Look at that.

Double-J looked up, saw broad streaks of white light against the black sky, appearing as thin white clouds might look against the blue light. Yet instead of rushing across the sky like clouds, the lights pulsated, side to side as well as up and down, moving with the energy of life.

Northern lights, Double-J said.

Annie smiled, said They’ve seen queer sights. Double-J groaned. Annie asked, Were you there the day Bernie recited “Sam McGee” during practice?

Double-J shook his head. Sorry I missed it.

It was impressive.

What, that he can quote doggrel from memory?

It’s a fun poem —

Oh, he’s all about having fun Double-J said, now looking at Annie again. He’s a real clown, always retelling good jokes he’s heard, or writing some song parody. Ever wonder why?

This ought to be good.

Because it’s safe. It’s entertainment without offense. He doesn’t take chances, because he’s afraid. He’ll never do anything original, won’t put himself on the line like that.

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