When you write a story of your own, you start with a good idea. You try to get the style right for the particular story you're writing (because no one style is right for every story). You work hard, because you notice that the harder you work the better the story gets. Then you discover that your story doesn't have the effect on others that you know it should, and you don't know why. I'm going to tell you -- watch my lips.
You didn't really do much with your idea. You unconsciously assumed that because it was such a fine, strong, sleek, and even potentially dangerous idea, that it could run the story by itself.
Let's change the metaphor. There are tigers in zoos and there are tigers in circuses. The tigers in zoos are strong and sleek and beautiful, and potentially quite dangerous; but they don't do anything. The tigers in circuses are no stronger, no sleeker, no more beautiful, and no more dangerous; but they do things that surprise us and perhaps even frighten us a little bit. We see them in action. People pay to get into circuses, but zoos are free. Now do you get the picture?
There was a maid, a third generation Ukrainian, who lived in the City.
A maid, I said, but be careful when you imagine her livelihood; her employer, a brilliant but somewhat scattered brain surgeon, was pathetically grateful for the order the maid brought into her life, and she treated (and paid) her with deep respect.
The maid had a boyfriend, also Ukrainian, who was a drinkard. To tweak Erasmus a bit: when he got a little money, he bought vodka, and if any was left, he bought beer, then food, then clothes. The maid's employer, friends, and the better part of her own good sense urged her to leave him, but she remained. Perhaps it was the consciousness of her own good fortune that engendered her patience; perhaps it was the knowledge of his dark and malfortunate circumstances (which it would be impolite to go into here) that awakened her sympathy; but for whatever reason, she worked ceaselessly for his betterment. She knew that sometimes (but only sometimes!) people change, and long as there was the slightest hope for the man whose intelligence, inner character, and quick laugh she still loved, she would stay with him.
Understand, please, that through all of this, she never became a doormat; her respect for herself was always palpable, and in the end, it may have been the respect from someone who respected themselves, the love of a person who was so obviously complete that began to work the change in him.
For eventually, her sense of his character was indeed rewarded; he grew out of his addictions and toward her love as a vine flees the dirt for the sun. They both realized how differently things might have gone, and they worked to express their gratitude for their luck through compassion, charity, and industry. He went back to school to become an electrician; she assumed ever more responsibility at her work. Soon her employer gave her a raise and began introducing her as her personal assistant.
And so it was that one day, fourteen months into his sobriety, they reclined on their porch together, sharing a baggie of assorted Swedish Fish. (How was it that they could afford a place with a porch in the City on even a relatively generous personal assistant's salary, you ask? It's because the City in question was Winnipeg. As opposed to Manhattan.
As one might think.)
Of a sudden, Spider-Man walked by.
"Hey, Spider-Man," the one-time drunk said. (He spoke with a moderate "Ukie" accent which one could certainly choose to render phonetically, but, seeing as he was very self-conscious about it, to do so would seem a little graceless, so I'm just giving you what he said straight up.) "Spider-Man, hey, how do you like Winnipeg?"
"It fucking sucks," Spider-Man said. "I've been here on layover for twelve hours now, and I ain't saved jack-shit. No skyline at all, you know?"
"It's not so bad," she said. She squeezed her boyfriend's hand.
"Spider-Man, do you want some Swedish Fish?" the boyfriend said.
"Is that the Assorted kind?" Spider-Man said. "Shit, yeah, You can't get that at all anymore, and I should know." He pulled up the edge of his mask to expose his mouth and began to eat the proffered candy. "Ahh," he said between gulps, "that hits spots I didn't know I had." He downed three dollars and forty-eight cents worth of Swedish Fish in a twinkling, then resettled his mask. "Just for this kindness, Bro and Brosephine, I'm going to have to grant you guys a wish. Whatever the hell you want - just ask. What do you need to be happy?"
The couple wasn't long in considering.
"I can't think of a thing," the boyfriend said. "I am one of those very few people who are truly saved by love. What more could I ask for?"
"And I," she said, "I have not loved in vain. What more could I ask for?"
"YOU HAVE OUTDONE BAUCIS AND PHILEMON," Zeus said - for, as you may have guessed, it was indeed the King of the Gods beneath the mask. "I DEPART. WE SHALL IMITATE YOU ON OLYMPUS."
And he flew, off and away, to Mount Olympus, which - heads up - was actually a Matrioshka Brain.
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