“How many, Eye?” I asked again. “How many of the ELgiN StreEt iRReguLars are doppelgängers?”

The Eye frowned and looked at the pickle jar. I thought I might be able to slip that one in with the last one, but I was mistaken. I put in a dime. I was getting dangerously low on dimes.

“So, how many?” I said.

“Most of them. A couple are clones, one is a changeling, and one is actually an evil twin. That’s how they got to be so self-referential. No actual human being could possibly keep it up.”

‘Changeling,’ I wrote.

“Woodsy is a doppelgänger, of course,” the Eye said. “The one on Elgin Street I mean. And you know about Aggie.”

“Would I be able to tell?”

“No. Fox wouldn’t either. He just thinks he would.

“But I would,” the Eye added.

“How are Elf and Aggie doing?” I asked, hoping Eye would take it as a pleasantry and not a question. I only had one more dime.

“Oh, fine. They like to have barbecues and invite the neighbours. In the evening they watch TV. Very dull if you ask me.”

‘Barbecues and TV,’ I wrote in my book.

“The only one who is actually himself is that little dwarf. The evil fourth one.” The Eye started spinning and blinking when he mentioned Fourth Dwarf.

‘4th Dwarf real dwarf,’ I wrote. It was all so shocking that I didn’t even have time to be shocked. I was going to have to spend a good long time reading over my notes and being properly shocked later on. I thought I’d do that when I was on my way to find Shelly.

It was time to ask. I put my last dime in the pickle jar.

“Where is Shelly, my one true love?” I asked. My voice was trembling. “What can I do to win her back?”

“That rotten little dwarf,” the Eye muttered. He was spinning faster. I wasn’t sure if he heard my question at all. “Should be in the hoosegow,” he grumbled, spinning harder and zooming in and out.

‘Hoosegow,’ I wrote. “What about Shelly?” I asked. 

“Shelly!” the Eye yelled, spinning like crazy. “Empty Shell? That little airhead? Forget about her!”

“But I Iove her!” I cried.

“Nonsense!” Eye shrieked. “You love her little pussy cat. You love her frilly panties. She’s vacant! Hollow! Absent! Truly empty! Nobody home! Forget about her!”

‘Forget about her,’ I wrote.

I didn’t know what to say. Now that the Eye pointed it out, I could see that he was right. All of a sudden I felt a lot more peaceful. The Eye, however, was spinning so fast I thought he might break apart into a million eyelets.

I tried to make some normal conversation to chill him out. I was out of dimes anyway. “Did you hear that Shania Twain and Mutt Lange broke up?” I said. “The Fourth Dwarf says he’s going after her. He wants to put his boots under her bed.”

Maybe it was a mistake to mention the Fourth Dwarf.

“Not my Shania!” the Eye screamed. “He better not touch her! That little dwarf better keep his smelly dwarf mitts off my Shania or there’s going to be trouble!”

His voice went so high he sounded like a big wasp or a small chain saw, and with that he took off, ricocheting from peak to peak, heading west at a fantastic clip. I don’t know if he was on his way to get Shania and put his boots under her bed — not that he has any boots, being an eye and all — or to toss the dwarf in the hoosegow. Probably both.

I was a little tired from running across Europe and half of Asia, so I climbed up on the platform and took a long nap. Later I changed the sign. I raised the rates a bit.

SHERPA JOE is IN
Personal trainer
Yoga instructor
12¢ an hour
Exact change please

 

It’s peaceful here, and I have a fantastic view of the whole world. I grew a beard and it came in white. I’m sure somebody will come along pretty soon. Somebody that wants some yoga lessons.

I hope they have plenty of change. Especially dimes and pennies.

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