"Hey! Where's Adonis?" Carl pushed a chair out for Helene with his foot.
Helene smiled, "He has a name you know. And he's not coming."
"He's not coming? Why not?" Jules asked.
Gary arrived carrying drinks, "Who isn't coming? Hey, Helene, where's Adonis?"
"That's not his name. Stop calling him that. His name is Shane and he's not coming."
Gary settled in, "Why not? Is there a ridiculously good looking people convention in town?"
"Very funny. If you all must know, we broke up."
Jules slapped the table, "Ha! I knew it! I knew he was a jerk!"
Carl smirked at Jules, "Please, you liked him just fine. Or at least you liked looking at him."
"Jealous much? And anyway, it's totally true I told Helene the first time I met him to watch out for him, didn't I?"
"Yes, you did."
"But you didn't take me seriously."
"Because your whole reason for not liking him was that he was too good looking. You can't just not like people who are good looking just because they are good looking. That's shallow."
"Reverse looksism?" Carl asked.
"Not even reverse, it's just flat out looksism. If the only thing you judge someone by is their appearance it's looksism."
"Doesn't matter, I was right. Just like Andrew. Andrew was tall, dark and handsome. I hated him. Nobody believed me when I told them that it wouldn't last between you two. But I was right."
"That was middle school! No relationship is going to last in middle school! We're lucky we lasted until lunch let alone a few weeks."
"Whatever. And it wasn't just that Shane was too good looking, he was also too nice. Nobody is really that nice."
Carl laughed, "Oh well, that makes perfect sense then. Good looking and nice? I can't believe you ever dated the jerk at all! Next thing you're going to tell me is that he was filthy rich as well."
Jules made a face at Carl, "Ha, ha, very funny. But I was still right. Why did he dump you?"
"Yeah, what happened?" Carl leaned in ready for the gossip.
Gary pushed a drink Helene's way, "Here, drink up and tell us all about it. When did he tell you?"
"Nice of you all to assume he dumped me. Not that it's really any of your business but I broke up with him."
"What? Why? Why would you dump someone as nice and good looking as Shane?"
"Jules! You just told me you didn't like him!"
"Well, yeah, I mean, I didn't trust him but he was awfully good looking."
Helene took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "There just isn't any way to say this without sounding bad."
"Oh that's okay, we like it when you're bad." Gary smiled.
Helene gave a small laugh, "Okay. Well. He just wasn't very smart."
Gary gave Helene a look of mock concern, "He wasn't very smart? This is a problem now? Sorry, Carl, you are out of the group." Carl leaned back in his chair and scratched the side of his head flipping Gary the bird as he did so.
"It wasn't just that he wasn't very smart. Or not as smart as others. It was that he was, well he was just dumb as a post."
The group all started laughing, "Oh come on now, it couldn't have been that bad or we would have noticed."
"You think so, Carl? How many long conversations did you have with him? We dated for three months, how often did you just sit and chat?"
"We're guys, we don't sit and chat. We bust each other's balls."
"And? How often did he do that with you?"
"Well, umm..hmmm...Okay. But that's not necessarily because he was dumb. He just was too nice to really get in there and mix it up."
"No, there is nice because you are choosing to be and nice because you just can't be any other way. Because you can't keep up with the conversation. He was nodding and smiling because he didn't get that you were teasing him. He really did think that you were concerned with his hair products. He asked me if he should put together a list for you since you seemed like you were really interested."
Gary started laughing, "He wasn't wrong. Carl really could use all the help he can get."
"I tried to not let it bother me for as long as I could. He was just so sweet and so nice and yes, so good looking that I really made every excuse. When he didn't know that Monet was an artist and not the French way of saying money, I laughed thinking it was a joke. But no, he really thought people were going to the museum and looking at francs. Which when I told him the French used euros now instead of francs he said that was too bad and wished they had kept using a man's name like they did before. And like we do. You know. Bill."
Jules stifled a giggled.
"Oh well, he didn't know art, or money, that's not..." Helene silenced Gary with a look.
"You remember the other night when Bruce and his new girl were here?"
"Oh yeah, the redhead, holy shit, she was..." Carl looked around, "Not the point. Okay, yeah, go on."
"Okay, so we are all kidding around talking about The Walking Dead, which, by the way, Shane doesn't watch because it's too scary so he missed every joke reference you all made to Shane from the show and himself. So okay, we are talking about zombies and the apocalypse and Bruce starts in about the squirrels."
The table all laughed, "The ninja squirrels?"
"No, Jules, they aren't ninjas, they are hyper intelligent mutants." Carl corrected her.
"Oh, that's right! They could be ninjas if they wanted to, but they aren't limited to just being ninjas. Because you know, hyper intelligent mutants."
"Right, so anyway, we are driving home and Shane gets really quiet. I ask him what's wrong and he says he's really worried about Bruce. And suddenly I'm concerned thinking maybe I missed something because Shane is so nice I'm thinking maybe he picked up on something going on with Bruce that I missed. And then he tells me...." Helene paused and closed her eyes for a second then took a deep breath. "And then he tells me, I am worried that the squirrels will know he's on to them."
Loud laughter filled the bar. "Oh my god, that's hilarious!"
"No, it's not hilarious, because he wasn't joking. He really believed that Bruce has mutant hyper intelligent wannabe ninja squirrels living in the park across from his house!"
More laughter. "Oh gosh, wait..." Jules tried to catch her breath, "Wait, it's not nice to laugh but..."
"Fuck that, it could be dangerous to try and hold this in." Carl and Gary both started again.
"So you see? And it was hard, you guys."
"Because he is so nice?"
"No," Helene made a pained expression, "Because I had to keep finding ways of saying it. He thought when I said that I didn't think I could see him anymore I was going blind..."
And Dana's Imaginary Friends