Vol.IX No.IV Pg.1
June 1972

Pain In The Neck

Robert F. Turner

As Joe entered the store, John was leaving. Joe spoke pleasantly, but John looked the other way, and pre tended not to hear. John thought, I guess that will show him his place.

Joe thought, Poor John — seems so distracted these days. He must be worried about something.

John walked toward the bank, a bit pleased with himself that he had had no company with that anti, Joe, but hoping to avoid further confrontations. His conscience bothered him, just a little. But Joe was also angling across the street toward the bank, and as John noticed this he turned abruptly and went into the drug store instead. He thought, Ill not do business in the same building with that Joe.

Joe thought, I believe John is ill. He did look a bit pale.

So Joe also changed directions, skipped the bank, and followed John into the drug store. John saw him coming and almost panicked. Feeling trapped, he turned his head stiffly to one side, pushed his nose high into the air, and walked past Joe and out to his car. He thought, This will burn him to a crisp.

But as John fumbled for the car door handle, nose still in the air, Joe sprang forward and opened the door for him. So sorry to see you have that crick in your neck John, he said. Ill be happy to drive you home if you wish.

John shook his head, and mumbled what passed for No, thank you; and somehow managed to start the car, back it out, and head for home. He was too far into his act now to explain or change it; and he was half­way home before he relaxed his neck.

As he pulled into the driveway, his wife came out to meet him. Joe called, she said, and told me he was worried about your being on the highway. John, you do look sick.

That night John rolled and tumbled fitfully. He really felt sick.

Joe slept well, thank you!