"Instead of taking the test/On the news, on the radio, on an earpiece, on the bus, all-out everywhere at once, I'd never been happier, never been happy at all, maybe. It was springtimes ago but that half-second resonates into the Two Thousands and Forever.
I took 2 to the chest!"
--"Youth of the Nation,"
John woke up his neighbor, near-death narcoleptic, traveled troubled trail to United Dizzy Farmers where he emptied a cup of coffee into his gut.
Betty stuns the boys at her busstop, rescues others' days from dullness, and that's why I worship her. Johnny's cool, too, I guess. These 2 kids keep exploding onto my scene and I couldn't be happier. Stopped my sobbing.
JOHN, BETTY, AND SADNESS
A loopy, loveless day, Betty by herself in a crowd, Dressed-to-the-Nines, born to kill, smiling a hundred different dazzling smiles at her office job. At lunch she placed a call to John's answering machine: "If you so much as even dare to let me love you any less it could only mean you're not real and I'm in a hospital bed in a coma for five years." Click!
John, hearing the message after arriving home from the tire-burning factory, cried like a happy man for 15-20 seconds. There were plenty of days coming, apparently, and he was glad of that fact.
In all-out nowhere for ten thousand invisible reasons Betty walks from coffee shop to apartment house, brave, unaware that she is the Enemy of God. For today God has gone mad.
Ten minutes before the end of the world, she finds John sitting on her steps. "Ready?" she asks. "As ever," he answers.
They walk side-by-side to the park where they watch the world come to an end. Betty asks, "Why does this always happen?" John searches his pockets for a cigarette. Betty looks at the sidewalk, intent on an answer. She's pretty. It looks like rain.
JOHN vs BETTY
Psycho vs Psychic for the Mass-Culture-Minded, a struggle to see who can love whom best. Maybe it's imaginary, yet John doesn't care if it's illusion, and Betty cares even less.
See, everything happens all at once, all over, all of the time, events and my god, the excitement! Or--nothing happens at all (my god, the excitement!) John exists. Betty exists. I call that unbelievable luck.
"John was dead, man," said Paul. Betty was nonplused.
In a remote Foreign Legion dugout at nearly that moment, John was near death. Josette held him in her arms. Surgeons saved his life and he was shipped home to Ohio where Betty met him at the spaceport.
Betty did not recognize the face beneath the unzipped flap. Lids popped open revealing metallic eyes. Paul slapped Betty on the back, John spat blood, everything was at last set right again.
In a coffee store in the distant far future, John and Betty drink tea in a bright orange tea-room.