Edgar was on a collision course with destiny. He just didn’t know it yet. Which is not unusual, if the scientific research on destiny is to be believed. In fact, according to an article by Caflisch et. al. that was recently published in the Journal of Irreproducible Results, a statistically significant majority of people who are on collision courses with destiny rarely, if ever, have any inkling of what is about to befall them. And so it was with Edgar.
When he woke up last Saturday morning, the world to Edgar seemed about as normal as it had seemed the Saturday before that, in addition to being as normal as the Saturday before that one and even more or less as normal as the Saturday before the Saturday that seemed as normal as the Saturday before the Saturday that found him waking up and finding the world pretty much as normal as ever, which puts us more or less right back to the Saturday that we started out talking about in case you got confused in there somehow. So Edgar got out of bed, fed the cat, lit a cigarette, turned on the television and started the coffee maker.
And that, my friends, is when destiny came knocking on his door. Now, in Edgar’s case, this particular destiny took the form of one Gertrude MacFarland, an attractive, blue-eyed, fair-haired young thing with the cutest little dimply cheeks who, it so happens, had just moved into apartment 2B across the hall. Not that destiny always takes the form of Gertrude MacFarland, mind you, nor does it necessarily come with blue eyes or fair hair or dimply cheeks, and in most cases neither does it live in apartments that are conveniently located right across the hall. It’s just that, in Edgar’s case, it did.
“Gee, I wonder who that could be,” mused Edgar upon hearing the knocking on his door. “Perhaps, if I’m lucky, it might be someone like the Publisher’s Clearing House Prize Patrol, complete with cameras and tv crew and a great big oversized check for millions and millions upon millions of dollars.” He took a step toward the door.
“Though I suppose it’s just as likely that it could be a squad of IRS agents come to arrest me for making some obscure, innocent mathematical miscalculation on last year’s tax return, and they’ll want to make an example out of me by throwing me in some cell block in a remote prison somewhere that nobody’s ever heard of, and I’ll find myself sharing a cell with some sort of unseemly criminal type who doesn’t bother to shower or bathe or brush his teeth, and the next thing you know, I’ll never be seen or heard from again.” Edgar took a step back.
Meanwhile, out in the hallway, Gertrude MacFarland was becoming impatient. She could hear the television playing. She could smell the coffee brewing. She could even hear someone muttering. Certain that somebody was home, but that perhaps they just didn’t hear her the first time she knocked, she rapped on the door a second time. For destiny, it seems, has a way of being persistent like that when it’s on a collision course with someone.
“Oh my,” said Edgar upon hearing the knocking for a second time upon his door. “Whatever it is, it’s not going away.” And so, he walked over and opened the door, because to continue putting off his encounter with destiny would be foolish in a story of this length, especially when you consider that the whole thing is supposed to be about Edgar being on a collision course with destiny, and if he never gets around to opening the door, then we’ll never get around to seeing how it all turns out in the end, and the story might as well end itself right here. Not that that would be a bad thing, necessarily. It’s just that, at this point in the story, Edgar has not yet collided with anything even remotely resembling destiny. So, while you may be starting to feel like there’s something else you’d rather be doing right now – you know, instead of sitting there reading this story – well, we’re not quite done yet, okay?
“Hi, I’m Gertrude,” said the vision of loveliness standing before him. “I just moved into apartment 2B across the hall, and I was wondering if I could borrow a cup of sugar.”
Edgar felt his heart skip a beat. A twinkle glistened in Gertrude’s eye. The two of them fell hopelessly, helplessly, impetuously, and immediately in love, and they were married the very next Saturday.
They did not, however, live happily ever after. In fact, their happiness only lasted but a few hours at best. For it was on their wedding night that Gertrude revealed to Edgar that she had had a sex change operation a couple years back, and that, while her name was now Gertrude, she had started out life as a boy named Gerald.
“Gerald?” said Edgar in disbelief. “No, that can’t be. Please, Gertrude, please say it isn’t so.”
“I’m sorry, Edgar, but it’s true. I used to be a guy – a guy just like you, in fact.”
“Oh, Gertrude, if you only knew. You see, I used to have this twin brother, but somehow we were accidentally separated at birth. All I ever knew about him was his name. And his name was … his name was … Gerald!”
Fortunately for Edgar, the following Tuesday a squad of agents from the IRS showed up at his door, placed him under arrest, mumbled something about making an example out of him, and whisked him away to an undisclosed prison located somewhere in New Mexico.
They say he was never happier.
"Who's That Knocking at My Door?"
Copyright: © 2011 Michael Pelc