Downtown Diary 

"The Perfect Companion"

"The Perfect Companion"

Nena and I went to see a film at Circle Centre Mall last week. Nena"s right foot was in a cast, thanks to an ill-aimed step by our friend the clunkily-shod Heike. "So, J.," the sassy Chicagoan said as we made ourselves comfortable in our theater seats, "I hear you Hoosiers are going to rename this place "Ye Olde Downtowne Malle," to give it more of that Olde Englande feel." "My dear woman," I replied testily, "although I am never surprised by the downtown boosters" various maniacal plots, I do not think that is one of them. By the way, please move your right arm. My arm was here first!" "You mean to tell me you"d be so heartless toward a handicapped woman like myself, weighted down, as I am, by the plaster apparatus on my foot?" she asked incredulously. "Yes, I would," I replied. She exhaled loudly, much like a steam locomotive letting off excess pressure. She folded her arms and stared sulkily at the screen. We heard a solitary fellow sitting in front of us speaking to an unseen friend throughout the film. "Would you like some popcorn?" he asked. "How about some soda? Are you comfortable?" The film ended. The lights came up and revealed our talkative neighbor to be an older, pear-shaped man clutching a stuffed doll whose grotesquely misshapen head suggested only one person: the late actor Klaus Kinski. "Oh ... my ... God ..." Nena whispered. I felt dizzy. Nena regained her composure and asked our neighbor, "Hey pal, who"s your buddy there?" "He is my friend Klaus Jr.," he replied. "You see, it is a real problem to get people to go to the movies with me, so I had Klaus Jr. specially made. Now instead of trying to find a human friend to come to the theater, I simply bring Klaus Jr. with me." He placed the doll"s tiny popcorn bucket and soda cup in a small bag and said, "He is, after all, the perfect companion."

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