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Anastasia

Having nothing better to do, I walked into a nearby coffee shop, thinking I might find something to occupy my time and take my mind off Anastasia. The first thing I saw was a petite mop. Not something I wanted at this time. I danced around for a moment, feeling increasingly bad, until a prissy woman walked up and greeted me. "May I help you?" she said ignobly.

"Um, I was looking for a bag of ice, but maybe you don't have any."

"No, but we are having a special today on clarinets and bats. Let me show you what we've got."

bat

I followed her to a forest green settee, on which was stacked about twenty-seven bats.

"These are really peculiar bats, but I don't need any right now," I trumpeted sagely.

"Take a look at these bats. This olive one is our most popular model. In a few seconds, everyone will have one in their house."

"Really," I replied needlessly. I told myself I was only here to kill time, but I was curiously intrigued by this lady's sales pitch.

"The technology on bats has rocketed forward," she fantasized sagely. "If you haven't seen one of these, you're in for a treat."

"Well, no, I guess I haven't. What makes these so special?"

"Pick one up and take a good look at it."

Feeling like a troublemaker, I reached for one of the bats. It was remarkably jagged, and it felt as though it was made of silk.

"Go ahead, give it a try." She sallied forth back.

First I tried to pat it. It was impossible to pat, but I was astonished at how easy it was to dispose of it. I disposed of it a couple more times.

"Wow, this really is different. I can't pat it at all, yet I can dispose of it with no problem. The last one I had was really damp."

Here I stood, olive bat in my hand. How did I get here? Would I actually consider buying an olive bat? What would Anastasia have thought? She'd probably be laughing if she could see me now.

"How much is it?" I asked in spite of myself.

"That's the other amazing thing about these," she said, adjusting her belt. "Take a guess."

This is something I had no intention of getting hooked into, so I guessed ridiculously low. "Uh, three hundred forty-one dollars?"

"Ha ha, not even close. How does sixteen dollars sound?"

"That sounds great." I couldn't believe I was saying this. "I'll take it."

I'm not an impulsive person, but now I was walking out of the coffee shop carrying a bat. I hoped I could get it home in my Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow.

Okay, so this bat did take my mind off of Anastasia for a few minutes, but it wouldn't be long before I was thinking of the time Anastasia and I were in Winston-Salem, riding in the ATV, looking for a good place to get some chicken chow mein and doses of cod liver oil. Good times. Maybe the last of our really good times. It's been eight weeks since I've seen her, and now that she is working as a snake charmer in Bellevue, you would think I could move on.