Lisa, not to put too fine a point upon it, blinked. Admittedly she blinked approximately twenty-two times every five minutes to ensure her eyes had the correct distribution of moisture uniformly across the surface, but this was a different blink altogether, a blink of confusion.
Across yonder courtyard sat Mikey, under a tree. Doing nothing. He wasn't reading 3 different books at once, rearranging his daily schedule to include the actions of him rearranging his daily schedule, doing a thousand push-ups, he was just sitting there. Doing nothing. Lisa waved a paw in front of her eyes to make sure she wasn't hallucinating, bit her lip and started a slow walk across the grass towards the tree.
Nature enthusiasts would no doubt notice her stealth matched the predatory nature of a mountain lion, crouching in the wild grasses of the Seregenti, and yet her approach mimicked the mating rituals of the- wait up. What would *mountain* lions being doing in the Serengeti anyway? There aren't any mountains there. Is that right? Can we check that? The Serengeti's flat. That's the whole point, I'm sure.
It was for the best there weren't any nature enthusiasts there anyway, regardless of the geographical layout of the Serengeti and inconsistencies contained therein when assuming mountain lions lived there. Lisa came to within a yard of Mikey, when a staccato snap of twig under foot recalled him from what appeared to be a daydream to the real world. He seemed a little disorientated, Lisa noticed.
"Mikey?" Lisa asked, just to make sure she hadn't discovered the lazy, evil twin that Mikey no doubt had. They all had evil twins that were the exact opposite of themselves, a side effect that came from being fictional characters. This Mikey, however, was real enough.
"Oh, hey Lisa" he said in a half-tired voice. "How are you going?"
"I'm fine" Lisa said. "How are you?"
"I'm er.. okay, sure" Mikey said, hesitating.
"Something's bothering you" Lisa said, and sat down under the tree opposite him, crossing her legs.
"Yes. No. I don't know. Not really" Mikey blustered. "I haven't been feeling myself lately" he finally explained, hoping that was all that needed to be said on the matter. She would later realise there was an entire different meaning behind this seemingly innocent phrase.
Lisa suppressed a smirk. "I thought as much. You're usually a blur around the campus, trying to do six impossible things before breakfast".
"Well, I wouldn't say *impossible*.." Mikey began.
"I do observe you now of late:
I have not from your eyes that gentleness,
And show of love, as I was wont to have:
You bear too stubborn and too strange a hand
Over your friend that loves you" Lisa quoted.
Mikey actually blushed, and Lisa giggled.
"It's from Julius Caesar, silly. Cassius says it to Brutus, it's not *that* kind of love - he means Brutus is preoccupied just like you are now" she explained, before offering an afterthought. "Hey, you're not thinking of killing Caesar, are you?"
"No! No, of course not" Mikey exclaimed.
"Good" Lisa said, "so what is it?"
"I've been reading up on philosophy" Mikey said, with a melancholic sigh Lisa never thought she'd hear from Mikey, not in a million years.
"And..?" Lisa asked.
"It's not as easy as it looks. I mean, there's all kinds of philosophy, and two major schools of thought, so you need to pick just the right stance to take or it doesn't work for you".
"So what's your stance?" Lisa asked, a faint hint of greed in her voice. Whatever his next answer was, she'd be able to get right *inside* his head and see what he was thinking by looking it up in the Philosophy dicitonary over in the Library.
"I don't have one" Mikey said, drooping his shoulders, "not really".
"Oh" Lisa said, barely hiding the disappointment in her voice.
"I mean, I've been going through them all, trying to find the right one for me, but it's a little heavy going" he continued.
"You've been TRYING them all? That's a little heavy, Mikey" Lisa said.
"Tell me about it" he said, glumly. "Some of them are okay, Wittgenstein's just wondering what words mean and Turing's wondering if you can make machines that can tell if other machines run forever. You can basically do them in an afternoon while you do your laundry and spell-check a term paper.."
Lisa smiled, grateful at the slightest hint of the old Mikey re-emerging.
"But now I'm into the whole stream of consciousness thing" Mikey said.
"Not wading territory?" Lisa asked.
"No, not that at all" Mikey said. "Yesterday was Heidegger. I could almost handle that, I just had to attempt to perceive Existence itself rather than things that exist" he added, matter-of-factly.
"Oh" Lisa said, "just that?"
Mikey missed the playful sarcasm in her voice. "Yeah, it wasn't too bad, I just relied on my perceptions of my own existence".
Lisa leaned forward and squeezed one of his toned biceps.
"Yup, you're there" she said and smiled, mentally rewarding her own opportunism.
"Well, that was yesterday" Mikey continued, his voice taking on a slightly darker tone, and his eyes misting over ever so slightly. "Now I'm trying out the notion that my own psyche, and the psyches of everyone around me are the direct expressions of Existence itself".
Lisa bit her bottom lip. It didn't sound pretty. "Large concept then?"
"Well, yes. I think I'm just into it by a larger extent than I should be. I'm forsaking the real world and assuming people contain experiences far beyond their individual histories and neurological lives" he added, sadly, getting to his feet and dusting himself down.
Lisa correctly judged he wanted, nay, needed some time to himself, if only to unravel every collective action of Existence in his own mind before his Physics lecture at four.
"I'd better go, sorry" he said.
"No, not at all, Mikey, I understand" she said, taking his old place at the bottom of the tree. The view was idyllic, and she could even feel some warmth from where he'd been sitting, which added to Lisa's sense of aesthetic calm. Of course it sounds undignified writing "the heat from where Mikey's butt had been made Lisa feel nice", but it was the truth.
"And.. I *am* sorry" Mikey said in a conciliatory way, as he adjusted his backpack.
"Mikey, it's okay, I really *do* understand. I'm sure you'll be better tomorrow" she added, with a smile.
"Yeah" he said. "I will". A thought lingered in his mind, a final way of explaining to Lisa his predicament.
"I'm too Jung today" he stated, and walked off to again leave the real world.
// first posted 01-24-2002 04:35 PM PT