It was ten minutes after noon and Adam had just sat down for lunch, at the white Formica lunch table, out back, provided for the employees of Spencer’s Supermarket, Inc. He was just in the process of unwrapping his purchased, tuna sandwich on rye, mayonnaise and tomato, when Georgie came in, through the back door, opening on to Main Street. Georgie slowly raised his right hand and softly said, “Hi Adam.” Adam continuing to unwrap his sandwich, replied, “Hi Georgie-boy.”
Let us, for a moment, just stop the action, in order to introduce the reader to the parties. Adam was approximately, nineteen years old and was previously unknown to the small town of Arcadia (Pop.2134) in Falmouth Massachusetts. No resident of the Town actually knew him, or his family, when Adam descended from the Short Line Bus, in May of last year. He had accepted, for a modest rent, the empty bedroom at the Morrison’s, recently vacated by their college-bound, son. He was a quiet young man and generally kept to himself, so no one actually knew much about him, or about his earlier period of life and family. He was a steady worker and went straight back to his rented room after work, usually, after regularly, stopping at the Athens Diner, in town for dinner. In appearance, he was chubby with a poor complexion and considered himself unattractive, which may explain his selective reclusiveness.
Adam, nevertheless, developed a close friend, in the person of George Mundane, (“Georgie”), fourteen years of age with a discernably, obvious case of “Down’s Syndrome.” Adam liked having Georgie as his sole, close and quiet companion and Georgie was delighted to have the acceptance, and warm friendship of Adam. The townspeople would regularly see the two friends walking together towards “Betty’s Sweet Shop,” or the Town Park, rapt in intimate conversation, whispering or loudly, laughing. Despite Georgie’s medically known, basic limitations in intelligence, and mobility, as well as and his the characteristically, nuanced appearance of Down’s syndrome, Adam developed a close friendship with his only known, township acquaintance. For his part, Georgie was very pleased to have another person who he could actually, call a “friend,” and with whom he could associate. The two dissimilar souls would look forward to their regular meetings and interaction and Adam slowly developed a measure of familial affection and sense of responsibility for his cherished and hapless friend.
On one occasion, there was a loud smoke alarm, which had, accidentally gone off, in the Athens Diner, due to the inadequate operation of the kitchen exhaust system. Georgie was observed by neighbors and patrons of the diner, rushing in a panic, lightly frothing, and blurting out sounds which, excitedly resembled, “Adam, Adam.” When, in relief, he finally, discovered Adam outside the diner and uninjured, he uncontrollably, cried in emotional, relief, and clumsily kissed a side of Adam’s work apron.
Almost two years had now passed. Adam was now a regular tenant in a small residential apartment building, fifteen minutes from his job at Spencer’s supermarket, where he was currently, employed, as the day manager of the fruit and vegetable department. Georgie had been, enrolled, by his parents in a special program, for the handicapped and challenged at, the local school. Adam, on many days off, would have lunch with Georgie, at the latter’s school lunchroom. A group of young diners, viewing the odd sight of Adam eating and socializing, with the handicapped, Georgie, at a distant table, would make unkind remarks and insulting sounds. On one occasion, when Adam had arrived late, and Georgie having waited alone, at their usual table, Adam was physically assaulted by, none other than the infamous,” Big Jimmy,” the loudest and biggest, of the jeering students. Fortunately, just then, Adam showed up, and, shouting angrily, soundly punched, the despicable assailant, in his right shoulder, convincing him to immediately, beat a quick retreat, back to his supportive cohort of miscreant, disability-bigoted, friends.
Adam would thereafter, visit Georgie, at most available moments, keeping his eye on the ever-present king of the abusers, the pernicious Jimmy, to assure himself that Georgie would not be molested. Truthfully, Adam, being a “loner,” had ample spare time, when not working, to show up at Georgie’s lunchtime, and sit with his handicapped friend and glare, threateningly at Jimmy, whenever he saw him. Jimmy, himself, the stereotype of all hateful bullies, was, in truth, gutless and cowardly. Adam in his protective zeal for Georgie grew to dislike Jimmy, in the same intense degree that Georgie feared him.
On a pleasant, sunny Spring afternoon, at approximately 1:P.M. a young male, hooded stranger, suddenly appeared, with an automatic rifle, and horrifically, commenced shooting, rapidly and aimlessly, into the fearfully screaming, crowd of students, including Georgie then having lunch with Adam. Georgie’s usual, tormentors, by happenstance, on this occasion, were seated, only a few tables to the side of him and Adam, at the edge of the outdoor area, where students gathered, socially, or ate lunch. Several students had the misfortune to be fatally, shot, before Adam found himself, by mere chance, close enough, to, bravely, grab hold of the weapon, while Georgie, solidly smacked the shooter, on his head with his heavy porcelain plate. The shooter had been steadily proceeding in the direction of the two protagonists and had just reached Jimmy’s table, where he had to pause to quickly, reload. The police then came and apprehended the unconscious, crazed shooter, but not before Jimmy and his errant cronies, frighteningly, realized, that they were the shooter’s next, intended, targets and that their lives had undeniably, been saved by their disabled, fellow- student and his weird, older friend, the past, unhappy recipients, of their, now realized, shameful record of abuse.
After a brief period at the local hospital, following their mutual recovery, from mild cases of shock, Adam and Georgie were peaceably, approached, by Jimmy and his acolytes, with brief, grudging, expressions of thanks; such, gestures of gratitude, constituted the final interaction, with our two heroes.