Clement spent the better part of the work day unsuccessfully trying to meet Gertrude. At 5:30 he packed his bag and headed to the bus stop. He was immediately approached by Special Ed.
“Did you year about the new restaurant they built on the moon?” asked Ed.
Clement shook his head. “No, I haven’t.”
“People say the food is great but it’s got no atmosphere.”
People at the bus stop shuffled away from Ed. One lady laughed out loud.
“What did the mountain climber name his son?” asked Ed.
“I’m afraid to ask,” said Clement.
“That’s awful,” said Clement.
“Really bad, but awesome at the same time,” said the lady.
“I accept donations,” suggested Ed.
Several people, including Clement, handed him a couple of dollars each.
Special Ed smiled. “Since you’ve been so kind, I’ll leave you with one more. How much does a hipster weigh?”
“I don’t know. What?” said a tall man in the back of the small crowd.
The tall man groaned.
“You keep that up and people’ll want their money back,” warned Clement.
“Always leave ‘em wanting more. Got it,” said Special Ed.
Just then the bus arrived. Clement was about to step on when he spotted Gertrude across the park. To his surprise, she was with Emperor Don and Alabama Hanna. Clement let the bus pass and he slowly approached the trio.
He made it halfway when George Twill stepped out from behind a tree, blocking his path.
“I need help,” said George, breathlessly.
“I believe you,” quipped Clement.
“I’m serious. I need your help. Donnie trusts you.”
“What makes you say that?”
“I’ve been following you,” admitted George.
Clement did a double take. “You’ve been what?”
George held up his hands. “I had to. I had no choice. I can’t let Donnie hurt any more people.”
Clement pointed across the park. “How is he hurting people?”
George sighed and shook his head. “Have you met the crazy bird lady?”
“Her name is Hanna,” said Clement.
“Did you know she was an architect? A good one. She designed the office building on Oak and 3rd. She was engaged. Her future was bright, until she met Donnie.”
Clement frowned. “What’re you saying?”
“He gets in your head. Messes you up. Your architect friend gave up everythin’ to play with birds. And there’ve been others. A lot of ‘em. I’m tellin’ ya, he needs to be stopped. You can help by bein’ a character witness that he’s mentally incompetent,” said George.
The next bus approached.
“I don’t want any part of this. You’re talking about a man’s life,” said Clement.
George raised an eyebrow. “I’m talkin’ about all the other lives he’s gonna ruin, like your friend from work.”
Clement boarded the bus and pulled away. As he left the park behind, he watched Gertrude laugh as she released butterflies into the sky.