Listen. I thought about it a really long time, I swear; if you'd seen me lying awake all those nights, you'd really know what I'm talking about. I talked to Betty, even to Dr. Zipratzi about it, and I figured I could use their opinions—heck, why not? So, I decided I'd tell you about Allie. It can't hurt.

I wonder how I can explain this right. See, Allie isn't my friend, really. You know what I mean? We don't really get along too well. I don't know if I should write in here about what happened last Tuesday. I'll go check, just a minute

All right, Dr. Zipratzi said it was O.K. So, last Tuesday me and my friend, Bill, we were sitting next to each other during lunch. You got to remember that Bill's crazy. Loopy. He lost half his crackers eight years ago. Every day, he's putting on a different act. Honestly, I don't know why he does it. Anyway, on Tuesday, Bill was a shipmate, or some kind of mate, I don't know. On Monday, he was the director of a circus, and he gave me a real crack when he tried whipping one of the nurses like she was a lion or something. Dark side of the moon, let me tell you. So anyway, on Tuesday, Bill kept calling me 'Matey,' (which got really annoying) and every now and then, especially when no one was paying attention, he'd whip out a pair of see-through binoculars and look across the waters of the Rec Tower for land. You see what I mean? Let me tell you.

First of all, I'm sorry that I keep getting sidetracked, but I like how I can write so much so quickly. I write so fast that I get down on paper every single little thought that goes through my head. When I told Dr. Zipratzi about it, he seemed pretty pleased. Maybe I should think of things like that more often because a lot of the time when he's pleased with you, he'll tell the food servers at dinner time to scoop an extra helping on your plate. And boy, boy! do I like those mashed potatoes!

So, I told Bill that he needed to stop calling me "matey." What would you do? I mean, it was really getting on my nerves, so I told him to shut the hell up, else I'd sock him a good one. Before he answered, I saw Allie pull up a stool next to mine at the table. She didn't have a lunch tray. She never seems to have anything besides the clothes she wore. She looks a bit like a human but I doubt she is because it's like she's everywhere at the same time, and her face has this kind of orangeish tint to it.

Allie was fine until she started making funny faces at Bill because she thought Bill was crazy too. I was about to laugh at the funny faces she was making but then I realized how rude she was being, especially to someone that would mind his own business most of the time. So I stood up and told Allie to stop making faces—like I said, it was rude. The thing is, she didn't stop, I swear. So I pushed her off her stool and she fell through the floor like it was diluted quicksand or something. Right after that, though, I realized how mean I'd been to Allie; how rude I'd been! Dr. Zipratzi and some nurses came running over to me and gave me a couple shots about then, I think, because I was crying.

Look, there are two things you need to know about Allie. One thing is that I'm the only person that can see her. I think it has to do with her eyes, yeah. All I know is that whenever she pops up, nobody else besides me notices her screwing around. I mean, it's like the only person she's looked after by is me. It's kind of sad, actually, when you think about it. I wonder where her dad is, you know. And her mom, too. I wonder if I can see her family, too. That would be pretty neat, to reunite Allie with her parents. The second thing you need to know is that she's a horrible person. If you ever see her on the streets, or in the hallways or something, (which I don't ever expect you to) then you should try and steer clear of her. She's nice to me sometimes, I admit; but she's horrible to other people. She'll make faces at you; she'll yell at you; she'll curse and scream at you. See, you take what happened on Tuesday. Like I said, Bill's pretty decent most of the time, and Allie didn't have to make no fun of him. If I could just get someone else to see her do all these bad things, maybe she'll get locked up. That'll teach her. I mean, you take somebody like Allie and you let them walk the streets of this city; it just isn't going to work out.

Maybe she's mean because she's lonely. I mean, you're invisible to everyone and everything around you, there's got to be at least some damage done. Hell, I wouldn't survive two minutes of it.

All right, Dr. Zipratzi just read what I wrote so far and he suggested that I write about myself. Why not? Oh, and he laughed when he read the part about the mashed potatoes.)

Me. Well, for starters, my name is Louis Ratford Jr. My mom was really rich, and my dad, I think, just married her for her money. My mom went on a safari in the Congo looking for a cure for some disease but she never came back. My dad and me lived pretty nicely for the rest of my childhood, though. He got me into the Wilbrook Academy. If you don't know what Wilbrook Academy is, it's a private school for rich boys about a half an hour from my house in Leaville. After Wilbrook Academy I went to a really nice college. I don't remember what it's called but I promise I'll write you its name.

When I graduated from there, (I don't know if I actually graduated but…) I went and sat around at home for a while. See, my dad had retired a while ago, and we chatted for a few months. Sometimes he'd get these phone calls, and he'd have to leave for a week or so. But otherwise it was pretty cool, and relaxing. You probably wouldn't be surprised to know that I played lots of video games. But then my Aunt Ruth died (she's my mom's sister) but I really like to think of it like Aunt Ruth just joined Mom on the safari in the Congo. Hey, at least Mom isn't alone in the Congo anymore. I bet it's a devilish place to be, especially alone, the Congo.

It's in Africa, right? Boy, that sure is a bad place to get lost in, especially nowadays, I mean with the whole war going on, you know? I hope if Mom's still alive she won't get hit by one of those new types of bombs, the real-powerful ones that don't even need a rocket. But really, I'm not much about politics, never cared for it. See, it never was really interesting to me. I could never see or feel what politics did. You take a country like this and you really aren't going to catch much of what politics is really about.

So that's why I'm probably not going to write much about politics. It's really pointless, when you think about it. No, I mean really think about it.

Well, the tone just sounded. That means it's time for bed. I can hear Dr. Zipratzi's low voice, and now the doorknob's turning.

Got to go