general appearance escaped me as my gaze was riveted to his eyes. They
glowed like coals of fire and their color was intensified by a rim of white which
showed all around them. They were not like ordinary eyes, for they were set
out on stalks, as 1 perceived when he held my gaze with one eye and the other
began to twist around and take in the appearance of my room, and finally arose
from behind his head still glaring at me. With a sudden jerk the eye came back
to its original position and he was seized with an ungovernable fit of laughter.
He held his sides but it seemed to me that there was little to hold. However,
he twisted in his convulsions, his eyes never ceased staring into mine. They
never laughed. They gazed and seemed to be burning into my very being.
"Ho, ho, ho," he laughed. "You think this is the first time we ever met, but
it isn't. Look at these fingers and toes and my back." He whorled around in
the most agile manner while his eyes appeared over the top of his head, never
leaving their gaze on me. His fingers and toes ended in fine needle-like points
and his back resembled a porcupine's except the quills were fine as hairs, but
bristly. "Don't you remember the time you smoked your first cigar down in
the old orchard at home?" Again he was convulsed in the most diabolical
laughter. I, too, had laughed over that since, but it was no laughing affair then.
"Oh, but I had fun that day," he continued. "I am the devil Nicotine. My
brothers call me Nic for short," he added by way of parenthesis. "You thought
you were going to die that day. Whenever I'd claw your stomach with my
hands, or in my glee rub my back against the walls of your stomach you'd think
your end had come. This only-added to my merriment and I'd turn somer¬
saults to the other side and light with my feet, hands and back planted in the
walls there which would make you gag the harder and long, yea long for death
to relieve you. Oh, that was a merry day for me; how about you?" and one
eye cocked away up askance and the other cocked away down askance. As
he saw that I was in no way inclined to reply, he continued. "Since then you
and I have been pretty much together all the time. Now it is seldom that I
can find any ticklish spot in your stomach, you have such a thick coat there,
that I can't make you aware of my presence."
Just then a thick curl of blue smoke arose between us. Startled, I looked
to see from whence it came. Horror of horrors, my precious cigar, my last cigar
had burst into a flame and was burning up. And as I gazed, unable to move,
the little red devil slid down on the curling smoke and disappeared as the last
spark flickered out.
And A Senior Too.
Hutch: "You study astronomy, don't you, Freeman?"
Hutch: "Well, what is the consolation of tlercules?"