There once was a little girl named Daile who had the most beautiful eyelashes in the world. They were so beautiful that was not uncommon for the jaws of young lads to drop uncontrollably when they caught sight of her. Daile was quite oblivious to all this however, and spent most of her childhood thinking that all young males (and many older ones) had trouble controlling their mouths.
As young Daile grew a little older however, she couldn’t help but begin to notice the attention she was getting. The jaw paralysis of boys her age began to be followed by stammering requests for dates and various attempts to appear suave. It was most vexing for Daile, who was not interested in boys at all. It got so bothersome that she took to wearing dark glasses and avoiding gatherings where she knew there would be large numbers of young men.
One particularly gloomy evening, Daile was walking along a quiet alley in order to avoid seeing any young men. Now, we all know that walking down a quiet alley on a gloomy evening is one of the silliest things a story character can do, but poor Daile was so fed up with the constant attention that she did not realise what she was doing. She was soon brought to her senses however, by the sight of somebody walking towards her along the alley. Being rather more alert now, Daile resigned herself to the fact that this would most certainly be a villian of some sort.
He did not look much like a villian however. He did have dark hair, as any really evil villian should have, but it was rather curly and a little, well, “boofy”. He was also wearing a long leather coat (leather being quite fasionable among super-heroes and villians alike), but it was of a tan colour, and not very evil looking at all. He also had a scarf, which no self respecting evil-doer would be caught dead in. What really caught Daile’s attention, however, was the fact that the man was walking along the wall - literally. He was perpendicular to what any normal person would refer to as the Right Way Up.
The man was staring vaguely into space, and didn’t seem to have noticed Daile at all. He would have passed by oblivious to Daile’s presence, but she was overcome by curiosity and couldn’t help but speak. “Er, excuse me Sir, but, um, you seem to be walking on the wall.”
The man seemed startled, and looked about himself with a puzzled expression on his face. “Oh, so I am,” he said. “I’m terribly sorry, I shall rectify the situation immediately.” And so saying, he proceded to reach into his his coat pocket and pulled out something looking very much like a brass fob watch. He frowned at it, then performed some swift, complicated movement which ended with the watch going back into his pocket. He then stepped gracefully off the wall.
“How did you do that?” exclaimed Daile.
“Oh, it just takes practice,” replied the man, “you can do it with any plain, old fob watch -”
“No, I meant walking along the wall,” said Daile.
“Oh that. That’s just a bad habit. All us physicists have a go at it now and then. Incidentaly, I’d appreciate it if you didn’t mention it to anyone—supposed to be a great secret and all that. Probably best to think of it as a strange dream. Speaking of which…” The man seemed to become slightly less vague for a moment, and frowned at Daile slightly. Then he pulled what looked very much like a silver dog whistle out of his pocket and blew on it.
He turned around, and following his gaze, Daile saw a large, pink elephant coming down the alley. “There we go,” said the man, “Can’t have a good dream without a pink elephant or two. How are ya there Jimmy?” And he gave the elephant a few pats on the rump. As he was doing so, Daile noticed that he still had the whistle in his hand. What caught her attention was that a small green light had begun to flash on the end of it. The man seemed to notice too, and hurriedly put it away in his pocket.
“Off you go then Jimmy,” he said a little nervously, “One can’t have elephants staying too long in dreams you know - not good manners.” And the elephant trotted off the way it had come.
“What was that little flashing light about?” asked Daile.
“What flashing light?” replied the man.
“That one on the dog whistle.”
“Dog whistle? I’m afraid I don’t know anything about a dog whistle.”
At this point, Daile began to get a little frustrated. “Ugh! Isn’t there a single member of the male species that can answer a simple question?” she exlaimed in exasperation. It had been a long day. Daile began to rant.
“It’s always the same, wherever I go. You see someone who looks quite ordinary walking down the street, then they catch sight of me and someone has to help them roll their tongue back up. I mean, you read about perfectly sensible gentlemen in books, and you even see them on TV occasionally, but in real life, they seem completely non-existent. Now I meet you and ask you a perfectly normal question about some stupid whistle you use to call an elephant, and you hedge like some kind of crazed gardener.”
“Oh, you meant the elephant whistle,” said the man with every appearance of sincerity, "The little light just lets me know that the frequency shift interpolation filter circuitry has power. I made it flash because I think ordinary lights are boring.
“But what’s all this about tongues unrolling and such? You sound quite bitter about it all.”
“Haven’t you noticed the ridiculous hairy things hanging off the end of my eyelids?” replied Daile, oozing cynicism.
The man looked at her for a moment. “Hmmmm. You do seem to have rather striking eyelashes. Are they all that’s causing the problem?”
“Pretty much,” replied Daile. “I can’t talk to guys my age for two seconds without being asked on a date, and all the girls seem to be of the opinion that beautiful eyelashes are given to people to compensate for a profound lack of intelligence.”
Daile stopped here because the man didn’t appear to be listening. He had pulled a notepad and pen from somewhere, and was madly scribbling away. The page seemed to be filled with very badly drawn diagrams and far too many letters from the greek alphabet. “Do go on. I am listening,” he said without looking up.
“There’s not much else to tell,” replied Daile. “What are you doing?”
“Um, I think I might be able to help you,” he said distractedly, “…now if we linearise this DE… my workshop’s just up here a bit… and we can make another small angle approximation here…”
Daile was exceedingly puzzled. She followed the man to a rather inconspicuous door a little way up the alley and waited outside while the man went in and could be heard tinkering about. Just as she was begining to wonder what she was doing standing outside a strange man’s “workshop” in a dark alley on a gloomy evening, the man came out again carrying a pair of glasses.
“I’m not sure about the frames, but it’s the best that I could do here. I suppose you could always take them to an optometrist and have them re-done, but I don’t know that they would be able to duplicate the lenses. Try them on anyway, see how they go.”
Daile, a little apprehensively, took the glasses and tried them on. They did nothing. “It looks just the same,” she said disgustedly, “They don’t do anything.”
“Oh good,” said the man, “I was worried I hadn’t got it right. They certainly seem to be working well.”
“Here, take a look in the mirror.”
Daile looked in the mirror, and was quite suprised to find that the glasses actually looked quite good on her. But they somehow made her face look subtley different, and at first she couldn’t quite work out what it was.
“They tone down you eyelashes a bit,” explained the man, “they still look quite beautiful, but don’t quite dazzle one so much.” A smile began to spread across Daile’s face. “But the question now is, can you handle life without your eyelashes making you special?”
“What do you mean ‘Can I handle life without eyelashes making me special?’ I’ve been wishing all my life for something like this. I’ll finally be able to have a decent conversation with somebody. I won’t have guys harassing me all the time. Of course I’ll handle it.”
The man raised an eyebrow at her.
At this point it began to rain quite heavily. Unthinkingly, Daile reached into her bag to get an umbrella. When she looked up again, the man had dissapeared. “Oh right,” said Daile to herself with venomous sarcasm, “As if I didn’t see that one coming. After all, what sort of hero would he be if he didn’t dissapear mysteriously after solving all my problems with a pair of glasses.”
Of course, from that day forward, Daile could never find the quiet alley again, no matter how carefully she retraced her steps. But she wore the glasses and rather enjoyed being able to walk down the street without attracting too many stares. She was dissapointed to find however, that sensible conversations were still a rarity—especially with young men. It seemed that in spite of her eyelashes no longer causing Issues, people were still just plain nuts.