“You’re too late, Emoticon Charlie!”
Emoticon Charlie swirled the dregs of his Ginger Ale around in the bottom of his glass and sighed. It had been another long day, and he was tired.
He looked around the bar. It was nearly empty. He considered returning home, but to what? A drafty, cheap apartment, completely empty save a few sticks of dirty furniture and the pests that lived in the walls?
No, he wouldn’t return home just yet. He’d wait and save that thrill until after he drank another Ginger Ale. After all, no sense rushing things.
He ordered another and sat back on his stool. It was something of a feat for a sphere, but he managed.
Emoticon Charlie was so named for his shape: He looked like one of those cursed smiley faces that kids learned to draw at the age of two. He was yellow and round like some sort of stupid beach-ball.
Even worse, he had to work incredibly hard to stop smiling. His stupid, blank grin stared back at him every time he looked in the mirror. He often found himself practicing more serious and meaningful faces just to shake things up. He liked to imagine that his beady black eyes were soulful and deep. He liked to imagine that anyone who looked into them would be captured by the enigmatic charm he exuded.
While he was at it, he liked to imagine that he was rich and powerful, too.
Nobody really knew why he was the way he was. Birth defects or some-such, but it didn’t really matter. At school, his classmates always called him “Pac Man” and teased him, but he didn’t care. It didn’t bother him.
At least, he liked to imagine it didn’t bother him.
He looked at his Ginger Ale and sighed. He couldn’t even drink real alcohol, no matter how long a day he’d had. The one time he tried to drink any real alcohol he woke up in the hospital with a panel of doctors standing over him, scratching their heads in general confusion. Emoticon Charlie was used to doctors scratching their heads when it came to his health.
And what had made Emoticon Charlie’s day so long?
It had started as most of his days did. He went to work. Emoticon Charlie worked in a local convenience store as a mascot. He didn’t mind, his mutant shape and empty smile fit the profile perfectly. He didn’t mind the crummy, long hours. He didn’t mind the pay either. In fact, the pay went a long way to helping him overlook the stupid children who regularly ran up to him and poked him to see what would happen.
Still, the pay could be better.
After some deliberation, Emoticon Charlie decided that work had gone alright that day… The real trouble hadn’t started until after he got off and started to walk home.
Emoticon Charlie pushed his fedora back on his large head as he considered the events which had transpired that evening, and decided that his life would probably never be the same.
He wasn’t sure if it would be exactly better or worse, but it would definitely never be the same…