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The Beginning

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The world ended three hundred and fifty years before I was even born.  My mother told me about, as her mother had told her about it before, when my mother was a little child, as my grandmother too had been told by her mother before that, and so on, back to my great-great-great-great-great grandmother, who had lived through it.  Her name was Delicia, Delicia Macgrudle, and she was very beautiful, every person who met her said.  She had long golden hair that fell in great waves about her face, which was formed perfectly and beautifully, as if it had been chiselled out of white marble and then breathed upon by her sculptor to make her warm and soft instead of cold, as stone is wont to be.  She also had lovely eyes, which were pale blue and fringed with long black lashes, like an icy pond in the midst of feathered reeds, and dressed fashionably, for she was doted upon by many wealthy men because of her remarkable good looks.  Delicia eventually married a very rich man named Dongo, Dongo D'bokbok, who came from Norway and was, as I have just said, very rich.  Dongo fell head over heels in love with Delicia at the very moment, the very instant, the very MILLISECOND that he set eyes upon her (which is to say immediately), and he knew right then that he must marry her, for Delicia Macgrudle was the most beautiful, most lovely, most utterly desirable woman that he had ever in his ninety-four long years set his eyes upon, and he could not possibly allow her to escape like a ghost into the reaches of his memory without at least so much as asking her out on a date with him.  So he did ask her out on a date with him, because this was, as I've just said, an opportunity he wasn't about to let himself miss out on.

            As for Delicia, she noticed that there was an old man at another table in the restaurant she was in - she was in a restaurant at the time, by the way, an Italian restaurant, eating spaghetti, or at least that's what my mother called it - a restaurant was a place where people went to eat food that had already been cooked for them by somebody else, which they paid more for than they would have if they had simply bought the food at a market or something and cooked it themselves (the whole concept of the restaurant seems silly to me, but apparently people used to go to them quite frequently, and there used to be quite a lot of them around, as well - I suppose that going to such a place was some way of showing the other people of the world that you were wealthy enough to be able to afford that kind of an excessive activity, which might make them somehow think better of you, or something like that - though I still say it's silly - but I digress) and spaghetti was a dish that looked like worms in blood but was in actuality something made out of grain paste, like thread-shaped bread (which I also can't imagine) in a vegetable sauce made out of an extinct red fruit called a tomato, and Italian was the name of a particular suite of foods made or invented by a particular ethnic group or tribe who came originally from a place called Italy - but I've gotten so far astray now that I have nearly forgotten what I was originally saying - which is that Delicia Macgrudle happened to notice that a man of some years was seated at another table, situated not far from the table where she herself was sitting at, was paying quite a lot of attention to her.  Now, Delicia had had attention directed at her by men of all ages at many times and on many occasions throughout her life of thirty long years, so she had of course come to recognise the signs that told her that this man, like the majority of the other men who had paid her more attention than they really ought to over the years, was romantically interested in her, and she, being a savvy young woman and experienced in the ways of the world and how to turn them to her own advantage, decided that she ought to use this attention, and the man who was giving it to her, to her own personal advantage.  She first summoned the waiter - who was a man who worked at the restaurant bringing cooked food dishes to people and clearing away the empty receptacles which had held the food from the tables where the patrons of the restaurant sat once those patrons had completed the consumption of that food and the dishes were empty - and asked him if he would please to very kindly take a message to that nice old grey-haired fellow sitting at that other table, that man right there, yes, that was the one - if he would be so kind as to tell that man that she was interested to know if he might possibly be so good as to grant her so much as a single dance out on the dance floor - which is to say, a portion of the restaurant set aside for the patrons to dance on when they were not eating their meals, thus allowing men who had taken prospective mates to the restaurant to impress them to further their efforts to achieve a romantic bond with their prospective mate through dance (I have been made to understand that these restaurants, and in particular the better and more expensive of them, were often host to various bands and musical performers, who would serenade the people who went to the restaurants with various songs and melodies while the people ate or danced or waited for their food to be cooked and to be brought to the tables where they sat waiting).  To this request made by Delicia the waiter replied that he would like nothing better than to deliver her message to the old man seated at the nearby table, and with that he went of to that same man and delivered the message which was described just now, and the man, being interested, as we have been told already, in procuring Miss Macgrudle as a prospective mate, and seeing how a dance (he was quite a good dancer, if he did say so himself, which he did) might improve his chances of accomplishing this goal, ultimately, of course knew that he could not have asked for a better means of bringing down upon himself all of this lovely woman's precious affections.  Thinking thus, he instructed the waiter to, if he did not mind (which he of course didn't, as he was a good and helpful waiter and also imagined that serving as the courier between these two patrons of his restaurant, which is to say the restaurant where he had been employed, might incite them to give him some sort of bonus monetary reward, which was called a tip, more than the usual amount, for his troubles), to please go back over to the woman who had given him the original message to relay to him (the old man, Dongo D'bokbok) and to please tell her, if he didn't mind (which he didn't, as it has already been observed, for the reasons which have already been given) that he (Dongo D'bokbok) would be more than pleased to grant her a dance with him.  Moreover, Dongo added, he would be more than willing to give her another dance following that one, and then another, and then another - why, he would like nothing more in the whole entire world, in fact, than to dance with her until the restaurant closed down for the night (because these restaurant places didn't stay open for business constantly, of course, just like markets and peddlers don't cater to customers now at all hours of the night and the early early morning and so on).  So the waiter then relayed this other message, and the woman told him to tell Dongo that she accepted his offer of further dances, and then Dongo stood and went over to Delicia, and then he offered her his hand, and then she took his hand in hers, and then he led her down from her table to the dance floor, and then the band began to play a slow and haunting melody on strange instruments which no one has ever heard of since the world ended and which no one knows how to play anymore, and then Dongo and Delicia held each other close and then they danced, and they danced, and they danced, and they danced until the restaurant staff stopped taking new customers and the people who made the food stopped cooking it and the waiters cleared away the very last of the empty dishes from the empty tables where patrons had been sitting and eating all night long and the other people who worked at the restaurant started stacking up the tables and chairs and sweeping the floor clean and the band stopped playing music and went home.  Then Dongo D'bokbok stopped dancing, and Delicia Macdurgle stopped dancing, and the two of them stood very close to each other and held each the other's hand, and then Dongo said very quietly, "I do believe that you are the most amazing and beautiful and enchanting woman that I have ever met in my entire life of ninety-four years.  I would be exceedingly honored and exceedingly pleased if you would be so kind as to let me see you again, and perhaps go dancing with you again, at some point in time after this."

            Delicia smiled quite warmly back at him, for not only was this exactly as she had planned (for it was obvious to her that Mr D'bokbok was very well off, monetarily speaking, and she knew that that money would most likely benefit her in the event that Dongo decided to attempt to convince her that he would make her a good mate), but also because she found that she actually quite liked the old man after all.  She said to him, "Why, I would like nothing better.  Of course you can see me again, and of course we can go dancing again - dancing until all hours of the night if you should so please.  When would you like to get together and do something, such as dancing, again?  How about tomorrow night?  Surely that will not be too soon - for in my mind there can be no point in time that we see each other again after this that is too soon - indeed, I hardly think that any time will be soon enough."

            Dongo D'bokbok was exceedingly touched to his heart by these kind and tender words, and so he smiled at her (and perhaps a bit more warmly even than she had just smiled at him), and he said, "Tomorrow night will be perfect, and I do declare that, if you so wish it, then we shall dance and dance and dance forever, into all the hours of the night and straight on until morning.  I daresay I could dance with you forever and on into eternity, I do so love it so."

            At any rate, Dongo D'bokbok was to regret this remark, and sorely too indeed, for listening to him expressing this sentiment to his new sweetheart and dearly beloved was an evil spirit named Bingoslick, who very maliciously decided to test out the old man's devotion to such a statement - that is, he imagined that Dongo was making a bit of an hyperbole by saying he'd dearly like to dance with Delicia until all eternity, which is to say until the end of the world, and so waited around until the two people returned to the restaurant on the following night and began to dance with each other.  Then Bingoslick cast an evil and malificent spell upon Delicia and Dongo that would cause them to dance and dance and dance nonstop until the very ending of the world.  Bingoslick the evil spirit had a good feeling in his heart that it wouldn't take very long - perhaps just a single night and day or two - for Dongo to realise how very stupid he had been to make such a claim as he had about dancing forever, because anything - even dancing with a hot chick whom you happen to have a mad crush on - begins to grow pretty darn tiring after you've been doing it constantly for hours and hours and hours, even unto days and weeks and months - and by the time it gets to be years and years that you've been doing it for, by that time the activity, even if it was once upon a time your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world, will begin to seem to you like a living hell.

            Unfortunately for Bingoslick, Delicia and Dongo had been dancing for only a few scant minutes when the world came to an end.

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