When Feldon awoke, he found himself inside a very old and large church, Catholic style, luminous and grand, full of soft light and scents of heaven, high arched ceilings and massive chandeliers dangling down from the rafters, the stations of the cross played out in intricate detail, gold chalices with beams of godly sun shimmering at the altar. He was in one of the back pews, long and sweetly polished, and there was a great stained-glass window at his side, Jesus all gleaming and blessed, green and gold, his arms were outstretched, and he was surrounded by sheep of white and gas eons of blue. There were angels in the clouds playing trumpets and the sun shot forth long bands of golden light across him as if he was God or savior or some important man.
At the front of the church there was a ceremony going on. It was a wedding, Feldon deduced, from the looks of the white gown and black tux and preacher standing there with the great guidebook of life and love. Then the crowd turned around in unison to look at him, and they were all mannequins — soulless, plastic mannequins. Even the preacher wasn’t skin and blood, and then Feldon saw that it was Carl and Eve as groom and bride up front and there was a plume of death incense percolating in a thurible and then a bloodless pall fell over the entire gathering and the crowd turned back around and the preacher said in a loud, monotone voice: “If there is anyone here who objects to this sacred union of love, let him speak now or forever swallow down his peace.”
“Yes!” Feldon cried out from the back, his voice cracking. “Yes! Oh, mighty God I object!”
The crowd hummed and murmured. The preacher craned his neck to see as Feldon marched forward down the center aisle. “Who are you?” the holy man asked. “And what case do you have to present against this couple, right here, under the witness of God.”
“I’m Feldon Fairtz and I strongly object to this union. Carl is unfit to be a husband to her. He is evil and shifty. Eve! I love you! Please don’t do this!”
Eve robotically lifted the veil from her face and looked out at him.
“Can’t you see I don’t love you?” she said, exasperated. “I’ve never loved you. It’s all been a lie. The whole time I’ve loved someone else. That’s right, Feldon. It’s Carl. It’s always been Carl. We’ve been doing it behind your back for weeks now… And in your bed. You’re a creep, Feldon. Now, can you please stop ruining our special day and get out of here before you get thrown out.”
“But Eve, you can’t do this to me. It was I that rescued you from the stuffy back room of Saharah’s Department Store and gave you a home. I gave you freedom and life and this is how you repay me? You’re going to marry this jackass?”
“I don’t care, Feldon. That’s just life. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles. And yes, I’m marrying Carl, right here, right now, and there is nothing you can do about it.”
Feldon’s mind and heart sunk to the bottom of the ocean.
“Very well then,” he said, trying to lift himself back up again. “I hope you have a miserable life together. And fuck you just the same, Eve. I’ve come to the conclusion that you are nothing but a heartless bitch anyways… And hell if I need that in my life.”
Someone quickly grabbed Feldon’s arm to escort him out, but he tore away.
“Let go of me! I’m leaving.”
And as he walked down the long aisle toward the large doors, he heard the preacher’s voice rise from behind him: “And by the power granted to me by God, the church, and the state of this land… I now pronounce you man and mannequin.”
There was some soft, plastic clapping and then great and triumphant music rose to the top of the cathedral and Feldon pushed through the giant doorway and out into the bright light of another day and never looked back.
It was three months later when there was a knock at the door of Feldon’s smelly apartment.
“Who’s there?” he yelled from the couch.
“Feldon?” came a meek voice from the hall.
“Who is it and what do you want?”
“It’s Eve. Could you please open the door?”
Feldon was stunned. “Is that fag Carl with you?”
“I think it would be better if you just went away, Eve. I don’t want to talk to you.”
“Please, Feldon. It’s important. It will just take a minute.”
Feldon knew he would regret getting up off the couch and opening the door, but he did it anyway.
“What do you want?”
“Can I come in?”
Feldon held the door open wide and she drifted in.
“What’s this all about, Eve? I thought you never wanted to see me again.”
She suddenly realized how different he looked. He had gained some weight and his hair was scraggly and he had grown out a beard. “Are you okay?” she asked him.
“What does it matter to you?”
“Don’t be like that, Feldon.”
“Be like what? Crushed?”
“Feldon, Carl and I split up.”
Feldon snickered with a sick delight. “Really? So soon? What a shame. And what does this have to do with me?”
Eve’s head tilted slightly toward the floor.
“I’ve got nowhere to go. Carl is being a real jerk about the money and the house. He got himself some hotshot lawyer, too. I was somehow hoping you could find it in your heart to let me stay here for a while until I can right my own ship, so to speak. He left me with nothing.”
Feldon popped a cap off a beer and sucked the entire bottle down. “You’ve got some fucking nerve coming here asking me for such a favor. That’s some real fucking nerve, Eve.”
She looked away, hurt and somewhat ashamed. “You’re right. I should have never come here. I’m sorry. I’ll just go now.”
She made her way toward the door and Feldon suddenly softened. “Do you really have nowhere to go?”
She turned to look at him with sad, fake eyes. “Yes, but I’ll manage. See you around.”
“Wait,” Feldon said.
She turned again, her fabricated heart beating with hope. “What?”
“As long as you’re heading out, could you take my trash down for me?”
Feldon went into the kitchen, lifted a bag out of the can and tied it.
He went back to her. “Here you go,” he said as he handed the strained bag of garbage to Eve. She took it with a puzzled look of disgust on her face.
“Hopefully it won’t break on your walk down. I would hate for you to have to clean up such a mess,” Feldon said, laughing. He moved toward her, forcing Eve to back out into the hallway.
“Please Feldon, won’t you reconsider?” Eve tearfully pleaded. “Don’t you have a heart?”
“Not today,” he said, and he slammed the door shut and never saw her again and rarely did he care.