Back Next The Fagela Moves

He trots home, showers, makes his bed, lies down. Oh he is pleased with himself. He lies there with a contented grin on his face and stares at the ceiling. His doorbell rings. It is Jackie, his woman companion friend, the one who is ten years older than he. She is wrinkled, all wrinkled in the face and old. He, the Fagela, is still satiny and handsome. Unwrinkled! Still youthful looking even though he already is... but why should he mention the number? It is only a number! Besides, he is as fit as a fiddle. He and Jackie talk. They talk into the wee hours of the night and then Jackie leaves. Before the Fagela falls asleep, he reflects upon those sweet moments of the day. "Ah what a lovely day," he repeats to himself and falls fast asleep.
The Fagela wakes up. The week begins. The apartment is empty. He is all alone, no one to lay it into. The day feels ominous, and the day does go wrong. He is cheated here, and scolded there, and goes unappreciated by his boss, and gets frustrated by his clientele so that all of yesterdays risen good spirits drop dead. He is depressed again, and alone.
The Fagela decides to take action. He must take action. He must take leave of this country. Leave his abode. Find a new abode. Start from scratch. Return to where he is appreciated, not cheated, never scolded, nor made fun of, or mocked. Why not return back to his Motherland, where he can be near his sister, not too far from his father and close to his crooked brother-in-law?
The Fagela has had it. He is off again, into the sky-blue yonder! Wonder! Freedom! Yet he is depressed. There is no doubt about it. The airplane trip becomes just a means to get from here to there as quickly as possible. Now he feels taciturn like his father, retarded like his sister, and tepid like his mother, but it can't be helped. Let the Stewardess think what they like, he is in no mood to entertain them. He is down! He is lost! He is knocked out!
The airplane lands. He crawls home, slinks to his mother's bed, and stays in darkness until his spirit again rises. Now a friend of his comes along, an old friend, a gay friend and finds for the Fagela a job in the old age home.
"Oh its not so awful to grow old. Oh fer goodness sakes these people are cheerful and in good spirits. Gee whiz, it is a pleasant place to work and be. And my brother-in-law is not such a cheat. Everybody should be here. Really! Gosh, these old people are in awfully good shape"
The Fagela knows deep down that he has slipped through, mocked G-d, zigzagged out, and he sends letters all over the world to this effect.
"Gee whiz, Itzzy Bitzzy, an Old Age Home is a good place to work. Oh fer goodness sakes they are so cheeeerful here." And the Fagela gives a slight skip and hop with a little genial jiggle to his person as he waits smugly for his next transformation.

Irwin R. Shaw - 1980