Brian was frustrated. He was trying to explain some schoolwork to his friend, Greg, but he just wasn't getting it.

"No, Greg, the denominator is on the bottom. THE DE-NOM-IN-A-TOR!!"

"Why can't I just call it the 'bottom number'?"

"Because it doesn't work that way."

Greg took this in, looked contemplative, then replied, "So why not say 'the number that isn't on the top'?"

Brian sighed and sank lower into his chair. They were seated across from each other at a circular wooden table at Greg's house. Greg lived in a perfectly normal house. In fact, Brian thought that the only abnormal thing in Greg's house was Greg.

"You know, if people put factions side by side, they could just say left and right."

"It's fractions, Greg. Fractions."

"I said that, didn't I? Factions?" Greg was puzzled for a moment, then shrugged and began scribbling on his nearly untouched piece of binder paper.

Brian, slightly unhappy with Greg completely ignoring him, got his revenge by ignoring Greg. His one talent in all the world was completely blowing people off. He had many methods, and the one he was now using on Greg was brilliantly called the lost-in-a-fake-kind-of-thought-because-I- don't-want-to-talk-to-you. Brian picked up his own paper, studied it carefully, grasping opposite corners, then dropped it. The paper landed on its side, folded in on itself, then happily sprung back out, landing flat on the table's smooth surface. Brian repeated this four more times, but in the middle of the fifth, he stopped short.

Greg still hadn't noticed Brian's ignoring.

Brian didn't know it, but Greg had the talent of caring so much about insignificant aspects of whatever he happened to be doing that he completely tuned out the real world. Thus, if you wanted to, you could draw a mustache under Greg's nose as well as on his forehead, shut both his eyelids, lie him on his back, use him as a trampoline, and finally picking both his pockets and sticking a pair of chopsticks down his throat. Eventually he would gag, but only after he noticed the black marker on his face. It wasn't so much that Greg didn't notice any of this; it was more that he didn't care that any of it was happening.

Even if Brian had known all this, he still would've been angry, because he didn't like it when people didn't notice his ignoring. He was good at it, and by golly, people had to notice the fact that he wasn't noticing them.

Brian cleared his throat, not entirely accidentally. When Greg didn't look up from his doodling, Brian straight-out coughed loudly. Greg still didn't respond. Brian looked fumingly at Greg once more, gathered his strength, and coughed hard enough to blow a small passenger jet out of the air from two hundred yards.

After the entire room was torn from the house's structure and relocated to a New Mexico desert from the force of the exhalation, crushing a small hermit's hut, not to mention the hermit, Greg was hanging from the chandelier above the table by a belt loop on his right side, and Brian had his head stuck in the ice box on the upper level of the refrigerator. The FAA, thinking the Greg's family room was a Russian missile, sent the information to the secretary of defense, who gave the order for the entire Patriot missile grid to fire. Every missile struck every other missile, showering the entire continent with sparks, metal debris, and noxious fumes. That story, however, is for another day.

Brian pulled his head out of the freezer, unaware that his head had been molded to match the inside of the box. If one looked closely enough, the refrigerator's expiration date (which was seventeen years previously) was permanently imprinted in the side of his skull. Glancing around, Brian finally located Greg by looking straight up. Greg was still doodling.

Brian was seething. How could someone not notice that???


No response.





Greg was looking down at Brian. He did a double take and laughed. "Well, guess I'm up here." He flipped his body horizontally and lowered himself to the ground. "Wanna see my smurf?" Greg held up his doodle, which looked remarkably like Papa Smurf.

Brian, completely at his wit's end, promptly exploded. Greg flinched back a bit, then shrugged. Not his problem. He didn't need to understand factions to be happy.

He cut out the smurf and played with it for a bit.

Moral: Ignorance is a funny word. Sometimes it takes a smurf to solve simple problems.