Joey Boy Reads Plato by Neon Light

Socrates - "Perhaps someone will say: And are you not ashamed, Socrates, of a course of life which puts you in danger of the death penalty? To him I may fairly answer: You are mistaken, my friend, if you think that a man who is worth for anything ought to spend his time weighing up the prospects of life and death. He has only one thing to consider in performing any action; that is, whether he is acting rightly or wrongly, like a good man or a bad one." (Plato, the Apology)

The flickering of the ROOMS sign outside Joey Boy's window had brought on another one of his headaches. He thought now that maybe he shouldn't be trying to read by neon light. He did it anyway, night after night, rather than turn on his desk lamp. Joey Boy didn't like the idea of people peering into his room. Really didn't like it. He'd bought the pair of 3-strength glasses from the Rite Aid on Commerce but was still getting his headaches and wasn't sure whether they had anything to do with his eyes at all. One eye was off, that was certain, worse than the other. But he had to get through the Apology; he'd set himself that goal. He pushed the glasses farther down his nose.

Earlier, he'd made himself a sardine sandwich with the low fat Mayo; bought a small loaf of Polish bread at the A & P. It tasted alright and he wasn't sure why it had been cheaper than Wonder. It had seeds and felt heavy but had been in the knock-off bin with a red label: thirty five cents. He was happy to see it there. He loved buying knock-off loaves if it was good bread. He'd felt similarly buying high mileage Volvos during his driving years, when he had the money to spend on cars and somewhere to go.

Joey Boy stared at his book. He hadn't been such a good man, as far as how people rated men. But there was no one in the hotel room to agree or disagree, point fingers and so forth. He looked through the window pane and focused first on the sheet of rain, the drops, then on the ROOMS sign, its letters. The O, the first O down, was on the fritz; it warbled, if a sound could be used to describe a sight. The transformer was humming. Maybe that was what was giving him the headache. He looked down at the can of sardines in the plastic trash bin by the desk. He was glad his desk was by the window, though, and didn't mind the rain at all.

In fact, he thought, he couldn't ask for anything more at the moment.