Disclaimer: paramount owns everything…all of it. If I
did, well that would be just a real kind of strange.
Rated: G


“Excuse me, Sir?”  The young man asked as he
approached the dwelling, stepping onto the front

“May I ask you a few questions?”  The young lad asked
as if he were nervous, as he took another step closer
to the old man.

“Depends on what the questions are?”  The old man
answered, taking a sip of his steaming hot cup of
coffee.  “And it depends on who you are.” He added. 

The old man noticed that the young visitor was in his
early to mid thirties, very young compared to the
older gentleman.  He was young, slim, and physically
fit, his presence was full of life.

“Please allow me to introduce myself.  Wallace,
Wallace Smith.  But, most people just call me Wally.”
He stated with an extended arm in greeting. “I guess
I’m your neighbor.”

The old man shook his hand.  “Nice to meet you, Wally.
You say you’re my neighbor?”

“I live down the road about five miles.”  The young
man indicated with a pointed finger towards the
direction of his home.  “I jog by every morning and
I’ve noticed you many times sitting on your front
porch when I pass by.”

“I enjoy having my morning coffee out here.  And, I’ve
noticed you too,” he said with a nod.  “Jogging by
every day, that is.  I’d join you in your exercise
program,” He stated with a twinkle in his eye, “But,”
he added, “I doubt if you could keep up with me.”

The young man smiled at the old man’s wit.  “I can
believe that sir.”

“How long have you been my neighbor?”

“I bought the old Thompson house. I’ve lived there for
about six months now.”

“Ahhh.” The old man nodded.

“Nice place you’ve got here.”

“Thank you.  Since my retirement, I’ve grown quite
fond of it.”

“It’s nice.”

“What can I do for you lad?  That is besides talk real
estate, and the décor of my home.”  The old man asked.
He sensed that the young jogger was pre-occupied with
other thoughts.

“Are you married, Sir?”  The man asked bluntly.

“Yes.”  The old man answered calmly.

“How long have you been married?  If you don’t mind me

“How long?” the old man repeated the question, “Most
of my life, Wally.  I was just too damn dense to know

“Sir?”  Wally appeared confused and baffled by the old
man’s response.

“I’m married now.  I was married in the past, and
I’ll always be married in the future.  Forever, in
here.”  The old man tapped his chest with his hand.

“I’m sorry sir, I’m afraid I don’t understand.”

“It’s quite simple, Wally.  In terms of legalities, my
wife and I have been married for almost seventy years.
But, if I were to be totally honest with you, and
myself….”  The old man paused as if he were
concentrating on fond memories.  “Something my wife
has taught me over the years to be.  She’s the kind of
woman that won’t accept anything less.  I’d have to
confess that I married her in my heart that first day
I ever laid eyes on her, all those years ago.”

“I think I understand.”  The young man said under his
breath.  He slowly sat down on the step of the front
“You see I’ve come to understand that marriage is a
condition of the heart, Wally.  No matter what our
thick head tells us.  We can never run from fate or
the heart.  My heart became married a long, long time

“I’m thinking about marriage, Sir.”

“I thought you were.”  The old man sipped his coffee.
He looked at the young man through narrowed eyes, as
if he were studying him.  “I may be old.  But,” he
added.  “I can most certainly recognize a man who is
fighting a personal battle within himself.”  His eyes
took on a sudden sparkle.  “I’m beginning to sound
just like my wife.”  He chuckled.

The young man looked up towards him and smiled.  Then
Wally continued on with the conversation.  “She’s a
fantastic woman, and I love her.  I most definitely
love her.  But, I’ve set certain standards and goals
for my life and I know what I want out of my life….
And when I met her my goals…my plans, everything….  It
was….  Almost as if, it was….”

“Suddenly everything was shot all to hell?”  The old
man cut in.

“Yeah.”  Wally stated relieved that the old man could
relate to what he was trying to express.

“In all my years Wally.  I’ve never figured out, just
how they do that.  How does one little woman shoot a
man’s plans all to hell?  I’m hoping that’s not your
next question.”

“I guess I’m confused.” The young man confessed, not
really knowing why he was speaking to a complete
stranger about his personal life.

“Is it truly confusion, or are you just scared?”

“I’m not for sure.  To be honest, sir.  I could best
describe what I’m feeling as terrifying confusion.  Is
the confusion, scaring me?  Or, is it the fact that
I’m terrified, confusing me?”

“Or are you just evading your heart?”

The old man’s question made Wally stop and look at

The old man said nothing more, as Wally concentrated
on his situation and the old man’s face.  He finally
broke the silence with his question.  “It’s hard to
decide which one it is, isn’t it?”

“Only if you allow it to be.”  The old man sensed that
the young jogger hadn’t yet grasped onto the message
he was attempting to convey to him.  Perhaps he would
try another approach.  “I stood on the diving board
for years.”

“I’m sorry I don’t understand, diving board?”

“Diving board.”  The old man repeated.  “I stood on
the diving board for years.  And, it took me years to
decide whether to jump off that board and dive into
the water.  And the same choice has to be made by you,
Wally.  You can stand there on that diving board
deciding whether you want to jump in or not.  It’s
your choice.” His eyes became serious.  “Just don’t
let it take you almost twenty years like it did me.”

“Can’t I just climb down the ladder? I mean, can’t I
just back out?”  The old man swore he saw Wally gulp.
“Do I have to jump?”

“Remember when she shot all your plans to hell?”  He
chuckled softly at his own thoughts; “She took the
ladder with her.  You’ve got two choices, stand there
on that board, or jump.”

“What if I can’t swim?”

“If she’s the woman you truly love, if she’s your
Imzadi.  She’ll never let you drown.”

“My what, sir?”

“I see my coffee’s gotten cold.”  The old man said as
he tossed the remainder of his coffee out into the

“Will.” A voice from inside the house called.  “Come
in now. It’s time for breakfast.”

The old man began to raise himself slowly out of his
chair.  “Just remember, the longer you stand on that
board, the longer you’ll feel like an idiot, totally
paralyzed; never really knowing what to do.  But if
you jump…trust me.  The water’s great.” He said with a
big grin and a wink.  “I’d better do as my lifeguard
says.”  He chuckled, as he turned to walk towards the
front door of his home.


“Yeah.”  The old man said as he turned towards the man
who was now standing on his front step.

“Thank you.  I think I’m ready to jump off that

“I think you are too, Wally.”  The old man opened the
front door to his home.


“Yeah?” the old man turned around to face the jogger.

“One other thing.”  The young man said,  “I had heard
that Admiral William T. Riker lived near or around
this rural area.  If you don’t mind me asking Sir,
would you happen to be Will Riker?”

“I sure as hell hope so, son.”  The old man answered
with a slight chuckle; “At least, I’ve answered to
that name for over one hundred and twenty years now.”