What have I done?, Laverne wondered as she lifted herself from the seat of the rusty Chevrolet Impala.
Memories of the previous night's encounter began to fill her mind, each stinging her conscience and reminding her of her drunken error. Where am I?
She cautiously opened the car door and stepped outside onto the dewy lawn. Unaware of her surroundings, Laverne slammed the door and began to wander aimlessly down the dirt road of the unfamiliar town.
"Excuse me, miss," a voice suddenly exclaimed. "Are you new to town?"
Laverne turned around to see the owner of the voice. To her relief, she noticed that he was nothing more than a kindly old man, standing next to a barren fruit stand. His nametag read "Charlie."
She forced a smile. "I'm just visiting."
Charlie pushed his glasses further up his nose. "Too bad. This town could use a pretty girl like you," he said with a sparkle in his voice.
"Aww!" Laverne grinned. "But I've got to get home. Do you know the way back to Milwaukee?"
"Milwaukee?" Charlie pondered. "I've never heard of it."
Laverne's jaw dropped as she asked, "You've never heard of Milwaukee, Wisconsin?"
He chuckled. "I can't say that I have, Miss. Tell me, how did you get to Gerky's Corners?"
"I...don't remember." Laverne cringed. Glancing around the street, she inquired, "Gerky's Corners, huh? Is that the name of this town?"
"Only for the past two-hundred years." Charlie paused slightly, then developed an empty, hollow gaze. "We've been waiting for you, Laverne."
"Hey! What's that supposed to mean? And how do you know my name?" Laverne asked defensively.
Charlie cackled maliciously and vanished before Laverne's eyes.
Laverne's eyes widened. "I'm getting out of here!" she yelled.
She sprinted frantically down the street until she crashed into someone and fell down.
"I'm sorry!" she exclaimed, dusting off her floral dress. "I didn't see you there."
"Don't apologize, Laverne. We all make mistakes."
Upon seeing the face of Charlie, Laverne nearly fainted.
"You again?" she screamed accusingly. "I thought you were gone for good!"
Charlie grinned eerily. "I'm everywhere, Laverne."
"You're really scaring me! Just tell me the way back to Milwaukee, please!" she begged. "I'll never bother your town again – I promise!"
Charlie disappeared once more.
Laverne screamed and ran into the nearest shop.
"Can I use your phone?" she asked the clerk between gasps of air.
"There are no phones in Gerky's Corners," Charlie stated blankly.
Frightened, Laverne turned around and quickly left the shop. There's no escaping him!, she thought to herself.
She ran and ran until she could run no more. Stopping to take a breath, she perched herself on the edge of the sidewalk and rested her head in her hands.
Charlie tapped her on the shoulder. "Lose something?" he asked, straightening his blue, polka-dotted bow tie.
Laverne looked up scornfully. "No. But why don't you get lost, heh?"
Charlie nodded knowingly. "I think you did."
"Will you please tell me what is going on?" she pleaded, desperation seeping into her voice. "I just want to go home."
Charlie took an antique mirror out of his back pocket. "Look inside," he ordered, handing Laverne the mirror.
"What's this? The Magic Mirror? I say 'take me to Milwaukee,' and it takes me there in a puff of smoke? I don't think so, pal."
Laverne reluctantly stared into the mirror, but to her surprise, she saw no reflection.
"Hey! Where am I?" she asked, bewildered.
"Exactly, Laverne," Charlie began gently. "Where are you?"
She set the mirror down on her lap. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"That's for you to decide."
"Tell me what it means!" Laverne demanded, rising from the sidewalk.
"Goodbye, Laverne," Charlie said as he faded into oblivion.
Laverne was awakened by the sound of her roommate's voice.
"Whaaaat?" Laverne complained groggily, tossing a sheet over her head.
Shirley shook Laverne's shoulder. "Come on, Laverne! You're going to be late for work!"
Realizing that she had returned to reality, Laverne rapidly jumped up from the bed.
"It was all a dream!" she exclaimed, grinning. "Oh, thank God! It was all a dream!"
"What was?" Shirley asked in confusion.
Laverne ran over to the closet. "I'll tell you all about it later, Shirl! We have to get to work!"
"My! I've never seen you be so enthusiastic about going to work before! Your dream must have had an effect on you. Maybe you should dream it every night."
"Oh, God, no! I hope I never even think of it again," Laverne said, taking a skirt out of the closet.
"That's too bad, Laverne. I rather enjoyed our time together."
Laverne turned around and saw Charlie standing in the place of Shirley.