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Mr. Incredible Boots

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Paul Aubrey Sydney Jones, acclaimed market researcher and former international rugby

player, shuffles into the living room in a tan “Old Guys Rule” T-shirt, striped boxer shorts,

and felted wool slippers. The dubiously undersized shorts emphasize his powerful calves and

quadriceps, which are pale and spattered with freckles. He balances a glass of red wine in one

hand and a phone in the other, gesturing animatedly and conversing with an old college friend.

Paul’s hazel eyes glint as he gloats about the Welsh Rugby Union’s victory over the dastardly

New Zealand All Blacks. His baritone voice soars through octaves of amazement as he marvels

over the size of today’s professional players.

“The boys these days are regular brutes, twice my size! Imagine being tackled by one of

those monsters!” His British accent has faded after thirty years in the US, but his speech retains a

quaint charm. His graying hair, more salt than pepper, contents itself with a few wooly curls.

While nobody would call his caterpillar eyebrows and hawk-like nose handsome, his gleaming

white smile could have been plucked straight from a toothpaste ad.

“Ralph, you have to get one of these iPhone gadgets!” Paul cajoles, switching from rugby

to his latest obsession, “I have apps! And access to the worldwide Internet Web!” He expounds

upon Apple’s merits as he slumps on the couch, cocoons himself in a furry blanket, and slings an

arm around his plump stuffed koala, Mr. Bear. Seeing that he is engrossed in conversation, I

tiptoe furtively across the rug, cringing against that inevitable, infuriating greeting,

“Hello, darling bunny-butt angel-head! How was your day at school!”



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