Living… with his Aunt Gladys and Uncle Max in Newark, New Jersey, which is filled with Dairy Queens, lumberyards, and used-car lots.
Profession… library clerk, where he’s got his routine down: “The day began the same as any other. From behind the desk on the main floor, I watched hot high-breasted teenage girls walk twitchingly up the wide flight of marble stairs that lead to the main reading room.”
Interests… observing. Neil finds any aspect of his hometown fascinating, from the buildings to the trains rolling in. He likes to people-watch the businessmen and compare their suitcases, speculate on what they do, where they came from, and where they’re going.
Relationship Status… in a relationship with Brenda that somehow has always felt doomed. Neil’s never completely felt their status was stable and secure. His nervousness about losing her leads him to aimless days of binge eating and movie-watching. Everything he does without her lacks context. She is the glue holding all the disparate elements of his personality together.
Challenge… dealing with Brenda’s parents who don’t approve of their relationship because of Neil’s humble means. They have been forced to meet in secret at sleazy motels to be together. And now that Brenda’s diaphram has been discovered by her parents, things are hitting the fan.
Personality… intellectual but a bit neurotic. Unfortunately, Neil’s relationship with Brenda hasn’t been good for his self-esteem. He’s become anxious and self-conscious.
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