Throughout the adventures of Concrete there are many times where he shows his loneliness in a story. The one story that I find this most evident in is “next Best”. In this story Concrete goes through a number of let downs during the course of his day.
The story starts off with Concrete having a surreal dream, a fantasy of Maureen and him being together. He admits his love to her. He is transformed into a human being by a god like structure that I believe was the Senator. Setting him free. He has always wanted to be close with Maureen. The dream ends when Tripod, his dog wakes him up to his empty, messy apartment so that he can feed him in the morning.
A knock at the door brings Maureen into the story. Strangely enough she has her own keys to the door. Concrete questions her on why she didn’t use her set of keys and she gets around it by saying she lost them, not really giving Concrete a straight answer to his question. Concrete has a seemingly good idea about maybe him and Maureen going to the zoo. He wants to spend time with her. She, like always, can’t spare the time to spend with him. She has something of more importance to tend to. Maureen declines due to a paper she says she has to finish. Maureen usually doesn’t like to get into conversation with Concrete. When ever he tries to talk to her on a normal level she changes the subject, talking about test that need to be done to him and questions him on how his health has been, ignoring him really and not listening to what he is saying.
Concrete calls Larry to see if he would like to work some idea’s out for an essay he’s writing. Unfortunately for Concrete Larry has a woman over and says that for him to do anything is not convenient at the time and keeps the conversation short and gets off the phone. Just another let down for Concrete. The phone rings and on the phone is Senator Douglas. Concrete’s spirits have lifted a little now that he is talking to him. He calls to discuss the ideas that Concrete had in the letter he wrote to the Senator. To Concrete’s disappointment the Senator doesn’t want Concrete for anything other than the ideas that he has already given him. Not only that but the Senator goes on talking about how when Concrete left his job as a speechwriter he found another speechwriter that is “just fantastic”. All these let downs. Then on pg. 82 Maureen comes back. I think her just coming back into the house makes Concrete think that maybe she has changed her mind. She had left her keys on the table that was all it was. Once again we see Concrete all alone.
With nothing left to do Concrete starts responding to some of his letters. He comes across one that as he reads it starts to sound better and better. It starts out as an almost a cry for help. The writer of the letter compliments him on all his fine doings. Complimenting him on how great a citizen and role model he is. Building him up towards asking him for a favor. The writer insults Concrete by asking him for a visit to their neighbor to strike fear in him to get the man’s dog to stop going the bathroom on their lawn. This may have some connection though with his dog in the beginning when he gets a letter from his neighbor about Tripod having a problem going to the bathroom on their lawn. In the end of the story he is left alone with Tripod, the only one that was there for him trough out the day. Concrete seems happy with this though.
In conclusion the beginning of the story where Concrete dreams the fantasies of being human and getting together with Maureen is just an example of how much he is in need to be set free from his concrete life. The loneliness, the emptiness, all the letdowns, made of concrete but how much beating on can Concrete take?