Montag was alone, sitting by a brook on the outskirts of the settlement.
Sure, it was so: he was indeed helping to keep knowledge alive in the dark times by memorizing and becoming a book. But after these ten odd years, a dark sadness had descended upon him, sapping his spirit and diminishing his soul.
A tall man with a ruddy complexion and piercing eyes approached him.
"Hello, my friend. Why are you so morose?"
"Oh, hullo, Great Expectations. I'm kind of bummed out because I'm just not getting anywhere with the ladies. You ever have any problems like that?"
"Me? No, not at all," said the tall man. "I'm Great Expectations. I intrigue the hell out of women! Y'know, I've been diddling Madame Bovary for the past three months!"
"Well, it's sure different for me. Ever since I joined the Book People and selected a book to become, women don't take me seriously. Hell, they treat me like a child! "
"Well, what do you think the problem is, Goodnight Moon?"
"The problem is I can't compete with the more macho books! Last night I went to a singles bar with Captains Courageous and Last of the Mohicans. We ran into two chicks, Anna Karenina and Tess of the d'Urbervilles."
"Right away Captains Courageous pairs off with Anna Karenina and hasn't been home since. I spent the whole evening playing Nuclear Pong while watching Tess of the d'Urbervilles grind into Last of the Mohicans all over the dance floor!"
"Well, maybe some woman will admire you for your warm sentimental values as opposed to manliness."
"That only goes so far, Great Expectations. Can you imagine:
Ride me, Goodnight Moon!
Give it to me, Goodnight Moon!
It just doesn't work."
"Maybe you could become another book?"
"The only books available are Teenage Sex Vixens and Introduction to Quantum Mechanics. The first might prove kind of handy when I'm alone, but isn't likely to land me a woman. And the second --- well, you do the math!"
"I just had a thought, Goodnight Moon. A new woman recently joined the group; name's Dr. Zhivago. She looks a bit like a young Julie Christie."
"I've seen her! That Dr. Zhivago's babe-a-licious!"
"Well, I'll introduce you. Straighten yourself up, clean up your punctuation, and remember to stay in proper tense at all times."
"Okay, okay! Y'know, if all goes well, Great Expectations, one day Dr. Zhivago might become Mrs. Dr. Zhivago Goodnight Moon!"
"Let's not rush things, Goodnight Moon. But should you happen to get lucky, do me one favor?"
"What's that, Great Expectations?"
"In the throes of passion, puh-lease don't shout out: