Dede is a secretary in the Advertising Department of the American Panascope Corporation, where Joe works. We are told nothing of her background. She, like Joe, suffers from a physical ailment, perhaps asthma, which may be a psychosomatic consequence of the grim working conditions.
Dede is a caricature. No real person is exactly like her, but many people are a lot like her. She is totally uncomplicated, extremely literal-minded, and completely candid.
Dr. Ellison's 'death sentence' jolts Joe into a heightened state of consciousness. He crosses a threshold and enters a new world of wonder and magic, of which Dede perceives but a trace. During the dinner date with her, Joe can only express his ecstasy by means of metaphor. He says, 'The door to the universe is you.' Dede, of course, cannot take this as a metaphor and is visibly alarmed. Joe tries to explain, and all Dede can think to say is, 'You are really intense!'
Later in Joe's apartment Dede begins to express her affection for him in the only way she knows how--physically--and asks what happened to cause him to be so 'alive'. He tells her of his terminal illness and she suddenly cools off. Dede knows her limitations. If she were intimate with Joe it would have a bonding effect, and she would become personally involved with his plight. She backs out of the room, and we never see her again. (Or do we?)
Joe is entering a new heroic world from which Dede apparently is excluded.

Saturday, March 28, 1998