Thompson's creation is one of infinite empathy for those who, for whatever reason, struggle with the exacting movements of the status-quo's rigorously choreographed waltz. His characters are hopelessly out of step. To survive, they improvise their own clumsy, stumbling waltz steps. As they take to the dance floor, they, by most standards, do appear to be quite mad. Captives in their respective universes, they passionately fashion and refashion their imagined places in the "real" world. Unyielding, their defeats are marginalized; their victories, however slight, embolden.