please be my friend, epilogue

The phone rang in 1995. I picked it up.

“Bueno,” I said.

“You are one sharp fuck, you kid, fuck you,” he drawled over the phone but I’d been working out and was ready.

I said, “You, sir, are one sharp old man.” Matching King’s to Queen’s pawn before I was even sure of the caller’s identity. I knew the voice but I couldn’t be sure. The ID box read: Private.

I’ve never been so proud as when he said, “I just finished your book, The Knot in my Shoelaces. Great! Just really swell, I must say.”

“You like me,” Sally Field said for me, “You really like me?”

“You know,” he said, “I knew your Terri.”

I knocked that down: “I never read Tarzan and the Ant Men.

“Don’t make jokes, you fuck,” he said, “This is your favorite writer.”

“Please, sir,” I said, “I would gladly repay you Tuesday for the price of a ———— today.”

He roared with laughter. I love the sound of an old man laughing.

We met instead for whiskey and conversation at his favorite place some many miles down a highway from the local cemetery and his own dormitory for one.


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