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.