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“How do you feel about glue, old man?” Frederick asked, sitting down across from a man that had been reading Mises’ Interventionism.  The man looked up from his book slowly, marking his page with his thumb.

“The same as anyone else, I suppose.” It was certainly not every day that a stranger asked a man how he felt about glue, and he was intrigued enough to respond.

“Yes, but how is that? You see, I am of the belief that glue is –”

“You’re missing a shoe.” The man had not meant to interject, but it so surprised him to notice such an oddity  that the words came out before he had time to stop them.

“Well, so I am. Good eye, sir. I never leave the house without it.”

The man tapped his finger against the arm of his chair. “Then why do you not have it on?”

“It’s in my backpack. Never leave the house without it.”

It made perfect sense to Frederick, though the man was left at a loss for words, a strange occurrence for him.

“You should try it some time,” Frederick carried on.

“Try what?”

“Placing your left shoe in your pack. It’s very invigorating.”

“Are you mad?”

“Mad? Why no, my good chap. I’m a very gay fellow. You see, I’m of the belief that –”

“You –” the man paused in confusion. “What?”

“You seem a very confused fellow. Perhaps you spend too much time with glue. It’s not at all safe, you know?”

“Right, okay. I was reading a book, then. So if you don’t mind –” The man left the sentencing hanging, sure Frederick would take the hint and leave. This conversation was not at all as he anticipated, and he was ready for it to be over.

Frederick leaned over to try to catch a glimpse of the title. The man did not oblige his efforts, leaving the book resting firmly on his lap.

“Good book. I’ve read it before.”

“You did not see the title.”

“Good book,” Frederick insisted.

“I need to be going.” The man stood from the chair, glancing at the page to see where he was at before closing the book.

“Do wait, my man,” Frederick said, standing as well. “We just began talking. You seem a very figured-out man, knows what’s what. I’m confused half the time.”

The man glanced at Frederick as if to say, “Obviously.”

“Name’s Frederick James Hendricks. Friends call me Freddie.”

“Right. Nice meeting you, Frederick.”

A smile spread across Frederick’s face and he hooked his thumbs through his suspenders. The man glared at Frederick for a moment, waiting for him to say something.

“What?” he asked in frustration when Frederick said nothing.

“Well, then, what’s your name, friend?”

“David. I have somewhere to be.”

“Well, I’ll go with you.”

“A funeral.”

“Dreadful affairs. Whose is it? Maybe I knew the person and they forgot to invite me.”

“A wedding.”

“Lovely affairs. I am of the belief that one can never have too many well-wishers at a wedding.”

“A gay bar.”

“I am a rather merry fellow.”

David laughed in disbelief. “Is this a joke?”

“I do so love a good joke.”

“Look Frederick, Freddie, I don’t know you and I really need to go, so just take your deranged conversation somewhere else!”

Frederick took a step back, his eyes wide in surprise. Quietly he said, “You’ve been eating glue.”

David’s jaw ground back and forth, and his knuckles whitened as his grip tightened on his book.

“See, I am of the belief that glue kills brain cells. Anyone with a sour disposition has obviously been eating it. You’ve been eating glue.”

Through clenched teeth, David said, “I have not been eating glue.”

“No sense denying it, my good man.”

“Denying what? I’m denying nothing! I don’t eat glue!”

“Oh, I think you do.” Frederick paused, and smiled. “Oh, well lookie there. Do, glue. It rhymes. I’m a poet, you know?”

“No. I do not know.”

“Really? I could have sworn I told you.”

David massaged his temples and opened his mouth to speak when Frederick said, “Well, I really must be off, old friend. It was good seeing you again. Lay off the glue, why don’t you.” As Frederick turned to leave, David sunk back down into the chair he had been sitting in earlier, dropping his head into his hand.

“Did I ever tell you I was Winnie the Pooh in a past life?”

~~~

“I punched a man at the coffee shop today.” David’s wife looked up from the papers she had been grading for her eight grade students.

“What!”

“It turns out he was practicing some technique for an acting class. Says he was quite happy to have a black eye, meant he had been acting right or something. Children these days are idiots.”

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