DIALOGUE WITH A FRIEND/STRANGER

May I ask you a question?

You may? Do I know you?

You may! We are friends online [names are exchanged] but I have never met you. Did you…?

Go ahead.

Were you on a train to New Orleans late last January?

What, are you doing contact tracing?

[with vatic verve] You were going to see Twisted Nipple on the 2nd night, and I was hoping to make the show that night, but the train was late. What? The smile tells me you are not quite serious.

I am not. But yes, I went there. Does it show, these months later? I love those guys.

I saw you on a bench and said hello to you — it was on the Moon Walk, because I saw you on the train and remembered saying hello on the train.

And now you’re saying hello again.

Yeah, yeah, I mean —

I remember you. You said there was a song that you liked that was played the first night, so I shouldn’t expect to hear it that night. And off you wandered, upstream. I had hoped you might sit down and speak a minute or two. I was told you are a very good writer.

What?

That’s what Mother says.

Do I know your mother? Wait …

Do you know my mother? I hope so, otherwise I’m going to be very confused.

Did you really wish I had stayed and talked?

Yeah.

Why?

You look friendly, harmless enough. I could probably take you in a fight to the death.

You have many fights to the death?

Not as many as I used to.

Ah. Well, I’ve enjoyed the witty repartée, uh —

Can’t even remember my name, man, come on.

I’m kidding. I remember your name. Nice to meet you!

© 2020 Thomas N. Dennis

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