That’s the Guy

Thom put a hand on my fore­arm. “Hey, isn’t that the guy over there?”

I looked up from my five-year-old cov­er­less copy of The New York­er. “Where? And what guy?”

Thom point­ed with­out rais­ing his arm from the table, keep­ing his ges­ture low for my ben­e­fit only. I fol­lowed his sight­line and saw the fel­low he was talk­ing about. “Oh, that guy.” I closed the mag­a­zine auto­mat­i­cal­ly and rolled it into a tight tube.

Don’t get up, man,” Thom mur­mured. “I just want­ed you to see him. Let’s not do any­thing hasty.”

What, like pull out a piece and put a round through each of his kneecaps?”

Thom nod­ded. “Yeah, yeah: that would be the sort of unpleas­ant­ness I was hop­ing to avoid.” I could see him study­ing my face ner­vous­ly. “You want anoth­er moji­to, man?”

I crushed the rolled mag­a­zine in my hands. “No, man,” I replied, my teeth clenched, “I don’t want a damn moji­to.” I stood up and dropped the mag­a­zine on my chair. “I want to go over there and have a word.”

Thom start­ed to get up, too, but I put my hand on his shoul­der. “It’s okay, lit­tle man. I’m cool. I just have a few ques­tions I’d like to ask the guy who took my girl­friend to an Arcade Fire con­cert and then didn’t bring her back. And lis­ten; I’m not wear­ing today, so you don’t need to wor­ry so much.” Nev­er­mind I could prob­a­bly take the jerk apart with my bare hands, I added silent­ly to myself.

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