It has occurred to me how awful it usually is talking to people. More often than not, others seem to have loads of things to say which not only have no bearing on my life, but also actually reduce my life expectancy, as they are so annoying. Let's face it -- I have many people I call friends, and many more who seem to believe that I call them friends. With all these earnest souls, I really am quite beyond the need to meet anyone else in a social situation, especially men. What follows is as close to perfection in an exchange I can imagine if I am forced to enter such an unpleasant experience. The setting is, of course, a bar, and the person is a stranger being introduced by an acquaintance who suddenly must leave for some pressing engagement such as a plane flight or death.
Brady sits at a table by the window. He is almost done with his beer, and he is iffy about getting another one, as happy hour has ended and paying more than five dollars for a pint is simply ridiculous. An acquaintance -- to avoid making it male or female, the name shall be Terry -- introduces him to a stranger.
TERRY: Brady, this is my friend--
STRANGER: My name is really too difficult to remember, so don't worry about it.
BRADY: Okay. Nice to meet you.
TERRY: Well, I suddenly have to go.
STRANGER: Mind if I sit?
STRANGER: I went to college with Terry. We used to date, but it never went anywhere as she said I couldn't really compare to you.
(So Terry is female.)
STRANGER: Say, can I buy you a drink?
BRADY: That's really not neces--
STRANGER: I insist.
BRADY: All right then. I would like another Guinness and a fifth of bourbon.
Stranger goes to the bar and is gone for five or six minutes, during which Brady is struck with the idea for a screenplay that will be a phenomenal success, both with the critics and the audiences, ensuring Brady a place in unending posterity. Stranger returns.
STRANGER: Here you are, then. I had them put the bottle of bourbon in a bag for you. All they had was top shelf.
BRADY: Thank you.
STRANGER: And here are some tickets that are good for any movie at all. I really can't use them, nor should you feel obliged to ask me to go with you, as I am allergic to movies.
BRADY: Thank you.
STRANGER: I also have this predicament in which I need to give away my lottery ticket that is worth 138 million dollars. You see, it is against my religion to claim the prize. You seem like a cool guy, so I want you to have it. It would disappoint me greatly if you refused. Here you go.
BRADY: You are kind.
STRANGER: Did Terry mention I am moving out of my three-bedroom rooftop apartment in the West Village?
BRADY: I do not recall.
STRANGER: I am. As I own it, there is no rent. Would you please take it over for me?
BRADY: Okay. Do you also happen to have a nice getaway in the moutains of Colorado?
STRANGER: Of course. You'll find directions in the apartment, and the key is this one right here.
BRADY: Thank you.
Stranger hands Brady a small certificate.
STRANGER: By the way, this certificate guarantees you that anything you order at any restaurant is free, and you don't need to tip. It will never expire.
BRADY: Thanks a lot.
STRANGER: Want to know why I am giving you all this stuff?
BRADY: Not particularly.
There is a long and remarkably comfortable silence as both men enjoy their drinks.
STRANGER: Well, I must be off, and never to return. It was nice meeting you.
BRADY: You, too.
STRANGER: I would give you my card so you can contact me, but I'm fresh out, so let's not worry about it, okay?
Brady does not answer, as he is taking a drink.
STRANGER: I would shake your hand, but I feel a cold coming on, so I'd better not. Goodbye, Brady. You have changed my life for the better. You are truly a witty, caring, intelligent, and compelling person. If only there were more like you.
BRADY: Thanks, man. Bye.
Stranger exits. Brady finishes his beer, and the bartender brings him another one.
BARTENDER: This one is on the house.
BRADY: Ah. Thanks.
The bartender returns to the bar. Brady enjoys his new beer, sitting at the table, looking out of the floor-to-ceiling window. Outside, it is raining a light, pleasant spring rain, and the air is warm. Something nice and mellow plays on the jukebox, maybe Paul Simon's "Graceland."
By Brady Richards