When one — in this case this one — poises the ol' digits over a certain old digital board, he must, as a matter (of course), come to firm grips with what's been writ hitherthen, not only by the self but by the entire conglomerate of grubby fingers out there, and if then he's not sufficiently put-off by the prospect of justifying the spotlight, he must still bear down and come through with the goods, knuckles down, eyes locked. And it was with such hubris — deeply considered hubris, but hubris nonetheless — that I tapped (surprise, surprise) Ben in the shoulder region and steered his formidable gangle my way.
Yes?" he said, glaring as per.
"Nothing," I shrugged. "I just thought, you know, we could get to having an amusing* conversation or something — like old times."
Ben sighed (also as per).
"Well, I sort of promised I'd do something today, and—"
"But why me?"
"Why not one of your other readers?"
We laughed for several minutes before Ben clarified.
"No really, why not The Other, for instance?"
"The Other?" I looked puzzled. (I was puzzled.)
"Yes, The Other."
"Oh yes," I said, puzzled no more, "The Reluctant Revolutionary."
"I prefer Pop."
"No. Just Pop."
"I prefer... Cynthia Rose — or just Cyn."
Ben posed a handsome puzzler, all right.
"You know — Starfish And Coffee."
"I don't care," he said, sneezing. And with that he grabbed onto the side of a van and whizzed off.
Typical. Now I had no one to have amusing* conversations with. Scowling at my shoelaces, I returned home, free from any foreseeable deadlines but burdened by a lack of Ben. I washed dishes — The Gold Experience. Sometime later I remembered. Racing back to wherever that street was, I found the conjured and subsequently abandoned Ms. Rose standing near a bakery, dramatically soaked by a recent shower. She peered down at me angrily.
"Next time," I said, and raced off.
*Adjective does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Times or any of its affiliates.
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