"Wh.. Well hello! My heavens it's been a long time since I saw you last! How are you? Please, sit down." The man standing in front of me looked much younger than I remembered him.
"Thank you. I'm doing fine. You know, this, that and the other thing just keeping me busy."
"Right, right, of course." His enthusiasm for small talk certainly hadn't changed much. No surprise. This favorite sequence of his had changed, from "yeah, yeah, that's cool" to its current variant, but the context, the face, the voice, it was all the same.
"So what about you?" I say, knowing the answer full well ahead of time.
"Oh things are great. We've really hit gold with this latest deal." He says with a chuckle, which reminds me of a flatulent drainpipe.
"You've been hitting gold for years now, Jim." I say with a smile of social appropriateness. "I'd have thought you would've moved to platinum by now." My witticism entertains me about as much as a pile of dung, but I chuckle. My friend Jim follows suit.
"Ha! Ha! Well, Jimmy, you've always been the one to think about the next step. I'm more one to relaaax," he gestures grandly with his meaty arms, leaning back in the wicker armchair and filling his chest with atmosphere. "To take it all one step at a time. And it's sure worked out, if I do say so myself."
My smile fades a bit. He hadn't changed in that regard either. As if right on cue, he leans forward again and looks me straight in the eye.
"So why are you here anyway, Jimmy? After what happened at that...well, after what happened, anyway, I never thought I'd see you again."
I have stopped smiling while my mind does donuts on my memory's parking lot. I had to agree with him on that. I never wanted to see him again. But, here I am.
"Well, I've got something to ask you, Jim."
"Yeah? What's that?" He grins, an expression of knowing.
"I need a bit of money." The words drip like spit from my mind and through my mouth, disgusting me as much as unsuccessfully hocking a loogie. Jim's reaction is predictable too.
"You need money?" His face takes on a serious expression, but underneath his gloat dances. "Well I'll be. Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy..." He's thoroughly enjoying himself, naively sure that I'm oblivious. "You came all the way here to tell me that?" Suddenly his face is jovial again. "Well of course I'll give you money, man!" He says, harking back to his twenty-something accent. "How much do you need?"
"Fifty Thousand." I say bluntly, irrationally hoping he'd refuse me.
"Done." He says and slaps his thigh. "I'll send you a check tomorrow." He stands. I stay seated. "Listen, it's been great to chat, and all, but I've got other friends waiting, so look for that check tomorrow, sound good?" It sounded horrific, beyond description loathesome, but I smile and nod.
"Yep. Sounds great." My body lifts my heavy head vertically, and my legs begin propelling me towards the entrance again like automatonic servos. I feel a tap on my shoulder. Jim's holding out his hand.
"Good to see you again, Jimmy."
"You too, Jim." And then I've left the room. In the waiting area are other organisms, also waiting for their chance to engage in infuriatingly pointless chitchat with the commercialist demigod of our town, to smile and joke and die inside while he flatulantly chuckles at ridiculous unhumor. Mmm hmm. I'm the one to think about the next step. And he's the one to relaaax, to take it all in. That's why I'm going home to chop potatoes and make onion soup. Because I'm hungry, and that's what hungry little Jimmy organisms do.