“Please,” I said to the owner of the diner. “He’s my friend. And he’s wearing a suit this time.”
“I told you,” he replied, sympathetic but unyielding. “Harry Nilsson is not allowed in my restaurant.” Harry, standing outside the window, made puppy-dog eyes.
“It’s not 2009 anymore,” I protested. “And he has a beautiful singing voice.”
“Give me your cell phone,” said the restaurateur. I obliged. “There, see. Pending criminal charges. I don’t care how turquoise his shirt is, he’s going to beat it.”
For hours, I sat alone at the counter, commiserating with the chef over the death of my friend.
* * * *
I had a beach ball between my legs, and the fitness instructor was telling me to squeeze it as hard as possible. I told him I couldn’t do it. “It’s easy,” he replied. “Just imagine it’s the head of a Supreme Court Justice.”
* * * *
In the hallway, Emma Goldman managed to swindle me out of $1.2 million worth of colourful handicrafts, which I had been appointed to look after. I wasn’t upset about that, but when she questioned my ethics as a documentary filmmaker, the situation became intolerable. Nobody in the dormitory of the screenwriters’ camp would make eye contact with me after that.
* * * *
Biggie and I were robbing a bank, along with a small boy. We went in carrying a cardboard box filled with dollar-bills, and told the bank manager we wanted that much “times two.” But when we came out, the boy realized we had only two boxes on the cart.
“Where’s the third box?” he shouted. “This is just our first box, plus another!”
“That’s right,” replied a nearby security guard, with a satisfied smile. “Your original box was 1. Times two is 2. Two boxes.”
“No, we meant you give us two times the number of boxes that we already had. We’ve got one. Multiplied by two is two. So you give us two boxes and we already have one which makes three! THREE BOXES!”
“Sorry, kid. You asked for two boxes, and you’re leaving with two boxes. You got exactly what you asked.”
The child swore. But there was no time to return and argue, for the police had showed up and begun shooting, riddling the child with separate holes for each of his profanities. Biggie and I made it to the SUV, but we could not save the child, who had tarried too long counting boxes.
In the car, it became clear that Biggie was bleeding profusely from a bullet-wound. “Would you like to go home, or perhaps to a hospital?” I asked him sweetly. “Hospital,” he gurgled.
When we arrived at the hospital, a parade of nurses came out and carried me in with an elaborate musical welcome-routine, leaving Biggie in the car moaning.
“No, no,” I insisted feebly. “I am not the patient!”
“Of course. Do not worry. You must see the hospital director.”
They brought me into the director’s office. He began to prod me.
“Any recent aches? Pains? Troubles? Woes? Can I fix you up with any medicine?” I told him that I needed nothing, but that I had a dying friend. He was entirely uninterested.
“Hang on a minute!” I exclaimed. “This is because I am WHITE, isn’t it?”
The director paused.
They were, however, kind enough to give me a complimentary miniature top hat to place on Biggie’s corpse.