I throw on my sunglasses, walking beside Hank, Will and Simon as they carry on a conversation about Moby Dick. Why they would be talking about Moby-Dick at eight-thirty-in-the -morning God only knows. Then again, none of us believe in God, so I suppose no one will ever know.
There is a cafe with outdoor tables on the sidewalk of the main road and we all sit.
“Cafe con Leche”
“Cafe con Leche”
He gets to me.
“Una Cerveza y Agua”
“Cafe con Jameson.”
The waiter stops writing and looks at Hank .
Hank holds up both hands, one holding an imaginary coffee cup, one a bottle.
“Cafe” He shakes the hand holding the cup.
“Jam-e-son.” He pours the imaginary whiskey into the imaginary cup and takes a sip. The waiter walks away.
Will has stopped paying attention and is writing something on a napkin.
“What are you writing?”
He looks up at me. Hesitates.
“A–uh a love letter.”
“I didn’t know you had a girlfriend.”
“Then why are you writing a love letter.”
“Because I’m in love.”
“Oh Christ, just elaborate.”
“Why should I?”
“Because I want to know.”
The waiter interrupts us with a tray of clinking cups. He places my beer on the table and hands around the coffee, one con Jameson. I turn back to Will–
“Fine. It’s a girl I met through the internet. We have been writing back and forth to each other for two years now. The day before I left to come to Spain she visited me and we walked along the train tracks and spent the whole day together. It was the best day of– What?– God what?” I feel my face giving a sarcastic expression and immediately correct it.
“Nothing, keep going.”
“That’s it, we had that one day and now I am waiting for her.”
“So… what you’re saying is you have been loyal to this girl for two years and you’ve met her once.”
The sarcastic expression is back.
“Will– I don’t believe in you.”
“I don’t care if you don’t believe me! I–”
“NO– Will, I don’t believe in you. I do not believe you exist. I’m serious Will, you are not a real person.”
“Oh? everyone is unique and different, not everyone has to be like you.”
“Wrong! people are not different. Mankind is just a six billion piece puzzle of a polar bears ass scattered over uneven ground. We might be shaped a bit different but essentially we have all the same qualities that mold us.”
“And what are those?”
“The need to eat then poop, sex if you’re lucky, the need for tribal validation, self-loathing, and hypocrisy! You don’t exhibit any of those things. I have yet to see proof you even shit! For all I know you walk around with a belly full of pearls and piss sunshine. It’s annoying.”
“I’m sorry my perfection annoys you.”
Hank is looking at me, confused. Will is back writing his love letter and Simon is looking into his coffee, ruminating.
“What Hank ?” I ask.
“Have you ever seen a Polar Bear’s ass?”
“No Hank . I assume it is all white, that was the point I was making.”
“But, wait, no, there is a giant asshole right in the middle of it.”
“The tail covers the asshole.”
Simon looks up.
“Actually no it doesn’t, they have bunny tails.”
I sigh. “Well, shit, then.”
Hank holds up a hand. “No, no, it still kind of fits.”
“How does it fit Hank? My whole metaphor is lost– and it wasn’t even a good one to begin with.”
“Well I think this is a better metaphor. The vast majority of people lay in the hairy white rump of the ass, but based on how moral or immoral a person is, they get closer and closer to the thicket surrounding the asshole. It is like the circles of hell. And right at the precipice of the anal cavity are people like Hitler and Stalin, and at the outer rim of the ass are people like Will.”
“I am the sunshine peaking over the edge of the ass,” Will says, without looking up.
I light a cigarette and finish my beer. Consider a rebut and instead look at Hank .
“That actually makes a good amount of sense.”
Will puts his pen down and looks up at me.
“You JUST said that people are like blank puzzle pieces and now you’re saying they are different parts of a polar bear’s asshole.”
“Will what was the last thing I said makes up a person?”
“I wasn’t listening.”
“HYPOCRISY! We need our convictions to really learn anything and our hypocrisy to grow. See? I am growing.”
“And you, are a hypocrite and I’ll prove it!”
“How are you planning to do that?”
I point my cigarette at him.
“I don’t fucking know.”
The waiter circles close, turns, and walks back into the cafe.