His name was Francis and he was born with an odd gift. By the time he was twenty, he was still a baby and his mother was dead. They switched him to goats milk and kept him in a cage.
I found him on an app; F4F. I’d been having trouble making new friends in Russia. So, I signed up and put in my information, interests, morals and so on. It set me up on something called a F4Fate.
“It’s a date,” my grilfriend said.
“A friend date.”
She shrugged. “Still a date.”
I went anyways. He was ten minutes late, led in by his caretaker.
“His name is Francis, he was born with an odd gift,” his caretaker told me; her name was Olga.
I was half-way through my second beer. “Hi,” I told Francis.
“Omphlalaa boogle-snarf,” Francis replied, unenthused.
Olga shrugged. “He doesn’t speak English. He’s been alive for, hm–” she looked away, “a few thousand years at least. We felt like he needed some social time.”
I frowned at Francis, he didn’t seem too interested in anything, especially me. “I–uh, I don’t speak Russian very well,” I told her, or him, or both.
Olga sighed. “He doesn’t either, we don’t actually know what he speaks, a dead language presumably.”
She seemed bored.
“Humble-gruff!” Francis cried. Olga checked her watch, then nodded. She held out her wrist to Francis, he kissed it. When he did, her wrist glowed a bit. I frowned.
“It doesn’t hurt,” Olga reassured me. “He just takes a little life now, keeps him able.”
I leaned away from the pair. Francis did look old, but not frail. I ordered another beer.
“Umgfrlumpus!” he said, pulling his lips from Olga’s wrist.
I shrugged and ordered him a beer too. Olga declined. We sat in silence for a while. This is what I get for looking for friends on an app, I thought. Francis hummed to himself as he drank. I wondered when I could leave without running the risk of having my life wrist-kissed out of my body. To pass the time I had a go at Francis.
“So, what do you like to do?” I asked him.
He grunted. “Inklifundershuck.”
I sighed, then frowned, thinking.
“Inklifundershuck?” I said. Francis looked up at me. He raised an eyebrow.
Then, he smiled. “Jusflrunhcter,” he said.
“Klimblginter,” I replied.
“Vlimpsitsfik!” he cried.
I leaned toward him and held up my finger.
He followed suit, saying it softer, “Tlipl-shfffter.”
At this we both burst out laughing. Francis turned to Olga and held out his finger. ” Tlipl-shfffter!” he spat at her, “Tlipl-shfffter!”
He had to put down his beer he was laughing so hard. Olga looked from him to me in a confused sort of horror. She looked at her own finger.
“Tlipl-shfffter?” she asked, “what–what are you guys talking about?”
I shook my head, catching my breath. “Absolutely nothing,” I told her, feeling as though I’d finally found a friend I understood.