I read the first five pages of Dogwish by Henry Griff, the first fourteen of Henrietta’s Test Question by George Fedderman and at least the ten words of The Last Guy Named Mike by Frank Irvine Denner. I was reading the back cover of VENT! by Sandra Kline when Hank walked in. He looked from me to my pile of books.
“What are you doing?”
I tossed aside VENT! and lit a cigarette. “I’m trying to find a new book to read. Where have you been?”
Hank took a seat on the floor beside me, picked up Dogwish, put it down. “I was in the park counting all the nipples on statues.”
I laughed, dropping my cigarette. He frowned, “what?”
“Sorry, just, I mean–why?”
He shrugged. “I was in the park and I was thinking about everything I know and I got really worried that there is nothing that I know about the world that no one else knows and I looked up and noticed that one of the statue’s nipples had faded away. So, I counted.”
Hank smiled. I passed him a cigarette, not knowing how to respond. He took it, lit it. I picked back up VENT!
“What’s that about?” he asked.
I turned it over. “Some sci-fi book where immortality was invented a while ago and all the kids are like, in their fifties, but still look like kids and they want to get married and shit. Wait– I got this from your room?”
Hank nodded, “yeah, it’s my book.”
“Then why are you asking me about it?” I said, tossing it at him.
He looked at it, curious. He shrugged. “I don’t remember.”
“Is it good?”
He put it down. “Don’t remember.”
“Well then what was the point of reading it?”
Hank shrugged. “I read it to enjoy it. What’s the point in remembering it?”
“So we can talk about it!” I cried, throwing up my hands.
Hank frowned, shook his head and stood up. “You’ve got strange priorities,” he decided, walking off.
“Uh-huh, so how many nipples are there in the garden then?” I called after him. But, he didn’t respond.