My own damn fault. I shouldn’t have said his name out loud. I was at the bodega and he turns up in line behind me. He didn’t look so hot, at least, not like it was summer and people go to the beach and have a generally relaxed time. He looked like he’d spent the last month or so in a basement getting beaten with a chair. OK maybe that was a little much.

Fantastic! Saved me a phone call.

Tommy, how are ya?

Man, I’m doing great.

Oh yeah? (He really didn’t look great) Where you been? What’ve you been up to?

I been in the boiler room and let me tell you, I got a corker for you. This time, I feel sure of it, this time I got a hell of a winner.

Wait, you were where?

The boiler room, you know, down in the basement.

What the hell were you doing down there?

What kid of a stupid fucking question is that? I told you, I was writing.

In the boiler room?

We were going down the block at this point. He threw his hands up and looked away.

The fuck am I supposed to go, the library? I needed peace and quiet. You ever seen the kind of freaks hang out at the library?

Just – it struck me as an unconventional choice.

It’s perfect: Quiet, warm but not too warm. Smells nice to.

Really? Smells nice?

Yeah, the laundry room is next door and you got that fresh laundry smell all the time.

OK. So, what did you write?

I don’t know yet, I still got some work to do on it.

You’ll let me see it?

Yeah, of course. Couple weeks, max. Alright, this is where I go. Hey, kid, don’t be a stranger.

Alright Tommy, be good.

‘Don’t be a stranger.’ fuckin’ guy.

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