The guy’s flat broke. He hits the same pizza place for lunch on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays because they offer a lunch special. You buy two plain slices of pizza, and choose any can of soda you would like, for $2.75. It’s a steal compared to the $7 soups at Hale & Hearty, or $10 salads at Amish. They have everything, from Dr. Pepper, to Coke Zero, to Stewart’s cream. There are fresh condiments and shakers next to the register. The pizza is cooked in traditional pizza ovens and the cheese tastes real. The best part about it though is that you can eat inside. There’s standing room against a green marble ledge that’s 5 inches off the wall and just barely fits a doubled-up paper plate. Picture a row of guys standing at a urinal. That's what it looks like. The heat gets a bit intense because of the ovens, but it sure beats standing in the cold.
Reading his Esquire magazine, our regular can’t understand why this writer, Cal Fussman, gets to interview everyone. Every single page has "interviewed by Cal Fussman" at the top of it. Why should one man get to speak with all these talented celebrities and record their lives? What’s he done that someone else hasn’t?
The Regular: “Why this line” he whispers to himself while reading an interview by Cal. It’s an answers-only article that lists answers of random questions that Cal must've asked.
“Fuck em. Shortest prayer in the world” was one of the answers Cal wrote in the article.
“I don’t get it. It doesn’t lead up to anything but yet it’s taken out of context, and I don’t know what it’s there for” the regular says. “What am I supposed to like Gary Oldman now just because he curses? Who gives a shit.”
A discussion ensues next to him between a heated couple. A column in the wall separates them by a foot, maybe a foot and a half.
Guy: “I told ya bitch, git yo stawies straight. You go cawlin awl yall bitches to git dere opinion yet you and I bofe know, day be trippin on dere mans and don’t trust em fa shit.”
Girl: “So that means day dumb or sumpin? Day know’s dere men like I know mine, and day say all dere mens cheatin” she waves her hands in his face in small circles.
The regular sifts through the article for some cohesive sentiment and finds that he can relate to Gary’s mention of his children. He says they are his greatest achievement in life, but that parenting takes the act of “civilizing” scenarios that would never happen as an adult.
He reads Cal’s quotes that Gary gave him. “There’s no handbook to parenting. Kids will tip the coffee over and then finger paint on the table. At some point you must say, we’re gonna have to clean that up, after all, you can’t paint with coffee on the table.”
He laughs at the raw compromise of allowing for change and accepting that there can’t be none. The kids must play and where they choose is part of their creative outlet. It comes down to it being their life now, and not really yours.
Guy: “So then I’m cheatin? Just caws dese dumb mawfuckers don’t know how to keep day women in check, and treat em right, I fall into dere category? Dat shit’s fucked up bee…fuck you….straight up like, fuck youuuuu.”
Girl: “I aint sayin you’s cheatin without caws. Dis aint jus outta mid air, I heard through da grapevine you’s creepin and that I best be’s watchin my back” she turns her back towards him.
Guy: “Yea you best be’s watchin yo back because I’m bout to end dis shit. What good is ma word if you aint gone listen?”
Girl: “Oh I listen…you damn well know my ass is listenin.”
The regular begins laughing. Cal wrote a line he enjoyed and begins to reflect on some great personal memories that make the statement he read, oh so true.
Guy: “What da fuck you laughin at nigga” the guy says to the regular reading the article.
The regular knew right away that the guy was talking to him. At times like these the regular used to feel his heart drop and his lips go dry. He would freeze up and his heart would race, but not this time. For so many reasons, not this time. He turns and answers with a smirk.
The Regular: “It’s a great line.”
He holds his voice low and slow, and leans his head to the right.
Guy: “Fuck’s a great line? You smiley mawfucka, why don’t you mind yo bidness and keep yo mowff shut.
The Regular points down at his magazine but keeps his eyes thin and holds his stare toward the guy. His stare bore an expression like “who gives a shit about your fucking conversation.” He wore the stare like a mold; like a man with nothing to lose.
The Regular: “No. I said, it’s a great line.”
The guy looks down at the words of the best interviewer of all time. Cal Fussman’s puzzle, taken apart and re-assembled, with all lines like pieces splayed out in a box labeled “taken out of context, my apologies, my masterpiece.” He subconsciously beats you into submission, into loving Gary Oldman. The guy reads the line next to the regular's finger.
Guy: “A beautiful ass is a joy forever” he says lowly.
The regular smiles, and the guy re-reads the line again to be sure.
Guy: "A Beee-youuutiful ass is a joy foreva."
The guy howls when he's done and jumps back from his forward fighting lean.
Guy: “Holla!! Boy’s got it done right there! Nuttin betta kid.”
He steps back and looks at the regular and puts a clenched fist out now smiling. The regular winks and pounds fists with the guy.
Girl: “What? What’s it say?”
Guy: “Nuttin baby….nuttin” he says as a calm comes over him. “Less go.”
The guy puts his arm around his girl and walks toward the door as she looks back over her shoulder at the regular. He's reading again. A chill clears the air as the door shuts behind them.