Monday, August 20, 2012

that's what friends are for

Earlier this evening, I was waiting for my wife to pick me up after work. (Okay, I was waiting outside of a casino, but that really has nothing to do with the story.  Okay. Okay, we were on our way to another casino to have dinner, but, again, that has nothing to do with the story!) Where was I....? Oh yeah... miraculously the Market-Frankford subway was running on schedule, so I arrived at Sugar House Casino around fifteen minutes before Mrs. Pincus did. Biding my time until I spotted my wife's car, I paced about our appointed meeting place just outside the north entrance. I fiddled with my phone. I avoided a few random dragonflies that buzzed off the nearby Delaware River. I checked my watch. I checked the digital clock on my phone. I compared the two times.

As I stood and waited, various people paraded by me. Some entering the casino, some exiting. Some paced around, making cellphone calls, others catching a quick smoke before heading back inside. I stared out across the parking lot and a figure came into my peripheral vision. I have an uncanny knack for ignoring pretty much anyone I choose to. I exercised my ability and ignored the gentleman, who had now parked his considerable bulk on the broken top of an ambient light fixture less than a foot or so away from me. He exhaled dramatically and exclaimed, "Ahhh! I gotta tell ya...."  to no one in particular, but unconsciously directed toward me.

I continued to ignore.

After a few moments of silence, he began again. "Did you ever have a friend that promised something and then didn't come through?," he asked hypothetically, directing his inquiry even more to me.

Reluctantly, I answered, "I have no friends." hoping my snide reply would put a quick end to this exchange.

"No friends?," he asked.

I shook my head. Twice, to be exact.

He wasn't even close to finished. "I owe a guy money," he continued, "and my friend was supposed to give me the money. I been trying to get a hold of him all day."

"Can't rely on anyone," I said. "That's why I don't have friends."

"Well," he elaborated, as though I cared, "I guess I gotta face the music and tell this guy he's not getting his money. I guess I gotta face the music."  I thought for sure that this gentleman was going to ask me for a "few spare bucks to help him out". I could feel it coming. Instead, he produced a cell phone and dialed a number. "Hello? Sam?," he spoke into the small electronic device, "Did you get the package I left for you? You didn't? Oh, well, I'll be by later on to drop something off to you." He added a quick "goodbye" and mashed the "End Call" button. Turning his attention back to me, he announced, "That was easier that I thought."

I nodded and hoped my wife would be pulling up any second.

"No friends, huh?," he reiterated, still intrigued by the beginning of our (mostly one-sided) dialogue.

"Nope.," I answered.

"Don't rely on anyone, huh?"

Again, I shook my head in the negative.

"Except for the Man Upstairs...right?," he said and smiled hopefully.

I stared silent and expressionless back at him.

"No response to that?," he questioned

"No response.," I responded.

"HA!," he laughed, "You have a good day, my friend." and he walked off towards the casino entrance.

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