(first appeared at runningoutofink.com on 1/1/2013)
I met this guy last night. Cool in an odd way. It’s a shame he died because I saw definite friendship material there.
I was working at a golf club. I’d like to say I have some important position but the truth is I clear away the dishes from the tables. Pay isn’t bad and the hours are reasonable so I have nothing to be embarrassed about. Or at least that’s the way I wish I felt about it. I was explaining this in perhaps greater detail than needed to my new acquaintance when the power went out. We were in the middle of one of those crazy storms that sneak up on you every now and then. Strong winds, driving rain, the whole show. The power went out in such a way that it almost let you know it had no plans of coming back any time soon.
Which upset this guy to no end. He started damning the weather and damning the fact that he didn’t charge his computer’s battery and then he started damning pretty much everything he made eye contact with. I was enjoying it. We sat together at the bar and started to drink in earnest. The whole time he kept looking at his watch, as if he had somewhere to be.
I asked him if he needed to go and he said “Nope.” Turns out he was right where he was supposed to be. What he needed was power so he could send an e-mail that would alert a woman to the fact he was waiting there so she could join him.
Quite romantic as he explained it. Trouble was if he didn’t send the e-mail then no amount of romance would produce her. It took a few clicks of a mouse that at present was uncooperative. I tried to console him by explaining my position on online romances. In summation … I’m in the camp that says they’re a waste of time. “They never work out because neither party is ever who they say they are,” I offered up as I went to refill my glass.
“You never know,” was all he said by way of a reply. He had a faraway look and as the minutes passed he started to get more agitated. I started to try and convince him again about the futility of meeting a woman he’d never actually seen and he stopped me with a wave of his hand.
“Let me tell you something I’ve never told a living soul.” Obviously with that introduction I was all ears. Even the storm seemed to take it down a notch out of respect for an opening line like that.
“One day I was walking through the woods and I saw a house. I’m talking real woods, not the garden variety you see sprinkled around subdivisions and such. Deep, dark woods. The kind you have to walk a few days through the former before you even approach the latter.”
I leaned solemnly in to show him I understood exactly the kind of woods he was talking about.
“There I came upon a house. Not to put too fine a point on it, but that goes to show you the kind of woods I’m talking about here. Normal woods, you see a house, in these kinds of woods you can only come upon them. No driveways. No fences. No windows.”
“Balls deep in the woods,” I offered.
He takes a quick sip of his beverage and continues. “So I walk up to this house and look in the window. What do I see but four wolves sitting around a table. Sitting in the chairs. They immediately notice me and awkwardly start to slide off the chairs all nonchalant and then all wander off.”
My face must have expressed some confusion.
“I know. They were sitting there doing God knows what but they were all sitting there around a table. In chairs. I felt like I caught them having a meeting or something. As soon as they saw my face in the window they looked embarrassed and slinked off without a word or a growl or anything.”
“Wow,” was all I could manage.
“So that’s why I say you never know.”
He finished his drink and stood up. “I need power and I need it now.”
I followed him as he futilely tried to plug in his power extension in various outlets.
“What is it they say about lighting?” he asked nobody in particular.
“I don’t know. In what context?” I replied but he was already off looking through a closet that bordered the ballroom. He emerged with the long pole that we use to change the light bulbs on the ceiling. He wrapped one end of the power cord around the top of the pole and then plugged in the other end to his laptop.
“I have a very good feeling about this girl. Like she’s special. Maybe even The One.” He got a small smile and then flung open the doors and marched out into the rain.
Obviously I tried to stop him but he was having none of it. Looking back I guess he thought he could pull some Ben Franklin stunt with the pole and the lightning and charge up his laptop in one big burst but you know the sort of lighting those asshole storms seem to bring. The kind that seems to be sitting there just waiting for any big metal object to be thrust upwards so that it can bring down enough electricity to leave a burn mark on the sun. He literally wasn’t three steps from the door with his pole when he was struck.
There was nothing anyone could do for him. He was all burnt up, from his toes to the crispy hair on his head. The smell was horrible. I thought it might be somehow like roast beef or something coming out of a deep fryer but no such luck.
I wonder if the girl will read about it in the papers or if she’ll think he just stood her up.
The laptop was fried as well or I might have tried to hook up with her myself. Maybe she is The One.
You never know.