“It’s a fascinating time to be alive, really,” the one guy said. “When you see what the media make of something you personally know something about, you really start to see that.”
The other guy ate some of his steamed vegetables. The first guy was having kung pao chicken. I had the Singapore rice noodles, because it’s $3.95 and it sits out on the buffet all day, so it’s consistent.
The two guys were dressed exactly alike, the first one in a pink shirt with cufflinks and the other one in a striped shirt with button cuffs and a blue blazer.
The second guy said, “You guys were involved in that?”
The first guy said, “Oh, yeah. From the beginning. Before the media ever got ahold of it.”
The second guy said, “No freakin’ way,” while the first guy picked his nose with his thumb, in a way you knew he thought did not really count as picking his nose in public.
Then the first guy devoted himself to his kung pao for a minute. He reminded me of my maternal grandfather, the determined way he cut each piece of chicken in half, not that my maternal grandfather ever had kung pao chicken in his life. He died in some piece of machinery as a young man, long before Chinese food ever came to our area. I always imagined him as a man who would cut his chicken like that.
The second guy said, “So, you personally?”
The first guy said, “Yeah, some. I was instrumental in a lot of the early briefs.”
I pictured him with a violin, in his underpants.
The second guy said, “When you think about the long-term impact, I mean whoa.”
Deadly asteroids, horses and buggies, phraseology of cultures not my own. I began to feel these men’s sexual attractiveness. Their proximity made my noodles that much more delicious.
Stories by Buzz Mauro have appeared in New Orleans Review, NOON, River Styx, Tampa Review, Willow Springs and other magazines. He lives in Annapolis and works as an actor and acting teacher in Washington, DC.