South End, Boston, MA —
It’s 10:30 AM, and most of the patrons of Farmer’s Horse coffee shop have given up whatever they were doing to become engrossed in the quickly-accumulating details of a loud guy’s phone conversation.
“Loud Guy started off the call talking about this lady named Anita, who he said was a real bitch,” says Matt, a 23 year-old art student.
Matt’s table-mate Janelle has a different slant. “I’m pretty sure Anita is a dog,” she says, “because somewhere in there, Anita bit a vet.”
Dan, a coffee shop employee, is not convinced Anita is not a person. “OK, so Anita definitely bit a vet, but before that, Anita stole money from this guy named Vic. Dogs don’t steal money.”
“You’ve obviously never owned a Chihuahua,” says Janelle.
Pam, a 66-year-old “almost-retiree,” has drawn an indexed flow-chart of Loud Guy’s phone conversation so far, and raises other questions about the story.
“So, Anita stole Vic’s money, then bit either a veteran or a veterinarian, but what about the part where Toby had to leave New Jersey because Sheila ate a lobster?”
“No, No,” says Matt. “Sheila met a mobster.”
“Yeah,” says Dan, “but after Sheila met the mobster, she ate a lobster. I heard it.”
“Then Anita bought a plane ticket to meet Toby in Hollywood,” says Pam, consulting her flow-chart. “By the way, not for nothing, but a dog wouldn’t buy a plane ticket.”
“You’ve obviously never owned a golden retriever,” says Janelle.
“OK OK, but the part I don’t understand,” says Sean, a part-time drummer, “is why Sheila and Toby went to Hollywood to beat up a social-climbing rockstar?”
“No no,” says Pam, “Toby and Sheila were upbeat about meeting a Hollywood star, rock climbing socially.”
“But I think Sheila also did do something to a rockstar,” says Dan, “right after Toby told off this dude named Murray for sleeping with Anita while Anita was seeing Vic”
“Wait,” says Sean, “I thought Anita was a dog, right? A dog wouldn’t be cheating in bed with some guy named Murray.”
“You’ve obviously never owned a labradoodle,” says Janelle.
In the meantime, while the patrons argue over the details of Loud Guy’ phone story, Loud Guy has infinitely complicated the plot by adding: a bird, or maybe a co-worker, named Rámon; one “Darlene,” probably a former girlfriend, but possibly a former motorcycle; Big Marco, who is clearly bad news; something to do with the Solomon Islands and, tangentially, guacamole; Neptune (the planet); Neptune (a stripper); and, a wedding where Vic is marrying either Toby, or both Toby and Sheila, or maybe Neptune — or it could be that the wedding is on Neptune.
It’s going to be a long morning at the Farmer’s Horse coffee shop.
By Joe Lichtblau