I’d been watching the weather channel for a couple of hours when I got a phone call.
Hi, James. I . . . I was thinking of you. How are you?
Fine. And you? I was thinking of you too.
Really? Oh, I’m okay. You sound different.
Well, it’s been awhile.
Your voice. Is something wrong? Do you have a sore throat or something?
Maybe. No, I don’t think so. I feel fine. Hey, you want to get together? I moved. I’m over here in Ocean Park now, near Main and Pier.
I think I have the wrong James.
No, you have the right James.
Who am I?
You are you. Who else could you be?
What’s my name?
It’s right on the tip of my lip. If I saw your face, I’d remember. Or we could meet at your place. My place or yours, either one is fine with me. Or, if you like, we could meet at a neutral place. How about sushi? It’s a balmy night. What could be better than sushi and beer, Japanese beer? My treat. Or, if you like, we could split the bill. You know, some people like to do that.
I got the wrong number.
No, you don’t. You got the right number. By the way, how old are you?
You must be sick.
I told you. I feel fine. Listen, I don’t remember how old I was when we last saw each other, but I’m forty-one now. Does that put us in the correct ballpark? Anywhere from eighteen to about forty-four would work.
You’re one of those sick weirdos. I’m going to hang up.
Hey, wait a minute. You called me. You can’t hang up. I was sitting here, watching TV, and my cellphone buzzed. You said you had been thinking about me, and, as it was, I had been thinking about you. So what’s the problem? Let’s get together. It’s only seven-thirty.
I can’t believe it.
I’m a nice guy, and you’re a nice woman. I don’t mean to rush things, but just to reassure you, I firmly believe in safe sex. And, I’m not a racist or anything. I happen to be white, but I don’t have any sort of problems with brown or black or whatever.
How about with white?
Of course white’s fine. Are you white?
You mean, you don’t know if I’m brown or black or white? I thought you knew me.
I’m so nonracist that your race slipped my mind. I don’t pay attention to someone’s skin pigment or race or ethnic background. I don’t even care if they went to college or not. I hardly pay attention to someone’s name. After all, what’s in a name? I pay attention to who a person is.
Do you pay attention to sex, as in male or female?
Well, yes, I do. I’m male and I like females. I mean, I like males too, but not in a sexual way. And I’m glad you brought up the subject of sex. I’d like to get back to that real quick, but for now I want to say that I imagine you know that I’m male, and I can tell your female, right?
How about weight?
Weight? Well sure, if you want to get into dimensions. I’m six-one and weigh one-seventy. How about you?
Silence . . . I got an idea.
If you give me your number, although I kind of already have it, but anyway, if you give me your number, I’ll think things over and maybe I’ll call you back. Then it’ll be kind of like a real phone call.
I see. Okay, here’s my number . . . Do you got it? Repeat it back to me, just to make sure.
. . .
That’s right. Okay, I’ll be waiting for your phone call.
Right. But what’s your name?
We don’t need to go over that again, do we? How about you, what’s your name?
If I call you back, I’ll tell you my name. So . . . goodbye.
Goodbye. I’ll be waiting for your call. I really will. But just one more thing.
I love you.
I sit, and I look at the TV, which is on mute. I always keep the weather channel on mute because it allows me to think better.
Michael Onofrey grew up in Los Angeles, or so his age, regarding "grew up," would indicate. Currently he lives in Japan, as his surroundings attest to. A novel, "Bewilderment," was recently published by Tailwinds Press.
Street Artist unknown.
Photo by Adam Lawrence.
Swim Good Now is the music of Jon Jasper-Lawless and this is the first single from his forthcoming LP Daylight which will be released on Ryan Hemsworth’s Secret Songs Label.