Thursday, July 14, 2005

My Lunch With TJR - part 1

While having lunch at Qdoba yesterday I ran across a very interesting individual. He was about 5'5" tall, a bit on the heavy side, dressed head to toe in a charcoal gray suit, a top hat that added an extra foot to his height, wore a large yellow smiley face button in his lapel and was carrying an ice cream scoop that was almost as tall as he was. I had just started digging into my baby head sized chicken burrito when he walked in.

He waited in the doorway and scanned the lunch crowd as though looking for a friend. Since I really enjoy spotting odd people I studied him from behind my burrito. He could have passed for just another goth kid; pasty face, stringy hair, sunken eyes, pouty red lips except he was easily in his late 40s/early 50s and he was smiling. It was the kind of smile that said 'I know I don't belong on this person, but I've nowhere else go'. Then he looked at me. His eyes lit up as if he had found who he was looking for. He headed towards me and since I had chosen a booth in the corner there was nowhere for me to go to avoid him. I readied my burrito to toss at his head in case he turned out to be a bit crazier than I was prepared to deal with. It just might be able to stun him long enough for me to slip past.

When he reached my table he said, "Hi! You have a blog, don't you?"

I said, "Well, I prefer to think of it as a place to keep my deepest hopes and dreams safely on the internet where anyone with a computer and AOL can poke and plunder. Why?" I was also wondering to myself what it was about me that made it obvious that I was a blogger. Sorry. "Internet hoper and dreamer." Perhaps it's a kind of "mark of the beast" on my forehead. I made a mental note to check a mirror when I had a chance.

"I've recently started a new business in the area and I was trying to come up with a way to get the word out that wouldn't cost me anything. Capital's a bit tight at the moment so traditional advertising is out. I felt that getting on the news would be problematic, considering the nature of my business, and they wouldn't give me the positive spin that I need. Then I remembered the power of the Internet! Hundreds of thousands of people could hear about my business and it wouldn't cost a dime! All I needed was a sympathetic blogger with a large enough audience. They've been in the news a lot lately, you know?"

"So I've heard." I got out when he paused for breath.

"Do you think you might be interested in interviewing me? You do have a lot of readers, right?" He tilted his head when he finished speaking and looked at me expectantly with sideways crazy eyes.

"Um. Okay. Yeah, sure, why not? And I have oodles of readers. Simply oodles." Sure, it was a lie, but this was the strangest thing to happen to me in ages and I was afraid that if he found out I had perhaps 12 regular readers he would go find someone else who bore the Mark of the Blog and take his weirdness with him. I couldn't have that. And besides, 12 could be oodles, right?

He stood his ice cream scoop carefully against the side of the table, sat down across from me, leaned in and said, "How would you like me to start?" He had a musty smell about him and up close I could tell that his suit and hat were actually black, just very dusty.

"I'm not sure. I've never done an interview before. Let's start with your name and what your business is about."

"My name is The Jolly Reaper and that's also my business. I rend souls from people with an extra bit of flair and fun," he said, with the grin still on his face and the crazy still in his eyes.

"I see..."

... to be continued ...

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"Boring a hole in the patient’s head creates a door through which the demons can escape, and - viola! - out goes the crazy."