Wispy clouds, circling angels, and a man sitting up on a high chair behind a podium with an accounting book open in front of him. This I was expecting.
But a gray haired old man in jeans and a baseball cap sitting at a luncheonette counter sipping on a malted?
After trying but not able to shake it off, I approached him carefully and asked “Mind if I join you?”
“Well,” he said, with a sip and a grin, “that’s yet to be determined.”
I sat down on a stool near him and noticed that no matter how much he sucked up thru the straw, the glass never seemed to get any emptier.
“May I ask you a question?”, I said
“Sure,” he said turning to me and dabbing at the corners of his mouth with a napkin.
I waited a moment and then asked, “Why this?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, a luncheonette?”
“Why not? They make an excellent ice cream soda here.”
“But aren’t you the creator of all that we know?”
“Well, I may have had a hand in a few things…”
“But you’re Number One,” I said in frustration, “The Guy At The Top, The Head Honcho!”
“Ah,” he said sitting up a bit straighter, “you think I’m the one and only then?”
“Yes, yes!”, I said in near revelation.
“What existed before all these things that you say I created?”
“Nothing,” I said, “nothing was there! You created it all!”
“Ok then – so what was my inspiration?”
I didn’t know, I couldn’t say. At which point he nodded toward an aproned man who suddenly appeared behind the counter.
“How about a little something to drink?”, the counterman asked wiping his hands dry with a small towel.
“I don’t know,” I said, “I’m a bit confused.”
“It happens,” he said. “Tell you what – you want I should make you a black and white ice cream soda?”
“Really?, I said, “haven’t had that in years! That’s my favorite!”
“So? We knew that when you got here.” He turned to grab a tall glass, spooned some chocolate sauce in the bottom along with a splash of milk, and then stirred it up under a stream of seltzer water. Then he opened a freezer, took a scooper and dropped a glistening ball of vanilla ice cream in the top.
He brought it over to me with a straw, a long spoon and a flourish. Then he motioned me to wait, opened a tall canister on the side of the counter, and slid a salted pretzel stick along the side of the glass.
I took a sip. “Oh my,” I said, “that’s heavenly!”
“Ah,” said the now familiar stranger next to me, “now you’re getting it!”
(to be continued…)