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…)