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October 20, 2007

Frank Bourbon 1.1

Act I - Frank Bourbon and the Letter
Scene 1 - Frank

I woke up earlier than usual and after a visit to the restroom the cupboards reminded me that I didn't have any food in my apartment. I dressed in the clothes lying on the floor and when I went out I saw the door across the hall open.

Through the door I saw Frank Bourbon sitting in a chair putting on his favorite pair of socks. I can only guess that they were his favorite since he seemed to wear them every time I saw him and he seemed like the kind of person who would own a lot of socks.
And I recognized them because they were what I considered to be uniquely ugly, and I had given them to him. They had been a gift to me but I had never bothered to take off the wrapper, and a few months ago I happened to learn that he was going to be alone on his birthday. So I bought a pizza and some beer and spent the evening with Frank and I gave him the socks. He drank half of one beer and I drank the rest. After that I noticed that he always left his door open in the morning when he was getting ready for work. At least that was the case whenever I happened to be up and about that early.

"Morning, Frank." I said as I turned to shut my door.
"Oh, good morning! You're up early."
"Yeah, just going out to get some coffee."
"Well, if..."

Frank stopped when Janet from the 4th floor came down the stairs.
"Morning guys!"
"Hi Janet!"
"Janet."

We talked about the weather and such for a minute or two. She looked cute in her office clothes and Frank just stared at her, looking away whenever she turned her head toward him. Eventually she left and we both watched her leave. Then Frank locked his door and we went down the stoop and I said "Take it easy."

I assumed he would be turning left toward the bus stop but he kept walking with me, just a few paces behind. So I slowed to let him catch up.

"Not catching the bus?"
He looked at his watch. "Well, this next one is pretty crowded. I don't like to stand the whole way."
I didn't like standing on buses either. I'd be happy if I never ride a bus again.
"But won't you be late for work?"
"Well, the boss is traveling this week. No one'll notice if I'm late."
We kept walking. I was heading toward a diner around the corner. And it was clear that Frank was just following me. I had a headache and I felt myself getting irritated at him. I don't like the feeling of being irritated and I tried to force myself to be more pleasant.

"So," I said, "Your espresso machine not working?"
Frank had bought a very expensive birthday present for himself last year, a deluxe espresso machine that he had demonstrated for me that night I hung out with him. He didn't drink any that night because he didn't want to disturb his sleep, and I had to wonder why he drank stimulating beverages at all since he seemed so nervous to begin with.

He laughed. "No, it's fine. Had two cups this morning already."
We were at the entrance to the diner. "The coffee here isn't very good, but it's strong and hot"
"Sounds good!" He laughed.
We found two seats at the counter and I ordered two cups of coffee and wheat toast. To me, white toast doesn't have any flavor. With his elbows on the counter, Frank leaned in and spoke loudly. "And a cup for me and white toast."
"The second cup was for you, Frank."

We got that straightened out with the waitress and sat with our coffee, waiting for the bread to toast. I looked at the other patrons, mostly overweight guys in suits reading the sports section. I drank my coffee and got a refill. Frank took a sip of it black then put in a lot of milk.

"Pete," He said finally, "I got this letter that I wanted to talk to you about."

Posted by mslaybau at October 20, 2007 06:13 PM

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