A Large Brass Hookah
My landlord calls me "Stevie." I like it.
From where he sat, at one of the many red umbrella'd tables which surround the restaurant and, consequently, impede entrance into the building, he could easily watch as I crossed 3rd Street at Monmouth.
He waved and shouted my name: "Stevie!"
"Yo, Abbey," I managed to mutter. The canvas strap of the black laptop bag knifed into my shoulder blade with each heavy step.
"Man, you look tired. You gotta stop working."
"Have you lost some weight?"
"That's what I hear."
"Stevie, you gotta eat something."
"I'm gonna walk into the restaurant right now and order some food."
"Good. You gotta enjoy life. You only live once, my man. You only live once."
Abbey's eyes were pink, his hair tousled, his crooked smile big. His fingers rested gently upon a large brass hookah. "You only live once," he said again.
I looked at him, thought for a moment, and nodded: "You're right."
Later, upstairs, as I sat before my computer, Googling something, I heard: "Brother!"
Todd calls me "Brother." I like it.
I jumped up from the orange couch and parted the long white curtains of my living room window. Across the street, standing before another Barge Inn fight-to-be, Todd was waving and shouting, "Brother!"
"Brother!" I shouted back, and ran downstairs to retrieve my friend.
I knew he would understand. I left him alone, sitting on the orange couch, moments after pressing "Play." From the kitchen, where I went to pour a glass of water, I heard Todd shout: