The Appealing Fiction of the New Old Friend

“They usually send women after me, leggy women.”

Paul looked at Bernard, waiting for the rest of that sentence. Bernard simply went for another sip of coffee. The place was the kind that had bags labeled Sumatran, scones and a severe dislike of any Starbucks terminology an errant customer might sputter. They sat on stools, neither touching the ground. The sun was glaring in on them. Paul was drinking a Hawaiian blend that cost money just to think about, black. Bernard was drink milk and sugar and regretting the little coffee that happened to be in his cup. It was probably either arabica or erotica. Either way, it was unwanted.

“Are you going to finish that sentence?”

“They wanted something too. You’re just a bit more subtle about it.”

For a moment there was hate in those beautiful blue eyes but it was quickly quelled and pushed down. Paul was a very collected type. Every article of his three piece suit was aligned exactly to the center. His part was immaculate, despite revealing an unfortunately large forehead. To be impolite is tantamount to murder in the deliberate and long elaborated scruples of Paul.

“Bernard, I’m your best friend. I would never.”

Bernard however was wearing a second hand black sports jacket with green chinos, both stained. His hair was receding and never combed. There was nothing hiding the ugliness of Bernard and he felt that to be somewhat of a public service. The bits of honesty he could afford were few and far between.

“We’ve been friends since 1991 right?”

“Yeah, Ms. Richard.”



“No, we’re not friends. You’re just another guy trying to take something from me.”

“Don’t treat me like that Bernard.”

“Paul when you walked into this coffee shop, I didn’t know you. It’s hard for me to remember that but I do.”

“If you keep on turning on your friends like this…”

“I won’t have any, which is why I don’t have any.”

“You got me Bernie.”

“Not even my mother called me that. Kudos for the ambition but you can’t just rewrite a lifetime of being alone.”

In Bernard’s occupation one must have introspection because that’s where one keeps the product. Deep in the wrinkles, where the lightning travels, there is a host of secrets to keep straight for various employers. Each one is stored and cataloged inside an incredibly complete timeline. All of this is carefully scrutinized whenever faced with new and often contradictory information. You don’t survive in the courier business without a really good rear view mirror.

“You know Paul, if you had just asked maybe I’d help you.”

“Would it help if I asked now?”

“No, you must be my old friend for at least two weeks before I trust you again.”

Paul slowly dismounted from the stool and grabbed his coat. As he walked out the door, Bernard knew he’d be a good friend if it wasn’t for the incompatible occupations.