excerpt: Homosapien

An excerpt from this novel. Patrick tries to imagine what David and Adam could have found to say to each other after they got off to such a bad start.

Microsoft Office clipartSo, what happened at Apollo’s?

Consider this a dramatic reconstruction based on forensic evidence and the sworn testimony of witnesses …

Actually, writing this scene is kind of hard. David wouldn’t have had much to say under the circumstances and I later learned that Homosapien is far more articulate in his wrestling persona than when speaking for himself. This pair of characters are going to be just too difficult to work with. They are such very different people and yet somehow now they managed to connect. How to explain that?

I can imagine David standing there by the Apollo’s counter, doppio in hand (he got it to go, just in case), wondering whether to head over there and talk to the guy or not. And Homosapien looks up at just the right moment, and their eyes meet, and David is when-push-comes-to-shove a bit too polite to turn his back and walk away.

Homosapien gestures to the chair opposite him. David sits, leaning back and turned half away, one leg crossed over the other, trying to appear casual. He doesn’t bother taking off his jacket.

“Uh,” David begins, “I shouldn’t have done that. That was harsh. It’s not my habit to chase customers out of my store … ”

“Not good for business,” Homosapien observes.

“Yeah.” David takes a deep breath. “Was there something in particular you wanted?”

Homosapien shakes his head. No.

The conversation stalls.

David sips at his coffee, but it’s still too hot. Finally he asks, “So, what are you doing in Boston?”

“We have a show tonight. At the Garden.”

“Ah, yes. Wrestling.”

“You ever been?”

“To the wrestling?” David asks incred­ulously. “No.” He smiles, shaking his head. How unlikely is that? “No.”

They sit there for a while. David never seems to realise that intellectual snobs put a damper on the talk of regular folks. Homosapien looks like he wishes he could think of something reasonable to say. The silence stretches.

Finally David gulps down the last of his doppio, and gets up too quickly – his head is buzzing with a double espresso high and anyway no one can remain totally unaffected by Homosapien’s gorgeousness. “Well,” says David, “break a leg tonight.”

“Thanks.” Homosapien grimaces, for lots of reasons that he can’t put into words. People aren’t meant to think of wrestlers as actors – they’re athletes.

“See you later.”

That was only meant to be a generic farewell, but Homosapien takes him literally. Seizes the opportunity with both hands. “Yeah, that’d be good. We come through here every six weeks.”

David pauses to consider the man. Certainly not totally unaffected. Oddly enough it seems that Homosapien isn’t completely unaffected by my boss either. Must be one of those attraction-of-opposites things. “All right,” David eventually says. “All right, I’ll see you then.” And at last he turns away and walks out. Thoughtful. Very thoughtful indeed.