Monday, April 6, 2015

Flying Salmon

   “Why don’t you write a blog about it?” asked my friend John. 
   That was his polite way of suggesting that I shut up for awhile, drink my coffee and stop complaining about my marriage. By now, after an hour at the coffee shop, he was bored silly. And our five-dollar coffees were cold. Five dollars each, and for that price you have the dubious honor of being served by a rather disinterested young man who, because he was also texting and talking to his friend (who stood beside me, also texting) got our orders completely wrong. 
   I shouldn’t be surprised. 
   After all, it’s impossible to do two things at once. 
   Perhaps you’ve found it so?
   Even if you’ve got a cartoon superhero tattooed on your neck.
  John vigorously stirred his coffee, hoping to generate a little heat in his cup from the friction. John and I have been friends for years, both of us having worked for Walt Disney Feature Animation together. We’d animated, among other things, Khan the horse, Koda the bear, and Stitch the experiment*. He’s a gifted artist and good friend. 
   John I mean, not Stitch. 
   Although, after working with Stitch for close to two years before the movie was released, he and I had become good friends, too. You work so hard with your character and share so much together, then the movie is released and your animated offspring goes out into the world. You’re sad when it’s finished and really miss them when they leave the nest.  
   John had been showing me some drawings he’d posted on his Facebook page. Then I’d started talking about my often quarrelsome marriage. He stirred his coffee and listened, unable to hide the bored expression on his face. To be honest with you, I was bored too, but I couldn’t help myself. What else was there for me to talk about? Fighting with my wife was all I ever did lately. That, and try to write the heartwarming, insightful yet humorous novel I’ve been writing for the last four years. 
   “Maybe you need a hobby,” suggested John. “You don’t get out much anymore.”
   Yes, I thought to myself as I jabbered uncontrollably on, maybe I did need a hobby. Nothing was going right, everything around me seemed to be failing. My marriage, my writing, my friendships. Maybe I was becoming a failure as a person, too. Or maybe I already was a failure, and just didn’t know it yet, for how does one know when they’ve crossed that line? I hardly had a friend left, they were so sick and tired of hearing about my never-to-be-finished book or my combative marriage. Only the most robust of them could take it.  
   I suppose, even among one’s dearest friends, that other people’s problems aren’t nearly as interesting as one’s own, are they?
   “You want to be a writer,” said John. “Well, write!”
   “Yeah, but who’d want to hear about it?” I asked.
   “Not me anymore!” answered John with a laugh. “C’mon, let’s talk of something else. How about a muffin to go with your double tall upside-down espresso caramel macchiato latte with crosshatch drizzle?”
   “My what?” I said. I’d ordered a flat white, but wasn’t quite sure what it was I’d got.
   “Your coffee. How about a muffin to go with it?”
   “When did coffee stop being coffee?” I wondered aloud, feeling a little out of touch.
   “I don’t know,” answered John. “About thirty years ago, I guess.” 
   “Thirty years?” I asked incredulously. “Are you kidding?” Great, I thought, I’m not just a failure, now I’m an old failure. There goes another line I hadn’t noticed I’d crossed. 
   “You want a muffin, or not?” asked John.
   “Muffins!” I exclaimed. “That reminds me of the time my wife threw a plate of bagels at me. Complete with cream cheese and smoked salmon! Got me right in the kisser, mate! You ever had lox in your eye? It really stings! 
   “She’s always been a good shot,” I continued. “I’ll say that much for her! I remember it like it was yesterday. It was Sunday brunch at that big hotel down by the…”
   “Yeah, sure. But we weren’t talking about bagels,” interrupted John. He’d already heard the bagel throwing story, complete with flying salmon and stinging eyes. That was old news. 
   “Huh? said I, lost in my story and confused for a moment by John’s interruption.
   “We were talking about muffins, remember?” insisted John. “You want one?”
   “The hotel was out of muffins,“ I replied. “That’s what my wife and I were fighting about!”

*From, respectively, Mulan (1998) Brother Bear (2003) and Lilo and Stitch (2002).


  1. hahaha, this made me laugh, glad to hear of other couples throwing lox!

  2. Love everything I've read here Sam.

  3. Veronica here. You're off to a great start! So glad you decided to share your writing with the world via this blog. I've added it to my blog reader so I won't miss a thing : )