“You didn’t tell me you had a houseguest!” my friend declared. (I hadn’t).  It tends to slip my mind.

‘Twas early May—maybe the first week—when Fred, between homes, took my second bedroom. (Sort of). The room’d been empty (but for boxes) and those we could readily move. The space was there.

It’s almost like he isn’t there. Our schedules run parallel, rarely intersecting. Indeed, when we’re both running hard, we go days without speaking.

I have noticed a few things, however. Our habits, to be sure, differ.

For one, he was surprised to learn I sleep with TV on. Every once in a while, even now, he’ll urge from the next room to turn it down just a bit. I do.

And he cooks. Swear! I saw him in June, I think— using a frying pan.

“Fred,” I mused, “Ask me how many times in nineteen years I’ve turned an oven on.”

And he cleans. The cowboy–get this—put a plastic bag liner inside the bathroom waste basket. I didn’t even know we HAD a bathroom waste basket.

But we get along. Famously. (Again, not that our paths cross much).

My alarm rings at 6:37. Daily. Gone by 7, maybe 7:15, I never see his room door open. The man sleeps in.

It’s the same the other end of the day. I’ve theater at night, or meetings. An occasional away game, even. Fred? Don’t know where he goes. The track, I’d guess—but I never ask. The way it plays out is that sometime between 11 and 11:30 (“Big Bang” is on), I’m laying in bed, TV and lights on, and Fred floats in. We chit-chat a bit and, moments later, I return to Sheldon Cooper as my pal disappears behind close doors, presumably to study his Racing Form.

Not that we never convene. Just Sunday, in fact, we played a poker tournament at St. Gregory’s. (I went deep, but didn’t cash; Fred was knocked out early. Memo to Fred: Stick with the ponies).

And then there are Wednesdays. A recent admission to our weekly breakfast, Fred was present just this week for Brother Les’s announcement.

“I can solve the Social Security problem and the war in less than five minutes,” he proclaimed.
“Needing little coaxing to continue, our friend readily described some declining scale for retirement that I couldn’t quite follow. (Walt and Himmel, the financial guys at the table, did).

Not totally impressed, I pushed back.

“What about the war?”

“That’s easy,” he said. “Just hold a press conference, declare victory, and bring everyone home!”

And Fred, our brother from Rowland and Greenview and Brush—the Sammy at Ohio State…took it all in.

Or at least I think he did.

You see, it’s Friday now; two days have passed. I haven’t seen him much.

One Response to “UNCHAINED MELODY”

  1. Stuart says:

    Doesn’t everyone sleep with the TV on?

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