brad, isn’t it?
yes, and you are harold, right?
my friends call me harry.
so how is it going, harry?
good, good. how is it going with you?
i can’t complain. are you still with murdock and ingleby?
no, i left them three years ago.
for better things?
you might say that.
do you remember pete underwood?
yes, i remember him very well.
he was a strange fellow.
really? what was strange about him?
um - i just thought he was kind of strange, that’s all.
look here, my friend, you can’t go around making accusations against people for no reason.
i would not call what i said an accusation.
you do not think calling somebody strange is an accusation? i do. if the wrong people took it the wrong way it could destroy his whole life.
i did not realize pete underwood meant all that much to you. i did not mean to give offense.
what pete underwood means to me is neither here nor there. it is you, and people like you, are the problem with the world today.
i am afraid i have to cut this conversation short. my wife, to whom i have been happily married for seven years, is expecting me, we are going to dinner at that new chilean restaurant on south main street, perhaps you have heard of it.
no, i have not heard of it. i eat all my meals at home.
that sounds very healthy. and very cost effective. now, if you will excuse me.
with that, brad walked around harry and continued down the street, with a sigh of relief at escaping a potentially escalating encounter.
but when he looked back after walking two blocks, he saw that harry was following him.
suppressing his rage, brad stopped and waited for harry to catch up to him.
what is the meaning of this? brad demanded angrily. are you following me?
you had better believe i am following you, you puffed up sanctimonious judgmental piece of human garbage.
those are strong words, you paranoid puppy.
oh, so now we are getting personal, are we?
as personal as you like, my friend.
what is going on here? what is all this noise?
who are you, interrupting our private conversation?
who am i ? i am big ed jones, and i run this town. i am telling both of you cupcakes to move along and stop disturbing the peace of my town.
but he started it, brad protested, he was following me for no good reason.
i am giving both of you a good reason to move along.
big ed pointed to brad. you with the mouth, cross the street. and you with the goofy grin, stay on this side of the street.
brad crossed the street and continued on his way. he took his phone out of his pocket. i will call pete, he thought, we will figure out a plan to take care of that loser.
harry on his side of the street resolved to track brad to the ends of the earth if that was what it took, and teach him to be a little more polite and considerate.
the traffic in the street slowed down as rush hour advanced. horns began to blare.
night began to fall.