Freddy was the son of the deli items salesman at the places I chefed. His dad brought him once, fishing for more business, wearing one shoe. Me: "What happened, Freddy, you lose a shoe?" Him: "No, Chef, I found one."
Karen was the aerobics instructor wife of the club tennis pro. Blonde, built, dumber than a box of rocks. He bought her a new TransAm convertible, she ran it so completely dry of oil the engine seized. What blinking light?
Ed is the salesman's salesman. The product is secondary. He sells, instead, that thing that is the same in all sales transactions. He's married a woman just like his mother two times now. None of the four can see it.
Jack said, "To deliver the line, any line really, you need to have all of the possible ways of saying the line in your head, all at once, and then just say it. That's the right way to say it."
Erika is hot buttered popcorn to talk with. She knows the cotton candiest stories about mixed nut people, and, when you talk to her you feel like you're the most chocolate covered coffee bean person she's ever met, so far.
Michael's an artist. You're supposed to guess what he wants. Him: "Don't you think it'd look better if...?" Me: "No, or I would've done it that way. I can do it that way, but I ain't saying it looks better."
Marjorie is my half sister (same father, different mother), seven years my senior. She taught me how to read before I was old enough for school, so when I finally got there I was little Mr. Been There, Done That.
Glenn is my father; together we're a case study in men who are bad contact initiators. Photos of us at the same ages could be of brothers. If I have a photo of us together, I don't know its location.
Jon is a nice enough guy but can't make it through even the shortest of conversations without reminding you of his religious beliefs through some subtle or conspicuous reference. I always wondered which of us he was trying to convince.
Alex is her best friend's almost opposite in everything from looks to personality. She's boy crazy and still has a blurty almost-pushy wit that is quicker than her social graces. The boys of her world are damned and blessed.
Terry delivered for a caterer I cooked for. He invariably chose the older station wagon (no heat, no aircon) over the new one. I asked him why, he looked wide-eyed at me and said, "The Bomber has FM, man."
Paula reminded me that it is prudent to be vigilant in the search for reluctance in others. Even when it can't be clearly seen, it may be there, like a layer of mist ice under a polite blanket of snow.
Bill had the most beautiful abdominal muscles I've ever seen. He was a pure mesomorph, and I doubt he did anything special to exercise them. They weren't fists like six pack abs, just gracefully defined, in both flex and stretch.
Mario confuses free speech with free lunch and believes he has a constitutionally protected right to broadcast his own agenda to crowds of people assembled by others for other purposes. He cries "censorship" to anyone who'll listen. Increasingly few do.
Gloria worked at the sensory deprivation tank place, and after locking up was a bartender down the street. She was also a filmmaker. Somewhere there's footage of me, shirtless, running through a fog saturated field away from an inescapable crucifix.
Rich was the patriarch of the large (in every sense) family next door to my in-laws. His dog, Spike, was a Rottweiler that played with orange pylons like they were sock toys, and dented automobiles with his tail wags.
Betsy said, the day we met, she hated the fact that every boy she introduced to her roommate ended up falling for her roommate. I was so swept away by Betsy I promised I'd be the exception. I was wrong.
Annie put herself through graduate school as a stripper; cleared 60k/year, mostly cash, in three shifts a week. Razzing coworkers she would--and could--maintain, "If you can see the thong, there's somethin' wrong." She cheats at miniature golf.
Barbie (possibly not her name; definitely how I always remembered her, because she was like the doll) was my sister's friend from across the street at our grandparents'. She had her bellybutton eliminated through cosmetic surgery when I was eight.
Marlea is my mother. She's impossible to fit into forty words, even all verbs. An artist turned minister (same job: one uses pigments, the other the wreckage and joy of being human). Everything good I will ever be begins here.