Quality Time

4:57 PM
“Hey, I’m really glad we’re getting together tonight. It’s been way too long since we spent some quality time with each other.”
“I know, I can’t wait to see you, either! There’s so much I have to tell you.”
“Same here. You’re the one friend I can count on to really listen and give me good advice.”
“So, 8 o’clock at the Rainbow Grill on Parkway Avenue?”
“Sounds great. But we’ll check in with each other as the hour approaches, right?”
“As we always do. See ya!”

7:52 PM
“Hey, I called to say I’m running a little late and my ETA now is ... uh ... let me think. How does 8:15 sound? I got sidetracked by my cat, Lulu. She was attacking my pillow and it was too good not to get on video. You are going to laugh your head off when you see it. Don’t worry, I’ll bring it on my iPhone to the restaurant.”

8:21 PM 
“I just got your message and 8:15 is fine. I’m still at home myself. Oh wow, I’m looking at my cellphone clock. How’d it get to be 8:21? Okay, so I’m walking over to my closet and throwing my boots on. Where are my boots? In any case, I’ll see you no later than 8:40. No, wait a minute -- can we do 8:41 instead?”

9:14 PM
“Hey, no problem. I stopped off at the comic book store on State to kill some time rather than wait for you at the Rainbow. Did you know that there’s a new Frank Miller graphic novel out? I have got to get it, but first I need to find an ATM because they don’t take credit cards at this place.”

10 PM
“Where are you?”

10:12 PM
“Where are you?”

11 PM
“I’m not sure. I think I just walked into a Walgreen’s.”

11:27 PM
“Hey, what’s with the pharmacy? Are you all right?”

11:46 PM
“I’m fine. I passed the 24-hour Walgreen’s on the corner of Parkway and Fourth and saw they were having a special on toothbrushes. Now I’m back in my car headed to the Rainbow.”

12 AM
“Hey, you picked up. It’s a real live person on the other end of this phone! You do know it’s illegal to talk on your cellphone while driving.”
“Don’t make me laugh! I nearly ran over a bicyclist.”
“Wait, I just drove past you at the intersection of Parkway and Temple Street. You’re going the wrong way to the Rainbow.”
“That’s not possible.”
“My GPS doesn’t lie.”
“My GPS says it does.”
“Oops, there’s a cop. Gotta hang up.”

12:35 AM
“Hey, I’m driving up to the Rainbow and I saw your car pulling out of their parking lot right now.”

12:40 AM
“Yeah, they closed up at midnight. Can you believe it? What is it with this town? Don’t they want for friends to get together? Anyway, no problem. I know this lounge on lower State that stays open ‘til 4. At least I think it’s on State. At any rate it’s a rockin’ place. Just wish I could remember the name of it. But you’ll know it when you see it.”

1:16 AM
“Hey, I’m not finding any lounge here on lower State. There are, however, three dive bars and none of them look like any place I want to walk into.”

2:32 AM
“That’s okay, I suddenly realized I might have left my laptop on and went home to make sure the battery hadn’t run down. I’m actually kind of tired now. Don’t know why. But I’m going to turn off my cellphone and get some sleep. Let’s connect in the morning and make a plan to get together. Can’t wait to see you! Hey--how about coffee at 10 at the Beanery?”  


Polly Frost is a playwright whose humor has appeared in The Atlantic and The New Yorker. She can be found on the web at  http://pollyfrost.com.

April 19: "What you see first, after the starting gun's crack, is a column of bobbing runners, thousands of them, surging downhill..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.