Perfect Couple

I find the perfect couple for Tano's project: my old boss, Gene, who thought his years in France in WWII were the best years of his life, and his wife, the one who's been with him for sixty years but not for the best years of his life. But since Tano's too shy to call because everyone is saying no, he wants me to prepare the couple.

When I call and ask if they ever had a pet, Gene says, "No."

I say, "How can you say no? Didn't you grow up on a farm?"

He says he left the farm. He says, "Do you want to have coffee?" He says, "It's nice to hear your voice."

I say, "How could you raise three kids and never have a pet? Didn't they ever win a fish or something?"

"No. Well, once someone left a bird with us. One of those little ones. But after a few days it attacked me so I killed it."

"That's great. You'll be perfect for Tano's project," I say. I tell Gene about Tano's project, but only in a vague, this-is-art-for-art's-sake kind of way. Nothing about how Tano will use tough questions and bad lighting and Gene will be horrified when he sees himself at the Guggenheim. I ask, "Will Blanche do it too?"

He asks her. He reminds her about the bird. I hear him in the background asking if she remembers what kind of bird it was. He comes back to the phone, "Well," he says, "she didn't get angry, so I think she'll do it." Gene asks when he will see me.

I say I'll meet him after Tano makes his videotape. I say Tano will call him to set something up. Gene says it's good to talk to me. I think he's getting very old.

I call Tano. I am very excited that Gene will do it. I am excited that I helped Tano. I am excited because Tano will be excited and the only thing that excites him is having someone to videotape.

Tano says, "Sony Online. This is Tano."

I say, "I'm so excited."

He says, "Can this wait? I'm really busy."

I say, "Yeah," and I slam down the phone. His work is not so huge that he doesn't have two minutes. If he's picking up his phone then he is not in a meeting and not leaving his office so he is not too busy to talk. Two minutes. He could have listened to me for two minutes. I can tell he's one of those people who is overwhelmed by whatever amount of work he has and always loses all perspective. I hate people like that.

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