The following was inspired by a real conversation.
“And I listen to electronic music when all else fails.”
“That’s all he said?”
“That’s all he said.”
“This is going to take longer than I thought; you might want to get some coffee and charge your phone.”
Hector Ming-Pilar was pacing back and forth across the sidelines of the football field between the twenty and thirty yard line. He wore headphones loosely on his ears, more like a shield or blankie than actual equipment to facilitate the emitting of music. I stood up from the bench where I had been sitting with Hector’s manager.
“Did he run out of free podcasts again?” I asked.
Hector’s manager nodded.
“You know, Benvolio, this can’t keep happening.”
Hector’s manager sighed in agreement.
I stretched my arms above my head and began walking towards the star cornerback. Not many defense players receive the kind of praise that Hector Ming-Pilar has amassed over the last five years he’s been on this team, and as grateful as I’m sure he is for his financial stability, the size of his devoted fanbase and the lengths that potential sponsors will go to shift to more eco-friendly operations just so they can slap his name on their products, I’ve always had the impression that he’d really rather be fishing or shooting clay pigeons at a range.
Hector stopped pacing when he noticed that I was within shouting distance. He removed the headphones after I crossed my arms behind my back. We looked at each other for a solid two minutes before he spoke.
“What do you want? What does my manager want?”
“Hector, we can’t keep meeting like this.”
“Like what? on a Saturday in the middle of the afternoon or after Benvolio’s threatened to drop me again because I can’t keep my hands to myself.”
“It’s been over five years, yes, I know about your college interludes as well…and I just wonder if you’ve ever thought about why you attract them like young girls to matinee idols?”
Hector was now standing within spitting distance and he crossed his arms, staring at me with an admission of thresholds penetrated.
“I know you miss your Saint Bernard but petting every dog you come across and making promises to animal shelters that you have no authority to keep or see through to implementation …does not help anyone.”
Benvolio’s jogging steps sounded from behind me. Hector glared at us both, put his headphones on properly, cued up some tunes and trudged away into the underbelly of the stadium. I turned towards Benvolio and told him I was sorry for not getting Hector to say yes to cute-attachment therapy.
“Just be grateful he doesn’t have a Hello Kitty fixation,” I said as I put an arm around his shoulder and offered to buy him a mean piece of steak.