“So then Robbie told me that he caught this giant lobster, and it practically took his arm off.”
“What’d he do with it?”
A shrug from the man across the lunch table from me. “Dunno.” He picked at some chicken in his teeth. “Cooked it up–No. That one he threw back.”
Rafael has been regaling me with tales of fishing with his cousin in Maine. In the last fifteen minutes, I’ve learned that people in Maine talk funny, chowdah is the tits, and don’t stick your face in front of a lobster. Specifically, its claws.
“What’d you do this weekend?” He asks me.
I shrug. “Went to the park. Worked out. Got a pizza.”
“Your life is so boring, dude.”
I shrug again but its more like a wince. “Daniella left, you know. Again.”
“Why you wasting your time with her? Get a new one.” He juggles his hands in front of his chest knowingly. Our co-worker, Jane, makes an appalled face.
I bite back a laugh. “Naw, man…I don’t think Merlin would approve.” Merlin’s my five-year old rottweiler who’s part human and part dog-child all wrapped into one-hundred and thirty pounds of goofball; but mostly he just hogs the covers.
“I think I have a cousin, you can meet,” says Rafael.
“I hope it’s not Robert.”
Chicken goes down the wrong way, and comes flying out across the table. “You’re gonna kill me, man.” Another cough. “It’s Ashley. You know, bright-blond, kinda slutty?”
I grunt. “What happened to Sarah?”
“Oh, she got married last year. Met some guy in Vegas. I told her not to, but she said he bought her some kind of leopard-printed dress that matched her ring…and well, she said her new man’s got style.”
“He rich?” asks Jane. Rafael gives her an odd look, like he forgot she was there, eating her PB&J.
“Yeah, where you been?”
“Any kids?” I ask.
“Twins. Cute, too, although you wouldn’t think it, cause her new husband, some kind of Antonio…he’s got a dog’s face, dude. Guess you can be ugly when you’re rich.”
“That’s not very nice,” says Jane.
For some reason, I immediately feel sorry for her. She gets up from the table and slumps from the room.
“What’s her problem?” says Rafael.
I shrug. “Bad weekend, I guess. ” But my eyes are still on the open door of the break room.
I get up then without thought. “I’m going for a smoke.”
Rafael looks up at me, startled and then he looks down at his paper plate and realizes he’s already eaten his chicken and he’s spilled his rice all over the table.
“You’re such a slob, man.”
He laughs as he swipes rice into the trash. “Wait up, will you?”
But I pretend I don’t hear him as I walk purposely from the room. I can hear him calling to me from down the hallway.
“Oh! And there’s also my cousin Mary-Patrice…”