Ode to New York (from the periphery)
Two educated people sit in a café in New York City.
One of them has an ‘afro’ even though he is not African.
“So I will do a song and dance as sort of an introduction to the whole thing,” she says.
“So we’re going to have an actual guy in a bear costume?” he says.
“Leading the whole thing?” he asks.
“Yes. He’s going to be doing normal-people things like buying groceries and kicking soccer balls. Occasionally he will fall over for comic effect. The kids will not fall over, not even the ones on the bear team. They’ll just laugh at him. At the end he and the kids, they’ll do a big dance number with the other animals.” She takes a sip of her latte.
“I was thinking we’d also show a video of Christopher Walken doing a dance.”
“No, the kids are not going to get that reference.”
“What do you think the schedule of the dances should be?”
“Bears, 1:20. Mice, 1:40. Birds?”
“No, that’s too long. 10 minutes each.”
“So gophers at 1:50?”
“How about 15 minutes. I get distracted real easily. Not because I get bored with what I’m doing, but for more obscure reasons that I don’t fully understand. I think 15 minutes is long enough for a skit with a couple solid musical numbers.”
“So I’ll be working the group song, I’ll be working the group dance, and I’ll be working all the individual dances too,” she says.
He sips his cappuccino. “What I would like to do is basically drill every single one of them individually,” he says.
She gets really excited. “Yes!”
“We’ll need like 5 solid days of practice with all the kids together in a big room with good acoustics.”
She writes all of this down and nods her head with extreme emphasis.
“You have to let me know all the details about the show and the exact timeframe so I can write solid musical numbers that are the correct length.”
She gives him what he wants. Then she remembers that “we won’t be able to get a gopher costume in time for the show. You’ll have to explain that to the parents during intermission.”
“I don’t like to give excuses that aren’t my own.” He says this very solemnly.
There is nothing she can say in response to his artistic conviction. “Who will wear the bear costume?”
“Avatar. You know avatar? He’s the coolest person I know that’s over 50. He’s like a kid, he’s awesome. Sometimes he sleeps on my couch. I think the first song will go like this.”
He starts snapping his fingers.
“New York is the greatest,” she says.
“Everyone I know in Berlin thinks that too,” he says.
She doesn’t know what he means so she laughs.
“My boyfriend moved back to Austin,” he says.
“Everyone here is a moneygrubbing bitch,” he says.