"Once they had to duct tape me to a chair, so that I wouldn't bother everyone," he told me about when he was six and his mother brought him to the bakery. And here he was now. I knew exactly what they meant, the duct-tapers. The room changed into a venue for entertainment and everyone in it, a friend. He went to the bathroom for a minute, and the other man in the room and I just looked at each other: What now?
He gleaned so much, even the cookies I used to like when I was eight. I could see the cookie floating out of my smiling mouth. If I had stayed much longer, maybe I would've started relating my dreams to him.
He was there to replumb the front, to rearrange connections. He stapled up a translucent plastic sheet between the front and back. "Now you can bake in privacy," he said. "You could even bake naked if you wanted. Nobody would know."
Who is his mother, I wondered. Is this friend of his, who slept in the bakery after his paradoxical nightly bender, the same who I heard said of stealing "it tells God you want to be stolen from," and who my boss loudly suspected stole his blender? Gossip is a network and I'm only a repository, my world here all hearsay, scenes told not shown.
His persona was pig's trough of possibilities. He told me I could bring back the chocolate chip cookies I remember from my youth. I said I doubted they were worth bringing back, that they were much more exciting when I was the age he was getting taped to chairs. In retrospect they were dense and floury, thick and dry and not buttery, huge lumps neither chewy nor crisp. He seemed offended by what some people call negativity. I was surprised by how easily I said "no" when he asked if I was a morning person before I started working here. I told him I sleep for a few hours after work. "A little power nap?" He corrected, as if he were Don Draper offering a lesson in ladder-climbing: never show your weakness, spin it this way, it's not spin, there is no weakness.
There is no difference between a power nap and a nap but in the mind. In the mind of such a hustler as this man you would be power napping, taking a power crap, dying of power thrist, power dying. Why miss an opportunity? It's never not a shitty cookie.