Max was late. If you knew him you wouldn’t be a bit surprised. The classic line about being late to his own funeral? Probably written with Max in mind. As he stood to the side of the food counter at Lucky’s, tapping his red, low-rise Chuck Taylor’s and looking at the giant face of his over-sized diver’s watch, Max felt his iPhone buzz in his pocket.
“Ralphie, I’m almost there, dude, seriously, I can like, see the stoop in front of your building.”
“You’re so full of shit, Max,” Ralphie’s nasally voice boomed through the phone’s lone speaker, drawing a few glances from the other patrons in the lengthening line. “I’m ON the stoop you loser, and I don’t see you. Did you get the sammies? Man, the game starts in 20 minutes. Everyone else is here and we’re hungry!” Ralphie laughed, and Max pinched the bridge of his nose, eyes squinting.
“Okay, okay, no, I’m still at Lucky’s, the food’s coming, and yes, yes, I’m running late. You can sue me when I get there, how’s that? Hey, be sure nobody’s drinking my Guinness!”
“Nobody here’d touch that motor oil, man, relax. Just get here, I don’t want my stomach growling through kickoff.”
Max tapped the call dead and dropped his phone back in his pocket. He knew Ralphie wasn’t sore at him, but he felt the tiniest twinge of guilt at being late. Again. He figured if the food came out in the next 5 minutes he’d have plenty of time to run the 3 blocks to Ralphie’s walk-up. Ugh, he thought, running. Damn.
“Sixty-three! You need napkins?” The young man behind the counter hefted the greasy to-go bag up and offered it to Max.
“Nope, all good dude, thanks!” Max grabbed the sack of sandwiches, the smell of them making his mouth water and turned on his heel to head out the door. Plenty of time to spare, he thought, pushing through the door out into the crisp Chicago afternoon. He had his nose stuck in the bag, counting to make sure the whole order was there, not looking where he was going…
“What the f…!” Max blurted, crashing to the ground. Stunned, he lamented the timing. He was already late! Max sat up gingerly. Looking up he saw the reason for the disaster.
“Oh, you have got to be kidding me,” he muttered. “This is not happening.”