Monday, August 16, 2021

An Unknown Friend

Quinn and Marty shared the same cubicle for two and a half years. Their chairs were back to back.

Quinn sat with his elbows resting on his desk. He clicked his ink pen over and over. Marty had hardly spoken a word in nearly a week. Quinn thought he had said or done something wrong.

Quinn swiveled in his chair. “Marty!”

Marty swiveled to face Quinn.

What’s up?” Marty said.

You tell me,” Quinn said. “You haven’t said more than a sentence or two in the last few days.”

Sorry,” Marty said. “Nothing is wrong. “I thought maybe you might have noticed but I get this way a couple of times a year. I just like to be left alone for a while.”

Are you sure that’s it?” Quinn said.

I’m sure,” Marty said, “Why, do you think it’s something else?”

It seems like no matter where I go I’m already there,” Quinn said.

What is meant by that,” Marty said. “I bring everything with me; all the problems, all the troubles, all the insecurities, and all the things that make me miserable.”

I know what you mean,” Marty said. “I used to feel the exact same way. I try to work through it.”

How did you work through it?” Quinn said. “I can’t go on like this. I move every three or four years. I don’t make friends and if I do, I can’t keep ‘em.”

Think for a moment about all the different experiences you have had by relocating every three of four years,” Marty said. “Most guys are afraid to pack up and start over, but you have adventure in your soul. You like to explore new things.”

It’s not that I enjoy it,” Quinn said. “I’m forced to do it. People tire of me easily and I have no friends.”

You have more friends than you think,” Marty said.

Give me the name of someone you have not spoken to in 10 years,” Marty said.

Quinn thought for a moment. “Bruce Spruce.” And he chuckled.

You got to be kidding me, Bruce Spruce,” Marty grinned. “I’m surprised that guy didn’t move and change his name.”

Yeah, like Peter Ceder,” Quinn smirked.

Where do you know him from?” Marty relaxed.

Lubbock, Texas, we worked together,” Quinn said.

Where did you work?” Marty said.

Horizon Industries,” Quinn said, “his desk was next to mine. We started out as friends and it kind of turned sour.”

What, a big blow-up or something?” Marty said.

Things just got stale between us,” Quinn said. “I got bad vibes. I got on his nerves.”

That’s what he said?” Marty said.

No,” Quinn said, “but I could tell.”

Give me just a moment,” Marty said pulling his cell phone from his pocket, “I’ll get right back with you,” Marty spoke into the phone. “Lubbock, Texas for Horizon Industries.”

What are you doing!” Quinn said.

Shhh,” Marty said, “I’m being connected.”

This is embarrassing,” Quinn said.

Yes,” Marty said into the phone. “Can I speak to Bruce Spruce?” Marty looked at Quinn. “He still works there. They’re putting us through.” Marty pushed the button for the speaker and handed the phone to Quinn.

Bruce Spruce, how can I help you?”

Quinn gave Marty a sour look.

Marty handed the phone to Quinn.

Hey, Bruce, this is Quinn.”

Quinn,” Bruce said and paused.

Quinn held his hand over the phone. “What did I tell you.”

The Mighty Quinn!” Bruce said. “Is that you?” Man, it’s good to hear your voice. Where the heck are you now? Somebody said you were in Houston. Tell me what’s going on with you. My life hasn’t changed a bit; same desk, same wife, and same ole, same ole. Are you in town? We got to get together”

Quinn smiled at Marty and whispered, “Thanks.”

That did me a lot of good too,” Marty said. “Nothing makes you feel better than seeing old friends back together.”


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