A few months ago I bought a box of My Powdered Friend, dumped the contents into a bathtub of water, sloshed it around, and went to bed. The next morning I woke up, and there was Steve.
“What do you want to do today?” I asked Steve last Saturday. My girlfriend Lydia was going to lunch and a botany lecture with Sally, her My Powdered Friend.
“I’m always up for a ballgame, Bob,” Steve said and took a gulp of water. “How about we go see the Leghorns?” He grabbed a spritzer and sprayed his face.
“Sure. Day game. Let’s go now and get good seats, watch warmups.”
Steve chugged the rest of the water he was drinking then put several bottles and a spritzer in his back pack. “Ready,” he said.
By game time the stadium was almost full. I wondered how many people were with their My Powdered Friends, but I didn’t want to look around too much. That might be construed as suspicious. The Leghorns took an early lead, but our enjoyment was almost ruined. It was hot, and Steve was going through a lot of water. At one point, he spritzed his face and got some on the guy behind us.
“Watch it, pal,” the guy said and flicked Steve in the back of the head. Everybody around us froze.
Steve turned in his seat. “Sorry, sir. That was careless. It won’t happen again.”
The guy stared at Steve, really studied him. “No wonder you’re spritzing and drinking so much water. You’re one of those cake boxers, aren’t you?” People started pulling out their camera phones.
Steve kept his cool. “Yes sir, I am. But I hope you won’t hold that against me. I’m just here to enjoy the game and root on the Leghorns like you.”
The guy stood up menacingly, but must have noticed he was on the verge of being reported for suspicion if not outright unrest. He sat down and patted Steve on the back. “No worries. Enjoy the game, buddy.”
That’s the thing about Steve. All the My Powdered Friends. They not only keep their cool, but have a knack for calming others. I’ve no doubt even if that tough guy hadn’t balked for fear of getting turned in, Steve would’ve talked him out of causing trouble.
That night Steve and I were chatting. “How’s it going with you and Lydia?” Steve said between sips.
“Still so-so” I said. “You know we’ve talked about moving in together or even marriage, but–”
“Like I’ve said, don’t let me stop you. Sally and I could get our own place. You and I could still hang out.”
“You know that’s not it,” I said. “A close relationship is tough. Your partner says something that can be interpreted as suspicious. Maybe it’s innocent. Maybe not. Do you turn them in? If you don’t, and someone else does, they take your partner away and then they come at you. It’s hard to convince them you didn’t know anything. Maybe they take you away too.”
“Has Lydia been saying something suspicious?”
“Not at all,” I said. “But I think most people they take away didn’t mean anything by it. Plus, if you do turn in your partner, there’s all the guilt. Lydia and I have decided it’s best to not get too close to anyone. Except our My Powdered Friends. I’ve never known you to say or do anything remotely suspicious, Steve.”
“Just my recipe, I guess.”
“And if I had a slip of the tongue, you wouldn’t report me, would you?”
“Of course not. You’re not having suspicious thoughts are you?” Steve said. He twisted the cap off another bottle, took a big swig, and poured the rest over his head.
“Of course not.”
“Good. Now if you’ll excuse me, Bob, I think I’ll turn in.” Steve got up and went into the bathroom. I heard him fill the tub and climb in for the night. The gentle splashing of the water was relaxing. Everything Steve did was.
The next day Lydia and I were meeting for lunch so Steve and I went for a morning stroll. We were talking about the Leghorns, not paying attention to where we were walking, and almost bumped into a woman and a young girl who appeared to be her daughter. The woman looked at Steve and gasped. Then she leaned her face in close to his and ran her fingers through his hair.
“Roger? Is that you?” she said.
“Daddy!” the young girl said and reached for My Powdered Friend’s hand.
Steve recoiled. “I think you’re mistaking me for someone else. I’m Steve.”
“Oh, Roger, what have they done to you? I’m so sorry I turned you in. I just didn’t know what else to do after you–”
“I’m Steve. Bob’s My Powdered Friend.” Steve put his arm on my shoulder.
The woman sat on the sidewalk, sobbing. The young girl, crying loudly, tugged at Steve’s hand. People were approaching, taking out their camera phones. “Let’s go,” I said and pulled Steve away. He hesitated a second, squeezed the girl’s hand and looked sadly at the woman. Then we got the hell out of there.
“That was strange.” I said to Steve as we rounded the corner.
“To say the least,” Steve said. “I think I’ll take in the Leghorns game while you’re with Lydia.”
“Sounds like a plan,” I said.
The rest of our walk was nice. I had a safe conversation over lunch with Lydia. The Leghorns won.
And, yes, I realize what’s happening. I’m sure others do too. But I’m not saying a word to anybody. Not even Steve.
Banner Image : – By Ananyaalien (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons