By Edward Hopper —, Public Domain,

Once I worked at an agency in New York

That represented performing artists

Usually, I ran the taping room

But someone had canceled

So, today, I ran the mailroom

As I strode through the lobby making my rounds

I heard a familiar voice say

“Boy, she looks sad.”

There, by the elevators

Was Norm

In a Grandpa sweater

And multi-colored sneakers

Looking at a painting

That hung on the wall

I stopped flat

And he turned

Mischief squinted at me from a friendly red face under scribbled-on hair

“What’d ya suppose’s on her mind?”

I approached and stood next to…

Photo by Cade Roberts on Unsplash

“I said fucking Pellegrino, Jason! Jesus Christ!”

It was so loud I could feel the sound beat against my chest as I walked into the conference room.

The explosive outburst was played for laughs. A wry tantrum whose comedic intent would have been obvious under other circumstances, but when an artist of that caliber fully commits to something it throws off the gravity in the world around them. Everyone lost their balance.

Jason stumbled across the room to extract the can of La Croix that Adam had launched into the couch and then walked past me out the door in…

John Gillen

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