Breakfast at The Social Contract

“… and then I got struck by lightening! And then god came down, all mean, scary, humanoid, a silicon Colossus, and grabbed me in a head-lock! And then — ”

“Yeah, yeah. I got all that. So what’s your point?” my Friend looked at his watch.

“Well. I dunno. I was just saying…”

“Look, I gotta get to my Ninja class. Then I have a meeting. Then I have –”

“Ninja? Since when are you a Ninja?”

“I’m not. Yet. Not till Sunday. This class I’m taking, ‘The Seven Day Black-belt.’ Truly incredible, best class I ever took. A birthday present from my mother,” said my Friend.

“Black-belt? In a week? Every black-belt I’ve ever known said it took like four years. And even then you’re just considered a ‘beginner.’ But a Ninja. That’s serious –”

“Time management. It’s all about prioritizing. Taking control of your own time. For instance, I came into the class on Monday, knowing nothing. Today it’s Wednesday and I’ve already mastered Soft Step Meditation, big-time. I’m ‘one with the air.’ In fact, I am air…”

“Soft Step Meditation? I never heard of –”

“Silent, odorless, unheard, unseen. Suddenly I land a kick to the groin, and elbow to the gut, give you a fress in the punim. You’ll platz. Laid out like a brisket, a sock full of Jello. Never know what hit you.”

“That’s –”

“Bad? Yeah, I’m bad. Really bad.”

“Well. To tell you the truth. Do me good to learn some meditation, especially after this whole ‘attacked by god’ thing – think I could press charges? Also, I could use some basic self-defense –”

“Yeah, yeah. I’ll email you the brochure. Really I gotta get going. Master Fu really freaks out if you’re late.”

“Master Fu?”

“Yeah. Why? What, are we racists now?”

“No, no. I was just… yeah maybe a class like this will help me –”

“I mean, Master Fu goes mad-ass ape-shit if you’re late. He’s transitioning from Paxil to Wellbutrin and it’s bugging him out. Personally I think he should,” he made a gesture of holding a phone to his head. “You know? Get on the horn with Dr. Feel-good and talk about some sort of adjustment.”

“Definitely. A class like this might be the kind of thing I –”

“I’ll email you the brochure. Look, I really gotta go. Let’s do lunch.”

“I don’t do lunch.”

“You don’t ‘do lunch.’” What are we, some kinda Big Shot, now?”

“No, I just don’t wake up until late, late afternoon, You know that.”

“Dinner, then.”

“Dinner for me is Breakfast.”

“Okay. We’ll do ‘breakfast,’” my Friend, annoyed. “Sushi. You can order the lox-and-cream-cheese roll. Lots of green tea. Perk you up real good. Anyway, like, bye.”

“Listen, I had a goddamn other-worldly experience. If you could just –”

“I said, ‘bye.’ Tomorrow at six. PM. Sushi at The Social Contract. You know where it is. I’ll call you before-hand.”

“You won’t call. You won’t be at The Social Contract.”

“Of course I will. At the risk of repeating myself, ‘bye.’ For real, this time. You know, ‘Ciao.’”

My Friend began his descent to the L-train.

“Chow. You won’t call. Might as well challenge god to a re-match. I almost had him, really. He’s not so tough. Considering all the – I should get some kind of ‘handicap.’ Really.”

“Go get him, champ. You can tell me all about it. Tomorrow.”

Adam Engel lived for your sins -- and he lived well! -- in Fear-and-Trembling, Brooklyn, one of the last gangrenous toes of NYC not yet severed and replaced with a prosthetic gentrification device. Read other articles by Adam, or visit Adam's website.