Mr. Bob Odenkirk was late for our lunch date. I sat in the Waffle House just outside the city limits of Los Gatos, California, waiting for him for an hour. I already had three waffles, two pieces of Texas toast (reminds me of home), and listened to “Achy Breaky Heart” four times on the jukebox. I was about to leave to go to the cat museum when my mobile phone vibrated. “Hello?” someone said on the other end before I spoke. Usually the person answering speaks first, but no, this person jumped the line.
“Hello?” the male voice asked again.
“Hello?” I replied.
“Hello?” was the response.
“Hello?” Now I thought this was a bit. Someone pulling my cardigan. It was cold in Los Gatos. Don’t judge me. It was a nice cardigan. I bought it off the discount rack at Macy’s in North Park Center.
I listened, but he didn’t say anything.
“Listen,” he said again.
“I’ll be there in three minutes. Traffic is a beast.” Then I heard the dial tone.
I played “Achy Breaky Heart” again on the jukebox.
Just as I was getting to my favorite lyrics, “Tell your brother Cliff whose fist can tell my lip, he never really liked me anyway,” in walked in Mr. Bob Odenkirk.
He was dressed in a black, slim suit, blue button down, and a charcoal tie.
“Well, well, look at you, Mr. Fancy,” I said, playing it cool that he was late.
“Listen. I know I’m late. I own that. But don’t make fun of this suit. My niece picked it out for me, and today’s her birthday. I’m going there right after this interview. So shoot.”
Mr. Bob Odenkirk was all business now. Or maybe he has always been, but plays absurd to throw us off the trail he’s creating. That trail, I’m told by third parties, leads to an underground bunker, which leads to an underground bunker under Archie Bunker’s house.
We didn’t have much time, so I shot right at him.
“Your book, A Load of Hooey, says ‘Inside is funny things.’ Who determined that?”
“That’s a good question, what’syourname.”
“Thank you. I’ve been creating it for weeks.”
“If you really must know, a blind, bald Buddhist monk said it, and I thought, why not, it fits. Do you not agree?”
The table was shifted, in a figurative sense, since the actual table was bolted to the linoleum floor, which was streaked with syrup residue and scuff marks from cheap shoes.
“I do agree,” I replied. “But I wasn’t sure at first. Then I got to ‘Didn’t Work for Me,’ and I knew that, yes, this is working for me.”
“You solved the puzzle.”
“And the ‘Happy Ending’ cartoon had me laughing audibly around my pet cat.”
“All cats love that cartoon. And old, gay men.”
“The Beatles piece was particularly amusing, mainly because I like the Beatles and know the real truth about Paul.”
“I was worried about that one, as they’re not that well known on this side of the ocean.”
“It was good. I could go on blowing smoke rings around your ankles, but it’s pointless. The point is, your book does include funny things inside it.”
“I’m glad I drove two hours to Los Gatos for you to tell me this. It reaffirms my life choices.”
And with that, Mr. Bob Odenkirk stood up in the Waffle House. Before he left, though, he played a song in the jukebox.
“Listen. This is Phil Spector. He will just kill you.”
I sat and listened. A wall of satisfaction rising up and over me.