I ran into My Death sitting at a wrought-iron table outside a café, reading the paper. What’s new? I asked, sitting across from him. Do you really want to know? he replied. Never mind, I said. What are you going to order? This place has the best brownies, he said. That and a cup of chai, as always. You look tired, I said. Suddenly you’re worried about me? he asked. No, I said. I’m just making conversation. You look tired too, he said. I am, I said. It’s almost summer and the sun’s rising earlier and so are the birds and it’s hard to get enough sleep. Ah yes, he said. The birds are at their best now. Yes, I said. They really are. There was a long pause. Neither of us excelled at small talk. I noticed the red sign on the door. Hey, this place is closed today, I said. It is? he said. Well, that explains the poor service. I guess I’ll have to come back another day. Oh, My Death, I said. You’d be hopeless without me. He just smiled.
Ian Willey spent one summer in college working at an amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio, where he nearly overcame his fear of heights.