by Howard Rue
Nicko meets the beautiful Hollister...
|"Hold up! Hold up!" Nicko didn't realize was yelling, let alone running, but as the words escaped his mouth, he elected to reduce both, immediately. It was at that moment he realized that he was desparate for companionship. The young man continued to trot along, his small gray toy poodle bouncing in his armpit. He did not turn.
Then something must have reached his beautiful brain. He halted, pondered and turned around.
"Excuse me? Sir?"
The young man was the same age as Nicko expected. He did expect some of the looks and build to be reduced, the gift of looking down from a height diminishing. But it didn't. Hollisiter was the kind of man that Nicko would have spoken to in any situation. A gay bar. A nightclub. Online.
"Hi, sorry, I'm sorry, new to the--hold on," Nicko put his hands on his knees and caught his breath some, "sorry, you seem to walk faster than I realized."
"I'm sorry, is there a problem?" The question graced his face with this confusion. He had no idea who Nicko was.
"No, just, no, I noticed you the other day. I'm new to the building. Thought I would meet my neighbors."
"Neighbors? He looked to the building behind Nicko. "OH! Okay, Hi, then," he extended his hand for a handshake. "Is there a problem?"
Nicko did not plan for this. Lying was a bit out of the question, no reason to raise false expectations. He went with direct bluntness.
"No, no problem. Just, I thought-I noticed you about and thought I'd say hello. I used to have a dog and now? Well, I'm new to the area and you look like you're experienced. Well...with being here. And you ahve a dog. I'm a dog person, see and...okay. My name's Nicko. You walking to the dog park?"
"I am at that. This here? This here is Elphaba. And I'm Eric. Two 'E's."
"May I walk with you? It's been a while and I need some doggie-action."
Eric's eyebrows furrowed. "Um? Yeah. Sure. Come on along, then. You can even carry her. There's some bugs in the grass, so I prefer to wait until we get to the dog park to put her down."
"No, no, no problem...."