The man seemed deranged, but not enough to be worried. He spoke over the coffeehouse noise like someone who is used to not being heard, shuffling past the tables, lips moving, trying to catch a pair of eyes that would acknowledge his existence. None did.
I was meeting a source here, an industry-type person who had been around the block in so many ways. We were dissecting the state of our little worlds and had no time for the ramblings of a weirdo who said he was going to run for president for the third time. But weirdos fascinate me, so the leaflet he left went into my pocket for later.
The sheet is still on my desk. It’s a single-spaced, double-sided tirade about how the NSA was behind 9/11 and how its agents are trying to poison the man — let’s call him Jeff — and how its faceless minions might hunt me down, too, for now possessing information about the plans because there is a reward of $20,000 on the heads of those in the know, as all lie-detecting machines would be able to tell you if they hadn’t been sabotaged by the NSA, an agency that routinely dispatches chefs and coffee machines to almost every restaurant in the country so they can track you by your cell phone and IDs, so you better microwave them for precisely four seconds until your credit cards exhibit a silver eagle on the back with lines through the wings, which means you can no longer be followed.
And so on.
Then, buried in Jeff’s plans for the presidency, this:
No killing at the animal shelters.
Dogs allowed in restaurants and clubs like they are in France.