“Any big plans for today?” Holly asked as she sipped her coffee and braced herself against the bitter wind.
It was a Sunday in April, but it was still bitterly cold because that’s how the weather works in Maine. The best friends shivered on their favorite bench as they stared out at the river.
“The Yankees are on at 1:30, so I want to try to get my monologue jokes done before the game,” Aaron replied as he pulled up his hood for further defense against Mother Nature’s angry mood.
Holly nodded. “You can’t write during the game because the Yankees can’t possibly win unless you focus all your attention on them and send them positive thoughts.”
“Clearly,” he confirmed as he took a drink of his Snapple.
“Plus, you’ve got to interact with your dear friends on Yankees Twitter,” she quipped.
“Why do you always make fun of my interacting with Yankees Twitter while I watch the game?” he questioned with a tinge of anger in his tone. “You’re always telling me I need to be more social.”
“But I meant you should do it face to face, rather than through an app,” she clarified with a smile to soften her words because she knew she had offended him. “I’m trying to get you out of your bunker and into the real world. The sunlight is good for you.”
Aaron rolled his eyes. He knew she meant well, but this topic always made him uneasy. It wasn’t exactly a positive that his best friend thought he was an anti-social leper.
So he decided to change topics and put her on the defensive. That was always more fun.
“I think you’re just jealous because Red Sox Twitter isn’t a thing,” he countered. “That would require not only a knowledge of how to use the internet, but also the daunting task of figuring out how to assemble words into complete sentences. Red Sox fans really can’t do those things.”
She punched him in the arm. The force behind the blow was halfway between playful and annoyed. Aaron wanted to rub it, but he refused to give her the satisfaction.
“Why didn’t you write jokes yesterday?” she asked after taking another sip of coffee.
“I’ve always meant to ask you about that,” she admitted. “Do you actually have to be in a funny mood in order to write comedy?”
“I think it helps,” he replied without hesitation. “And when I said ‘feeling funny’ I did not mean how my stomach feels after I eat something really spicy and it gets all queasy and I get gassy..”
Holly’s beautiful face contorted into an offended mask.
“We don’t need to discuss your more offensive bodily functions,” she reminded him.
Aaron shrugged. “Sorry. Just trying to answer your question. But, yeah, it’s kinda hard to write jokes when I’m not in a humorous state of mind.”
Holly nodded like that made perfect sense. They rarely talked about his writing process, but it truly fascinated her. She loved that he had this awesome superpower that was a total mystery to her.
“Is that why you used to focus on writing horror and thrillers?” she asked sincerely.
Aaron, of course, took it as a slight. “What is that supposed to mean? Are you saying I’m always in a horror movie state of mind?”
Holly had realized as soon as she’d asked the question that he’d take it the wrong way. Now it was time to go into crisis aversion mode.
“No! Not at all,” she insisted. “I just meant that you are often serious and brooding, and we both know you love to mess with the minds of others, so horrors and thrillers seem the perfect genres for you.”
“You think I’m serious and brooding?” he asked in a manner that made it hard to discern if he was still upset or just trying to mess with her.
“It’s not exactly a state secret that you dislike most people and classify yourself as a quirky introvert,” she pointed out with a smile.
Aaron sighed and took a long pull on his Snapple.
“I wouldn’t watch the show this week,” he advised. “I have a feeling the monologue is going to be very dark and somber..”
She rolled her eyes at his ridiculousness, and turned her attention back to the river and the unrelenting wind.