Portrait of Tom*

Tom is sitting beside me, polishing his glasses as we speak. His nephew lives in Dallas and is having problems with his wife. Tom emailed him last night. Tom likes giving personal and irrelevant information out in an offhand way, the way some older people do.

Tom loves computers. “I used to hate ‘em,” he says. “Now I wish I got into them when I was your age.” Tom is about 70 years old. “I use Google Chrome. Internet Explorer sucks.”

Tom used to sleep at the ministry back in 2005-6. He’s here now because he figured he had to give something back.

Tom talks incessantly about anything, but mostly computers. Sitting next to him it occurs to me that I could probably ignore him all night and he wouldn’t notice. Tom says he stays up all night on the computer, and if he can’t get on the internet he plays solitaire.

Bob** comes in and says he’s going to the hospital. He says it’s the flu. He tries to buy a cigarette off of Tom but Tom just gives him one for free, matches too.

Tom’s sister has emphysema.

I’m going to sleep.

Tom is a pervert, but at least he doesn’t hide it like the rest of us.


*Tom’s name isn’t Tom.

**Bob’s name isn’t Bob either.

About Daniel Fitzsimmons

Staff writer for the Manhattan weeklies Our Town, Our Town Downtown and the West Side Spirit.
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