I walk down the hallway, stopping occasionally to admire the decour. It is an old nineteenth-century English manor in downtown Riverdale. I have just stopped in to pay a visit to an old high school friend and colleague of mine. He is awaiting me in the parlour. He welcomes me with open arms.
“Reggie, my good man! Where have you been all these years? ”
Deftly maneuvering around the subject, I instead enquire about the recent health problems of his wife.
Oh, Veronica is doing fine, thank you. Her fever
has diminished, and I dare say she will be walking again in a week or two. Now, my faithful friend, the reason I asked you up here today is because I received a telegram from our dear old Professor Grundy... You remember old Grundy, don't you boy? I dare say she gave us a run for our money
in the literature examinations! But I am getting off-topic. Recently, she sent us a telegram asking for a compiled definition of a narrative
“A Narrative? ” I say, quite astonished,
“But surely she knows the definition herself, being a distinguished literary professor with tenure. It's hardly our place to give such a definition. ”
“That's just it, old chum! ” my friend laughs gaily,
She always was a clever dame
. She has asked for merely our own interpretations. She doesn't believe there is one definitive answer, and she wishes to have multiple perspectives for a literature textbook she is working on! ”
I smile, and take a sip from the flask of alcohol I brought along with me,
Yes, old Grundy was very creative. I remember one time she came into our classroom with some form of journal, and passed it around the class, and asked us to each write one literary argument
. Oh, what joy that brought me when she read mine aloud! Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo
. But I must confess, this is a much more troubling subject. ”
“Quite, ” agrees my jovial friend,
“A right dilemma. I find I am at a loss at where to even begin. ”
There is silence. I search my friend's face for clues to his thoughts. He has aged greatly in the last few years. The eyes, dazzling blue eyes that were once filled with the mischeivousness and promiscuity of youth, take up a much more sombre tone. They are filled with wisdom now, as such wisdom was certainly absent when we were throbbing young boys. The lines in his face have increased as well. I recoil slightly with shock at his furrowed brow, suddenly weary and weighted down by heavy thoughts. He is staring at me with intensity.
Swiftly, my good friend breaks the silence,
“Well, shall I get a pen, then? ” He walks off to the desk, a very old antique, presented to him by his Great Aunt-in-Law Tessie as a wedding gift. I remember it well. He reaches inside the desk drawer and procures a great white feather, its magnificence emphasizing his wealthy stature, and I am reminded of my own financial shortcomings as of recent. He then returns back to his purple velvet recliner, and beams at me.
“Well then, Reginald... where shall we begin? ”
I ponder the question for a while, and then speak,
“Well, first of all, a narrative is almost always written within the first person. ” My friend nods and writes this down diligently. He rather reminds me of a personal secretary or a home stenographer, and I chuckle at the very thought. Eventually, I proceed:
“Also, it usually contains an overly-detailed description of events, and places, and people. It is... ”
“Often lengthy? ” my friend chimes in. I nod. He writes this down as well, he inquires. I nod, and he once again copies this onto the parchment, using long, free-flowing strokes in an over-exaggerated cursive script. I notice that the ink he is using is a deep pink color and the paper is a very light lavender muslin, and wonder why he chose such god-awful stationary. I was hoping it was Veronica's choice, but I daren't ask.
“Very well, ” he says,
“I shall wire Grundy at once with our definition. I do say the old bag will find this of great use. ” He folds the paper neatly and places it into the fanny-pack he was been wearing around his waist. He always did have a quirky sense of fashion. The fanny pack probably came from J. Crew and cost Veronica quite a pretty penny.
“In the meantime, my friend, may I get you some more Brass Monkey? Or perhaps some Peach Schnapps? ”
I reply in the affirmative, as I have just finished my Mad Dog 50/50, thanking him greatly for his hospitality. He leaves me alone with my thoughts to fetch more booze from the kitchen. Certainly, it has been great to reconnect this friendship, and I have no doubt that Archie and I shall be seeing more of each other in the weeks to come.