So I’m at the soda dispenser in the EDR getting some water and I’m standing next to an Asian dealer named Lily, who is at the coffee machine, which also dispenses hot water. She has three coffee cups; two are filled with spinach and the other with a hardboiled egg and some mushrooms and all are filled with hot water. I thought she was brewing some sort of rather gross beverage but she said she was actually doing some cooking, which I also thought gross.
I go back and sit with Radtke, who was telling me about a Thai dealer named Nong he has the hots for. Nong is 41, which means she’s a lot older than Radtke, who’s 23. Radtke said the cornerstone of their relationship has been him going up to her table and saying ‘hi’ before becoming tongue-tied and walking away.
So Radtke leaves and not twenty seconds later Nong walks in. She gets something to drink and then a guy comes and sits next to her. There’s a chair between them at the round table and all appears to be very platonic, but I get right to work. I get up and go get a cup of coffee I don’t want and walk right past them and find out the guy’s name is Travis because a guy in Radtke’s situation – just starting out stalking someone – needs information. As soon as I clear 482 I get on the horn and have Radtke meet me by the south fire doors. When he gets there I give him what I have: full description, name, the whole nine yards. He seemed a little puzzled as to why I would bother with this and I told him, not for the last time today, that a guy in his position needs rock-solid information. It might be something, it might be nothing, but information is key for the working bachelor.
Later, we’re on the shuttle to MGM. I’m sitting behind Radtke and across from Brandon. We had been detained for an hour or so after work so the Director of Security could favor us with an audience and Brandon was on the phone to the wife apologizing for coming home from work late.
I leaned forward and whispered to Radtke that that is why you stayed single, so you don’t have to call and apologize for coming home from work late. Radtke nodded appreciatively and said he was looking forward to talking to Nong tomorrow night.
“What Charlie unit are you?” I asked.
He shrugged. I might as well have asked him at what speed Venus rotated on its axis; he didn’t know.
“How can you expect to plan this evolution ahead of time if you don’t know what your schedule for the last three hours is?”
Nong comes on at 0400, and it is entirely possible Radtke could be sentenced to a schedule that doesn’t allow for talking to dealers. It’s good to know these things in advance. I then asked him if he bothered to know her break schedule. Dealers deal for an hour, then get a 20-minute break. With a minimum of effort, you can figure out when your woman will be at her table and when she won’t.
“Jesus Christ!” Radtke said. “You’re a stalker!”
I showed Radtke a palm.
“Information gatherer, young man.” I turned my palms up like they were a scale measuring something. “I merely aggregate various sources of information for my benefit. Information is power. It’s the key to the bachelor life.
“But you don’t even ask women out! You just stalk them.”
I raised an index finger.
“By choice, young man, by choice. There is no need for the commotion of a relationship right now.”
I leaned in.
“Remember Brandon,” I whispered. “You don’t want to be calling and apologizing for being late.”
He saw my point.