Ebern took a very, very long drag of his cigarette. With lungs full of smoke, and smoke seeping from his hairy nostrils, he stared across the rushing river that was abundant with chunks of ice flowing north. His blue eyes twinkled in the sun, and the sun glimmering in the water twinkled even more.
Malcolm watched Ebern’s pupils shrink, as Ebern finally spoke:
“Ah, screw it.”
“Screw it?” Malcolm spat. He then stood up (slowly, of course) from the ledge which he and the homeless man sat. How dare this bum make me risk my life taking a seat on the edge of this dock with a rushing river below to only tease me with unveiling the point.
“Ah!” Ebern said loudly. “It seems like ye were seriously interested in hearing about the point, and I tell ya, that means somethin’. It really does.”
Malcolm–feeling rather uninterested, irritated, and quite anxious about returning to work–hardly cared. Afterall, the opinion of a homeless person? Where’s the affirmation in that? Take those first steps back to the office, and you’ll be there in no time, Malcolm thought to himself. But following this, he realized that those extra few minutes away from his thoroughly worn down cushioned chair and communal desk littered with an unorganized pile of shared garbage really did have an impact of his passion to go and slug it out at a less-than-mediocre job. What would a good job consist of? Mal asked himself in the few moments before Ebern again spoke. Free snacks in the fridge, so I no longer have to spend fifteen dollars a week on high-calorie granola bars–that’s for sure. Maybe some almonds mixed with some raisins, or even a full blown trail mix! A constant supply of potato chips wouldn’t be all that bad either.
“What in the world are ya starin’ at?” Ebern asked harshly and interrupted Malcolm’s food-fantasies. “Have those trees you’re staring at suddenly turned to the dicks of giants?”
“What?” Malcolm responded airily. It came out as more of a hiss than anything else.
“I compliment ya and then ya respond by staring at a tree for twenty seconds, how do ya think that makes a man feel when said man is about to tell you the point?”
Malcolm let out a laugh. “This is a joke,” he said, regretfully making his way back to work. He sincerely wished that this conversation and encounter didn’t happen to in fact be a joke. His feet dragged for the five steps he took.
“The point!” Ebern said loudly as Malcolm walked away. “Is something that must be learned–something that will take time but something that is worth it. Afterall, who in life doesn’t want to know what the point of it all is?”
“I don’t have any time to give,” Malcolm replied haphazardly taking his sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth steps. It sounded like his voice was rolling its own eyes.
“I’ll make it worth it for ya,” Ebern said.
Malcolm stopped. “And how might that be possible? Are you to pay me or something?” Malcolm emphasized pay given the fact that Ebern appeared to lack to funds enough to buy new third-hand socks. Malcolm instantly regret his lip.
“I’ll pay ya three million dollars, cash,” Ebern plainly replied.
And Malcolm actually shit his pants.