Monroe

“Are you Monroe?” he says with a Russian accent. He’s stopped his vehicle among others arriving at the airport terminal passenger pickup.

I say no. My name, the car service told me, would appear in the vehicle’s window along with the car number. I see neither. Move on, sir, with your awful late ’70s hairstyle and dour expression.

Ten minutes or so later, my cell rings. A Russian-accented man asks if I see his vehicle, hazard lights flashing. At first I don’t, but then look to my right several yards away, where a man stands outside a vehicle, cell to his ear.

Our eyes meet. I approach him and the vehicle. He lowers his phone and glares at me beneath the sweeping bangs of his ’70s mop.

“I asked you 15 minutes ago if you were waiting for Carmel,” he says, “and you said no.”

“Oh. I thought you asked if my name is Monroe. Which it’s not. I didn’t hear ‘Carmel’. Sorry.”

“Unbelievable,” he says, several times, reiterating a mumbled accented scolding.

Any time he takes a dark, desolate road on the way to Manhattan, I think he’s planning my murder. I’m only half-kidding.

I’ll bet he’s a magnificent father.

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