“You mean the band with those four English guys—but not the Beatles. You know, with Pete Townshend?” Veetch said, frowning in thought.
“That’s Who,” Britt said, pulling tight on his laces.
“That’s what I’m asking. Is that who you’re talking about…those guys who wrote about the pinball kid?”
“No.” Britt sat up and stared at his friend. “’The Who’. It’s the name of the band you’re thinking of. Four guys. Sang The Pinball Wizard.”
“Oh. Okay. So who were you talking about, then?”
Britt stretched out his calf, lunging forward until the pull from heel to knee reached the point of pain.
“Veetch, what the hell were you doing in the seventies, anyway?”
The other man shrugged and pushed his sweat band up. “Dropping acid. Dancing disco. You know.”
“I was talking about that guy in the seventies. Super skinny, pale and blond, and sort of androgynous. He was in some kid’s movie in the 80’s, with Muppets.”
Britt started jogging, not even caring if Veetch was ready. He wanted to get his run in before eleven so he’d time to shower before noon.
“I think they were on the Muppets once,” Veetch continued, catching up and falling into an easy pace beside him. “I remember Miss Piggy doing disco with them.”
“ABBA, Veetch, had two women and two men. I’m talking about one guy.” Britt picked up his speed, testing the tightness in his calf against his goal of an eight-minute mile.
“Right. Those ladies were hot, though, weren’t they?” Veetch grinned and nudged him, nearly making him stumble. “Hot!”
“I wouldn’t know,” Britt responded, moving to the edge of the sidewalk to put more space between them. “I was about two years old at the time.”
“Oh, ya. Forgot how young you were.”
Both were silent for a few blocks, and Britt had just fallen into the rhythm of his breath when Veetch shouted.
“I know! You’re talking about Jimi Hendrix!”
Britt shook his head. “Never mind. I’ll just Google it when I get home.”
“No way, this is too fun. Rick Springfield?”
“Was he ever in a movie with Muppets?”
“Nah,” Veetch conceded, “but he was kind’a girly.”
“It doesn’t matter, dude. Let’s just run. You’ll never make it through the full 26.2 next month with the focus you’ve got going on.”
Veetch fell silent, though whether it was because he was trying to concentrate on his form, or if it was because his feelings were hurt, Britt wasn’t sure. Didn’t matter as long as he stopped with the seventies rock stars. Britt was sorry he’d ever brought it up, but at the time he’d thought it was a good idea, a way to broach a sensitive subject by connecting it to the music Veetch loved.
He hated that the vice president had given him this task. She knew that Britt and Veetch were friends. Why didn’t she ask Nathan to do it? He was a cold-hearted bastard who wouldn’t think twice about canning someone.
“So, what you got planned for the holidays? It’d be good to take some time off, eh?” Britt said after they’d passed their five mile mark. It was worth trying again, maybe he just needed a different tack.
Veetch was puffing, and his words came between panting breaths. “Not taking…time off. Need the money…I’m gonna ask Cookie…to marry me. She’s pregnant.”
Britt stumbled to a halt, his heart pounding with more than the exercise. He turned to Veetch, astonished.
“I’m gonna ask Cookie…to marry me. We’re havin’ a baby,” Veetch repeated.
Britt was sick, his stomach clenching. He had to fire his friend just when he’d decided to start a family? And what was he doing that for, anyway; he was fifty, for Christ’s sake!
“Veetch. I don’t know what to say.”
His friend stood up, his brows raised in surprise. “How about congratulations?”
“Congratulations, dude.” Britt tried to show an enthusiasm he didn’t feel. “That must be so exciting.”
“Yep. Lot’s of changes coming my way,” Veech smiled. He pulled out a handkerchief and wiped the sweat from his face. “Hey, that’s perfect, ya know? ‘Changes’. That was always my favorite song of David Bowie’s. In fact, Cookie and me talked about naming the kid David if he’s a boy ‘cause Bowie was both of our favorite’s back in the seventies.”
Britt swallowed hard against the thickness in his throat.
“That’s great Veetch. I can’t wait to meet the little guy.”
word count: 743
GG Challenge #16 w/ David Bowie’s “Changes” and the word “handkerchief”