“… nice view of Carrcassonnee’s new, blooming tree over at the Temple of TILE. I think this could be our new spot, Other Baker.” He woofed down another delicious piece of Raggedy Ann’s pizza with this. “This — um so good — this new pizza item is the *best*, Baker Blinker.” He takes yet another bite, and talks, still with his mouth pretty full. “Ginger, yum (*chomp*). Just a hint of ginger.”
“How about that table over there, though,” suggests similarly woofing Baker Blinker, not as convinced this was their new spot at Perch. “Better view.” She was at least polite enough to stop eating when she talked.
Baker Bloch glanced over after swallowing. “Too near the door to the place. You know I don’t like sitting in front of the door. *Everyone* can look out on us.” He returns to the pizza and the devouring of it. “Besides (*cut*), Mr. Babyface is over there right now (*bite*).”
“Mr. Babyface has *been* over there. What’s he doing with all those newspapers?”
Baker Blinker’s been glancing over here, thinks Mr. Babyface, paused in his reading. She may report me to the maitre de, gasp, who may tell the owner. Maybe even Perch himself, who sees *everything* anyway.
Oh wait, he suddenly realized, playfully fooling himself. Perch is back in (Carrcassonnee’s) head — not mounted up there above the door any more. Grease stain left behind covered up by a big clock. Oh well. Guess there’s no one around to monitor my voluminous newspaper reading today. Maybe I’ll order another cup of coffee around, say, 3:30-ish.
At 25 after 3, Mr. Babyface spots the odd conjunction that would influence the rest of his life. An ad for a football camp featuring Leroy Kelly, and just below, an ad originating from Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
Steamboat Kelly, he ruminates after reading one then the other. The famous running back who replaced (best running back ever) Jim Brown but also made a (smaller) name for himself. Sat on the bench and bided his time — good for him. Patience pays off.
Trouble was, there was never a *Steamboat* Kelly. Only Leroy — sans nickname. Mr. Babyface had entered an alternate universe where up could be down and Cleveland Browns players, former and present, could be manipulated by a higher power.