“Good sir”, or so, or “friend,” or “gentlemen” –

Sitting at the bar, perched on a stool, the glass streaked with the streams of beer that have traveled to and from a mouth over a long conversation, he wonders now how to address his companion. An intimacy has sprung easily between them. They’ve laughed over the foibles of their friends. They’ve traded complaints abut their bosses. They’ve rolled their eyes over their troubles with women. What’s that guy’s name? That would be the easiest title to use, to simply say, “So, Jim. ..” but he cannot remember his name or even if he ever asked him what it was. There has been a kind of formality to their intimacy so he cannot be satisfied with “buddy” or “pal” or “Man” and especially not “dude.” He thinks he might make a joke of it and make a little bow before him to call him “gentleman” or perhaps he won’t address him at all.
He hears himself telling a long story in which he talks to himself, one where he says his own name in jest several times, as in “That’s tellin’ him, Ray.” And “Come on, Ray. You can do this.” He knows that on some level he is telling this story that his companion will offer his own story like this, wherein he will say his name in jest. He almost does. He tells a self-deprecating story about himself about trying to psych himself up but he never calls himself by name, no, unfortunately, he calls himself “Jackass” and “Nimrod” so the name remains a mystery.

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