Imaginary Conversation With: A-Rod
(A-ROD is staring me down in the middle of Times Square)
A-ROD: … well? Aren’t you going to congratulate me?
ME: On what?
A-ROD: (scoffs) Number 600.
A-ROD: Why not?
ME: Because I don’t care.
A-ROD: I thought you loved baseball!
ME: I do.
A-ROD: This is a big deal!
ME: No, that—(points at guy on a unicycle who is juggling bowling pins on fire with a huge snake wrapped around his neck)—is a big deal.
(you’ll have to imagine the fire, snake parts)
A-ROD: Whoa. How do you think he does that?
A-ROD: (completely ignoring me, bellowing) HEY GUY! HOW DO YOU DO THAT?
(dude ignores him)
A-ROD: (nonplussed, smiling) What’s his problem?
ME: He seems a little busy—
A-ROD: (louder this time) HEY DUDE! HOW. DO. YOU. DO. THAT?
(GUY ON UNICYCLE JUGGLING FLAMING BOWLING PINS starts to wobble, does not look at A-Rod as he starts to talk)
GUY ON UNICYCLE JUGGLING FLAMING BOWLING PINS: Looks like we… (whoosh, whoosh) … have an excited little boy … (whoosh, whoosh) … in our audience today. Where are you from, little boy?
A-ROD: (completely unaware that he’s being spoken to)
ME: Alex! It’s rude not to answer someone when they’re talking to you. Tell the man where you’re from.
A-ROD: (sheepish) I’m from, uh, New York City, sir.
GUY ON UNICYCLE JUGGLING FLAMING BOWLING PINS: (smiles, eyes still concentrating on task) New York City? Do you hear that, ladies and gentleman? From right here! And tell me, little boy, what do you want to be when you grow up?
ME: (in a low, reassuring voice) Go ahead, Alex. Answer the man’s question.
A-ROD: I want to play baseball!
GUY ON UNICYCLE JUGGLING FLAMING BOWLING PINS: A baseball player! That’s great! Mets or Yankees?
A-ROD: (gaining confidence) … Yankees, sir.
GUY ON UNICYCLE JUGGLING FLAMING BOWLING PINS: The Yankees! Now tell me, who’s your favorite player?
A-ROD: (quietly) Derek Jeter.
GUY ON UNICYCLE JUGGLING FLAMING BOWLING PINS: Derek Jeter! He’s my favorite too! But I also like Jorge Posada. And Mariano Rivera. And Mark Teixeira. And CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes. What a team!
A-ROD: (almost a whisper) Yeah they’re good
(There is a commotion as all the pins fall to the ground and there is screaming because they’re still on fire)
GUY ON UNICYCLE NO LONGER JUGGLING PINS: Holy shit, you’re Alex Rodriguez.
GUY ON UNICYCLE NO LONGER JUGGLING PINS: You hit 600 yet?
A-ROD: (beaming) Yes! I did it yesterday. (pause) Can I have your snake?
GUY DESCENDING UNICYCLE: No way, he’s a part of my act. This is how I make my living, bro.
A-ROD: Would you take… (reaches into pocket, counts cash, counts it again) $5,000?
GUY WHO JUST SOLD SNAKE: Yes. Yes I would.
(In a clean motion, swipes cash from A-Rod and drapes snake around his neck)
GUY MOVING AWAY QUICKLY: Feed it hamsters… or chicken… once a week… (he picks up the unicycle and bolts)
A-ROD: Those were counterfeit bills.
ME: You carry fake money around?
A-ROD: Oh sure. Everyone thinks it’s real. How do you think I got this suit?
(it is a nice suit)
ME: Wow. What a dick.
A-ROD: I’m not as dumb as everyone thinks I am.
A-ROD: Let’s go to the M&M’s store.
ME: I don’t think they’ll let you bring that in—
A-ROD: I said (him and the snake look me straight in the eyes) let’s go to the M&M’s store
ME: (terrified) … okay …
(NYPD officer approaches)
COP: Hey you got a permit for that thing?
A-ROD: You bet.
(He reaches into his wallet and winks at me before turning to the cop and “paying him off.” Afterward we go say hi to the Naked Cowboy [they’re apparently friends] and go to the M&M’s store, where A-Rod gets sick of the snake and hands it to me and bolts. I’m the guy who has it when the cops show up and they’re about to arrest me for it when the Naked Cowboy—with whom they’re familiar—backs up my crazy story. He then demands $20, which he double-checks against the light because he “know(s) A-Rod’s game.” He says if I give him $5 more he’ll sing “America.” I decline, and he starts singing it anyway.)