Patsy was out on 17th Avenue, walking her mutt of a dog, when she saw a man emerge from the rain sewer. The dog started barking before Patsy noticed the grill, on the street next to the curb, rising up by the force of two human hands and arms, until a possibly young man in a black t-shirt and black jeans stood upright. Two wet leaves clung to his shirt. He reached down into the drain and pulled out a green pogo stick. He hopped from he street up on to the boulevard and to the sidewalk, where the little dog had lost her voice in fascination.
“Hey,” he said, not to Patsy but to the dog. He dismounted the pogo stick and knelt down. “Hello there, what are you? What’s your name?”
“She’s a mutt, probably some terrier in there,” said Patsy. “Her name is Donna.”
He vigorously scratched the dog behind the ears. “Donna, is it? Hello Donna.” He looked up and grinned at Patsy.
“What are you doing?” Patsy said, forgetting her manners.
“My five things,” said the man.
Ten minutes later they were on the patio of Bean There, Done That, with iced coffees. Donna dozed under the table.
“You just pick five things to do,” said the man, whose name was Horace. His curly hair, somewhat wet-ish from the drain, was dry now and so fine that the breeze shook the curls and they flew up and around in all directions.
A car honked right beside their table, and Donna awoke and barked.
“Inconsiderate,” said Horace.
“What else have you done?” Patsy asked him.
“I smoked a cigarette on my old high school grounds, which was a tough one since I never smoked tobacco,” he said.
“So these are things you always wanted to do?”
“Not necessarily. I never wanted to explore what’s under a rain grate,” Horace said. “It just seemed like something I wouldn’t ordinarily do.”
“And the pogo stick,” she said.
“I stole that, that was the fourth thing.”
“Just one more to go,” said Patsy.
“Yeah,” said Horace. “I haven’t changed the world; that’s not the point. But let me tell you, it feels good.”
There was an almost indetectibele scent of fish wafting from Horace to Patsy; she wondered if there were fish in the city drains?
“What is the point?” said Patsy.
Horace didn’t answer directly. “You could start with something that you just want to do,” he said. “It’s ok if you always wanted to do it, but it’s not required.”
“I,” said Patsy after a pause, “always wanted to yell at a man.”
There was a bowl of brown sugar on the table. Horace took a heaping teaspoon and stirred it into his coffee.
He said, “I’m a man.”
Patsy had Donna sit up, then she put her hands over the dog’s ears.
“What the hell do you think–” she shouted at Horace. “You don’t even try? Can’t you even, don’t you have eyes?”
Heads turned towards them. Patsy shouted louder.
“Why haven’t you ever? For God’s sake, listen! Stop, just stop! And don’t ever say or don’t even think it will— if you just, but you won’t! …Fuck you!”
A couple of people passing on the sidewalk had paused, but found the plot of the scene a bit foggy, so moved along.
“I’m done,” said Patsy with a smile. She took her hands away from Donna’s ears. Donna shook her head, and her ears flapped against her jowls.
“How’d it feel?” asked Horace, after waving away the concerned server.
“Liberating,” said Patsy. Then she deliberately swept the iced coffee from the table on the the brick floor, where it loudly shattered. The server came running.
“I’m so sorry,” Patsy said as the server cleared up the mess, sweeping the bits of glass and ice into a dustpan.
“No problem,” he said, “It happens.”
When the server left, she said, “I never ever wanted to do that, except now, as part of my five things.”
“I understand,” said Horace, nodding his head.
“There is something else I want to do,” Patsy said.
She leaned close and whispered in his ear.
“That’s possible,” he said. They paid the bill, leaving a generous tip, and went to Patsy’s apartment. When they were done, Patsy walked Horace down to the sidewalk again. The sun was low in the sky.
“I guess that’s my five,” said Horace.
“I have two more to go,” said Patsy.