“He has everything,” they said.
I knocked on the front door so it was apparent he had a front door. There was even a welcome mat, so welcome mat, check. Two down, everything else to go. The door was to an apartment. Rented, so no truck there. I figured he must own an apartment somewhere though. Apartments are part of everything.
I star…ted to second guess whether I should really count the door to a rented apartment at all because then isn’t the door rented as well when he opened it. I mentally checked a few other things off the list. Shirt. Pants. Socks. Gold necklace. Silver necklace. Necklace of plastic beads. Locket. The Everything Man was demonstrating a concentration in neckwear upon our first meeting and I appreciated it the way one would a street sign with an exclamation point.
“They say you have everything,” I said.
“I’m the Everything Man,” he confirmed.
I looked around, and sure enough, things were in abundance. Without another word I started scribbling down every single item I saw: paperweights, gum wrappers, a curling iron, sheet music from Meet Me in St. Louis, a bucket of crayons, a scrap of polyester. The Everything Man asked me if I wanted a drink, I nodded and jotted down “drinks.”
“I’ll take a Fresca,” I said.
“Nah, man. Don’t got any. Can’t stand the stuff.”
The falsehood of the Everything Man struck me like a bat. The impact left a spider of fire digging its legs down through the crown of my skull until I could feel my cochleas get hot. I exhaled sharply, my throat more pressure valve than breathing tube at this point. The Everything Man didn’t have everything.
He may as well have had nothing at all.