The doorman at 118 East 28th Street calls me Daniel. I have corrected him numerous times, explaining that my real name is Charles, yet he still calls me Daniel. He claims that because I once claimed to be the Buddha, he cannot get the name Daniel out of his head when he sees me.
We struck up our first conversation at the start of the New Year. It was after listening to a long-winded story about Mr. Chen’s time in the military as a Chief Warrant Officer, that I began saluting him. I shared a few of my own war stories with Mr. Chen. I once told him that I work such a crappy job because if Jesus or Buddha were in New York City today, they would both work as a messenger. He must have thought I was being serious.
I was delivering paychecks to a company in his building today. He stopped me and insisted that I sign a log book upon his desk, even though he knows I am Daniel.
“Did your father send you any more money”? He asked, referring to the $500 Dad sent me for Christmas. I told Mr. Chen all about it because he asked me that day why I always smile.
“No, he did not,” I answered. “He only calls to tell me gross things.” I remarked.
“What is gross?” He asked. Obviously, the world gross has not yet been added to his English vocabulary.
“Dad likes to tell me awful stories,” I replied.
“Tell me. What did he say?” Mr. Chen begged.
“Dad is having another affair. That’s not a big surprise. He would not know what to do if he could not cheat. What grossed me out was his story about a woman with false teeth. He said she takes them out and goes down on him. I don’t know why he told me that story, Mr. Chen. I mean really! Why would you tell your son such a story?”
Mr Chen chuckled and replied, “One day, I’m going to write a story about Daniel and the things he tells me.