I’ll get this one, I tell him, sliding change for two Mountain Dews across the pharmacy counter.
We wade through the humidity, tramp across the faint scent of dog piss wafting up from the East Village sidewalk.
Hands damp from condensation and sweat, I fumble with the bright green plastic cap.
He asks if I need help, and I shake my head. Keep talking.
We met exactly one week ago, in a park that proudly bore his first name on its chipped, forest-green gates.
Like this park, he said as he introduced himself.
Like the park, I said to every friend who hadn’t heard the story yet. Exactly like the park.
The screen on my phone reads eight thirty four– if I’m not on by nine, I’m fired from my first job.
I’ve gotta get home, I tell him. I’ve gotta log in, I think to myself.
Sorry I’m a little late, I type.
Don’t forget to tip our wonderful DJ.
Trace Osterham joined Second Life in 2008. He no longer works at a club, but looks back on those days fondly.