I sat on a metal chair in a small room, chatting with James Garner. I remember thinking that the last time we’d met the chair was made of wood, and in a different corner of the room.
Garner was surprised when I mentioned the death of Utah Phillips, saying that they were friends and had eaten eggs together but that he hadn’t known about the other man’s passing. He asked about the cause of death, seemingly concerned about his own mortality, and I filled him in on the details.
Then my alarm went off, and I awoke, realizing instantly that I’d conflated details about Phillips with the life and death of Sam Day, Jr. And since Garner was also dead, I’d never be able to correct my error. Maybe they’re all friends now.
I got up and went to play basketball, forsaking sleep for exercise in hopes of outliving three men whose work I admired: one I knew, one I met only once, and one I never met but managed to mislead in a dream. And because I feel guilty about that, I promise that every word above is true.
Except the part about the eggs. Though I’ve tried, I can’t remember what James Garner said he ate with Utah Phillips. Still, eggs feels right.