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Circumstances - 14. Dad Dream

I work in television, but not in news. And I work in LA. This story started in New York magazine.

It was part of a series kicked off on Father’s Day and continued online. My dad figured in the first section.

It was military stuff. Aviation. World War II. I happened to be in New York the day the magazine came out and was having lunch with an old friend who worked at the Times.

“Why didn’t you tell me about this?” Al asked.

“I didn’t know I was gonna be mentioned.”

“Danny?”

“They must’ve talked with someone from high school. It’s the only time I used that name.”

There’d been a party for the kickoff. I wasn’t invited, but since this was something Al could semi-legitimately do rather than head back to his office, we went. It was small, a restaurant booked for the afternoon. Drinks. Hors d’oeuvres. A couple of speeches. The writers were introduced. Some of the old guys in the series. Suddenly, I heard my named called.

“How’d they know I was here?” I asked Al.

“We talked our way into the party. They must’ve picked it up then.”

Since my dad had been dead for five years, I went up to smile and say something. But when I got to the mic, “I” was already there.

The guy with my name looked a little like me, only ten years younger. And he spoke with a British accent. He was thanking people for writing about his father.

Now I have a strange last name, which no one can pronounce correctly – at least as our family chooses to. A hundred and forty years ago, my great-grandparents tried to anglicize a German name and only made it worse.

“Who are you?” I asked the guy.

“Daniel Weitauz.”

“I’m Dan Weitauz.” And I pulled out my wallet to prove it. He pulled out his. A British driver’s license with my name on it. “But you didn’t have my father,” I said. “That story is about my dad. Those are our family pictures.”

One was from the Second World War. The other from his retirement.

At that point, the British guy pulled a photo from his wallet. It showed my dad and a guy who could have been this guy, maybe fifteen years earlier.

“You can fake anything these days,” I said.

“Why would I?”

“Why are you here?”

“I saw the article.”

“You’re not that Dan.”

“Danny.”

I was beginning to get angry. There were reporters around. They knew when they had dirt.

“Dan,” Al said. He knew I could blow. “Let’s all get a drink.”

The fake Weitauz nodded. As we moved toward a booth, a photographer took a picture.

“Who are you?” I asked again.

“Just who I say. You’ll notice I’ve never asked you.”

“I don’t have to prove it.”

“You do to me.”

“He’s Dan Weitauz,” Al said. “I’ve known him almost all my life.”

“And who are you?”

Al pulled out his wallet and found his business card. Weitauz noticed the Times logo.

“Excuse me a moment.”

And he vanished.

“Now what was that all about?” Al asked five minutes later, when the guy hadn’t come back.

“Haven’t a clue,” I said.

2019 by Richard Eisbrouch
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Thank you for writing this series of "circumstances". You write very well and have a great ( for lack of a better word) knack to come up with situation and tell interesting and unconventional story.I look forward to your next one.

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Thanks. 

And, yeah, some of these obviously are inspired by dreams, and I don't really know where they come from.  But they're fun to try to get down and make sense of.

Quickly looking back over the list of the 15 stories -- one's coming next Tuesday -- 5 came from dreams, 4 from experiences, 2 from stories friends told me, and the rest from my imagination.  But some of the last group are triggered by a single image -- like the guy lying on his blanket in the corner of a parking lot.

Edited by RichEisbrouch
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