15. You're Not You

That evening Drew stood outside Mike Lipp's apartment building, holding the buzzer down, while slashing rain whipped under the awning and pelted the back of his neck. He was not in a good mood.

"Hello?" said Mike with his usual hermit's suspicion.

"Mike, it's Drew, let me in."

"Just a sec."

"Oh fuck out of it with that shit, you know it's me."

"What's the point of having a security system if you don't use it? Now say it."

"Michael Lipp diddles dodos with his daddy's ding-dong."

An unhappy beep came through the doorphone. "Insufficient phonemes," Mike said. "Come on, just say it. Isn't it raining out there?"

"You asshole," Drew sighed. "Maybe I should want to punch you for the pleasure of how choice it goes."

An angry beep this time. After a pause, Mike said, "This fobbing thing's been acting up."

"Maybe I should want to thank you for the pleasure of how choice it goes."

"Hold on, it wasn't reading. Okay. Ready."

Drew counted to one, and said the phrase again. Angry beep.

"It's your fucking phrase that's the problem," he said, lifting his collar, and sending a rivulet of water down his back.

"There's nothing wrong with the phrase, shitmeat. It's getting enough phonemes. It's your voice," he said petulantly. "It says you're not you."

"That piece of shit has never worked properly and no fucking wonder, install it yourself, what do you expect, another of your harebrained nutbat experiments ..."

Angry beep.

He pressed his back against the wall, but now rain was falling on his glasses, and he hated rain on his glasses. Hastily he recited the couplet that everyone used:

"Though my pleasures be few and all my joys gone, I should be without care when I've heard such a song."

Angry beep.

"I don't get it," said Mike.

"Every good boy deserves fudge," murmured Drew. "Man very early made jars stand up nearly perpendicular, pregnant camels ordinarily sit down carefully perhaps their joints creak possible early oiling might prevent rusting."

Angry beep.

"Hey Drew," said Bruce, loping up beside him.

"Hi there," said Corey.

"Mike won't let me in."

"It's not me," protested Mike through the doorphone. "It's this machine. Bruce, you try."

Bruce stepped forward, arms swinging, and declaimed,

"Maybe! I should want? To thank you;

For, the pleasure (of how choice!), it goes ..."

There came from the speaker a satisfied beep, and the door opened. Bruce bowed and waved Corey and Drew inside.

"I told you it wasn't the phrase," said Mike.