"I think I've checked everything off my list," Ben told me.
"Of things you're planning to do with that place?" I asked. I assumed so, but I wanted to prolong what little conversation I had with him, knowing both he and I aren't usually big fans of smalltalk.
Earlier in the evening he told me about the new place he wants to open up, just down the road. A new bar or club with a classy restaurant attached to it. A new place with something more than the plain ol' bar-and-concert-venue formula like the Blue Fugue and most of the downtown locales.
"No, of things to do before I die."
As bold as it was, I didn't doubt it. I've heard over and over the stories of how he and Scott started the Fugue years ago, in the French Quarter of New Orleans, as the place of their wildest dreams. Ben always struck me as the type of man that can put the work in to get what he wants. How old was he now? Thirty or thirty-one?
"Well, you'll come up with new ones, I'm sure."
He stared at me with deadpan silence. It wasn't the usual "I hate smalltalk" silence, but rather, it seemed he was actually contemplating how to respond for once.
"It's a bit late in the game to start adding things, though. Maybe I should've spaced them out a bit more..."
And as quickly as it started, our conversation ended as Ben sauntered off to go do something else. The man always had a way of ending conversations -- like I said, not a big fan of smalltalk.
And at this time I'm thinking to myself: At least he's got a list. At least he's got direction. At least he's got something.
How the hell do I start?