“Is heart burn one word or two?” Bob asked.
“Use it in a sentence,” Woodruff replied.
“Three easy ways to tell whether it’s heart burn or heart attack,” Bob read.
“One word,” Woodruff said. “Is that your article this week?”
“Yep,” Bob said. “What are you working on?”
“A follow up piece on the squatty potty,” Woodruff said.
“That was riveting stuff,” Bob said. “Drove a lot of traffic to the site.”
“Everybody poops,” Woodruff said.
“You can say that again.”
Woodruff and Bob busily typed on their laptops at opposite ends of a tiny round table in the nearly empty store. The walls were lined with thick books with red and black spines. Behind the counter, a short stocky woman with a wispy mustache flipped through one of the books from off the shelf.
“Carmela, if you felt chest pain that radiated from your chest to your jaw would you think heartburn or heart attack?” Bob asked.
“Heart attack,” Carmela answered.
“See, right there,” Bob said. “I’m saving lives.”
“Are those symptoms of a heart attack?” Woodruff asked.
“No, it’s probably heartburn.”
“Then, how are you saving lives?”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Bob said as he threw his hands in the air. “We can’t all write about cutting edge toilet innovation.”
“Don’t bring the squatty potty into this,” Woodruff said.
There was a tiny squeak from the white and gray seagull in the corner of the store.
“See?” Bob said. “Ruth knows what I’m saying. Salubrious Women dot com is about Women’s Health. Anybody can use the squatty potty.”
“It was your idea to focus on Women’s Health,” Woodruff said.
“You hear that, Carmela?” Bob said. “Woodruff doesn’t care about women’s health.”
“I didn’t say that,” Woodruff argued.
“This guy hates women,” Bob shouted to the ceiling as he pointed wildly at Woodruff.
“Who are you shouting to?” Woodruff asked.
“I’m shouting to the world, Woodruff. I’m shouting to the world,” Bob said with wild-eyes. “I only did this because you said you wanted to be a world famous writer.”
“I did, I do,” Woodruff said.
“Well congratulations,” Bob said. “Salubrious Women is the No. 3 nationally syndicated online women’s health blog, among women ages of 65-88 with biweekly posts, on the entire World Wide Web. World. Famous. Writer.”
“But they think my name is Coleen Spencer,” Woodruff said.
“It’s a pseudonym, Woodruff,” Bob said. “I told you, women want to get health advise from other women.”
“But we’re not women.”
“What’s the difference between men and women?”
“A lot,” Woodruff said. “Hair, makeup, the propensity to purchase large quantities of shoes, the capacity to bear children, upper body strength, the level of anger over ceilings made of glass, the ability to distinguish between lime-green and chartreuse…”
“Chromosomes,” Bob interrupted. “The difference between men and women is chromosomes. Women have two X chromosomes and men have an X and a Y chromosome. Between us we have two X chromosomes, so together we’re basically a woman.”
“That makes sense.”
Woodruff and Bob jumped up and high-fived each other while Carmela shook her head.
“Hey ladies,” Carmela said. “Are you gonna buy something or what?”
“Do you have anything other than encyclopedias?” Bob asked.
“No,” Carmela replied.
“Not to question your business model, but is it a good idea to offer free WiFi at an encyclopedia store?” Woodruff asked.
“That’s it,” Carmela said. “Out!”
“All right, Carmela,” Bob said. “Don’t get upset, we’re going.”
Woodruff and Bob grabbed their laptops and headed out the front door.
“What got into her?” Woodruff asked.
“You should read my last post, Cycle or Psycho: Understanding your Menstrual Calendar,” Bob replied.
“Sounds educational,” Woodruff said as they walked down the street.
“I thought so, but Sheila Cruella got a lot of angry comments on that one,” Bob said. “One of them even called me a charlatan. I’ve never even been to North Carolina.”
“You should go,” Woodruff said. “They have the best BBQ.”
“Better than Tennessee, Texas, Missouri, Georgia, Mongolia?” Bob demanded. “I doubt that.”
“Now I’m hungry,” Woodruff said.
“Me too,” Bob replied. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”
“That Coleen Spencer and Sheila Cruella should tour the world ranking BBQ joints, turning Salubrious Women into Scrumptious Women and providing our readers with our top 100 BBQ recommendations?” Woodruff said.
“Actually, I was thinking we could eat lunch at that Waffle House across the street,” Bob said as he pointed to the black and yellow sign. “But let’s do your thing instead.”
“When I say it out loud it sounds like a lot of work,” Woodruff said. “Waffle House is way easier.”
“Totally,” Bob said. “We should do your thing later though.”
“Then we could follow it up with a book about taking off those BBQ LBS through napping,” Woodruff said. “We’ll call it Meat, Weigh, Doze.”
“Brilliant,” Bob said. “I smell a best seller.”
“I think that’s T-bone steak and hash browns,” Woodruff said, with his head tilted and his sniffer pointed at the Waffle House.
“Yep, I think you’re right,” Bob said, sniffing at the air. “Either way, we should totally write that book.”
“Then I can check another thing off my list,” Woodruff said.
“Writing a book?” Bob asked.
“No,” Woodruff said. “Being interviewed by Oprah.”
“That will be so amazing!” Bob said as they crossed the street toward the Waffle House. “I bet she smells like turnips.”
“And apricots,” Woodruff and Bob said in unison.
“That just feels right, doesn’t it?”
“Do you think we’ll get to meet Gayle?”
“Absolutely,” Woodruff said. “Oprah and Gayle are like the Woodruff and Bob of television.”
“Aw, I wanted to be the Oprah though” Bob said.
“We’ve been over this,” Woodruff said. “Bob and Woodruff sounds like a vacuum sales team.”
“Well, can they be Gayle and Oprah then?” Bob asked.
“That’s insane,” Woodruff said, as he pulled open the door to the Waffle House. “Do you put the cheesesteak at the bottom of the Cheesesteak Melt Hash Brown Bowl?”
“No,” Bob moped as he stepped into the greasy dining area.
“Plus, they’d have to change their logo,” Woodruff said.
“You’re right,” Bob conceded.
A large red-faced man chewed on a mouth full of hash browns, smothered with gravy, grilled onions, and cheese. As Woodruff and Bob passed his booth the man clutched his chest and fell onto the floor. The manager leapt over the counter and ran to the fallen patron.
“Not again,” the manager said as he bent down and put his ear to the man’s chest. “Fourth time this week.”
“Should we call 9-1-1?” Woodruff asked.
“It’s probably just heartburn,” Bob said.