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OLIVER REVISITED He was a Stanford dropout who claimed to have been a serious gymnast at one time. Now, he waited tables at a restaurant, the name of which he never mentioned.

Doug and I had fallen into a light-hearted conversation with a couple of girls at the bar. We were talking about movies when Oliver suddenly appeared, chiming in with his opinions on cinema. Nothing about his appearance seemed unnatural. My first impression of him was that he was a lonely guy, anxious to engage in conversation with strangers. Nothing was wrong with that.

We were debating whether it would be better to be Han Solo or Luke Skywalker when Oliver said, “I think R2-D2 was really the Jedi Master,” That’s how he introduced himself. The idea was so foreign, it seemed nearly plausible.

“That just might work,” I said, welcoming him into our conversation.

Kat, the friendly twenty-five year old who lived on Staten Island, changed the subject somewhat, describing her attraction to comedians, such as Adam Sandler. Doug sat back on his barstool, his arms folded across his chest reflectively: He was seriously considering the Solo vs. Skywalker question. Not even Wendy, the other girl, showing off the pierced skin between her respect-worthy breasts could pry his mind from this debate. His brain worked on the issue long after it had left the attention of the rest of us.

Kat leaned against the bar counter, then animatedly broke into a wild and complicated flurry of gesticulations. They were meant to somehow emphasize the importance of her words, all of which I have since forgotten. She was a very exaggerated girl – something of a hip-hop styled gadfly. But also, unfortunately, one of those whose words easily dissipate into the wind shortly after having been uttered.

She leaned heavily against Oliver. He had met his friend.