I have a lot of characters living in my head. Men, women, demons, angels, fairies and werewolves, dragons and horse maidens. Many exist in their own finite worlds of floating cities and underground realms, but a few live and breathe right on average old Earth.
There’s one character in particular that I was fond of back in 2009, when I was still in undergrad. His name was Andrew (though he preferred Andy), and he was a stage producer for musicals (and also a failed scriptwriter). He loved color and sass and spoke with all that somewhat stereotyped tone of a homosexual from San Francisco. He never made it into any polished work, but in the drafts he flitted through, he brought a ton of humor and a glitter glue gun.
That summer, I met him in real life. Sometimes, authors base characters off of people they have known or observed in their day-to-day lives. I based my entire short story Memories off of a middle-aged woman I saw on a train one day wearing three rings on her left ring finger. In Andy’s case, I ‘met’ him afterwards, in a restaurant near campus.
I’d taken N J out for a late brunch. There was this corner space near University Avenue that cycled through restaurants like a model changes shoes. One month, it was Ethiopian food, the next, a diner (Saturn Cafe), and not long after this event, it became an Azerbaijan restaurant. While it was still Saturn Cafe, N J and I visited for french fries and thick hollandaise sauce on their signature Heavenly Benedict.
The moment our server opened his mouth, N J and I couldn’t help but grin at each other. This guy was Andy. The flick of his head before he spoke, the intonations and sassiness––our server was exactly like how I pictured Andy (except he had black hair, and Andrew was a blonde.)
I’m sure our poor server was wondering why we were giggling like idiots during the whole meal, but I couldn’t help it. It felt so cool to have ‘spotted’ a character in the wild.
And here is where I clickbait the lot of you.
You’ll never believe what happened next!
At the end of dinner, the server came back and handed us our bill. The server’s name?
Of course, I should mention here that of course Saturn Cafe Andy is is no way MY Andy. He’s his own person. I just found the whole coincidence of it all, that particular summer, to be too much. 🙂 Saturn Cafe Andy, if you ever read this, you gave us awesome service.