The newspaper man and I sit at a two-top in the coffee shop, a to-go cup each. My coffee is called something like a Chile mocha, which I ordered because I'm meeting with a newspaper man and that makes me feel equal parts grown up and little-kid excited in a way that something as luxurious and ridiculous as a "Chile mocha" seems to call for.
I arrived ten minutes early. He'd told me to look for the "tall, balding old guy who will look like he's very out of place." When I walked in, the first thing I saw was two tall, balding guys sitting side by side in those kinds of coffee shop seats you sit in when you're by yourself or waiting for someone. One was working at an open laptop computer. One was on the phone. Neither appeared to be particularly out of place. I tried to pretend to look both in the eye for a quarter second and then I ran away to the counter to order my Chile mocha. Then I spent the next ten minutes wondering how long I'd wait before forcing myself to go back around the corner to confront the tall, balding guys, one of whom was surely my reporter but I didn't know which, and I was so happy when my actual reporter stepped around the corner and was a completely different tall, balding guy, and he had my book in one hand so I'd know for sure.
During the course of the interview, we've been talking about what what scares us in a good way - monsters and ghosts and vampires and science experiments gone wrong - versus what scares us in a bad way, a real way, and he brings up Donald Trump.
"I shouldn't say this" I say (I mean, he's got the recorder going and everything), "but he and I share a birthday."
"I'll go you one further," he says. "I share a birthday with Vladimir Putin."
In the next second and at exactly the same time we both raise our to-go cups and give a laughing, though understandably ill-at-ease, cheers.