I took a long drag on my Nicorette inhaler and immediately suffered a coughing fit. The Dalai Lama sat down next to me.
“Could I bum one of those off you?” he said.
Eyes watering, I waved the Nicorette inhaler in front of me. “It’s the only one I got,” I finally said. “You’re welcome to it, though, Your Holiness.”
“Please,” he patted me on the knee. “Call me Dalai.” He showed me his inhaler. “I already got one. I just need the little nicotine fluid thingamajig. Ran out of those.”
I gave him one and we sat there for a while, puffing away.
“You can’t inhale too deeply at first,” he said.
“Yeah, I figured that out,” I said. “My kid gave me these for my birthday.”
“Oh, when’s your birthday?” he asked.
I made a generic waving motion at the day around us. “Today,” I said.
“So how old are you, if you don’t mind my asking?”
I pointed at the sidebar over on the right.
“Wow, you’ve been blogging a long time.”
“I was one of the first,” I said.
“Respect,” said the Dalai Lama.
“By the way,” he said, wiggling his Nicorette inhaler. “You don’t need to tell anyone about this.”
I motioned locking up my mouth and throwing away the key. “Mum’s the word.”
“I mean, I know about you bloggers.”
“Dalai, please,” I said. “Take a chill pill. Quitting making you antsy?”
“Ehn. Looking for a reincarnation.”
“Who is it this time?”
“You wouldn’t know if I told you,” he said.
“True, true,” I said. “So what signs are you looking for?”
“Remembers drowning in a past life. Trips over shoelaces at an ice cream parlor and falls on face without losing ice cream.”
“Okay,” I said. “That’s like ninja-level slapstick.”
“Here’s the kicker – it’s a girl. Who gives her father Nicorettes for his birthday.”
“Aight. Okay. I’ll keep a lookout.”
He was looking at me funny, but I ignored him. I wasn’t going to tell him.
Not until he spilled the beans on whose reincarnation he was looking for.