Barry watched Jimmy pull out a chair to take a seat across from him. As Jimmy got comfortable, Barry saw the bottle of wine brought by his guest that they both had neglected. It was a Gewerstemeiner, his favorite. How was this possible? That Jimmy Stewart - George Bailey himself - knew his drink of choice. Barry knew he couldn’t question the corporeality of it all. This wasn’t a dream, that he was certain of. Everything else on the other hand, he would have to do a little detective work.
“So James, how is everything?”
“James. No one’s call me that for quite a while. Everything is alright I suppose. Can’t call it grand, but we get by. We get by just fine.”
Barry saw an opportunity. “We.”
There was a flash of annoyance in Jimmy’s eyes. “Geez Barry. This game is starting to get a little weary now. You gonna tell me you don’t remember the name of my wife? I’m just about a little tired of this Mr. Big Shot Hollywood act!”
“I’m sorry Jimmy. Listen. I gotta tell you something.” Barry was about to tell his first lie of the night. For some strange reason, as he became more comfortable with all this peculiarity, he felt a need to fabricate his existence. “I’m not trying to be a jerk or anything, but a couple months ago, there was an accident on set, and well, it wasn’t so good for my head. As a matter of fact, I kinda fell right on it.”
Jimmy’s anger transmuted into concern. “Oh my goodness Barry.”
Barry held up his hands. “Imagine that,” Barry thought. “I am trying to calm down Jimmy Stewart.” He took a deep breath before continuing with his story. “It wasn’t too bad. I had some bad headaches for a while, but everything seemed OK. A few weeks ago, I started having some trouble remembering things. Scripts were obviously the first thing I noticed. Never had trouble remembering lines before. Suddenly, asking for a feed every two takes.”
Barry didn’t know what he was doing. He was never very quick on his feet, but this material was just flowing right out of him. There was no stutter. Had he not known better, he would’ve believed that it really happened to him.
“Then I start forgetting the personal things. My mother called and I didn’t even recognize her voice. Took me a good 15 minutes or so into my conversation with her before I could remember her name.”
Jimmy had his face in his hands. When Barry paused, Jimmy looked up.
“Well, you must be seeing a doctor right? You gotta see a doctor Barry. What is the doctor saying about all this?”
“He says it’s a concussion,” Barry lied. “I just gotta take it easy for a while that’s all.” He reached over and picked up the bottle of wine. “So how about a drink?”
Barry stood up and walked over to the kitchen. He had to stand on his toes to get to the nice glasses at the top shelf. After all, regardless of what world he is in, it’s still Jimmy Stewart sitting at this dinner table.
“So James, what brings you up here to Vancouver?” Barry asked to break the silence.
When Barry looked over for an answer from the man at the dinner table, he saw a wreck fidgeting with his hands when he wasn’t wiping drops of sweat from his brow.
“Geez Barry. I’m sorry I came. I didn’t want to show up like this, but I really had nowhere else to go.”
Barry put the two glasses down on the table. The wine glasses were contemporary. Rounded edges to a flat bottom, no stem.
“Spit it out James.”
Jimmy talked as he drove the corkscrew into the bottle stop.
“Things have been bad at the bank this past couple of years Barry. I mean it’s a small local bank and if the town isn’t putting money in, then well, there’s no loans, and if there are no loans, then there isn’t really any business. I mean, I can repossess on outstanding loans, but what good will that do? It’s just going to crumble the community.”
This sounded very familiar to Barry. However, it’s just making the whole thing more confusing. What kind of a reality was he existing in?
“So…I can help you how?” Barry knew the answer, but there must be some kind of mistake, although he was hoping for Jimmy to tell him different. Very different.