"Dude, my head is killing me." It even hurt to talk on the phone.
"The migraines are back?"
"Yeah," I said. "They're coming in clusters right now. I think allergies are triggering them."
"Allergies? Don't you live in California? Do they even have pollen there?"
"It comes in from Montana on the wind, I'm told."
"When did you start getting allergies?"
"Like two years ago, man." I blew my nose to make a point. I saw stars behind my eyeballs.
"Wow, aren't you like seriously middle-aged? What are you doing getting allergies?"
"It's not a lifestyle choice, moron."
"I'm sorry, Nick, I couldn't hear you over the sounds of violins playing a sad, sad song."
"You know I've never liked you, right?"
"Yeah, I know. You're not that subtle. What do your migraines feel like?"
"You remember Escape from New York - that bad, bad Kurt Russell movie?"
"'Kurt Russell is Snake Plissken!' "You're the Duke of New York! You're A-number-1!""
"That's the one."
"You remember the scene where the guys are fighting with baseball bats with nails and spikes hammered through them?"
"Imagine one of those smashing you in the face with no warning."
"Yeah. That's what my head feels like."
"All the time?"
"No. Just most of the time. The rest of the time, the allergies have got me laid up. Of the roughly 12 hours a week that my head is not screwed up one way or another, I'm trying to get everything else done."
"Oh, I get it. So besides allergies and migraines, there is real-life intrusion into your online life?"
"You realize this is a really dumb way of telling people, right?"
"I thought it was pretty subtle. Instead of just apologizing for being unable to function like a human for over a week now, I thought I'd do this."
"Yeah, you're not very good at subtle."
"I really have never liked you."
"I never liked you either."
"I'm used to it. And since you're a figment of my imagination, why don't you hop back over to the Annex and leave me alone?"
"You realize you're neglecting us over there, too."
"Great. More pressure. Just what I needed." I shake a couple more Excedrin out of the bottle.
"That ain't pressure. That's allergies."
I hang up.