[George] George comes over, sitting down at the table next to James. He picks up the rapidly emptying beer bottle. "OK, James. T-take it easy. Breathe. D-deep breaths."
George's mind is racing. He had never seen James this upset before. He puts a hand on his friend's arm, not truly understanding what James is trying to say. "Is S-stevie OK? Maybe we s-should go ch-ch-check it out?"
George feels his friend shaking under his hand. "Maybe I sh-should go check it out. Th-there may be a s-story I can sell to the T-times."
Standing up, George grabs a towel and wipes up the spilled beer, grabbing two more from the ice box. "T-tell me more about the l-language the g-guy was s-s-speaking?" Th-there are l-lots of l-l-languages that s-s-sound p-pretty strange."
George sits down again, taking a pull of his beer. James' agitation had him agitated. He never stuttered around his friend. James was the one rock in his life. He started to speak again, but then took another sip of his beer. Waiting a minute while he tried to calm James down, his mind wandered.Perhaps Stevie stumbled into a lantern or something, or maybe there was lamp oil in the back of the truck. Didn't I read something in an old issue of the Tribune about some woman in Chicago who spontaneously combusted?
Steeling his mind, George stands and walks over to his desk. Tucking his pad and pencil into his coat pocket he turns to James. "I'm g-going to go check it out. If nothing else, someone has to see if Stevie is OK. If you aren't -ccoming with me, you need to tell me where this h-happened."