by Isa Hopkins
The day the food critic from the New York Times came to visit The Eggery, Ari suspected he might be in trouble. A write-up in the Times was any restauranteur’s dream. but word-of-mouth already kept The Eggery at capacity; accommodating more customers meant replicating the code which had made his omelettes so popular in the first place, and that was beyond the skill set of Aristotle Socrates.
He was the child of immigrant intellectual strivers, PhDs from the University of Havana who put their education to use running a bodega in Miami — for their only son they wanted more, and so they gave him a name that no American would ever dream of, a prognostication, they were certain, of his future success. In school he proved shy and friendless, mocked for his name and for the strange, stilted rhythms of his speech, metered English learned alongside his parents from the Shakespeare they practiced each night. At sixteen Ari got a C-plus in calculus and spent a week cleaning every square inch of the bodega’s stockroom in punishment but when he got an acceptance letter from Princeton his parents gave him an entire week off, overjoyed that they’d raised a future Nobel laureate — or at least Chief Justice — after all.
Instead young Aristotle fell into playwriting, less lucrative and respectable than in Shakespeare’s day, and after graduation he transferred his dependency from his disappointed parents to his elusive boyfriend, Jack. Jack’s intense focus on computer-programming languages was matched only by his roving taste in men, but Ari put up with it because to do otherwise would mean giving up their comfortable Williamsburg one-bedroom, and he had no inclination to redecorate.