Bill Murray had been eyeing the canapés for what felt like fifteen minutes before Mark Zuckerberg summoned the courage to speak up from his position on the opposite side of the table of hors d’oeuvres.
“I’m a hug—”
Mark realised that he had combined the words “big” and “huge” into “hug” in his first attempt to talk to the actor and then he realised he had just called himself “a hug” and that there was every chance that with the DJ playing Bill Murrary could interpret Mark as asking for a hug and so Mark quickly edged back from the table and from Bill Murray to diffuse this possibility. But, thankfully, Bill Murray had not seemed to notice the failed sentence and proceeded to choose an appropriate canapé and shovel it into his mouth.
Bill Murray spoke with his mouth full. This made Mark grin with enthusiasm. This guy is always on, he thought.
“I’m a huge fan, Mr. Murray,” Mark said, successfully.
“Thanks. You’re Zuckerberg—ah, Mark right? The Facebook guy?” A tiny piece of dried tomato launched out of Bill Murray’s mouth and Mark tried very hard not to follow it with his eye as it landed on the tablecloth.
“Yeah that’s me.” Mark shook his head. He was beaming. “I can’t believe you recog—”
“What? Sorry I can’t hear you over the music.” Bill Murray loaded another canapé into his mouth. Mark took this as his cue and circled the table, each step compounding his nervousness but at the same time making him feel exhilarated because it felt like he was a canoe in white-water picking up speed as the river carried it down and around bends, between jagged rocks, over waterfalls…
Mark edged past David Spade to stand next to Bill Murray. “Hi,” Mark said.
Bill Murray nodded. Bill Murray was half a foot taller than him. Mark forced himself to casually look around the room.
“This is a pretty great party huh?”
Bill Murray nodded, still chewing.
“So are you on Facebook?”
Bill Murray swallowed. He took a breath, coughed and thumped his chest with an open palm. Mark laughed to calm the air, but it was a forced laugh and made him seem nervous.
“I actually already know you don’t have an account, I’ve searched for you before.” Mark realised he was already holding his iPhone but he wasn’t sure if he had been holding it before or if he had subconsciously taken it out of his pocket while circling the table.
“It’s ah… I haven’t really looked into it,” Bill Murray said. Mark noticed that Bill Murray was looking across the room at Kate Mara, who was walking towards them but her eyes were locked on Bill Murray and Mark estimated that he had only about five more second of time alone with Bill Murray.
“I could show you how to set up an—”
“You promised you’d go for a swim with me!” Kate Mara was there. She was gripping Bill Murray’s arm. She was pulling him away from Mark.
“You can come too,” she said to Mark, her inflection welcoming.
Mark looked up from his iPhone. “Ah no thanks,” he said.