Request: There isn't enough Chowie in the world, so that would be my request! And you can put them in whichever universe you prefer :-)
Howie liked strange people, the stranger the better, really. He liked the woman with the shopping cart who circled the park, the kid who did chalk drawings down the whole block and back again, the old man on the corner who talked to God. His first successful comic -- successful meaning only 'printed and sold by someone other than him' -- had been all about them. His muse, he figured, was the inherent strangeness of the world.
And so Howie liked Chris Kirkpatrick an awful lot, probably more than was natural in the standard waiter-customer relationship.
"Whatcha doin'?" asked Chris as he refilled Howie's coffee. He leaned over and tried to catch a glimpse. Howie almost let him. "I feel I should inform you that it's an offense to partake of pornography on the premises... without sharing with management."
Howie grinned up at him. "Since when are you management?"
"Since the former management stepped out for a smoke," he said. "We'd better hurry -- I don't think it's a permanent departure. And I don't think he'll enjoy the boy-on-boy action nearly as much as I will."
Howie blinked. "What makes you think it's--?"
"Oh please," Chris interrupted him, both smirking and rolling his eyes. "You're in here every day just about. You think I don't know what you're into?"
"You know I'm not actually looking at porn right now, right?"
"Course I do," said Chris. "It was a hint, for next time. You drawing?"
Howie shrugged. "What else am I ever doing?"
"Eating and jerking off at least once in a while, I would hope," said Chris unrepentantly. "The food, at least, I have some proof of."
"And speaking of," said Howie, coughing politely, "didn't I have a piece of pie coming?"
"Yes, yes," said Chris, picking up his coffee pot to go. "One piece of pie, coming right up." He hadn't gotten more than three steps before he burst into song, some pop radio hit Howie ignored the rest of the time. But it was impossible to ignore Chris, especially since he kept it up right till he disappeared into the kitchen, shaking his bottom the whole while.
Howie suspected that his next book was going to follow the life of a mildly insane singing waiter. And, if he was lucky, a couple issues down the line there might be a love interest to add.