Monday, September 24, 2012

Introductions

He sits and the clock ticks. He wants them to see him. He sees them all the time: at Higher Grounds, at Liberty Lands, at the Piazza. Here they are at 700 and he doesn't want much, just small talk.

He's employed various tactics already. At Higher Grounds he once spilled coffee at their feet. At Liberty Lands he tossed a Frisbee that landed right beside them. At the Piazza he did tricks on his skateboard, brushing past them. Never the most direct approach, though, a simple introduction. It made sense to him logically and yet felt like it would be weird.

Today, at 700, he eavesdrops. Their conversations sound so interesting, so appealing! Their dialogue so crisp. Even the pauses – he stares at them during the pauses – they look so happy during the pauses. How can people be so content during pauses in conversation? Is it because they're drunk? They drink it all down so smoothly – beer, wine, whiskey – the bartender keeps pouring and they just keep drinking. One speaks more than the other.

"Missanelli's right, you can't play a guy over Ryan Howard just because he hit well in Double A and Howard doesn't hit lefties."

The other guy shakes his head. "Can't do that to a veteran. Bad for clubhouse morale. . . ."

"She looks innocent but I can tell you she's not. I can assure you. . . ."

"We saw the Pixies that year, right after Bush's second term began. Where were we? Cleveland. Yes, Cleveland. . . ."

He hears these snippets and knows they could all be the best of friends. He's a Phillies fan, he's heterosexual, he likes the Pixies. He's even been to Cleveland.

He knows what he's going to do. It has to work! When the really chatty one is mid-sentence, he'll time it just right.

"So tomorrow night it's the Nationals. We still have an outside chance if—"

"Oh, excuse me," he says as he pretends to trip over himself, knocking into one of the two young men, the one called Garret.

Garret brushes himself off, repositioning his chair. "No problem, dude."

Garret and Joseph stare at the guy who just bumped into Garret, waiting for him to go on wherever he was going before he slipped and bumped into Garret, but the guy just stands there, staring.

"Fine day for a beverage, is it not?" he asks them, instantly regretting his choice of words.

But Garret and Joseph look at each other and then back at him, raise their glasses. Garret says, "Indeed it is! A fine day for a beverage."

His eyes light up. He's satisfied, then elated. "Good day, gentlemen." He turns and leaves the bar, goes about his day, feeling he's one step closer to his destiny, that of being their friend.

10 comments:

  1. Interesting. I want to know what happens next.

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    1. Thanks, Karen! I'm not sure what happens next. . . .

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  2. "He hears these snippets and knows they could all be the best of friends. He's a Phillies fan, he's heterosexual, he likes the Pixies. He's even been to Cleveland." That's easily my all-time favorite line from a post on Liminal Fiction. You're really speaking to me on a lot of levels there, Richard.

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    1. Mike D., great to hear from you, and thanks for the love. I'm really glad you liked that part of the story.

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  3. Very strong voice, Richard. Do you intend to carry this fiction on in a later post, or does it stand alone for you?

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    1. Hi, John, and thanks for your comment / question! I use 2 of these characters pretty often, Garret and Joseph, but the anonymous character in this story is new. Not sure if I'll use the new character again or if I'll continue with this dynamic in a future post, but I would hope that either way this one could stand alone.

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  4. What in concept, the idea that he's essentially stalking them, should creep me out, for some reason I find adorable and makes me think I'd befriend the anonymous character over a drink.

    Hope that doesn't mean I'm fated for a Cold Cases reenactment...

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    1. I think you'd be safe! The vibe you got was similar to how I felt about the character, like he was a little creepy, but innocent and harmless.

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  5. His actions do verge on stalking, but seemingly with good intentions and not sinister ones.

    The ice is broken now, so possibly friendship would follow, but sometimes three is a crowd, maybe you'll be making that revelation in a future post, Richard?

    The story is strong with unanswered questions, and could be taken in many directions from here, he could even BE harbouring sinister intentions...

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    1. Thanks, Steve. Not sure if I'll do anything more with this, we'll see. I'm glad the story sparked thoughts of potential evil, even if he had no such intentions.

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