A New Involvement (chapter one)

Belinda

Cover image courtesy of Belinda: http://www.fiverr.com/belchis

                Anthony noticed the building was taller than any in his neighborhood. A sense of relief sank in. He would be away from his family for several hours. His uncle, James, arranged everything. Anthony was not in acquaintance with anybody from the working world but he assumed his new boss, Mr. Wilson, would be someone with whom he could get along.

                The law firm of Mitchell, Dickey & Burgess seemed initially imposing to Anthony when he had previously passed it while walking but now, as he entered the front door, the surroundings were humble. He could understand how David Wilson had been friends with James Morris, Anthony’s uncle. White walls, with no paintings, and several desks made the ambiance. Perhaps the firm did not do a lot of business. Maybe Mr. Wilson’s income was better than James’ by a few dollars only.

                Mr. Wilson stood up from his seat at a desk, approached Anthony, and extended his hand. The handshake was not more than one second but had a lasting impression. Anthony reassessed his opinion. His new boss had a confidence bordering on creepy. He nodded. “Anthony Morris, I presume.”

                Anthony said yes.

                “Are you the nephew of James Morris?”

                “You already know I am. Why are you acting like I’m a stranger.”

                Mr. Wilson frowned and raised his voice. “This is a job interview. I ask the questions and you answer. It’s inappropriate for you to correct me. If I did not promise your uncle I would give you a chance, you would be on your way out now, guided by security. Do you understand?”

                “Yes. I apologize. I have never had a job before and I never was in a job interview either.”

                “In that case, I understand. We’ll go to my desk. I’ll sit at my seat and you can sit at the other seat. I will be asking you questions and you will provide me with the answers appropriate to each question. Was that clear?”

                “Yes, sir.’

                “You gave an appropriate answer that time. If I ask you about your favorite hobbies and you respond by telling me what time it is, that will be an inappropriate answer. Is that clear, also?”

                Anthony held back his irritation. “That is clear, Mr. Wilson.”

                “Okay.” Mr. Wilson smiled. “I like the prospect of you working for me. As I understand, James told me you needed guidance.”

                Anthony kept quiet.

                “I hear that your mother, Mary, and your other uncle, Kevin, have very little faith in you as a worthwhile person. You bother them at various times during the day and you refuse to do any of the small chores they ask of you. James is the only member of your family who thinks that you are worth more than a penny. He said I needed to instill discipline in you so you could stop being a stupid brat and become a respectable individual.” He stared, frowning.

                Anthony nodded. “I will do whatever job you ask of me, sir.”

                “Hmm. You did not give a rebuttal. That puzzles me. When someone insults you like that, You ought to defend yourself. Am I correct?”

                No answer.

                “On the other hand, it’s a good thing you did not tell me off. I really would have had security send you packing and I would have told them to use brute force. But, enough with the preliminaries. You passed the test.  By the way, your family did not really tell me those opinions. I wanted to observe your response. You did well. The job I’ll have you do is simple. There are other lawyers here and some secretaries and they will need help. If someone asks you to look for a certain document or go across the street and buy him or her a cup of coffee, you’ll do it. You won’t need to clean the toilets because we have people who work for the city to do them. This is a city owned building.”

                “Okay.”

                “I’ll show you around.” They both stood up. Mr. Wilson walked quickly through the hallway. Anthony followed. A woman passed, from the opposite direction. Anthony noticed she wore her blazer tucked into her trousers. His heart beat faster. He remembered telling his family he preferred the look of a tucked in shirt on a woman if she and he were on a date. His reason was so his family would understand appearance mattered. If they ever understood his point, they did not say or act so. They would never believe him if he said a woman tucked in a blazer.

                They entered a room with a sink and refrigerator in it. A coffee maker was on a nightstand. There was a table in the middle of the room, with four chairs surrounding it. Another man was sitting on a chair and reading a book.

                Mr. Wilson said, “Anthony, this is Mr. Karr. He is one of the lawyers here. Mitchell, Dickey and Burgess don’t come into the building anymore unless for an extremely rare occasion. If you meet anybody here with one of those last names, chances are you have met one of their nephews or sons who might stop by to report how everything is going. Anyway, Mr. Karr is one of our best lawyers. If he asks you to do something, you’ll need to stop any other task and attend to him.”

                Anthony said, “I understand.”

                “I have an urgent business situation which will take up the rest of my day. You can ask Mr. Karr if there’s anything he needs you to do. If he says no, you can leave for the day. You can consider tomorrow to be your official first day. But if he needs you to do something, then today is your first day. Goodbye.” He walked away.

                Mr. Karr said, “I want you to look in the refrigerator.”

                Anthony asked, “What would you like?”

                “I would like you to look in the refrigerator. That’s self explanatory.”

                Anthony opened the refrigerator. He looked inside. “Okay. Do you want anything from here?”

                “If I wanted something from it, I would have said so. You may shut it.”

                “Okay.”

                During the next twenty minutes, Mr. Karr told Anthony to do various things like wall up and down the hallway and look in various file cabinets in the office. Anthony thought that Mr. Karr wanted to show his power over the new guy. However, he would not complain. His job was only part-time, two hours a day, five days a week. If the job had been full time, he would not have considered it at all.

                Finally, Mr. Karr said, “I’m going back in the office. I need to make a phone call. If I need you later, I’ll have you do something.”

                “I’m only here for two hours today.”

                “If I need you before your shirt is over, I’ll have you do something. I don’t know how you could think I wasn’t speaking English.” He walked out of the room.

                Anthony figured that, for now, he was on a break. He would have preferred sitting in the office room but he wanted to avoid Mr. Karr. The man might think of something else meaningless for him to do. Anthony looked again in the refrigerator. He noticed a small bottle of mineral water. He figured he could take that. He would not take juice or someone’s lunch but water was replaceable, especially in a room with a sink.

                The woman he had seen earlier now returned. She entered the room and said, “Hello. I’m Belinda.” Her black blazer, with a very low neckline, and yellow button shirt underneath, complimented her appearance. The blazer was tucked into gray pants with a brown belt and the sleeves of the shirt and blazer were rolled up. She was someone who took her time to look good, as opposed to Anthony’s family, all of whom were extremely overweight and wore loose sweatclothes with stains on holes in all their pieces. Their friends, neighbors and many of the store cashiers looked similar. Belinda was a refreshing change of pace. She was as unique as a celebrity sighting.

                Anthony told her his name.

                She looked at him for a while. She smiled as if she was trying to hide the smile. Then, she said, “I haven’t seen you here before. I might have seen you somewhere else but not in this building. Is this your first day?”

                “Yes. I haven’t had a job before. I figured I would do something part-time so I could get out of the house and away from my family for a couple of hours.”

                “I see. So, you’re not a lawyer, I gather. I could tell by how you’re not wearing a suit.”

                “I’m just an assistant. I guess I could wear a suit if I was asked to do so.”

                “You could do that.”

                He said, “I like your suit. I like how you wear it.” He was not sure if he should have said that but he took the chance anyway.

                “I like to make no mistakes in uniform protocol. I always tuck in the blazer. The shirt is always tucked in. That’s a given. But most people stop there. If a blazer can be tucked in, I say it should be. At home, once in a rare while, I’ll wear a loose T-shirt and jeans but not in public. I am very much concerned with appearance.”

                Anthony was surprised she mentioned so much about her fashion philosophy to him. He did not mind it but he never met anyone else who talked like her.

                She nodded. “I have a feeling you will do well here. If Mr. Wilson tells you Mr. Karr is an important man here, I would not give it too much credibility, if I were you. Mr. Karr is the grandson of Jonathan Dickey. Mr. Dickey pays Mr. Wilson to let him work here but he does not really do any work. He calls people on the phone or he stays in this room. But I think you will like it here. Congratulations on being one of the team.” She extended her hand.

                He gave her his hand and she proceeded to shake it for a few seconds and then a few seconds longer and then for what seemed like a minute and she was still shaking his hand. That hidden smile returned to her face. He was nervous. He tried pulling his hand out of hers but she tightened her grip. She stopped shaking but kept holding on. He asked, “What is happening?”

                She nodded. “We will work well together. There’s a lot of things I need you to do for me and I’ll be right with you to make sure you do them properly.”

                “My shift ends at noon.”

                “Time doesn’t mean anything.”

                Was this a dream? How long would she hold on? He tried pulling free again, using all of his strength and using his other hand to try prying her grip open but she used her other hand to push his other hand away. Somehow, he was in an alternative reality where everything he thought was true proved fluid and changing.

                From the office, Mr. Karr yelled, “Anthony, come here!”

                Anthony could not escape Belinda but he did not want to ignore Mr. Karr. Regardless of what she said, Anthony’s boss told him to do whatever anybody requested of him. He started walking and Belinda accompanied him. For now, he would focus on his job. When they entered the office, Anthony asked, “What would you like for me to do?”

                Mr. Karr shrugged. “I’m trying to think of something. You’re supposed to keep busy. I figure that you’d be spending all your waking hours with Belinda instead of working. We need to fix that.”

                Belinda said, “I work here too. I need him for something.”

                “You’re not the boss. The boss told Anthony to do as I say if I need him to do something. If you interfere, I’ll get Anthony fired and you’ll be to blame.”

                “You won’t be able to fire Anthony and Mr. Wilson won’t really listen to you. He’s playing a game and trying to make you feel like you’re more than just an apparition taking up space meant for someone who could do some real work.”

                “I can get you fired, you know.”

                She shook her head. “You cannot get anybody fired. Your grandfather is paying for you to be here. If it weren’t for him, you wouldn’t be here at all. You wouldn’t wear a suit and you’d be scared to enter the building. You only come in here because your father needs you out of the house so you won’t be munching on cotton candy all day and watching old movies on television.”

                Anthony said, “That sounds a lot like my family.”

                Belinda said, “I can help you get free of your family.”

                Mr. Karr said, “You’ll get him free of his family but you won’t let him free of you.”

                She said, “You don’t understand the universal connection existing beyond time. You’re not on the next level. This is just the beginning of something bigger. This does not have an ending. This is infinite.”

                “I know what I need for you to do, Anthony. I need you to get me a cup of coffee. I don’t care if you need her to accompany your lazy ass but you need to get me my coffee now.”

                Anthony said, “What size coffee and do you want regular or decaffeinated?”

                “Give me a medium coffee. Large is too large and I drink it right away and regret it later and small makes me want to get another cup so you might as well give me medium and if you can tell them to make it half regular and half decaffeinated that would be great. I need a little bit of a boost so I can continue doing my work. Regardless of what Belinda says, I do work here. I need to be alert but not so completely buzzing that I become manic. I like cinnamon on top and, instead of regular cream, I like vanilla flavored non dairy creamer. I’m not against dairy but I like the flavor of vanilla.”

                Belinda said, “Are you going to give him the money to get the coffee?”

                Mr. Karr shrugged. “I could if that was what I wanted to do but I’m thinking I’d prefer that he use his own money.”

                “That’s not right.”

                “Mr. Wilson is going to pay him for today’s work anyway. He can give him two dollars extra for work expenses.”

                “I still don’t think it’s right.”

                Anthony sighed. “Right now, I feel like I need a cup of coffee myself. Isn’t there coffee in the back room with the coffee maker?”

                Mr. Karr said, “There is but I am asking you to get coffee at the café across the street.”

                “Fine. I just want to get out of here.” He walked quickly outside, accompanied by Belinda.

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A Happy Moment: a story

Sayen

Cover image courtesy of Sayenoca

http://www.fiverr.com/sayenoca

                Something important happened to me. I am the type of person who sees metaphysical meanings in situations that other people would take for granted, even if they noticed them at all. However, I knew there was a purpose to the incident.

                Have you ever had a moment that seemed totally coincidental but, upon further thought, you realized it was meant to be? Well, maybe not destined in the way the stars are destined to be in the sky but destined in the sense that it belonged in the type of things that have happened in the past and the things were made to your preference? What I am going to describe is such a moment.

                First, I will say that I do not always put importance on incidents. Some things do not concern me at all. If I have to go to the store and buy a pack of gum for my uncle, I will do it for him but I will get no satisfaction in accomplishing the errand. The gum is a part of his destiny and not mine.

                As simply as I can explain it, I received a handshake from someone whom, as far as I was concerned, was almost like a celebrity to me; not in the sense of being in the entertainment business but as far as being the type of quality person I never thought would notice me.

                I will sometimes visit my relatives in Antioch which is a small town. It is somewhat close to Pittsburgh Bay Point which is not a better place but it is bigger and has more stores. If Pittsburgh Bay Point is similar to a cheap cheese sandwich with processed lunchmeat, Antioch is the same sandwich but without the cheese or lunchmeat. I mentioned my uncle earlier in this narrative. His name is Joseph. He lives with his wife, Connie, and their daughter, Stephanie. Joseph spends much of his time watching television and eating the type of cheap cheese sandwich I described. They have a freezer where they keep all of their good food but there is no easy way to defrost the freezer without a lot of water spilling on the floor and the food cannot be coaxed to come out unless the freezer is defrosted. That is just one example of many situations that happen to him because he does not want to invest enough time to fix anything. There are a lot of potential great things that could happen to him except for major flaws that are preventing his life from being enjoyable for him. Connie stays in her bed most of the day, watching her own favorite movies on television. Stephanie is at least spending her time on social media sites and texting friends who she has more of a social life even though she rarely goes outside.

                Yesterday, when this situation happened with the handshake, I was planning on visiting my uncle’s family for thirty minutes at most. He surprised me when he suggested we go to the mall and he would buy me lunch. He said, “You’ve done a lot of favors for me, Patrick. The least I can do is to show you my appreciation.”

                I thanked him and we walked to the Buchanan Town Center. He walked extremely slowly because he was afraid he would get blisters on his feet is he walked fast. We would have been at the mall in five minutes if we had walked a regular speed but we were slowly strolling for forty minutes. Luckily, the weather was not hot so I did not feel exhausted. Usually, the weather is uncomfortable and I regret going there.

                When we arrived at the mall and went to Benny’s Burgers, Joseph said, “I’ll do you right. What would you like to eat? Would you like a small bag of fries or a soft drink?”

                I asked, “Do you mean fries and a soft drink?”

                “No. I can’t do more than one.”

                “One what? One meal?”

                He frowned and yelled. “No! One item!”

                “Are you telling me we spent forty minutes walking down here and you said you would treat me to a meal and the meal is only going to be a small bag of French fries?”

                “Well, that’s all I’m going to have! If you don’t want to take me up on my kind generosity, you can leave. I am sick of people who expect too much! You know I don’t like to spend my money on stuff like this. Who do you think I am?”

                “You were the one who said you would treat me to a meal! We could have had one of your cheese sandwiches at your house or I could have tried getting one of the frozen chickens out of the freezer and we could have had chicken soup.”

                “I don’t like to make chicken soup. I like to eat it but not make it.”

                “I could have made it for you.”

                “Why? I’m treating you to a meal so shut up!”

                I decided I would leave right then. Usually, if I tried doing that in the past, he would cry and beg me to forgive him. Instead, this time, I ran quickly so I could not hear more than a split second of his screaming.

                I was fed up. The reason I went to visit him was because he wanted me to shop for some water and some green beans. I was surprised he asked for green beans. I could have decided not to encourage his laziness by my staying home but I figured I would get everything out of the way. I should have learned from past experiences. There is a female cashier at the café next door to where I live in Oakland. She is attractive and usually wears her shirts tucked in. Maybe once in a while she will wear something not tucked in like an oversized sweater but she is far from dressing like any of the women in Antioch who consider old faded dresses to be the extent of what they will put on and this includes my aunt and cousin who have never worn their shirts tucked in a day in their life and neither did my mother when she was alive. I never knew who my father was. I grew up in foster care and did not get acquainted with my birth relatives until after I turned eighteen. The short version of the story is that my mother got pregnant and her parents told her she could not come home unless she put me in foster care. She had not visited me then but later she told me she was not allowed to visit me. All this is beside the point. I looked at little things as being special, perhaps because I would not feel my life was special without those little things.

                The cashier’s name was Wendy and she would touch my hand when she gave me my change after I bought a cup of coffee. That little bit of an energy perk, especially from a woman who looked good and wore her shirts tucked in, was like a counterbalance to the frustrating moments when I visited my family. On that morning, I was on my way to the café when I received the phone call from my uncle, insisting I get his food right away. I did the errands because they were my family and I felt I might as well be in their lives even if I became frustrated afterward. I had no time to go to the café and get my coffee. I felt as though my walking out of the restaurant was partly a protest so my uncle would know how I felt about him interrupting my day.

                At this point, something amazing happened. I had to use a restroom and there was a café close by. I had never went there before but if they needed me to purchase a cup of coffee, even if I figured none of the employees would look any better than my relatives, that would be fine. However, I needed to use the restroom first. When I walked in, I approached the restroom and Wendy, the cashier from the café in my neighborhood, ran towards me, stood by the door and extended her hand. She said, “Hi, Patrick. How are you?”

                We shook hands for just a few seconds but her grip was comfortably firm and felt like she had touched my hand ten times instead of just one. The touch lasted just two or three seconds but it was definitely intentional instead of being perhaps an accidental transference like when I bought coffee. I was surprised she knew my name. I probably told her but I did not remember if I did so or not. She might have heard another customer call me by name. I knew her name because the café manager mentioned it when they walked. I said, “I’m doing well. I didn’t know you would be here. My uncle’s family lives in Antioch and I went to visit them.”

                She nodded. “Okay. My brother lives here and he’s putting together a party for his fiancée and I’m going to help him fix the dinner.”

                I could have told her about the incident at the mall when my uncle thought French fries were considered to be a dinner but I figured I did not know her well enough to do so and make it sound normal. Instead, “I live Oakland better.”

                She nodded. “I do too. The next time you’re in the café, I’d like to talk with you for a little bit. One of your neighbors gave me a story you wrote and I really like it a lot. I also write and I wouldn’t mind the possibility of us collaborating on a story.”

                “That sounds great!”

                A man’s voice said, “I’ll be in the car, Wendy.”

                She said, “I’m coming. Well, nice to see you, Patrick. Take care.” She ran back to wherever she had been.

                As I went in the restroom, I thought to myself, “This is definitely one of the best days I have had yet. I’m going back to see my uncle and apologize. He really helped me out today.”

Mulțumind pe Vecinătatea: capitolul unu

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Coperta imagine prin amabilitatea lui Karmadaluna:
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              Arnold Dallow stătea afară pe terasa din spate, așteptând. Familia lui era înăuntru, făcând cina pentru ziua de naștere. Ei au sosit neinvitat la casa sa, așa cum au făcut în fiecare an, nu numai pentru ziua de naștere, ci pentru fiecare Paște, Ziua Recunostintei și Crăciunul. El a admirat familiile prietenilor lui, ale căror politici nu trebuiau să se deranjeze unul pe celălalt și își dorea ca familia să-i urmeze exemplul.

                     Mama lui, Jean, bătuse cu voce tare pe ușă, cu o țigară aprinsă în gură. Nu a fumat niciodată și regula sa nu fuma la locul lui. Cu toate acestea, niciodată nu și-a amintit sau a ales să o ignore. Ea era singurul membru al familiei, altul decât el, fără obezitate morbidă.

                     De asemenea, a fost prezent Darwin, fratele lui Jean, și fiica lui, Caitlin. Ambele au cântărit câte trei sute cincizeci de kilograme fiecare, dar Darwin părea puțin mai mare pentru că era mai înalt. Caitlin a fost o persoană drăguță și singurul membru al familiei care nu ia iritat pe Arnold. Darwin făcea un zgomot de spitalizare cu gura, făcându-i să se așeze în direcția lui Arnold.

                     Cealaltă rudă care a apărut a fost Vanessa, sora lui Jean. Ea era singura dintre ciorchinele care făcea mâncare decentă, dar nu se putea opri niciodată să se plângă tot timpul când a vizitat pe cineva. De asemenea, Jean a insistat să facă toată cina, ceea ce a făcut ca prezența Vanessa să fie complet inutilă.

                     Arnold privi ocazional în spatele lui pentru a vedea ce se întâmpla în casă. A închis ușa de pe terasă, astfel încât nu le putea auzi, dar gesturile și rafalele lor au arătat că încă se certau. Anterior, problema era cum să gătești șunca. Vanessa spuse: – Nu vreau să dezamăgesc șunca.

                    Arnold a răspuns: “Este foarte dificil să tăiem șunca când are osul acela în mijloc.”

                     Darwin spuse: – N-ar trebui să te cățeluiești, Arnold. Mama ta ți-a plătit banii grei câștigați pentru a-ți cumpăra ceva minunat. Patru dolari pentru o bucată mare de carne este un preț excelent. “

                     Vanessa a spus: “Folosiți jumătate de cutie și sunca este deja încărcată cu sare și apoi sare mâncarea din nou când o serviți. Dacă sarea ar fi o prostituată, tu vei fi proxenetul sau, mai probabil, cosul. Ești un trambul vechi urât și zdrențuit, care nici măcar nu poate îmbrăca o rochie decentă pe ziua de naștere a fiului tău. Cel puțin Darwin a găsit haine fără găuri sau pete, chiar dacă nici măcar un om gay pe droguri nu ar fi atras de cârpa de untură .”

                     Darwin clătină din cap. “Aceasta vine de la femeia care este cu zece kilograme mai greu decât mine.”

                     Vanessa spuse: – Știi că am o condiție de glandă care mă face așa.                     Darwin râse. – Nu ești mare.

                     Vanessa a strigat: “Nu am spus mare! Am spus glanda! Dulce prost! Ia un aparat auditiv pentru creier!

                     Jean se uită la Caitlin, care stătea în camera de zi, uitându-se la televizor. Ea intenționa să stea în afara discuției, dar nu pentru că nu avea nimic de spus. Dacă a spus ce credea ea, nu ar fi putut să se oprească. Vizionarea televiziunii a fost mai productivă. Cu toate acestea, Jean sa enervat și a spus: “Caitlin! Aș vrea să vii aici și să mă ajuți să-l batem pe această șuncă!

                     Caitlin oftă și intră în bucătărie. “Despre ce vorbesti? Nu este nevoie să înfruntați acest tip de șuncă. Sunt patruzeci la sută de apă.

                     Jean a spus: “Nu folosesc apă. Folosesc sparanghel prajit.

                     “Asta face chiar mai puțin sens. Încerci să faci o masă pe care nimeni nu o poate mânca?

                     “Încerc să-i satisfacă pe toți! Aparent nimeni nu vrea sare pe mâncarea lor. Toți s-au transformat în hippies. Deci, ei primesc sparanghel.

                    Arnold spuse: – Mamă, nu-mi place aroma de sparanghel dacă nu are maioneză.

                     Jean spuse: – Bine. Voi adăuga maioneză la lichidul de lăcrimare.                     Arnold ridică din umeri. “De ce să nu lăsăm doar hamul și să servească maioneza pe o parte ca o baie?”

                     Jean a spus: “Eu sunt cina de gătit, nu tu. Așa cum este, am o orez sălbatic și o cratiță de ridiche cu glazură de mătase de lămâie pentru a avea grijă de ea. Dacă nu ai nimic de spus decât să nu spui nimic. Ce zici să joci acel CD pe care l-ai adus, Caitlin?

                     Caitlin a spus: “Asta ar fi grozav. Am Morris Albert sau Patrick Hernandez.

                     Arnold spuse: – Mă duc afară. Am nevoie de ceva timp singur ca cadou pentru ziua mea de naștere. “

                     Darwin spuse: “Mulțumesc mult! Familia ta nu înseamnă nimic pentru tine.

                     Arnold zâmbi. “Vrei să spui mult pentru mine, dar nu vrei să știi cum. Oricum, mă duc să iau niște aer curat. Mă întorc după o vreme.

                     Sa bucurat că a făcut această alegere. Dacă totul sa întâmplat așa cum spera el, ar vedea un tratament. În fața lui, cu patio-ul cu fața spre el, era un vecin care arăta foarte bine. Ea locuia pe Hyacint, pe următoarea stradă din Bradford. O dată sau de două ori pe săptămînă, el a mers pe jumătate în sus pe Bradford, la pornit pe Harris și pe Hyacinth în una sau două blocuri, ca să poată privi casele despre care credea că arăta puțin mai bine decât cele de la Bradford. El a ales un moment în care femeia, care a trăit de la el, ar putea fi afară.

                     Numele ei era Angela Taylor, pe care a aflat-o când sa întâlnit. Vorbea cu un bărbat, probabil vecinul ei de lângă vecinătate. Ea a întrebat: “Ai vrea să știi unde se află? Știu doar unul la câteva blocuri distanță.

                     Vecinul a răspuns: “Nici măcar nu am știut că există o altă apropiere. Poate domnul ar ști. “El a arătat spre Arnold.

                     Arnold zâmbi. “S-ar putea. Ce cauți să afli?

                     Angela spuse: – Am auzit că aici sunt două piețe ale Lakeside. Unul ar trebui să aibă o secțiune care să vândă pește proaspăt. Știu că cel care se află aici nu vând pește proaspăt. Au doar conserve de sardine sau heringuri murate.

                    Arnold spuse: – Știu despre ce vorbești. Magazinul care vinde pește proaspăt este magazinul de băuturi din Lakeside. Numele sunt similare, dar sunt două tipuri diferite de magazine. Lakeside Market, este ca un mic magazin corporativ care vinde doar lucruri obișnuite pe care le puteți găsi în orice supermarket, dar ele își măresc prețurile pentru că este convenie pentru ca oamenii să meargă acolo în loc să fie o piață cu lanț regulat. Lakeside Groceries este condusă de o familie care trăiește în oraș și este totuși în concordanță cu scopul de a vinde anumite produse ecologice și de carne și pește de calitate superioară. Este pe Parker Street, pe aceeași stradă Piața Lakeside, dar este la aproximativ zece blocuri distanță. “

                     Vecul a fluturat și a intrat în vita lui.

                     Angela zâmbi. “Wow. Știi multe despre orașul ăla, nu-i așa?

                     Arnold spuse: – Nu atât de mult, dar am știut asta.

                     – Ei bine, numele meu este Angela Taylor.

                     – Eu sunt Arnold Darrow.

                     “Încântat să te cunosc.”

                     “La fel şi eu.”

                     Ridică din umeri. “Ei bine, trebuie să intru înăuntru. Fac o friptură de oală și îmi place să verific din când în când, ca să nu se prea îngroape. Poate vom vorbi din când în când.

                     “Sigur.”

                     A intrat în casa ei. Sa întors la locul lui. Puținele conversații i-au meritat, nu din cauza informațiilor, ci din cauza experienței pe care o avea pentru el. Purta o cămașă de polo cu mâneci lungi, cu mâneci împinse și cămașa în blugi. Era îmbrăcată atrăgătoare cu atenție la detalii, spre deosebire de majoritatea celorlalți prieteni și cunoscuți, în special membrii familiei. Nici un membru al familiei Darrow, altul decât el, nu a fost niciodată îmbrăcat într-o cămașă, nici nu purta haine care să corespundă și numai în rare ocazii erau hainele curate. Angela a reprezentat tipul de femeie pe care o fotografiază drept ideal, în același mod în care oamenii urmăreau comedii de situație în televiziune și își imaginau că fac parte dintr-o familie fictivă.

                     A doua zi, pe când stătea afară pe terasă, a observat că a ieșit în patio, care se afla direct în fața lui. Purta o cămașă albă, cu buzunare, înăbușită în pantaloni cu căptușeală, iar mânecile ei erau înfășurate. Ea a observat că el a făcut un mesaj. El a fluturat înapoi și a intrat în casa ei. Probabil că a ieșit acolo să apese o plantă sau să facă ceva specific. Cu toate acestea, acel mic interacțiune cu ea la făcut să simtă că există ceva de apreciat atunci când sa întâmplat și îi va lua mintea de pe urma problemelor sale.

Acum, el observă că era afară din curtea ei. Probabil că a fost acolo o vreme și fie se așezase pe un scaun, fie se aplecă, dar nu era vizibilă inițial. Când sa sculat, a aruncat o privire în urma ei și la văzut pe Arnold. Ea a zâmbit și a spus: “Bună”. Avea un tricou simplu, încastrat în pantaloni scurți.

                     Arnold a crezut că arata sexy și a apreciat ceea ce a văzut, mai ales în ziua de naștere. El a spus, “Bună. Ce mai faci?”

                     Ridică din umeri. “Ocupat. Sunt multe lucruri pe care trebuie să le fac. Trebuie să rearanjez câteva lucruri în casa mea și va dura ceva timp de când nu am pe cineva să mă ajute.

                     El a dat din cap. “Te-aș ajuta, dar familia mea e aici și avem o petrecere de aniversare pentru mine. Dar altfel aș fi bucuros să ajut.

                     “Oh, e ziua ta de naștere? La multi ani! Dacă vrei să mă ajuți serios, te-aș putea folosi mâine. Suna bine?

                     “Sigur.”

                     Ea a bătut-o pe mâini. “Ura! Bine, să zicem că vei veni la ora unsprezece mâine dimineață?

                     “E in regula.”

                     “Grozav! Ne vedem atunci.

                     El a râs. “Crede-mă, va părea mai mult ca o petrecere de ziua de naștere, comparativ cu ceea ce am de rezolvat acum.”

                     “Într-adevăr? Ce se întâmplă?”

                     “Să spunem doar rușine de familie, mâncare proastă și, în general, prostie.”

                     Ea dădu din cap. „Hmm. Imi pare rau sa aud asta. Păi, îți spun ceva. Dacă mă ajuți mâine, aș putea să am un cadou pentru tine. Va fi ceva ce cred că vă va plăcea. “

                     “Nu pot să aștept.”

                      – În regulă.

                    Ea și el a fluturat. Sa întors în casă. El a continuat să stea în afara timpului. Munca nu era activitatea lui preferată, altul decât să lucrezi la scrierea unei povestiri sau a unei compoziții muzicale, dar ajutând o femeie vecină ca ea ar fi mai mult decât o muncă. Ar fi o ocazie să o cunoști și să văd ce poartă. Din vremurile în care a văzut-o, fie pe terasă, fie în curtea din față, pe când mergea pe strada Hyacinth, purta întotdeauna cămășile înăbușite, fără excepții. Nu știa cu siguranță dacă purta vreodată cămașa care nu era ascunsă, dar ceva în conștiința lui, poate un sentiment metafizic, i-a spus că nu a făcut-o. Modul în care își purta cămășile părea că o înghiți în ea era la fel de importantă pentru hainele de îmbrăcăminte. Deci, când a mers mâine la ea, el ar vedea ce tinuta ar purta pentru sosirea lui. Acesta a fost motivul real pentru care a vrut să o ajute. Pe cât ar fi superficial ca aparițiile de suprafață, ele ar putea fi interpretate ca un semn al altui lucru. În acest caz, o aparență ar reprezenta modul în care o persoană a comunicat sentimente unei alte persoane. Bineînțeles, acele idei au venit la el pentru că era încântat că o va lăsa să o viziteze. Da, ideea era pentru el să facă ceva, dar, într-o oarecare măsură, petrecerea de ziua lui părea că i-ar fi trebuit să lucreze pentru el, deoarece el a făcut un efort de a nu lăsa în totalitate.

                     Douăzeci de minute mai târziu, sa întors înăuntru. Jean scoase șunca din sobă. Părea într-adevăr bine. El a întrebat: “Ce-ai făcut de data asta?”

                     Vanessa a spus: “Am pălmuit-o pe față și i-am spus să nu mai fie cadet spațiu și să mă lase să fac acest șuncă. Sa speriat pentru că țigara ei a căzut din gură și a spus că este ultima ei țigară. Trebuia să o ia din nou, dar l-am scos cu piciorul, astfel că nu mai poate continua să fumeze.

                     Arnold zâmbi. – Mulțumesc, mătușa Vanessa.

                     – Sunteți bineveniți, scumpo. Cel puțin ai o persoană inteligentă la petrecerea ta. Fratele meu este complet un loony care gândește numai prin stomac și sora mea nu este sigură în cazul în care ea a pus creierele ei. Cred că ia aruncat în gunoi. Caitlin, nu știu dacă are vreun creier. Cred că, când sa născut, a venit atât ea cât și un televizor, iar setul a primit creierul și a luat grăsimea.

                    Darwin spuse: “Nu am creierul meu în stomac!”

                     Vanessa zâmbi. “Îmi rezonez cazul.”

                     Jean a intrat în camera de zi și sa așezat pe canapea. “Cred că am un atac de cord.”

                     Darwin spuse: – O să chem ambulanța.

                     Vanessa ia luat telefonul. “Nu veți face nici un astfel de tig. Dacă ambulanța sosește, ei o vor face să se simtă mai bine și nu va scăpa destul de curând. Femeia proastă acționează doar. Vrea doar ca Caitlin să-și cumpere țigările.

                     Caitlin a spus: “Nu voi merge la magazin doar pentru țigări. Cineva va trebui să-mi cumpere o sifon.

                     Jean a spus: “Tu târfați leneș! După tot ce am făcut pentru tine, cel puțin poți să faci este să-mi cumperi niște fumuri.

                     Caitlin clătină din cap. “După toate plămânii murdari pe care mi-ai dat-o, cel puțin pot să te fac să te las să-mi dai mai mult? Eu spun nu. “

                     Darwin spuse: – Mă duc să-mi cumpăr țigările. Nu mănânca partea mea de mâncare! “

                     Vanessa spuse: – Nu vă faceți griji, d-le Behemoth. Îți place să-ți aduci mâncarea până la punctul în care nici măcar o respirație de foc nu o putea pune în gură. Sunt surprins că nu vei avea un atac de cord. Îți doream acum câțiva ani.

                     Caitlin a spus: “Cred că ar trebui să mâncăm doar. V-ați folosit gura cu cuvinte. E timpul să vă folosiți gura pe mâncare. “

             Darwin a ieșit din casă. Toți ceilalți stau la masă și mănâncă. În cursul cina, conversația a devenit mai puțin despre prostia sau dimensiunea greutății fiecărei persoane și sa concentrat mai mult pe îngrijirea animalelor și aranjarea florilor. Caitlin a insistat să joace un alt CD Patrick Hernandez. Arnold a rămas liniștit, sperând că vor pleca înainte de seara. După ce au mâncat toți ceilalți, Darwin sa întors cu țigări bomboane. Jean a țipat la el, iar Arnold a făcut semn cu toată lumea și a intrat în dormitorul său. O oră mai târziu, zgomotul sa oprit și el a presupus că au luat indiciul și au plecat. Cu toate acestea, nu avea de gând să se uite, în cazul în care așteptau în liniște să se întoarcă. În schimb, sa odihnit liniștit, gândindu-se a doua zi.

Întâlnire cu Margaret: o poveste

Karma

Coperta imagine prin amabilitatea lui Karma: http://www.fiverr.com/karmadaluna

               Când Bill Godwin a observat că Margaret Sativa urma să apară în Somerville Town Center în acea după-amiază, era mai mult decât emoționat. Ea a fost basistul trupei sale preferate, Frilly. Au cântat câteva dintre piesele sale preferate. Aveau un sunet greu de explicat dacă o persoană nu era familiarizată cu munca lor, dar făceau muzică de dans contemplă. Bill avea toate CD-urile. O parte din motivul pentru care Frilly era grupul său favorit era pentru că Margaret Sativa purta întotdeauna cămășile sale înăbușite. Majoritatea membrilor trupei nu au făcut asta de cele mai multe ori. Margaret părea neobișnuit de sexy într-un mod care la făcut pe Bill să-i vadă femeia de vis.

            Prima dată când văzuse o imagine a grupului, toți stăteau pe un loc de joacă, purtând tricouri albe și blugi albastri. Cu toate acestea, Margaret purta bluza în tricou și blugi avea o centură. Apoi, el a cercetat grupul pentru a vedea ce alte imagini a putut găsi online și au existat cel puțin alte zece fotografii ale grupului în costume diferite și, în fiecare fotografie, Margaret purta o cămașă și un bluză înțepată. Ea purta chiar și o bluză înăbușită în timpul unei fotografii, când grupul purtau toate bluze. Bill a căutat să vadă dacă există videoclipuri ale grupului sau interviuri cu Margaret. A văzut câțiva oameni, iar Margaret purta întotdeauna cămășile și puloverele încastrate, câteodată dublu. Nu știa prea multe despre ea decât pe ceea ce purta, dar asta era suficient pentru el să se simtă ca și cum ar fi vrut să afle mai multe despre ea.

            Locuia în Oakland, California, la câteva ore distanță de Antiohia. Cu toate acestea, el a vizitat frecvent Antiohia pentru că a cunoscut familia sa de naștere pe care nu o văzuse de-a lungul vieții. Mama lui a fost necăsătorită când a fost însărcinată cu el și familia ei ia spus că trebuie să-și pună fiul în foster, dacă dorește să se întoarcă acasă. Ea a fost de acord să facă acest lucru cu condiția că ar putea să-l viziteze atunci când a ales să facă acest lucru. Sistemul de asistență maternală a fost de acord la început, dar apoi mama lui a început să ia droguri și să se petreacă cu vecinii săi și uneori ar fi arătat în casa fosterului în stare de ebrietate. Părinții adoptivi au spus sistemului de asistență parentală, iar mama lui nu mai putea să-l viziteze. I sa spus că nu a ales să-l vadă și că așa credea, când a devenit adult, a decis să nu o contacteze.

               Cu toate acestea, ani după aceea, prietenul lui Bill Norman Beach, un compozitor care a scris compoziții Bill jucat și înregistrat în sesiuni de înregistrare, ia sugerat să intre din nou în familia sa de naștere. După o anumită ezitare, Bill a decis că a trecut destul timp să-i ierte pe mama sa, Phyllis Abercrombie. A reușit să-și găsească adresa. Locuia în Antiohia, o zonă pe care nu o mai văzuse niciodată și nu se afla într-o locație convenabilă. Cu toate acestea, el a numit numărul său de telefon, pe care la găsit în cartea de telefon din Antiohia, și a fost încântată să audă de la el. El a vizitat-o ​​o dată pe săptămână și apoi a aflat despre alți membri ai familiei sale.

                Avea o sora pe nume Rose, care nu era căsătorită, dar avea o fiică pe nume Agatha care locuia în Las Vegas, Nevada. Mama sa, Phyllis, avea de asemenea un frate, Phillip, care avea o soție, Barbara, și o fiică, Edith. Cu excepția mamei lui Bill, întreaga familie avea peste trei sute de kilograme fiecare. Unchiul Phillip a intrat în oraș într-un scaun cu rotile pentru că nu dorea să-și exercite toată energia, dar, la el, a mers. Soția lui, Agnes, și-a petrecut tot timpul cu ochii la televizor și foarte rar sa făcut să facă ceva, cu excepția faptului că a folosit toaleta. Edith a petrecut cea mai mare parte a timpului pe internet, vizionând filme pe YouTube. Mama lui Bill, Phyllis, fuma țigări aproape fără întrerupere. Singurul care a făcut ceva productiv a fost mătușa lui Rose, care ocazional a mers la bibliotecă și a citit cărți, deși nu le-a citit niciodată. Doar a folosit scuza pentru a merge la bibliotecă, așa că avea ceva de făcut în timpul zilei. Acestea erau observațiile pe care Bill le-a avut când vizitează familia sa de naștere în timpul diferitelor sale vizite.

                În ziua în care a aflat că Margaret Sativa va fi în Antiohia, Bill a fost în cele din urmă încântat să meargă acolo. De obicei, când a vizitat prima dată mama sa și apoi unchiul său care a trăit alături de ea, i-ar fi cerut să facă comisioane pentru ei cum ar fi cumpărăturile sau plata facturilor la clădirea uniunii de credite. Cu toate acestea, atâta timp cât programele lor nu interferează cu întâlnirea lui Margaret, el le va găzdui în orice fel ar fi putut.

                Nu știa dacă ar fi sau nu acolo cu întregul grup Frilly sau dacă ar face un concert solo sau dacă ar participa doar la o sesiune de întrebări și răspunsuri. Timpul în care va fi la centrul orașului Somerville a fost de patru dimineața. Asta a dat lui Bill suficient timp pentru a alege o tinuta pe care ar putea sa o vada. A ales o cămașă de polo roșie și blugi albastri, cu o curea maro și pantofi maro. Vroia să se asigure că tricoul lui era prins, așa că i-ar fi putut arăta că respectă modul în care se îmbrăca și că, ca și fan, îi plăcea să se îmbrace în mod similar. Nu se aștepta prea mult la modul în care s-ar putea întâlni orice conversație. Doar un simplu schimb de felicitări ar fi suficient. Cu toate acestea, dacă ar avea ocazia să-i spună mai mult decât salut, ar lua-o.

               A sosit la casa mamei sale la ora două dimineața. Fumează o țigară ca de obicei. Mirosul era prea mult pentru el, dar el trebuia să facă așa ceva. Situația de întâlnire a lui Margaret era prea importantă. El a spus: “Bună, mama. Ghici ce? Se întâmplă ceva la mall și aștept cu nerăbdare. De asta am venit.

               Phyllis se încruntă. “Credeam că te-ai întors pentru că ai știut că trebuie să mergem la doctor, ca să aflu ce este în neregulă cu plămânii mei”.

                 Bill ar fi putut explica faptul că fumatul era ceea ce a făcut ca plămânii ei să aibă probleme, dar el a încercat această tactică în trecut și Phyllis părea să asculte, dar niciodată nu ia sfătuit. În schimb, el a spus: “Pot să merg la întâlnirea medicului cu tine după ce îl văd pe Margaret Sativa la Somerville Town Center”.

                  Se încruntă. “Cine este Margaret, indiferent de numele ei?”

                 “Ea este basistul pentru grupul Frilly.”

                 “Agitat?”

                 “Nu. Grupul este numit Frilly. Margaret Sativa este basistul. Își poartă cămășile în timp și arată bine. Vreau să o cunosc.

                 “La ce oră se va întâmpla?”

                 “Ora patru.”

                 “Numirea mea e pentru ora patru.”

                  “Nu mi-ai spus că ai o întâlnire.”

                 ” De obicei nu trebuie să-ți spun. Plec. Dar, de când ești aici, cred că poți fi cu mine. “

                 “Unde este biroul doctorului?”

                “E în clădire. Doctorul va veni aici și mă va vedea. Nu trebuie să mă duc să-l văd.”

                 Bill a fost eliberat. “Ei bine, dacă așa este cazul, nu trebuie să merg cu tine. Mă duc la mall și poți vorbi cu doctorul.”

                 Phyllis se încruntă.  “Dar vreau să vă dau aici, în cazul în care trebuie să-i spun doctorului că nu fumez.”

                “Dar tu fumezi!”

                 “Stiu asta! Dar nu vreau să-i spun asta! Trebuie să te uiți peste tot în apartamentul meu și să iau orice țigară pe care o vezi.”

“Dacă fac asta, îi pot arunca?”

                 “La naiba, nu poți! Petrec o sută de dolari pe săptămână pe țigări! Nu îmi voi irosi banii așa!”

                 Bill era îngrijorat. Phyllis a fost tipul care ia cerut să facă ceva special, indiferent dacă era convenabil pentru el. De cele mai multe ori, a fost supărat când a făcut asta. Spera că astăzi ar fi o excepție. În schimb, era chiar mai mult cazul. El a spus: “Am venit să vă vizitez astăzi în mod special pentru că a fost ziua în care am vrut să-l întâlnesc pe Margaret!”

                 “Îl poți întâlni o zi!”

                 “Nu știu altă zi când va fi acolo!”

                 Phyllis se uită la el ca și cum ar fi urmărit un spectacol de televiziune pe care ar putea să-l comenteze, dar știa că nu se va schimba indiferent de ceea ce spunea, așa că era mulțumită. Bill era mult mai îngrozitor la ea decât în ​​orice moment. El a fost hrănit și a ieșit din ușă fără să-și ia rămas bun. A strigat Phyllis, din ceea ce putea auzi. Probabil îi chema numele. Cu toate acestea, el a dat seama că are nevoie de doctor să o ajute mai mult decât avea nevoie de fiul ei pentru a ascunde dovezile fumatului ei. Dacă ar avea vreun sens, îi va mulțumi mai târziu. Știa că nu se ridică și deschide ușa ca să-l urmeze. Era prea implicată în programul de televiziune pentru a se ridica pentru orice.

                 Bill a dezbătut să meargă la casa unchiului său Phillip. El a decis să nu facă acest lucru. Phillip i-ar putea cere să facă niște treburi în timpul acelei ore în care Margaret urma să fie la mall. Dacă Bill a ieșit pe unchiul său, Phillip l-ar fi urmărit în scaunul cu rotile și îi va numi din nou numele ca un puști. Bill nu dorea ca un bărbat obișnuit să bea ca un copil pentru ca Margaret să vadă.

               Ora era ora trei. Era cu o oră mai devreme. Nu știa când a început concertul sau sesiunea de întrebări și răspunsuri. Anunțul pe care la văzut în revista menționa doar că va apărea la Somerville Town Center, în Antiohia, la ora 4:00. Își spuse: “Acest eveniment va fi la fel de misterios ca și Margaret. Dintre toate interviurile pe care le-am văzut despre trupa, ea este cea mai mică dintre ei. Nu știu prea multe despre ea. Sper că este aproape de o cameră liberă și pot să vorbesc cu ea o vreme.

                 Din spate, el a auzit pe cineva întreba: “Scuzați-mă, dar știți unde este zona de servicii pentru clienți aici?”

                 Își întoarse capul. Margaret Sativa stătea acolo. Avea un tricou galben înfundat, cu o cămașă cu mânecă lungă, cu mânecă lungă, și o bluză roșie și blugi albastri, cu o curea maro deschisă și ea avea și o pălărie de sus cu o pene în ea. Arăta foarte bine. Bill a fost surprins încântat că a vorbit cu el. Ar fi putut să-i ceară pe cineva pentru indicații. A ales-o. Sa simțit deosebit.

                 El a spus: “Cred că serviciul de relații cu clienții este la stânga de secțiunea de produse sportive și de automatele.”

                 Ea zâmbi cu timiditate. “Mulțumiri. Nu știu de ce, dar simt că aș putea să te întreb.”

                 El a dat din cap. “Nu prea știu prea bine despre acest domeniu. Vin aici să-mi vizitez familia, dar asta e vorba. Locuiesc în Oakland.”

                 Ea dădu din cap. “Și ceilalți membri ai trupei. S-ar putea să mă mut în Oakland, dacă ești acolo. Ai energie bună.”

                 El a fost intrigat. Deci, Margaret Sativa arăta interes în el în loc de invers? Simțea că ar putea să-i întrebe ceva. El a spus: “Îmi place hainele pe care le purtați. Cât de des țineți în tricouri, dacă nu vă deranjează să vă întreb? Îmi place consistența aspectului tău.

                 Se rosu. “Wow! Mulțumesc! Ești prima persoană care îmi dă un fel de compliment. Nimeni nu a mai spus nimic despre costumele mele înainte. Pentru a răspunde la întrebarea dvs., îmi pun întotdeauna tricourile. Nu voi purta niciodată niciun top dacă nu este introdus. Întotdeauna am fost așa. Am nevoie ca lucrurile să fie uniforme și echilibrate. Este ceea ce mă ține la pământ, așa că mă pot concentra asupra artei mele, cum ar fi muzica și scrisul meu.”

               “Nu știam că ai scris. Scrieți povești sau romane?”

                “În prezent, scriu un roman. Personajul principal arată exact ca tine. Ar putea suna nebun, dar arăți exact așa cum mi-am imaginat personajul în mintea mea. Ar fi bine să ne întâlnim cândva, ca să vă pot pune întrebări despre tine, ca să le pot folosi în romanul meu?”

                 Inima lui Bill se mișca. O să cunoască foarte bine Margaret? Evenimentul într-o oră nu sa întâmplat încă, dar se simțea de parcă ar fi participat deja. El a întrebat: “V-ar plăcea informațiile mele de contact?”

                 “Da. Iată, îți dau numărul de telefon, adresa mea de e-mail și adresa casei mele. Poate ne putem întâlni în seara asta? Îi dădu o carte de vizită.”

                 El a spus: “Vă mulțumesc foarte mult! Numele meu este Bill Abercrombie.”

                 Își întinse mâna. “Mă bucur să te cunosc.” Și-a scuturat mâna o clipă, dar apoi și-a scos mâna. Ea a spus, îmi pare rău. Mi-aș scutura mâna mai mult, dar aș fi tentat să nu renunț la ea, așa că trebuie să mă opresc.

                 El a râs. “Puteți să vă agitați mai mult dacă doriți să faceți acest lucru.”

                 Ea scutură din cap, nervos. “Nu. Poate mai târziu, acest lucru se poate întâmpla. Sunt serios. Chiar mi-ar prinde mâna și am fi împreună timp de ore, poate zile. Am doar ideea asta despre tine că acum sunt blocat la tine și te vreau cu mine pentru totdeauna, dar trebuie să-mi spun să nu fac asta. Te rog să mă ierţi. Probabil că te fac să te simți ciudat acum.”

                 Bill a spus: “Dacă erai altcineva și nu te-a plăcut, m-aș simți ciudat, dar am venit să te aud. Sunt sigur că simți ceva artistic și te duci cu sentimentele tale. Și eu fac asta. Este bine.”

                 Ea dădu din cap. “Ai dreptate. De obicei nu sunt așa. Niciodată n-am mai fost așa. Dar nu diseară. Restul trupei este la o petrecere găzduită de un prieten al nostru. Voi servi doar cafeaua clienților de la Benny’s Brewery. Benny este fratele meu și sa gândit că aș putea să-l ajut să-și facă treaba dacă aș fi fost un casier pentru o oră în timpul în care spune că locul este cel mai aglomerat. Tocmai v-am întrebat despre serviciul clienți, ca să pot vorbi cu dvs. “

               “Bine. Deci, vrei să merg cu tine la cafenea?”

                 “Mi-ar plăcea asta, dar mă tem că mă vei distrage și mă voi gândi doar la tine și nu-l voi ajuta pe Benny. Dar poate în jurul orei cinci ai putea să vii la cafenea și să putem ieși acolo? Poate că până atunci voi vrea să-ți țin mâna toată noaptea. Imi pare rau. Sunt ciudat și spun multe lucruri pe care nu le-am spus niciodată. Ar trebui să plec înainte să decid că nu vreau să-l ajut pe fratele meu. Dar tu vei fi acolo la ora cinci, nu?”

                 “Da.”

                 Ea a fluturat și a fugit. “Ne vedem atunci.”

                 Bill se întreba de ce anunțul nu menționa nimic despre Fabrica lui Benny. A tăiat anunțul din revista și acum sa uitat la el. Anunțul menționa Berna lui Benny în partea de jos. Bill trebuie să fi fost atât de dornic să meargă la mall, încât nu sa uitat îndeaproape la anunț. Cu toate acestea, nu și-a putut crede norocul. Chiar dacă Margaret și-a clătinat mâna doar pentru o secundă secundă, îl atingea. Nu-și mai amintea primirea unei atingeri de mână de la oricine atît de atractiv ca și înainte. Acum a decis să se întoarcă în casa mamei sale și să o ajute cu tot ce are nevoie. Știa că mai târziu, după ce sa ocupat de ea, el ar fi implicat în ceva care ar face ca toate călătoriile sale anterioare în Antiohia să fie împreună merită recompensa.

 

Meeting Margaret: a story

Karma

Cover image courtesy of Karma: http://www.fiverr.com/karmadaluna

                When Bill Godwin noticed that Margaret Sativa was going to make an appearance in Somerville Town Center that afternoon, he was more than excited. She was the bass player of his favorite rock band, Frilly. They played some of his favorite songs. They had a sound that was hard to explain if a person was not familiar with their work but they did dreamy dance music. Bill had all their CDs. Part of why Frilly was his favorite group was because Margaret Sativa always wore her shirts tucked in. Most of the other band members did not do so most of the time. Margaret looked uncommonly sexy in a way that made Bill view her as his dream woman.

                The first time he had seen a picture of the group, they were all standing in a playground, wearing white T-shirts and blue jeans. However, Margaret was wearing the T-shirt tucked in and the jeans had a belt. Then, he researched the group to see what other pictures he could find online and there were at least ten other photos of the group in different outfits and, in every single photo, Margaret wore a tucked-in shirt and belted jeans. She even wore a sweatshirt tucked in during a picture when the group all wore sweatshirts. Bill looked to see if there were any videos of the group or interviews with Margaret. He saw a few and Margaret always wore her shirts and sweaters tucked in, sometimes double layers. He did not know much about her other than what she was wearing but that was enough for him to feel as though he wanted to know more about her.

                He lived in Oakland, California, several hours away from Antioch. However, he visited Antioch frequently because he became acquainted with his birth family which he had not seen for most of his life. His mother had been unmarried when she was pregnant with him and her family told her she had to put her son in foster care if she wanted to come back home. She agreed to do so with the condition she could visit him when she chose to do so. The foster care system agreed at first but then his mother started taking drugs and partying with her neighbors and would sometimes show up at the foster home intoxicated. The foster parents told the foster care system and his mother was no longer able to visit him. He had been told she had chosen not to see him and he believed it so, when he became an adult, he decided not to contact her.

                However, years later, Bill’s friend Norman Beach, a composer who wrote compositions Bill played and recorded in recording sessions, had suggested he get in touch with his birth family again. After some hesitation, Bill decided that enough time was past for him to forgive his mother, Phyllis Abercrombie. He was able to locate her address. She lived in Antioch, which was an area he had never visited before and was not in a convenient location. However, he called her phone number, which he found in the Antioch phone book, and she was delighted to hear from him. He visited her once a week and then learned about other members of his family.

                She had a sister named Rose who was not married but had a daughter named Agatha who lived in Las Vegas, Nevada.  His mother, Phyllis, also had a brother, Phillip, who had a wife, Barbara, and a daughter, Edith. With the exception of Bill’s mother, the whole family was over three hundred pounds each. Uncle Phillip went into town in a wheelchair because he did not want to exert all his energy but, at his house, he walked. His wife, Agnes, spent all of her time watching television and very rarely got up to do anything except use the restroom. Edith spent most of her time on the Internet, watching movies on YouTube. Bill’s mother, Phyllis, smoked cigarettes almost non-stop. The only one who did anything productive was his aunt Rose who occasionally went to the library and got books to read, though she never read them. She just used the excuse to go to the library so she had something to do during the day. These were observations Bill had as he visited his birth family during his various visits.

                On the day he found out Margaret Sativa would be in Antioch, Bill was finally excited about going there. Usually, when he first visited his mother and then his uncle who lived next door to her, they would ask him to do errands for them like shopping or paying bills at the credit union building.  However, as long as their schedules did not interfere with his meeting Margaret, he would accommodate them any way he could.

                He did not know whether or not she would be there with the whole group Frilly or if she was doing a solo concert or if she was just participating in a question and answer session. The time she would be at the Somerville Town Center was four p.m. That gave Bill enough time to pick an outfit she might like to see on him. He chose a red polo shirt and blue jeans with a brown belt and brown shoes. He wanted to make sure his shirt was tucked in, so he could show her he respected how she dressed and he, as a fan, liked to dress similarly. He did not expect much in the way of how any conversation might transpire. Just a simple exchange of greetings would suffice. However, if he had the opportunity to say more to her than just hello, he would take it.

                He arrived at his mother’s house at two o’clock p.m. She was smoking a cigarette like usual. The smell was too much for him to handle but he somehow had to do so. The situation of meeting Margaret was too important. He said, “Hi, mom. Guess what? There’s something going on at the mall and I’m looking forward to it. That’s why I came over.”

                Phyllis frowned. “I thought you came over because you knew we had to go to the doctor so I could find out what’s wrong with my lungs.”

                Bill could have explained that her smoking was what caused her lungs to have trouble but he tried that tactic in the past and Phyllis seemed to listen but never took his advice. Instead, he said, “I can go to the doctor’s appointment with you after I see Margaret Sativa at Somerville Town Center.”

                She frowned. “Who is Margaret whatever her name is?”

                “She’s the bass player for the group Frilly.”

                “Fussy?”

                “No. The group is named Frilly. Margaret Sativa is the bass player. She wears her shirts tucked in all the time and she looks good. I want meet her.”

                “What time is it going to happen?”

                “Four o’clock.”

                “My appointment is for four o’clock.”

                “You didn’t tell me you had an appointment.”

                “I usually don’t need to tell you. I just go. But, since you’re here, I figure you could be with me.”

                “Where is the doctor’s office?”

                “It’s in the building. The doctor is going to come here and see me. I don’t need to go out to see him.”

                Bill was relieved. “Well, if that is the case, I don’t have to go with you. I can go to the mall and you can talk to the doctor.”

                Phyllis frowned. “But I want you here in case I need to tell the doctor I don’t smoke.”

                “But you do smoke!”

                “I know that! But I don’t want to tell him that! You need to look all over my apartment and pick up any cigarettes you see.”

                “If I do that, can I throw them away?”

                “Hell, no you cannot! I spend one hundred dollars a week on cigarettes! I won’t waste my money like that!”

                Bill was concerned. Phyllis was the type to ask him to do any particular thing, regardless of if it was convenient for him. Most of the time, he was annoyed when she did that. He was hoping  that today would be an exception. Instead, it was even more the case. He said, “I came to visit you today specifically because it was the day I wanted to meet Margaret!”

                “You can meet her another day!”

                “I don’t know any other day when she will be there!”

                Phyllis looked at him as if she was watching a television show she could comment on but knew it would not change no matter what she said so she was content. Bill was angrier at her now than at any other moment. He was fed up and marched out the door without saying goodbye. Phyllis yelled, from what he could hear. She was probably calling his name. However, he figured she needed the doctor to help her more than she needed her son to hide evidence of her smoking. If she had any sense, she would thank him later. He knew she would not get up and open the door to follow him. She was too involved with her television program to get up for anything.

                Bill debated going to his uncle Phillip’s house. He decided not to do so. Phillip could ask him to do some chores during the hour that Margaret was going to be at the mall. If Bill walked out on his uncle, Phillip would follow him in the wheelchair and keep calling his name over and over again like a little kid. Bill did not want an obese man whining like a baby for Margaret to see.

                The time was three o’clock. He was an hour early. He did not know when the concert or question and answer session started. The advertisement he saw in the magazine mentioned only that she would make an appearance at Somerville Town Center, in Antioch, at 4:00. He thought to himself, “This event will be as mysterious as Margaret herself. Of all the interviews I have seen about the band, she is the one member who says the least. I don’t know much about her. I’m hoping that it is close to an empty room and I can talk to her for a while.”

                From behind, he heard someone ask, “Excuse me, but do you know where the customer service area is around here?”

                He turned his head. Margaret Sativa was standing there. She was wearing a tucked-in yellow T-shirt with a black long-sleeved shirt underneath and a red bandanna and blue jeans cinched with a light brown belt and she also had on a top hat with a feather in it. She looked really good. Bill was delightfully surprised she spoke to him. She could have asked anybody for directions. She chose him. He felt special.

                He said, “I think the customer service is to the left by the sporting goods section and the vending machines.”

                She smiled shyly. “Thanks. I don’t know why but I feel I could ask you.”

                He nodded. “I don’t know about this area too well. I come here to visit my family but that’s about it. I live in Oakland.”

                She nodded. “So do the other band members. I might move in Oakland, if you’re there. You have good energy.”

                He was intrigued. So, Margaret Sativa was showing interest in him instead of the other way around? He felt like he could ask her anything. He said, “I love the outfits you wear. How often do you tuck in your shirts, if you don’t mind my asking? I love the consistency of your look.”

                She blushed. “Wow! Thank you! You’re the first person to give me that kind of compliment. No one has ever said anything about my outfits before. To answer your question, I do tuck in my shirts always. I will never wear any top unless it is tucked in. I’ve always been like that. I need things to be even and balanced. It’s what keeps me grounded so I can focus on my art like my music and my writing.”

                “I didn’t know you wrote. Do you write stories or novels?”

                “I’m in the process of writing a novel now. The lead character looks exactly like you. This might sound crazy but you look exactly like how I pictured the character in my mind. Would it be okay if we sometime get together so I can ask you questions about you so I can use them in my novel?”

                Bill’s heart was thumping. Was he going to get to know Margaret really well? The event in an hour had not happened yet but he felt as if he already attended. He asked, “Would you like my contact information?”

                “Yes. Here, I’ll give you my phone number and my email address and my house address. Maybe we can get together tonight?” She handed him a business card.

                He said, “Thank you so much! My name is Bill Abercrombie.”

                She extended her hand. “I am happy to meet you.” She shook his hand for a split second but then she pulled her hand away. She said, “I’m sorry. I would shake your hand longer but I’d be tempted to never let go of it so I had to stop myself.”

                He laughed. “You could shake longer if you want to do so.”

                She shook her head, nervously. “No. Maybe later that can happen. I’m serious. I really would latch on to your hand and we would be together for hours, maybe days. I just have this idea about you that I’m now stuck to you and want you with me forever but I have to tell myself to not do that. Please forgive me. I’m probably making you feel awkward right now.”

                Bill said, “If you were someone else and I didn’t like you, I would feel awkward but I came here to hear you perform. I’m sure you’re just feeling something artistic and you’re going with your feelings. I do that, too. It’s fine.”

                She nodded. “You’re right. I’m not usually like this. I’ve never been like this before. But I’m not really performing tonight. The rest of the band is at a party hosted by a friend of ours. I’m just going to serve the customers coffee at Benny’s Brewery. Benny is my brother and he figured I could help him stir up business if I was a cashier for an hour during the time he says the place is the busiest. I just asked you about customer service so I could talk to you.”

                “Okay. So, would you like me to go with you to the café?”

                “I would like that but I’m afraid you’ll distract me and I’ll only be thinking of you and I would not help Benny. But maybe around five o’clock could you come to the café and we can hang out then? Maybe by then I’ll want to hold your hand all night. I’m sorry. I’m getting strange and saying a lot of things I’ve never said before. I should go before I decide I don’t want to help my brother. But you’ll be there at five o’clock, right?”

                “Yes.”

                She waved and ran off.  “I’ll see you then.”

                Bill wondered why the advertisement did not mention anything about Benny’s Brewery. He had cut out the ad from the magazine and now looked at it. The ad did mention Benny’s Brewery on the bottom. Bill must have been so eager to go to the mall that he did not look at the ad closely. However, he could not believe his good luck. Even though Margaret only shook his hand for a split second, she did touch him. He could not remember receiving a hand touch from anybody as attractive as her before. He now decided to go back to his mother’s house and help her with whatever she needed. He knew that later, after dealing with her, he would be involved in something that would make all his previous trips to Antioch put together seem worth the reward.

 

Mysterious

image_1_

Cover image by Sinead Linda: http://www.fiverr.com/sineadlinda

As Eddie Blunt walked home after a long day at Guthrie, Nicol & Pullman, he realized his mistake. The street was not East Leland Road where he lived. He managed to mosey on up Gregory Drive, which did not at all look similar to his neighborhood. Since he was in no hurry to go to his apartment and resort to the usual boring routine of reading audiophile magazines and watching cooking shows, he let his mind make a shift in consciousness. He was mentally no longer on the wrong street. He was on his way to Stone Apartments, the complex where he lived at 300 East Leland Road, apartment 3. As he walked inside Seaview Terrace, thinking he was at his place of residence, he was surprised no one stopped him. A person could have asked who he was and why he was there but that did not happen. Perhaps his business suit helped him look established wherever he presented himself.

A woman – rather attractive – walked by. He did not know who she was. All he knew was that the elevator was close to his vicinity. She was waiting to get on it. The door opened. She walked in, stood in front of the door and extended her hand and said hello. He shook her hand.

Her grip was tight. They walked in the elevator. The door closed. She did not push a button indicating which floor in which she was heading. He did not know where he was going but he pushed number 8 in case that proved to be a good number. The elevator worked without a key. That was not the case at Stone Apartments but he was not to complain.

They walked out of the elevator at the destined location. She kept shaking his hand. He was confused. He tried to let go but could not do so. She was stuck to him. Okay. This was weird. He asked her what were her plans. She shrugged.

“Do you plan to shake my hand forever?” he asked.

“Yes” she said.

No… that could not be the case. He had to get to work. Well, not today anymore because his work shift was through… if this could be called day… more like night… reminding him of when he played fetch with his dog… okay boy chase the twig. He could sit outside for hours, thinking of… What could he think about with this woman?

She did not tell him her name and he did not ask. He preferred to wait until she spoke. If she preferred not to say a word, he would call her something by default. It is so crazy, he thought. What next?

There was nothing else he could imagine more unlikely than what just happened.