Well, I don't want to miss out on the fun. Here's the very start of a new piece I'm working on. It's not complete and I wouldn't post the finished one because it'll be too long. I don't want to waste the space or the time of you fine folks. This is the first draft (actually my notes for the story) so ignore grammar and spelling. I'm just too lazy to clean it up tonight. I've got to get in their and practice a little guitar.
Charlie Rojik had a problem. And not a television sitcom sort of problem that can be solved in twenty-two minutes by a smiling, wise-cracking Dad in a mutli-colored sweater with a wise, chin-stroking platitude while tossing the football in the backyard. Nor was it the sort of problem that would wind up with him beaten, bruised and standing in a long line wearing prison orange. Well, not unless things went horribly wrong.
No. Charlie Rojik was in love. Again.
At thirty-three, Charlie had been in love precisely ten times; each time with a beautiful, talented, smart, stylish and fantastically built woman. Every one was perfect. Flawless examples of the thing, that one wonderful thing, that makes life worth living. And each and every one was the wife of another man. And number eleven was the same with one striking difference, thus the problem that faced Charlie that morning as he sat, squat and uninspired, in his little cubicle. Yes, he had indeed fallen in love with the wife of another man. Only this time, she had stepped from the fantasy and smack dab into the middle of his life. She had become real. She had moved from behind the shade of fantasy and flirtation, that little game that he played successfully for years to protect himself, and had taken form. It wasn’t supposed to be this way.
She wanted him.
He shook his head and tried to ignore the problem, playing ostrich. ‘If I ignore this, it’ll resolve itself. It always does…’ he thought to himself. It was this coping technique that had served him well throughout his life. He ignored his fathers constant badgering to play football. Eventually his father quit asking. Since he could not decide what to major in college, he ignored the SAT’s and eventually his grades until the decision was made for him and he found himself sitting in a Community College classroom a month after graduating high school. He ignored his high school sweethearts, at first, veiled, and later, blatant, attempts to garner a commitment from him. She too eventually went away, married an orthodontist and now spends her days raising children in an upscale neighborhood. He ignored any thoughts of upward mobility and found himself now somewhat comfortable in this little cubicle, pushing papers from one side of his desk to another. It was a position barely above entry-level but it provided a living wage and for Charlie Rojik, that was good enough.
As he contemplated this, Cheryl sauntered by his cubicle, gave him a long look and a wink. Immediately, Charlie’s problem was back and very real.
It had all been a game; nothing more than a harmless game of flirtation in the office. Nothing serious. But she had come to take his attention seriously. She told him things. Things about her husband, their lives together and how that togetherness was coming apart as they went along. She told him how she had never met a man she could talk to like Charlie. She went as far as to suggest dinners after work and thinly disguised ‘chance’ meetings on the weekends. It had taken on a life of it’s own, this thing he created.
Throwing his attention into a huge, tedious file, Charlie tried to focus and force the day to pass quickly.
Larry popped onto the stool next to Charlie and motioned for a drink. “What’s with you? You look horrible.”
Charlie smiled weakly. “I’m in trouble.”
“Now what?” The irritation in Larry’s voice was unmistakable. Having been Charlie’s best friend since they were in the third grade, Larry had been there for most of Charlie’s mistakes, miscues and idiotic moves.
“I’m in love.”
Larry took a long pull from his beer and offered “Well call in the National Guard. Oh yeah, I can see where that might make you look like you’re trying to swallow an egg.”
“No man, I’m serious. I think I’m in love.”
Charlie rubbed his hands over his scalp, “And nothing.”
“It is a woman right? Or a man. I mean, it is 2006 and all that. Whatever. I mean, it’s not a sofa or a sea bass or something, right?”
“Yes, it’s a woman. A woman in my office. Cheryl. I think you met her last year at the ballgame.”
Larry thought for a moment and said “Naw, I don’t think so. Whatever. So what’s the problem? You really enjoy this woman…I don’t see the downside…oh wait a second. Let me guess, you did it again, didn’t you? You’ve fallen for a married woman and now you don’t know how you’ll live with out her but you can’t have her …blah, blah, blah. Am I right?”
Charlie turned towards Larry. “The problem is that she wants me.”
“Oh for crying out loud. You’re quite the little science project, aren’t you? Tell me, do you have a team of therapists living in your basement or something?”
Charlie motioned for another round. “No. I’ve got you for therapy.”
“Well,” Larry shook his head, “If that’s the case, I am going to start charging you.”