Waking up wasn't a pleasant thought, but then again, the dream hadn't been pleasant either. In fact the lines blurred between reality and dreamscape often enough that nothing seemed to matter anymore. If it was all terrible, why even open your eyes? Cole swung his legs out of his disheveled bed. If it mattered or not, he did it anyway. There was nothing better to do. Except, maybe to rinse this putrid morning taste from his mouth.
Later, he opened the front door and looked outside. All the way down the driveway was a long, long way. From the front doorstep until the bus stop was seven hundred and fourty-one steps. That was if you were like Cole, six-foot-four and long of gait. His gangly pale arms swung like a chimpanzee or a gorilla without the hair. I never could tell the difference between the great apes anyways. They all act as fools to me. Also it must be mentioned that the seven hundred and fourty-one steps included walking through the trees and the grass on a good dry day. To follow the gravel path, that was sometimes muddy, sometimes soggy and sometimes rocky it took at least fifteen hundred steps. Maybe more, Cole had never counted. He had 15 minutes to catch the 8:30 bus that arrived at 8:50 every morning.
Today, Cole took the way through the trees. His brown eyes and rosy cheeks adjusting to the frigid air. The wind tousling and beguiling his brown bed-head hair which he never brushed. The blue jeans he was wearing were plain and obviously faded; they turned a deeper shade of blue, almost navy, as they attracted the morning dew on the frayed hem around his ankles. He walked on, forging ahead. Upon his back was his slightly tattered Copeland brand hiking backpack. It was securely positioned over both his shoulders. Inside of it were three books; Economies of Scale vs. Economies of Scope, Next by Michael Crichton and The History of America: 1865 to Present. Besides the books he carried two notebooks inside as well, Red for History, because it bleeds, and Blue for Economics, because its depressing as shit.
Every step he took, he took carefully, unconsciously avoiding puddles of mud or some particularly wet grass. Each step was precise and completed with a particular deftness of rhythm and repetition. Aided by his eyes being permanently fixated on the ground. They say those who are depressed walk with downward tilted heads. Maybe happy people trip and fall more often. Anytime a person falls over, that's comedy. Occasionally, Cole changed his direction ever so slightly to maneuver the course. The rain last night had overstayed its welcome and lingered into the morning. Just like a pimple on his nose, a one night stand with a bar fiend or his parents annual unwelcome visit. Though he did like the rain when he was inside and dry and watching others scampering about. The poor devils.
This morning it took him seven hundred and seventy-two steps. The only reason he was counting was to take his mind off of the future. He hated the future. He woke up everyday and faced a similar existence to the one he faced the day before, and the day before that, and the week before that, and the month before that. His only reprieve from monotony was his girlfriend, Angela, and the summer months. Where his work dwindled to zero and so did his savings. And he consistently got to steal peeks at beautiful women in bikinis. Summer is coming.
He reached the bus stop and leaned against the pole on the outside of the plexiglass box. The bench was wet and he didn't want a soggy rear end the rest of the day. He was listening to Muddy Waters on his iphone, a fitting accompaniment to the weather. Tapping his right foot and left hand to the kick and snare, respectively. His right hand coolly placated within his jacket pocket.
He checked his phone for the first time this day, and brought up the internet to check last-night's basketball scores. Cole followed the Sacramento Kings. They were terrible. This year they had not even won a game. 0-14 so far. He closed his eyes and waited for the page to load that contained the scores and yes, once again, they lost. 84 to 107 to the Golden State Warriors. Cole sighed and said to himself, "Great, can't even beat the fucking 'Dubs."
Everyone could beat the Kings though. The feudal ages were long gone.
He then sent a text to Angela that read something like this: "Hey, I'm done with my test at 4, what are you doing tonight?" He sent, and subsequently pocketed his phone and continued tapping his appendages to the kick and snare. He was a pretty good airdrummer in his biased opinion.
The bus rolled up and he got on, sat in his normal seat, three rows in, and on the 'passenger' side, so he flung his Copeland brand backpack in, and slid into the worn brown seat like a natural. His house was off the beaten path, but only about 15 minutes back to campus via bus. Although if he wanted to get to any other part of town he had to take his bicycle or 1992 Toyota Turcel, a piece of shit with four wheels and 99 problems (but a bitch ain't one.)
In his favorite window seat he watched the people walking in the light rain. Spotting at least two people who looked like they were really suffering and hating this morning. That pleased Cole. Fifteen sorority clones were wearing matching black Northface jackets and multicoloured rain boots. As they gaggled together in front of Brean Hall, ten of the fifteen were apparently texting underneath pink, yellow and black umbrellas emblazoned with the letters of their respective houses. Five had clear ponchos on. Ponchos! Cole thought. Its barely even raining... these girls haven't ever been two days without their lively comforts. They've never had a hard day in their life. He scowled and the bus trudged on.
Next, he witnessed a bike brigade tearing through campus. Each rider decked out in their own unique multicoloured, nearly skin tight wind-suit and shiny helmet. Cole had more respect for these people than the gaggle of girls that preceded them. A respect that faded quickly when the bike brigade stopped by the sorority socialites and a handful of the girls ran over to get hearty hugs from athletic arms. Quickly and quietly acquiescing their phones with side or back pockets, he duly noted.
With a grin, he was thrown back outside into the elements. Moments later he had turned and was headed to the library to study. He had two finals today, one at 11:30 and one at 2:00. The first was depressing as blue, and the second bled red. Well, so they both lacked enthusiasm and excitement. But in Cole's (objective) opinion, they had no use for his future. He never learned to savor that day. By tomorrow, he would give anything to relive it all. In the absence of a breeze, he walked out of the rain and took a seat in the library. Cole would've killed to know this then but his newest nemesis and the progenitor of his demise was seated in the very same room he chose, yet he didn't even know it.
Nine-fifteen, on a Tuesday
Cole opened his slightly damp Copeland brand backpack. He retrieved his two books and two notebooks. For good measure, he set Next on the desk in the corner in case it was wet. It wasn't, thankfully. His notebooks were not organized to the naked eye. But they were. It was the same principle that no one can read a genius' handwriting except himself. When Cole was in lecture, his mind worked differently. He would remember information the first time his brain read it. However not so much when someone spoke it to him. Often forgetting what the teacher actually said in lectures and differentiating what he thought he said was the hardest part. This, coupled with his notebook would lead any normal person to believe that Cole was insane. The first page of this notebook, the blue one, yeah, that's right, the "depressing as shit" one. looked like this.
Obviously, only Cole was the genius, and only Cole could read this babbling. That was half the fun though, he liked writing and taking notes like this. It helped him keep his stuff separated from any curious eyes. Or when someone asked to borrow his notes because they were too lazy or too drunk or too stoned to get to class, he'd happily oblige. It took less than three minutes for most people to hail his attention and return the notebook. Even one time, and this was the story Cole told the most when trying to explain his notation, a professor from his Business Management class came over and asked Cole to share his notes with the class because he never got below a 94 on a test. Cole did so, and that picture looked something like this:
Suffice to say, his game with his neighbor was more interesting to him rather than whatever drivel (that's a good hangman word by the way, as is rhythm) the old whitehair was spewing out to the masses.
Ah, so Cole read through Chapter One: Introduction to Economies of Scale through Chapter Nine: Correlating Mass-Media's Involvement with The Global Economy in his least favorite book, Economies of Scale vs Economies of Scope that morning. He had read 210 pages in less than two hours and proceeded onto his first final. He checked his phone before leaving, and there was nothing to see. He perused Facebook while he walked and personally witnessed his best friend Trevor post a typical "I'm done with Finals" status in real-time. Yes, it just happened, it was so important that Cole turned off his iphone.
Twelve-oh-seven PM, on a Tuesday
Cole set the exam down on the front desk, nodded to Professor Landry and turned on his heel to exit.. He knew he aced it. And in a crisp 45 minutes too. He tossed his blue notebook in the trashcan as he opened the door and the girl in the nearest seat gave him a funny look. He winked at her with his left eye and never looked back. Heading towards his favorite restaurant on campus, he turned his phone on. :::greetings, from cyberspace::: it said in a cold, mechanical voice. :::have a nice day, human::: Cole had programmed his phone to sound like a robot. Most cellular phones didn't normally say things like that. He only could do it upon start up though, which royally annoyed him.
Now he only had to get one final out of the way, and that was in two hours. He went to get lunch.
Twelve thirty-three, on a Tuesday
Back in the library, Cole was perusing through his notebook that held his history notes.He wasn't too impressed with History. All it ever seemed to be about was people who wanted other people's things. Then they fought. Or one group of rebels was trying to hold onto their ideas that had been part of their culture for a long long time. Then the opposition said it was wrong so many people died. That's why he chose red for his History notebook's color. To represent all those who had died.
His course was over the United States. And it was from the Civil War to present. A timeframe that included post-slavery lynching and the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. It summarized the horrors of both World Wars. The first where more soldiers died of influenza than bullets, bombs and grenades. And the second, because humans never learn the first time, where "The Greatest Country In The World" had the great idea to drop an atomic bomb, not once, because humans never learn the first time, but twice on two separate cities full of civilians and some factories. Factories which would have been destroyed just as easily by normal bombs, but the bigger the better, so why not?
Next was the detailed lessons on how Communism was evil and Capitalism isn't. That cost hundred of thousand more lives in multiple conflicts world wide. Capitalism won, but millions still lost. That's the way the game of history is played. You win, or you die. Now, he was reading over his notes, and noticing that none of them had anything to do with the class itself.
"Today we're talking about Vietnam, and how the French decided to give the country to the communists. I think they were smarter than the Americans because they didn't die. I also think they're smarter than the Vietcong because they didn't fight. They lived and ate les beignets later that night!"
Cole reminisced about a book he read once. It was Sun-Tzu's "Art of War". A book about warfare, and one that no one in America reads. Sun-Tzu was a genius. Sometimes, to win a war, you never fight. In fact, if you can win a war without fighting once, you've just become the best general you could ever be. The "Art of War" dictates that the loss of life is useful for many things. Distractions are even more useful than the loss of life, and retreating is sometimes the best option to win a battle. An opponent who rushes headlong at you, even as you retreat, can exhaust their resources and fall into ambushes and traps. Demoralizing their cause until you can swiftly dispatch their force. Sun-Tzu was a genius.
The history books never tell stories like that, but Cole knew. He knew that history books lie on every page. Or they selectively omit certain topics, situations and information. The real history was in the details that are overlooked. When you read that 6 million jews died in World War Two, many people just say, or think, "oh ok, well that's terrible." and on to the next one. Cole, well, he thinks of every detail. If you tell him that 6 million jews died, he's thinking about the gas chambers and the electrocution chairs. The Joy Divisions and hiding in broom closets. The murder holes, the pits they dug for the dead, and died and fell into while holding shovels. The rape and pillaging and the starvation, hunger, sadness. Losing all of your best friends in one month, then the war ends and you're all alone. Its dark, its bleak, its not nice, but human history is not nice. Its full of atrocities that are sugar coated and glazed over with a nice saccharine sheen. So it doesn't offend anyone. Lest of all our children.
Cole decided the best thing to do before his History final was to catch up on some sleep, rather than read. It wouldn't matter what he got on the test anyways, he had obeyed his professor's rubric and taken the class half-way seriously. He hadn't wrote his opinion, but simply stated the "facts". Many of which were distorted from the point of view of a 65 year old, white male. But no one cared. No one told the story of the penniless and homeless arab living in the slums of Detroit. No one cares about the masses. No one cares about the details.
One fifty-one, on a Tuesday.
Cole awoke at the sound of his phone ringing. It was a loud chime designed to wake him up, and it did. He wasn't happy though, this time, he didn't want to wake. He was dreaming of holding Angela in his arms after having wild sex. Fortunately, he was turned towards the couch and not towards the public or someone would've seen the wood in his pants. He grunted and slowly sat up making sure that he adjusted his package. After rubbing his eyes Cole went to his final down the hall. Turning off his cellular device as he walked. A beautiful blond passed him, provocatively dressed in a low cut V neck shirt and some tight jeans with holes intentionally placed down the legs. He halfway instinctively turned his head, and halfway intentionally turned his head to check out her butt. She turned back at him and caught his eyes, which made him quickly turn around, blushing with embarrassment.
Haha. Sorry, I had to underline that.
As Cole opened the door he looked around. Rachel, his cohort in discussion, was sitting a few rows up. She was a plump, baby cheeked, brown haired bookworm complete with glasses and her hair in a bun. He loved her work ethic and didn't like her inability to take or tell a joke. Too often he made his opinions known, and she never agreed with him. However, she was reliable and never came to class unprepared. So he counted himself lucky. They were as close to opposites in every aspect of opinion. She was a devout Christian, he was a vulgar Agnostic. She was Republican and he pretended to be a half-blood bastard mutt of Communist and Socialist. Although truthfully he could care less about politics, he pretended to be the opposite just to debate with her. She was pretty bad at debating and ended up sticking her nose up whilst spouting a fact about the Laissez-Faire style of Capitalism. Then Cole would tout that the only reason she backed Capitalism was because her rich father had given her $2,000 a week for clothes from his old-money-oil-connections. But Rachel would have none of it and quickly changed the subject each time. For her resistance, Cole did give her credit. She didn't bend over and take it. Through all the year he chuckled at the girl's attempts to sway him to the "right way". However, they never got less than a 100 on each project. Their final paper was co-authored about the rights and wrongs of Communism. Cole wrote the Pro's and Rachel the Con's. It was so well received by their Professor that he submitted it to the school's annual awarded Peabody Publication, the best peer-written research within the confines of ungraduate studies.
And they won first prize. $250 Cash to each. Rachel gleamed with excitement that day. One of the few times she truly smiled. You can tell when people fake smile. A real smile is something that shines through without a worry in the world. Rachel spent her reward on a nice comfortable comforter and the "Sex and the City" box set. All 7 seasons on DVD, it was even packed in its own velvety pink (with satin border) collector's edition box. Cole spent his on a weekend or two out at the bar and one lousy dinner from Carver's, in the Student Union. His $8 burger was over cooked and too greasy. He threw up later, because of Carver's, of course. Our protagonist can hold his liquor reasonably well. And there are no witnesses to testify on Cole's escapades those two weekends.
So, the marriage was coming to an end. Cole sat next to her and lied, "Rachel, I'm going to miss this class. I'm going to miss you a lot."
She turned to him and with a puzzled look on her face, she blushed and blinked with her brown eyes, "Cole, why would you miss me? You hate me!"
"No I don't hate you, I love you. Because you're strong enough to stand up for your opinions, and that's saying a lot. Most of these lumps would bend over and submit to whatever they're told."
"My pa told me to be strong, and that's what I do!" She had a smile on her face now, maybe, probably a real smile. "Cole you've been really really difficult to work with, you do know that."
"Oh I know. It was intentional."
"How could you not tell? I'm really a Republican like you, but I like Devil's Advocate. I'm just really good at arguing. Debating you would call it, but it was a controlled argument all year long. Not so much different from being married, so I love you."
She stared at him in silence. "Wha..." she tried to say. Her bewilderment made Cole smirk.
"All right class, no talking, separate yourself from each other by a seat, I'll be passing out your final now. Good Luck!" Professor Johnson said. Rachel moved a seat down.
"You're strange, Cole, very strange." she whispered, as to not be heard by Professor Johnson.
"You're welcome." he said with a smile.
She stuck her nose up in typical Rachel fashion and turned away, obviously off-put by his confession. And after 15 minutes, Cole was walking up to the front of the class to turn in his final test he'd ever have to take. (this year). He shook Professor Johnson's hand and left. Too Easy. He thought as he left. He turned on his phone and was greeted with nothing. He called Angela. It was out of instinct.
Ring.......Ring.......Ring.......Ring.......Ring.......Ring........ click - "Hi, you've reached Angela, I'm sorry! I missed you! Leave me a message, bye. Beep -"
Cole hung up before the beep. He didn't want to leave a message, he wanted to talk to her. His heart was thumping again. She was always making that happen. Even if she didn't know it. Just the thought of her was intoxicating. They say love is a drug. Cole never believed it until he was introduced to her, and induced with her intrigue. Even now he was visualizing what should be.
So he walked to the bus stop. It was only two-twenty. He had a while yet until his plans for the night. He didn't remember the walk, but he got on the bus, it wasn't raining anymore and had warmed up. The sun peaked through the clouds and shone on his face as he sat in his favorite seat. He smiled. Everything was good. He took Next out of his bag and began to read. Peace, at last.
I smiled as he got on the bus. I just was walking by the mass of people waiting in line as I was heading towards the parking garage. I noted where he was in line, 2nd. When I got to the garage I gallantly held the door open for an old lady with her middle-aged daughter and a third generation in their wake. She had the look of hope and glee on her face. A prospect to the university no doubt waiting to become a legacy in the Sorority System. I smiled at them, and they thanked me, took the elevator. They asked if I'd like to join and I replied that I like to take the stairs. The door closed and I started up to the 7th floor. I got into my Audi R8, and the engine purred. I loved that car. fast, sleek and sexy. Then I took out my phone and pressed speed dial 4. 1 was for voicemail, 2 was for my lovely mother, 3 was my rich father and 4 was Angela Davis, the newest love of my life.
"Hey babe," she said after two rings. "Are you coming over now?!"
"Well, aren't you in a good mood?" I laughed.
"So I'll see you in five?"
"I'll be there in 15, I have one place to stop."
"Perfect, I'm almost ready. Just deciding what to wear." And by almost ready, she meant not ready at all.
"You can wear nothing if you like." I laughed and so did she.
"Maybe, maybe not. You'll see soon enough!"
Three-fifteen, on a Tuesday
Cole got off on his stop. Turned and watched the bus slowly hiss and expel the hydraulic pressure in its brakes. Then, it rambled on down the road. He turned, and looked at this phone again. This time for the 7th time since calling Angela after his final test. He sighed and walked toward his house. Taking the gravel path this time. As he was walking his phone rang. His heart now pounding, he looked at it, and in that moment his excitement was quelled as the screen's shiny face read "MOM....Calling...."
"No...not now." He said in disgust.
Cole pocketed his phone and let it go to voicemail. There was nothing for him to say to his mother at this time. All she ever wanted was to see how he was doing, and then lend advice on what things he should be eating. He inevitably let it slip that he went out to a bar. His mother was a stringent prohibitionist, and so her quarrels with him lingered too often on the imbibed state he so actively sought. Alcohol, though, alcohol was that sweet nectar that helped him escape. He turned to it to forget things that happened. It rewarded him every time. It never complained. It never said no. It never said yes. It never nagged him about sleeping in. It never complained when he didn't wash the dishes in the sink. It never talked about what he should do. Only made him do what he shouldn't. He had a thirst like the ground did for rain during a drought.
A loud crack of thunder echoed over his head. Cole thought, Well, like a beautiful woman, the ground will be getting a few free drinks tonight.
Fifteen-hundred and ninety-six steps later, Cole unlocked and opened his front door. He dropped his backpack on the wooden chair sitting in the corner and he flipped his shoes off. He turned the ceiling fan and light on, looked outside at the now steady downpour. He poured a tall glass of whiskey and sat down to enjoy it with his reliable drinking partners. The plants, trees, weeds and the grass never turned a drink down.
Five Twenty, on a Tuesday
While in neutral, the engine purred like a wolf. It growled and snarled, waiting for the next road to attack. It craved to hunt for the next corner to rip through and straight road to mercilessly kill. I tapped the gas and the engine let out its mating call. The type of noise that makes a rich man's jaw drop, a young child cheer, and it makes beautiful women come over. (and over again). There, and then, she came out from the door on 718 Partridge Lane. A clandestine raven haired, green eyed, pinnacle of human genetic achievement. Complete with black stilettos and a red dress. I don't care what system you use, but she was a √100. A two in the binary scale. Her legs were pendulums in perfect time with the beat of the world. Her eyes were emeralds that rivaled even the most verdant of the rare gem.
So there you go. Now that you know what I'm talking about you'll have an idea of what made my day. I was harmlessly enjoying lunch, browsing the paper when I heard a crash. It was the unfortunate sound of a phone shattering on the ground next to me. Having nothing but the intention on returning it to its owner, I picked it up. She then stepped over to me with a look of exasperation on her face. It was then that we met eyes. Her shattered phone in my hand and my drink in the other. She said something that I can't even remember and extended her arm to shake my hand. I replied by opening my hand to return the greeting and subsequently dropped my iced tea in my lap, which made her laugh considerably.
I guess that's all it takes these days, because I couldn't imagine anyone really being turned on by that. I mean it looked like I just came in my pocket or pissed my pants. If I were a stranger I'd have turned tail and bolted, but she didn't. She laughed and got me some cheap restaurant napkins. Fortunately for me she didnt' dry my pants down or I would have sprung up immediately.
"I'm so sorry your phone is ruined," I said to her while handing it to her. "I'm Josh by the way."
"I'm Angela, and I know I just got this yesterday!" she explained, batting her eyes while holding the broken device tentatively in her hands. "And I had plans tonight too."
"Do you know their number?"
"No I don't know anyone's number except my family, who does these days?"
"Fair enough. I'd let you use my phone if you want."
"Its okay, I have a spare."
"You had plans tonight?"
"Yeah I was going out with a friend." she turned her head a little. "at seven he was going to pick me up."
"I'd like to take you out. What were you doing tonight?"
"Well, he never told me, but I'm sure we'd be getting dinner. I'd hate to cancel without telling them."
"I'm going to race my new car tonight, if you just look good and stand by it I'll give you a third of my winnings, and I'm feeling lucky tonight."
"What? You're a race car driver?"
"Yeah. What is your number?"
"Five-eight-zero, two-three-eight-fourty-two-fourty. I need to run home to use my old phone."
"I'll call you a little later, two ish? We'll go out at five thirty and I'll have you back by seven, that way you can do both."
"How much are we talking about here, like, if you do win?"
"Its about 40 grand."
And her mouth opened; she picked her jaw up off the floor.
"Okay." She stammered. "Year, yeah. I'll do it. 5 pm I'll be ready."
Back in the present, She walked down the footpath from her house that led to the driveway. I felt surreal. There is no way I would lose tonight.
"You look stunning, Angela."
"Thank you!" she blushed.
As she got in I told her about my racing habit. It began young and has spiraled into something larger that I could never have guessed. Of course, my career in the athletic department left me with enough money to buy my super car. To me, its essential to live fast and die young. The alternative is to run a marathon. Possibly the worst event ever. A slow grind that leaves you sore, weary, weak and horizontal to the floor.
Six-thirty, on a Tuesday
Its an unsettling feeling when you're being stood up, and you know it. Poser le lapin as it is called in French. Every moment you think the situation is going to change. She (or he) is going to call. She (or he) will come right around the corner the next time you look up, which just so happens to be right now. You resist the temptation to spam call or text out of courtesy but that temptation gets harder and harder each minute.
Finally, you give in. And that's where we find Cole, giving in to temptation.
After being imbued with a little more liquid confidence, he slid his iphone deftly out of his pocket and dialed Angela.
Ring.......Ring.......Ring.......Ring.......Ring.......Ring........ click - "Hi, you've reached Angela"
And he hung up. So he tried it again.
Ring.......Ring.......Ring.......Ring.......Ring.......Ring........ click - "Hi, you've."
Same reaction. Cole let out a frustrated sound that fell somewhere in between a "ugh" and a "ahhhh". He called again.
Ring.......Ring.......Ring.......Ring.......Ring.......Ring........ click - "Hi,."
Once again, nothing. Flipping his phone onto the floor infront of him. leaning his head back on the couch. Eyes closed, as to not see the truth. Why was she doing this? he though to himself. Why is she ignoring me? What did I do to deserve this? All valid questions, but none that he would find the answer to. They had plans tonight to celebrate freedom, and she had all but disappeared.
"Women," Cole thought outloud. Talking to the plants and trees and since the rain had stopped, the puddles of water on the ground too. "They infect me. They take over my brain and its all I think about."
"Here we are super happy, just this morning, and today I have no idea who this girl is."
He took a drink as if to agree with himself.
"I have to do something. I'm going to go confront her." Angela was a renowned passive aggressive offender. A repeat one too. It was her weapon to get things accomplished. Saying nothing, or suggestively hinting in codes and keys was her only way. Confrontation, oh no no no, that was a bad thing. A thing that only happened on the worst of instances. This, Cole declared, was the worst of instances.
He finished the last dredges of his drink and pulled on his coat. It was due time to find out what Angela was doing.He fumbled with his car keys and locked the front door. A little wobbling of the lock got it to click. HE stepped on the first step, and lost his balance just a little. he righted himself and stepped down onto the path, slipped and fell. With a crunch he landed on his outstretched hand. There was a subtle pop and Cole yelled in pain. "Fuck me!" "Fuck you, you fucking path. Fucking reaching out and....shit.....grabbing me what was that?"
He looked at his hand, it hurt. That was no lie. Using his right hand he rubbed his wrist and it also hurt. Right on the joint.
"Fuck mighta broken something. shit." he mumbled. "God damn weather. rain, wet, damn all this bull."
His wrist didn't have the flexibility he wanted. It was his left hand though so at least that was a plus. He could still masturbate effectively with his right hand and provide Angela that loving touch with his better hand.
Cole got into his 92 Toyota Turcel, a car he hated and started the engine. Which didn't start. He punched the dashboard with his right hand and yelled some more expletives. Turning the key again, and again, and again, and popping the clutch finally got the result he wanted. But the car was on its way out. Much like Cole's patience.
Yeah, maybe he had a few too many drinks. It was the rain's fault, never start a drinking contest with nature.
Six Fifty Five PM, on a Tuesday night
Cole was stopped at the light. Tapping his fingers on the steering wheel. The Red clouding his judgment.
"COME ON!" he yelled at the inanimate object hanging from two black wires just in front of him. Its small box with three vertical glass circles taunting his inability to move. Dangling there with all their grandeur. The red orb on the top glared back at him like HAL2000. It didn't talk though. It just stared.
"Change...please.... please" Cole rested his head on the steering wheel. He was a little tipsy, he was impatient, and he was a bit angry. He looked up again hoping that the light had finally given him the green light he yearned for. And it was still red. The crossing street had the green. And there were no cars to be seen in either direction. If only he came down Montgomery and not Highway 2. All of a sudden, a slick black sports car came from Montgomery and took a right. Since it had the green light, it didn't have to wait at all. It took off down the street and accelerated very quickly.
It was an Audi, and Cole knew it was an R8. A really fast car. One that he said he'd kill for. Though I'm not sure he actually would.
"That car deserved the green." He said. "And whoever is driving it probably gets green lights all the time. And I'm stuck in this piece of shit Toyota and this piece of shit RED light won't change for it."
And then, it changed to green. Cole let out a sigh, as if the universe had finally given him one break today. He gassed the engine and slowly plodded on. Only a mile from Angela's house, he was hoping that she was there, ready for their predestined rendezvous.
He pulled into her neighborhood and shortly thereafter was approaching her house. It was there that he saw the Audi R8 parked outside. Angela and another man were sharing a hug together on her front steps. She was dressed in a short red skirt and looked absolutely breathtaking. The blood in Cole's body boiled. He tightened up his grip on the wheel. Pulled up to her house and stepped out, hot headed. Which, in most scenarios is a terrible decision. Especially for a male. The gender that is more predetermined to hang loose, is often the most tightly wound.
"What the fuck is going on here?" Cole yelled, as he stepped outside of his car. "Angela!"
"Oh... Cole!" Angela said as she quickly turned around.
"We had plans damn it," As he started to stomp up to the steps.
"And who the hell are you? This is my girl."
"No I'm not going to hear it Angela. You've ignored me all day."
"But..." She protested, but was held in silence.
"Who are you and why are you here?"
I looked at this tower of a man. He was angry, red faced, flushed and coming right at me. I didn't know what to say, so what I said was, "Back off you ogre." It wasn't the right thing to say because all of a sudden I was on the ground with a thumping sensation in my eye.
He was towering over me, livid. Spittle on his lips.
"You better not come around here again you little shit."
"Cole!" Angela yelled. "Stop it!"
"Why? Why should I stop?"
"Because you're scaring me. What happened to..."
"What happened to me? What happened to you?" he interjected.
"What do you mean?"
"You fucking ignored me all day long. And when I show up to pick you up, look what I come find."
"You don't understand!"
"I do understand. I understand you're lying, going behind my back You're cheating on me.."
"No! I'm not!"
"When I thought I had found someone special."
"Cole... please lets talk inside."
"No." "I'm not going inside, I'm not going out with you, I'm fucking through Angela. You're a fool if you think you can rope me in again."
"Cole, please I didn't mean it. Please!"
"Why don't you take this little shit." he said, gesturing to me, "And eat it."
"Cole! Stop! I...I.."
"You...You.. What? You leave me out to dry when I'm trying to be the best I can be? You are seeing other guys, fucking around? You What? Angela? What? What do you have to say that I might want to hear?"
She looked like she was about to cry, She trembled and looked at him.
"I can't believe you'd say that to me. I didn't do anything... He was helping me....my phone.... Cole... I'm sorry I.... I" and the floodgates opened, tears rolled down her cheeks.
He stood there, still over me. And I lie there, holding one hand on my eye and waiting. He aggressively stepped away from me, not helping me up, but I didn't expect him to. Then he turned and went back to his car. Opening the door and shutting it with a slam, he took off. Well, as fast as his Toyota Turcel could take him.
Angela came over next to me and knelt. "I'm so sorry. He's never been like this..." She said as she was wiping away her tears.
"How do I look?"
"You have a black eye."
"I kind of like it. How do I look?"
"I can't make a sale like this."
"I sell stuff for my job. Medical devices. They're going to send me home or something."
"Aww." and she put a hand on my cheek. I looked at her and she was still trying to subdue her tears. He mascara was running. Her lips were swollen and here eyes puffy.
"Your mascara is running, you look like a bandit racooon."
"I know. I can't stop crying." and that was true. She said each word through a small sob.
I put my arm around her and she leaned into my shoulder. For a few moment we were together, on the rain-wet cement which I just now noticed. She was the first to get up while wiping the water from her backside.
"Michael," she said. "I'm going to go inside and wash myself of today. I just want to cry and get away."
"Can I do anything to help?"
"No. I need to call Cole. He's important to me."
"He's an animal."
"Don't say that. He's not like this. We shouldn't have gone out." Her tone was a lot more stern that I was expecting.
"I didn't mean for this to happen." I said meekly.
"It did." She looked at me with her raccoon face. "Just leave....thank you. I'll call you later, okay?" The last part was redeeming. The tone of it was happier, but a fake happy. The kind of thing you say to someone when you really just want to scream instead.
Though, I was ok. I knew I had fucked up. I rubbed my eye and stood up. "OK, Angela." She hugged me and I felt immediately aroused. She was still wearing her red dress that was almost impossible to not look at. I hugged back and we shared another moment of eye contact before she turned and went inside. I'm glad the hug didn't last too long or else I would've been betrayed by my body. I watched the door close before turning around and walking back to my car. After another second of though, I accepted defeat.
I hung my head. Feeling as if my purpose was leaving me. As though the sky was falling.
Then, it began to rain again.
Seven Thirty PM, on a Tuesday
Angela closed the door. She quickly scooted into the living room to watch Michael's car leave. She did like him. It was fun going out to the race with him. Although she was torn. She had promised so much to Cole and he was also an amazing guy. Just today.... Today showed her that he was unstable. She never thought that he would actually punch someone like that. I kind of made her feel something of a pride. She couldn't tell what it was in all honesty. Two men were fighting over her. It felt a little bit special as she had her choice between the two.
For most women, she concluded, the choice would be clear. There is Michael, on one hand. Rich, a little fluffy, nice smile, tall and very rich. Did I mention that already? On the other hand, there is Cole. Poor, sexy, suave, kind, green eyes, caring and poor. Did I mention that already? Angela thought that most girls would jump for Michael in a heartbeat.
The engine roared and Michael pulled away. Her heart sank a little, and her, herself, and she sank into the plush Lay-z-boy recliner in a funk. Who?! Who is right? Who is wrong?
She looked at her broken iphone. Its cracked screen was spiderwebbed. She tried to unlock it, but to no avail. Angela sighed and leaned back, looking at the ceiling. Some hair was covering her face so her hand batted it away. From the bottom of her stomach she felt it come up. It rose through her lungs and up her throat, then it broke through her eyes and mouth. she began to cry. Curling up into the chair into herself and letting it all out. None of her roommates were home, thank goodness.
(I don't know how to write a girls' POV, so I'm going to stop here.) Maybe another time.
Eight PM, on a Tuesday
Cole stopped driving, put the car in park, opened the door and closed it. He didn't bother locking it up. He grabbed his wallet out of his back pocket, opened the door and walked into the dimly lit building. It was "Gregg's Grill and Bar", a fine watering hole.
"Cole!" Said Gregg, the portly, walrus mustachioed man tending the potent potables behind him. "What can I get you my friend?" Cole was a regular, obviously.
"Gregg, you old dog. You know, I think I'll have the top shelf today." Cole sat at an empty bar stool between two other empty bar stools. His company this evening consisted of many empty bar stools and three people in a booth on the back wall. Gregg's was kind of a hole in the wall place. Late at night it filled up with pool sharks and dart devils but at 8 pm, it was kind of a graveyard.
Gregg poured a stiff Glenlevit, with a drop of water, and slid it down to Cole. "What brings you in so early?" He asked, his bristly mustache twitching with its own personality.
"Women." he responded with contempt dripping from both syllables.
"That's a good reason to have a drink."
"Normally I would be happy to drink to that, but today I just feel bad."
"Is it the rain?"
And Cole thought about that for a moment. It might have been. In fact it had been raining all day today. From the moment he woke up, to when he went to the bus, to his final, and the bike brigade, and the sororstitutes hiding their phones, and after his final it wasn't but soon again it was. Now it was. Later it would be. Tomorrow it could do it some more.
"Yeah, it just might be." He took a drink, a long drink. "Ever since I woke up the day has been pretty shitty."
"I've done alright me-self with all the depressed dragging themselves into me bar here." Gregg boasted. "But I hate to hear you're not in top form."
"Well fuck it, man, there isn't anything I can do about it."
"She's probably a bitch, amirite?"
"Well so only one day?"
Cole took another drink. He was getting tired of talking to Gregg already. And his twitching mustache.
"Yeh should forgive her mate."
"Well I kinda punched that asshole she was with. She hates me now I know it. She's a pacifist you see."
"Pacifists don't hate people, they love people."
"They're also passive aggressive, and punching someone is aggressive."
"You got a point there mate." Gregg turned and welcomed in a newcomer to the bar. It was Michael, but Cole didn't even turn around. "Welcome to Gregg's what can I get ya?"
"Glenlevit, neat please." Michael said. He proceeded to sit down in a dark booth on the back row. Michael was also unaware that Cole was sitting at the bar. Neither man recognized the others' voice. Strayngger thyngs hahve hapinduh.
"Pardon me, Duty calls."
"The man has good taste, put it on my tab if you would, Gregg."
"Sure thing mate."
Cole took another swig. He was feeling pretty drunk at this point from his prior drinking. He checked his phone again and there was a text. This time it was from Angela. His heart didn't race, it sunk.
"We should talk I don't like what happened today." it read. He didn't reply.
Talking never was a good thing. Framed in that context. He took another drink. Cole's mind was now focused on drinking as much as possible, because there really wasn't an explanation that he needed. She was not exclusive. Why would she go out with someone else dressed in one of her most provacative dresses. Someone who drives a sports car that is well over 100 thousand dollars, 120 thousand? Who really knows. Cole knew what his eyes saw, and Cole didn't want to know at the exact same time. He took another sip.
"Gregg, I'd like a refresher, please." That was his name for a second round.
"Coming up mate." Gregg complied, as he had just returned from delivering the scotch to Michael. The old wizened bar-tend was carrying around the bottle like an old friend. Pouring low-ball after low-ball to each person it seemed.
....and the story ends...... soon....