The Book of Brennan

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Nick Brennan is a writer with a broken heart. He does what any man in his situation would do. Move to a town to work at a resort. Little does he know that what he discovers is more than a writer can put on paper.

Submitted: August 09, 2016

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Submitted: August 09, 2016

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Ever since I could remember, I always loved to travel but I always hated moving to a new place. 

That statement sounds pretty contradictory, but I will try to elaborate just a little bit if I may. If someone asked me if I was wanted to go to the Grand Canyon, of course I would go in a heartbeat. But I would not want to move to Arizona. Nothing against the fine state, it would just not be for me. 

So I was surprised when I took a job, in Idaho of all places, while I was working on my new book. I was even more surprised at the reaction I had received from my friends.

Chris Messner was excited for me. Jake Portman and Casey Freeman were OK with it but I had to endure three hours of jokes about Idaho. Lucas Coleman was excited for me as much as Chris was but he was a little curious as to why Idaho of all places. Washington was my home for almost 12 years. 

“What gives with Idaho?” Lucas asked me.

We were sitting in Lucas's living room at his apartment. He lived like a gypsy, two bags of clothes at the door ready at a moments whim to move on to the next destination. He had walls covered with posters of bands he had interviewed on the radio or went to concerts. I was staring at a poster of Steve Miller Band that was right by the front door. It was Steve Miller with his guitar and it had “Take the Money and Run” up above him. 

“To be honest, I really don't know.” I said.

“Bullshit,” Lucas said. “Your running away from the fact that she's gone. It's been six months and you have not confronted her about leaving you again. What the hell, Nick? I love you man, but this is ridiculous.”

Lucas was right. I hadn't confronted Katherine for leaving me to work at some start up concert festival in New Mexico. I should have dug in and fought like hell for the woman I loved. The motivation wasn't there. Lucas had been the one to introduce Katherine and I when we were in High School. She later went on to become one of the most popular singers in all of the Northwest. I became a globetrotting reporter and a novelist. We had recently reunited at our ten year reunion and things were going great for the past year. Six months ago, she received a call from one of her old friends in the concert promotion field. They were putting on a big concert in Santa Fe and would she be interested in working with them. I never knew in what function she would be working, she never told me. I had to go on an assignment in England to cover the President meeting the Prime Minister for a summit in London. When I came back she was gone. No note or way to get in touch with her. 

After three months I had gotten a letter in the mail from her. The post mark was from Albuquerque. A very brief letter saying that she was all right and that things were going just great for her and that she would be in touch. I left it alone at that. Not wanting to push the issue and wanted to move on from a situation that was not gonna be able to be fixed. 

So I sat at the desk at my home office, pondering what I was going to do next. I had no assignments lined up from my editor. I didn't have a function to go to and all my friends were busy with work. That was motivation enough for me to start my next book. I went online and did some searches on random topics. That was where I found my next book. 

A 5 star resort hotel in McCall, Idaho.

I was born in McCall and had an extensive love hate relationship with the place. My parents moved away from there when I was 10 and we had continued going there every summer up until I went to college. I never understood why. This, I believe was where I had picked up my love of travel but hatred for moving to new places. 

“Look,” I said. “It's for six months and I'm just working on the new book. I will be back here in no time. I took a leave of absence from the paper and it's exactly what I truly need. I will be fine.”

Lucas started shaking his head. “OK, if you truly believe that, I support you. I think its foolish as all hell, but go for it.”

With those words of encouragement, I packed up my apartment and made my way to McCall, courtesy of I-84. Twelve hours of long highways and bad country music helped me prepare for my new adventure and possibly shape what my book was gonna be about. 

Or so I had thought!

I made it to McCall on a Thursday afternoon. The town was just as I remembered it. Scenic mountain community with a wide lake encompassing a majority of the town. In downtown, there were remnants of the old McCall and stores that were pushing the town to something that it just wasn't ready for. The 21st Century. 

I couldn't help but chuckle at what I had seen. I continued on my way towards my new place of employment. I drove down Lake Street, which was appropriate because Payette Lake was right on the other side of my pickup. I looked for where I was supposed to go, and I found it with one look of the sign on the right hand side of the road.

The Elkhorn Resort.

Founded in 1954, The Elkhorn was Central Idaho's answer to Sun Valley and Northern Idaho's pristine vacation spots. The hotel had 110 working rooms, with a complete spa and full exercise gym. The Elkhorn had a movie theater, two fine dining establishments that were rated in the New York Times as Idaho's best kept secrets. The Elkhorn also had a club for the more prominent members of the state, The Hunters Reserve. 

The Hunters Reserve was a club and Golf Course community where prominent members of the state such as celebrities, politicians and businessmen and women went for a getaway. One million dollars could buy a life time membership which included a private residence, 24 hour room service and unlimited access to the golf course, fine dining and entertainment. 

The Hotel and Club were run by two brothers, Jim and Doug Mallory. Jim purchased the hotel from real estate developer David Cartwright. Jim was perceived to be the unseen owner, the money man if you will. He was in his 60's, but publicly was trying be seen as robust as a 30 year old man. Physically, he was in great shape. Broad shouldered, wide chested with a silver crew cut, he was described by some journalists as “Harrison Ford lookalike with Donald Trump's personality”. I never knew if that was a good thing or not. Doug was more the straight laced family man. At over 6 ft 4 in tall, he had black hair that was receding, a wide man that was not fat but weight that was well distributed around his body. Doug was known as the public face of the hotel and company that ran it as well. 

The hotel had a great reputation and I wanted to see for myself why. 

I walked into the hotel lobby. It had quite the western mountain feel. There was a giant elk head mounted on the wall and a large fireplace. A giant screen with the Elkhorn logo was in the middle of the lobby almost dividing where the dining room and lobby area with couches  and chairs. With mountain hotels the thing you notice is how dominant the wood is. And it was dominant. Wood floors, stairways, office space, doors and etc. It was quite impressive. I stood in the lobby for a moment before I heard a voice call out my name.

“You must be Nick Brennan,”

It was a female voice. When I turned around, I saw a woman dressed in a business suit. She was in her early 40's, short with curly brown hair, blue eyes and a smile that would have made me believe her age was 25. 

“That's me. Or my parents owe me an apology.” I said.

The woman laughed. “My name is Lucy Collier. I'm the Media Relations Coordinator for the Elkhorn. I am a big fan of yours. I have all your books and read your column. Your last book was your best. Perhaps you could sign my books? I'll have to bring them in. Come with me please.”

Before I could get a word in edge wise, I followed to a door that said “Executive Suites” and we went in. It was a narrow hall way with four offices, two on each side. I went in to one with her and sat down across from her desk. She held up some papers, moved them to the other side of her and looked at me.

“I have to be honest. I was rather surprised when I saw your resume come across my desk. Your one of the most famous novelists and reporters across the country. Why did you apply here at the Elkhorn?” Lucy asked.

It was something I wanted to know myself. We all make hasty and rather rash decisions in our lives. I applied to a hotel in a town I had no real reason to come back to. But, in fairness to Lucy Collier, I owed her an answer.

“To tell you the truth Mrs. Collier, I don't know why I applied to the Elkhorn.” I said. “I have a great career and the life I have always sought out for myself. What the hell am I doing here? If I had to think about it, I guess it is because I wanna do something. Be apart of something. Contribute, not just work for myself or be by myself. I read the Elkhorn's story and remembered as a kid hearing stories of how my mother and father worked here and how other relatives of mine worked here. I guess it a nutshell, I've never been a part of a team. I wanna be.”

Lucy Collier looked at me, her eyes were wide open and alert. I believe this was the first time she heard someone give that long of an answer to a very simple question. But as a writer, I looked for motivation and sometimes motivation was a long winded answer. She grabbed a pen and wrote some notes down. She looked back up at me.

“Well that sums up the interview. Where do you think you would like to work at?”

We ultimately settled for the Guest Services department. The job consisted of holding the door, loading and unloading cars and answering questions that may arise from guests about the hotel. I walked with Lucy over to the Guest Services manager office. A young man, about my age with shaggy hair and a full beard looked up at the both of us. 

“Nick Brennan, meet David Harper. David is the manager of Guest Services. A great guy, you two will get a long great. David, this is your new man. I will let you boys talk. Nick if you need anything let me know.” Lucy said. 

With that, Lucy Collier walked out and left us alone. David was unique. The only manager that I had ever met that drove a Subaru and managed a department while listening to My Morning Jacket and Ray LaMontague. He spun his chair around and grabbed a book. He handed it to me.

“Before we talk or do anything else,” David said. “Could you make this out to David and Kelly?”

It was a copy of my first book. A collection of stories from places I had covered. I smiled and grabbed a pen from my coat pocket and made the inscription as requested. Handing the book back to David, he had a little bit of a grin. He sat the book on his desk and made his attention directly towards me. 

“One of the things about the Elkhorn is that we get a lot of famous people here,” David said. “Hell, we get politicians here as well. Some you have covered. We have a lot of fun on our team. What is unique about us is we try the best to go above what people perceive valets to do. We are the best of the best and make quite the difference for a lot of people.”

“I like that,” I said. “I believe that from all the places I have been and I have seen from people, I know how to make that difference. I really appreciate the chance.”

“When you write your next book, Can you make me a character?” David asked.

I chuckled at that. “Fair enough, I can do that.” I said.

“Excellent,” David said. 

After that, we went through two hours of paperwork, company policies and I got the key to my new apartment that the company provided. I shook David's hand and went to my new apartment. It was a basic sparse apartment with kitchen and bedroom with a shower and bathroom. I spent the next hour moving into my new home. After unpacking my things. I sat on the couch and closed my eyes. I heard a knock at the door. I walked over towards it and opened it. 

A big man with a striking resemblance to the actor John Goodman stuck out his hand. He had curly brown hair with a welcoming smile. I reached for his hand and shook it.

“How the hell are you?” The big man asked.

“Doing great,” I said.

“I'm Karl Chandler,” The big man said. 

“Nick Brennan,” I said.

“I'm a big fan, Liked the book where you wrote about the bar fight where you punched a former Senator in the nose and broke it. That was pretty goddamned funny.” Karl Chandler said.

“Thanks,” I said. “It was a funny moment at the time. What's going on?”

“I'm with Hotel Security. I also know a lot about the hotel, the people. In front of and behind the camera, if you will. Anything you wanna know, just ask.” Karl said.

“Appreciate it very much.” I said.

“No worries. Can I ask you a question?” Karl said.

I nodded my head yes. Karl reached into his back packet and pulled a copy of one of my books. It looked pretty well read. Instinctively, I reached for a pen and started to open it so I could autograph it. But Karl grabbed it back from me.

“What the hell, man?” Karl said.

My eyes widened at that. “I thought you wanted me to autograph your book?” I said.

“No,” Karl said. “Jesus, you asshole! I wanted to know what a word meant in one of the stories.” 

“Oh, oh, OK.” I said. Starting to stammer and feel foolish. 

Karl laughed. “Nah man, I just wanted to tease you a little bit. Yes I want an autograph.”

I laughed a little, looking at him nervously I signed his book. Handing it back to him, he looked at the page curiously.

“Why did you put Be Cool?” Karl asked.

“It was simple and it's how I sign my books,” I said. “It's also a motto of mine. Keep it simple. Be Cool.

“Oh OK, I like it.” Karl said. 

With that he left and I was alone in my apartment wondering just what in the hell I had gotten myself into.


II

I had settled into a new routine after three months. I worked on the book during the day and at night I worked my job. It was a real great experience, no deadlines and pressure to turn in copy for the days newspaper. I simply unloaded cars and assisted hotel guests. I made some great friends and nobody really brought up the fact that I was a reporter who was writing a book. They saw me as Nick from Seattle and that I used to live in McCall. Occasionally I would run into people who knew me as a child or knew my parents and told me stories about them. I would get a kick out of those. I was just a normal guy, and loved every damn minute of it.

I was working that Tuesday afternoon with three colleagues of mine. Cole, Travis and Ellen. Cole and Travis were young guys at 21 years old, Cole was tall with black hair and a lanky frame. Travis was medium height and build with brown crew cut and a light shadow of facial stubble on his face. Ellen was a beautiful woman, with brown hair and hazel eyes. She was an active woman in an active profession. It was fun when we all were on shift together cause we could usually get into some mischief. It almost reminded me of the relationship I had with the guys back in Washington.

Travis and I were at the front door when Ellen came up to us. Ellen was the supervisor and usually came up with our assignments for the night. Travis would normally be at the podium arranging for valet services, Cole was the shuttle driver and I would take care of the loading or unloading of the cars that arrived. We both assumed that nothing would change. 

Something did for sure.

“Travis, your gonna work on the cars tonight. Cole is on Shuttle duty and Nick is gonna work on the door front. I have to do paperwork for tomorrow night's event. Senator Rich is gonna be here and hosting a conference in the Conference Room. We are gonna call in every one cause there just may be over 200 people for the conference alone.  It's gonna be hell but we should be fine. Any questions?”

Travis and I shook our heads and with that Ellen left. We were left on the front steps enjoying a couple of minutes of conversation. Travis was a young guy, three things were the most important to him. Sex, Basketball, and Cars. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

“Hey Nick, when are you gonna sell your truck?” Travis asked. 

“Probably never,” I said. “Why? Don't tell me your switching to the dark side and wanting a Chevy Silverado?”

“Nah fuck that.” Travis said. “Allie wants a new vehicle. A truck I guess. I don't wanna go to Boise and listen to her ask dumb questions about cars.”

“What kind of questions?” I asked.

“Real fucking stupid questions. Shit like Does it go really fast? Or my personal favorite, Can I get it in pink? Dude I can't handle that shit.” Travis said.

I laughed. “Why are you with her anyway?” I asked. “I thought you were gonna leave her anyway?”

“No way, bro.” Travis said. “Who else in McCall has an ass like her?”

“Good point,” I said.

We continued talking for another minute when a voice came over my headset. It was the front desk manager Steve. Informing us that a guest was on her way and asking for me specifically. I acknowledged the message and looked at Travis.

“Some guest is asking for me? Who did I piss off?” I asked.

“It was probably that old woman from Tulsa or some shit hole like that. When you made that comment about Trailer Parks and Oklahoma.” Travis said.

“Damn, at least she didn't hear my singing that song OKLAHOMA.” I said.

We both shuddered at that thought. We took our positions and waited for our first arrival of the day.  After 15 minutes a black Chevy Suburban arrived. Four people got out of the car. Three men and one woman. The three men were dressed in torn t-shirts and jeans, shaggy hair and facial hair down to their sternums. The woman I could only see from the back side but she had a leather jacket with blue jeans and suede knee high boots. She had black hair which went down past her shoulders. I stared at her for a moment. Something about her was familiar. A light bulb went off in my head. I was hoping like hell I was wrong about who this woman might be. 

I was not wrong.

The woman with these three guys was none other than Katherine Taylor. 

III

“Good afternoon and welcome to The Elkhorn Resort. May we help with your car and luggage?” Cole said.

I was glad he made the save. I was starting to return to normal, or rather as normal as one could be. I walked over to the trunk and opened the door and started for the luggage. I heard the guys talk to Cole and he got the information. Travis came over to help with the luggage. There were 4 guitar cases, a heavy amplifier and two speakers with suitcases and duffel bags. I turned to catch a glimpse of Katherine smiling at me and walking in with the three guys came with. I suddenly felt the urge to start a huge brawl. 

“Dude what the fuck was that about?” Travis asked. “You saw a ghost, or what?”

“Sorry pal,” I said. “I saw the last person I ever wanted to see. Let's get all this shit unloaded. You can help me. We can split the tips so we can get drunk tonight.”

“Deal,” Travis said.

Cole walked over towards us. He was laughing. We looked at him, wondering if the laughter was directed at us.

“Dude, you know who that woman was?” Cole asked.

I knew the answer but I didn't want to tell Cole or Travis that I knew that the biggest singer on the West Coast was here in McCall. Travis looked rather dumbfounded.

“Some guest with a nice ass and a big rack?” Travis asked.

“Dude, that was Katherine Taylor. The singer. She's fucking hot and awesome.” Cole said.

“Nah man, I listen to Linkin Park and Daughtry. I don't know who she is.” Travis said. 

“She's pretty damn good,” I said.

20 minutes later Travis and I were up at the two rooms the group were gonna be staying in. We were bringing in the luggage to the rooms, Travis worked in one room and I worked the other. When we were done Travis and I started to walk back down towards the lobby. I heard Katherine's voice call my name. I turned to Travis and told him that I would be right there. Travis nodded his head and left me there with her. 

“Yes, How may I be of assistance?” I asked.

“Cut the act, will you?” Katherine said. “What are you doing here?”

“I'll let you in on a little secret,” I said. “I am working here.”

“Why?” Katherine asked.

“Not that it is any concern of yours, but I am here researching my new book.” I said. It was rather angrily that I had said that. Emotions were coming in when they shouldn't be.

“What time are you off?” Katherine asked. 

“6:00 pm” I said.

“Let's meet for dinner,” Katherine said.

“OK,” I said.

With that I left and walked back down to the lobby. When I got to the front door Ellen was there waiting for me.

“Cole told me you had an awkward interaction with a guest,” Ellen said. “What happened?”

Without going into a lot of details, I told her how I knew Katherine Taylor and how seeing her after a few months kind of threw me for a loop. 

“I understand,” Ellen said. “My ex husband came by after I hadn't seen him in almost a year. When I did see him, I threw a rock at him and punched his new girlfriend in the stomach.”

“Why punch her?” I asked.

“She was a bad tipper,” Ellen said.

“The best reason for a punch in the gut.” I said

“You should take the rest of the day off, It's gonna be dead and the conference has been postponed. We got this, just go take it easy.”

I didn't want to argue so I did like I was told. I clocked out and went home to relax. On the walk back my body had this feeling of uneasiness about it. When I left Washington, I had this notion in my mind that I left everything that I considered a distraction so all I could do is focus on my book. The last thing I wanted to happen was to run into anyone I knew, much less my ex girlfriend.

But yet here she is, in McCall Idaho of all the places!!!

One of the things I have never believed in strict coincidences, or that things were meant to be as some of the more romantic members of our culture want to tell us. I think that is was just an accident that she showed up in McCall, with the group that she had been working with. Or they were something else. I didn't want to know, but once that thought came into my mind I couldn't help but at least entertain the possibilities of what may or may not be the situation.

Instead of working on this thesis, I walked straight over to the fridge and pulled a bottle of Pepsi out and sat down in my chair. As I leaned back and attempted to close my eyes, I heard a loud banging on the door. My eyes opened rather quickly and I jumped up from my chair. I ran over to the front door, leaned my ear on the door and waited for the door knocking to occur again. Sure enough I was not disappointed. 

“HEY BRENNAN!!!!!!!!!!! ARE YOU HOME?????”

I shook my head. It was Karl Chandler. I opened the door and saw him standing there, wearing a suit jacket and tie with khaki shorts and sandals. I was shaking my head while laughing.

“What's with the outfit, Karl?” I asked.

“I'm gonna meet some women out at Down Home Pizza. Your gonna be my right hand man. It's gonna be epic.” Karl said.

I smiled. “I'm glad you determined what I am gonna do tonight. Let me get my jacket.” I said. 

I walked to the closet and grabbed my leather jacket and my house keys and followed Karl to his car. We got into his 2007 Toyota Four Runner and took off. Watching him drive while listening to loud music was a good distraction from my current situation. What was even funnier was trying to listen to him talk over the loud song, without once even thinking of turning the music down. Some people get into a particular kind of zone, they often don't seem to realize that very fact. Karl was one of those people. In many ways, Karl reminded me a lot of Chris Messner. 

When we reached Down Home Pizza, Karl parked the car and turned to look at me. He had a deathly serious look.

“Look, We are here for one reason and one reason only,” Karl said. 

“That would be, what?” I asked.

“To bring someone back home and have our way with them. Stupid.” Karl said.

“Well when you put it that way.” I said.

Both of us walked into the building. The best way to describe this place was if Subway and the bar from the TV show Cheers had a baby, It would be Down Home Pizza. The bar was very sparse. A few tables and chairs, a counter with a register and some pamphlets promoting local events around town. Karl and I found a table close to the front door and sat down at it.

“Nice place to find some ladies at,” I said.

Karl had a determined look on his face. “Shut up,” Karl said. “They will be here. It's early. That's all, It is just early.”

“Fair enough,” I said.

I watched Karl move his eyes all over the room. It was giving me the impression that he was waiting for someone in particular. My role in all of this was either a wing-man type of role, or a distraction. Karl's nervousness was starting to make me a little worried, so I decided to take advantage of the situation and ask some questions of my own.

“What is going on?” I asked.

“Why did you become a writer?” Karl asked.

I was a little stunned by the question. “What do you mean?” I asked.

Karl leaned in a little closer. “I mean, Why did you become a writer? You have traveled the world. You've wrote 5 bestselling books and have a column in a lot of newspapers. How did you do it? I want that. I wanna know how I can become you.” Karl said.

My eyes widened a considerable bit. This was not how I expected a conversation with Karl to be about how to become a writer like myself. Writers give all kinds of answers, but basically I always told the few people who listened to me that you are either a writer or your not. You can't just crank out a book, but start with stories. Just for yourself, not for publication. That is kind of a test to see if you can do it or not.

“I just read a book when I was 12 years old and decided that I wanted to do that. Journalism wasn't what I really wanted to do, but it did help me with what I wanted to do. I found an angle and I went with it. Life is nothing more than a con game. You just have to find the right mark and play the angle.” I said.

Karl shook his head. “What the fuck kind of an answer is that?” Karl said. “That is how you became successful. Playing an angle? That's a bullshit answer. The hell are you hiding from? Why don't you just tell me the truth? Why are you really here? What is going on, Nick?” Karl said.

My head was shaking. This guy could sure dish out a rant. I took a deep breath and dug back in. 

“We really aren't here to meet girls.” I said. “Why are we here?”

“I just wanna know more about you,” Karl said.

“So you asked me out on a date?” I asked.

“No, I like your books and am a fan. Who gets to honestly say that they get to meet someone they admire? I just wanna learn more about the craft. Tell me.” Karl said.

Before I had to give a talk about the craft of writing, two pretty women walked over towards the table. They both had to be in their 30's, both wearing athletic clothes. One was a brunette with her hair down, wearing aviator style sunglasses. The other one was a blonde with her hair in a ponytail and a Nike headband on her forehead. The blonde was lot more curvier than the brunette, who had the leggy model physique going on. 

“Hello,” I said.

The blonde smiled at us. The brunette reached into her purse and pulled something out of her purse. It was a paperback book. She took a look at it and back at us. 

“Holy shit,” She said. “It's you.”

“Nope,” I said. “He's taller, I'm better looking.” 

They both started to laugh. Karl and I joined in with the laughter. I instinctively reached for my pen, but realized that I didn't have it. I looked at the ladies, and gave them my best dumbfounded look.

“I am sorry,” I said. “I don't have a pen.” 

“I have a pen,” Karl said. He pulled a ballpoint from his pocket and proceeded to hand it to me. The blonde took notice of Karl and walked over towards him. His eyes never left her as he was trying to hand me the pen. I smiled and autographed the book. I heard Karl's chair move back and he and the blonde walked to another part of the restaurant to talk and get better acquainted. The brunette, who told me her name is Emily thanked me for the autograph and asked me a question about one of the stories I wrote. I politely answered her and she seemed satisfied enough to walk out of the restaurant. I sat in my chair and watched Karl talk to the blonde. They both were enjoying the conversation. Watching them gave me enough time to think about the situation with Katherine.

Maybe I did run away to Idaho to get away from all of my problems. Why try to fix something that isn't broken? But then, is what I left behind in Washington really broken? My job was at the best it has ever been. I have a core group of friends that mean the world to me. Was it that I went to Idaho cause Katherine was gone? But she showed up in Idaho. Should I leave Idaho now? No, that didn't make any sense. However, nothing really seemed to make any sense as of late. 

As I sat there, lost in thought, Karl walked back to the table. Grinning as wide as possible, he had a piece of paper in his hand that had what I assumed to be a phone number. He sat back down and handed me the paper.

“Dude, what did I tell you?” Karl said.

“That is why I became a writer.” I said. 

We sat there for about 20 minutes lost in conversation. He never resumed asking about how to be a writer. I think that by talking to the cute blonde, he figured out a way to become a writer. It was fun focusing on someone else other than me or my problems. In a way, it totally reminded me of spending time with my pals back in Washington. Karl noticed my smile and paused his own thought.

“Why are you smiling?” Karl asked.

“Cause this is gonna be a scene in the new book,” I said.

“Really?” Karl asked.

“For sure,” I said. “I write cause I wanna see life up front. I've traveled the world, that is true. I've wrote some books. But I would in a heartbeat be here in this moment than some hellhole country or some stupid convention or conference talking to people who are boring as hell. Karl, this is honestly the most fun I have had in a long time. If you wanna be a writer, then I suggest to keep a pen and notebook on you at all times. Look for the moments. You know what they are.”

Karl looked at me. He seemed to be letting the words I just said sink into his head. I reviewed the words myself and realized that in this particular moment, what I had just said was the first honest thought I had and the first time in a long time that I didn't have a filter or an editor or someone telling me how to word an answer. That I was free of stress and pressure.

We sat there for a while as our pizza came to the table. Karl and I were just riffing on everything that we could think of. Fate has a funny way of putting things in perspective. Here I was trying to get away from the things I had thought were not for me. A bad relationship, strain from work and life, and in one afternoon it all changed. I was having a great time.

After we finished our meal, we walked back to Karl's Four Runner. When we got in I couldn't help but not smile. It made me think of a teacher in High School who always said during her class, “Nothing is wrong with simple.” Right there in that parking lot, I couldn't help but agree with her. 

IV

I made it back to my apartment, with two hours to kill before I had to go back to the Hotel to meet Katherine. I sat down in my chair with Frank Sinatra playing in the kitchen. This was something that I was completely torn about. A part of me wanted to chat with her and get some answers but, at the same time I wanted to be left alone and have no reminder of the past. What I had going here was something that I was in desperate need of. Not only did I have place to research my book and work too, but there were no distractions from the likes of my friends, colleagues and such. This was all going great. 

Then why was I feeling torn about what was going to happen in a couple of hours?

I remembered a story I heard about a man who was anxious to get an interview for a job over with. His nerves were heavy and he couldn't concentrate on what he had to do. So he did what any person would do in a situation like that. 

He drank an entire bottle of Jim Beam Whiskey. When he went for the interview, people said that he looked rather calm instead of hammered drunk. So he goes in and does the interview, the boss comes out and tells the secretary that he was the best interview he ever conducted. The guy later went home to puke his guts out and swore off drinking. 

Now, I didn't want to drink myself like that, much less drink at all. Nothing good would come from that. But I needed something to relax. So I did what anyone with time to kill would do in a situation like this. I went to take a shower. I walked into the bathroom and jumped in the shower and let the water soak me. For about 45 minutes I stood with scalding hot water pouring on my back. Standing still with the water pounding in a steamy shower was the perfect time to plan my night with Katherine. 

The one thing that was obvious to me was that I didn't want to get back together with her. I was tired of her and her issues. When you have a person with a career that involves traveling for an extended amount of time, you never really lose the urge to pack up a suitcase to go on next adventure. I had the feelings myself numerous times, but I did the best that I could to contain those feelings, but she had the desire. The worst part was that I didn't know or I missed the sign. Not normally a jealous person, the feelings of what might be happening with her and those guys was something that was the last thing I wanted to know. After debating about what to do, got cleaned up and decided to head to the hotel. I walked down the road from the apartment to the hotel, which was a distance of 500 feet. I saw people walking to and from the hotel around me, the parking lot was empty and the hotel was quiet. 

Walking into the lobby, I saw Katherine kissing one of the guys she was staying with. Standing right there, the only thing I could do was just shake my head and walk out of the hotel. As I walked back to the valet area I saw Cole look at me and start to walk over towards me. I stood right there and waited for him to meet me.

“Hey man,” Cole said.

“Buddy, how's it going tonight?” I said.

Cole shook his head. “It's dead dude. Nothing happening at all. Ellen went home and its just me waiting on one shuttle. That is not for another hour. How about you?”

I smiled. “I was going into drink, but I have to clean up at home. You want me to come in and finish for you?” I said.

Cole shook his head. “Nah man, I'm almost out of here. You working tomorrow?” Cole said.

Feeling my cell phone ring, I took it out of my pocket and looked. Katherine was calling me. I put it back in my pocket. Cole looked at me with his head tilted.

“Who was that?” Cole asked.

“Wrong number,” I said. “No idea.”


© Copyright 2017 Robert Logan. All rights reserved.

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