Monday, March 25, 2013

Nelson

Seen waiting for the Red Line to 95th at about 8 a.m.

“Fee-fi-fo-fum,” said the girl. She had dirty hair and pale, round cheeks. She wore a faded green jacket. Her only striking feature was the tar-black eyeliner she had chalked around her lids, which made her green irises glow like those strange fish you only find in the deepest recesses of the ocean.

“Excuse me?”

The girl reached up and grabbed the knot of Nelson’s tie. “Fee-fi-fo-fum, I see the clothes of a businessman.” She announced this scornfully; the words were venom dripping from her teeth. Although Nelson towered over her, she made him feel small.

“What the hell? Get off me!”

She leaned closer. Her breath smelled like germs and cigarettes. “Broad-shouldered wool coat. Blue-and-white-striped dress shirt—plain enough to be office appropriate, but with enough of a pattern to feed your delusions of personality. Rich leather briefcase and shoes. You, sir, smack of Wall Street.”

“But I’ve never even been to New York.”

Her hands moved to his lapels. “Then you’re even worse than I thought. You’re a failed businessman. The system has chewed you up and spit you back out, and you still want to be a part of it. You’re a coward, a phony.”

“I’m a phony?” Nelson considered this for a few seconds. “Have you ever read The Catcher in the Rye?”

The girl took a step back. “No.”

“You should. Holden, the main character, he always calls everyone phonies. I think maybe you’re a lot like Holden. I may be nothing but a phony businessman, but you’re nothing but a Holden Caulfield.”

That evening the girl checked The Catcher in the Rye out from the library. Nelson swapped his khakis for a pair of nice jeans.

Hm...I'm not sure I like where this story went. Oh well. Sometimes there's only so much you can do when you write a story in 15 minutes on the train. This weekend was full of writing, so that was nice. Looking forward to workshopping at DWChitown tomorrow.

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