Athens: Gil and Jade Chapter 1.

Gil

Five years. It’s been five years that she’s been gone but it seems like my whole life I’ve been without her. I stir the milk into my coffee and consciously ignore the sugar. I wasn’t getting any younger and every calorie counted. Staring out my kitchen window I don’t see the noon day sun shining on the blue hydrangea bush blossoms. Normally they bring me peace. But I have to see them first.

Five years to the day. What have I done in five years to show her that I loved her? I take the sugar and pour it into my coffee and stir. Better. Giving in is better than living with the pain sometimes. I rub my face trying to get myself more alert and out of this funk I’m in. There’s nothing I can do about what’s happened. I’ll just work a little and then go to Hugh’s for dinner tonight. Smile and laugh and make him and Maggie happy that they tried to help me one more time. One more year.

The pain in my chest is too familiar. It feels like a tire iron shoved through my sternum then someone squeezes my heart trying to stop it from beating. I have to get out of here. There is no way I can work today. No words will come to me worth reading.

I dump the coffee in the sink and rinse the cup out. I think it’s best for everyone if I went for a ride on the bike for a few miles and burn off some of this gloom. Maybe fresh air and sunshine will help. Probably not, not with my attitude at the moment, but it will help my health. Hiding inside all day writing isn’t the best thing for one’s blood pressure and physique. Not that I have to worry much about that. I rarely eat out and I love to cook my own meals so I know what I’m eating. I guess you could say I eat clean.

Some might call it my being antisocial. I’m not antisocial, I just don’t like being around people. I do get out at times and people watch, I have to. Part of being a good writer is the ability to write how people speak and describe reality in a way that is believable. I could do that in my imagination but I don’t want to become a complete hermit. I’m reclusive enough as it is. I order everything I can online rather than go to a store. My only indulgences are farmers’ markets, and organic food shopping. And no, I’m not a vegan. I’m okay with it having had a face at some point, I just don’t want to see it when it gets to me. I live in the South and like barbeque but I don’t want to see the whole hog on the fire. I did that once and was reading Lord of the Flies at the same time and had nightmares for weeks.

That’s not to say I don’t like vegan food. Most of what I eat would be called vegan. I just don’t make the claim of being one. I know as soon as I do I’ll want to go to McDonald’s and order six number fours with extra onion. And I’m all for everyone eating how they like. Just leave the rest of us alone to eat how we like. Once your food becomes your religion it’s time to become an atheist.

I change into my bike shorts and shirt and hit the garage door opener with my elbow as I put my helmet on. Making sure I have my keys in my pack I pull the door shut. Then I’m off.

20 miles of pedaling to go and I’ll be, at the least, tired enough for a nap and an escape from the memory of this day for an hour or two before my performance at Hugh’s tonight.

Jade

Oh bother, why did I agree to dinner tonight? Because you like Maggie and Hugh and they always have nice food. I think all of this in my head. If I spoke out loud I would begin to worry. I would get a cat so I at least am talking to something, but I can’t be bothered with the hassle of taking care of anything. I like my freedom. I want to be able to get up and go if I want to, not have to find a cat-sitter or a kennel or whatever it is for cats to stay.

I keep looking through the contract I brought home from work. If not for that pointless meeting yesterday where Thomas kept spouting on and on to hear himself speak I could have finished this then. My home time is my peace time. I like my peace. I want to listen to my classical music or maybe some jazz, read a book, or meditate. Not read through a contract for a toilet tissue company. But it is a job and one I am happy to have. It allows me to live in a nice apartment and drive around in a nice car.

An apartment my father thinks is a waste of money when I could invest in a house for resale later. He likes the car, especially when I let him borrow it. He doesn’t know I see him run his fingers through his hair and check his appearance in the mirrors every time he gets in it. I can just see him pulling up to a light and young girls in the next car smiling and him giving them his serious look with a raised eye brow trying to be all mature and sexy.

I smile at the image and drift from the contract. I need to go see the parents soon.

I jump when the phone rings.

“Hello.”

“Jade, lovely one, how are you doing?” Maggie’s smoky voice comes through the phone.

“Just reading through a contract I didn’t get finished at work.” I slap the paper on my desk.

“Thomas was a bore, wasn’t he? I barely got my work done before I left yesterday. At least I think I did everything. Everything important anyway.” She laughed. You couldn’t help but smile when Maggie laughed. It was in part due to her appearance. At six feet tall and a dark ebony skin tone she looked like a super model. When she laughed she opened her mouth wide and unashamedly let go with all her decibels.

“And I’m sure if you didn’t no one will say anything once you flash them a smile. I’m not so lucky.”

“That’s because you don’t work it. You’re a gorgeous little thing. So, what if I’m a foot taller than you, girl? You can rock it if you wanted to. You should try it tonight. See if you can scare Hugh straight.”

I laughed at that. Hugh is her roommate and the most gay man I have ever met. That’s not to say he was effeminate so much, although there were slight edges of it at times, but he didn’t notice women at all. His eyes and attention were 100% on men. It didn’t bother Maggie any. She only had eyes for women. So, it actually made me feel good what she said about me. She was honest and wouldn’t say something just to be nice. She would only say it if she meant it or say nothing at all.

“Thank you, but I don’t think I know how to ‘rock it’.”

“Do you have a little black dress?”

“Yes.”

“Three inch heels?”

“Yes.”

“Then you can rock it. Wear that tonight and wear some red lipstick. You never know what might happen.”

“Okay, I’ll do it but I don’t think Hugh will change.” Not that I really want Hugh to change. He is handsome but just not my type. I like my men tall and brawny. That just isn’t Hugh.

“Dinner’s at 7:30 so don’t be late.”

“I won’t.”

“Bye, lovely one.”

“Bye, Maggie.”

I feel myself smiling. Then I notice the contract in front of me and the smile vanishes. Expelling a large breath of air, I plunge back in and start to work. I wish I could be a writer and work anytime I wanted to. I always wanted to write an erotic novel. But the embarrassment of people finding out keeps it from becoming a reality. But maybe someday.

Gil

“What are we having, Hugh?” I lean against the island in his spacious kitchen.

Hugh smiles and goes to one of his two ovens and with a flourish opens it. Inside sits a beautiful golden brown chicken.

“That smells amazing. We should open a restaurant.”

Hugh takes oven mitts and removes the chicken from the oven while I close the door behind him. “Then we would hate cooking. We’re obstinate like that, Gil.”

“True. I liked to paint until Mom and Dad bought me a paint set and easel. I liked the walls better.”

Hugh laughs. “I don’t think they minded so much except when you graduated to people drawing and you were anatomically correct. Mom almost died when the pastor’s wife came in and saw the family portrait you had done of all of us in the dining room.”

“Until then I had kept it to my room, but I needed a big canvas for all of us. Two parents four boys and two girls.”

“Don’t forget the dog. He was a boy too.”

“Oh, God. I forgot that part. That’s what they get for having a bulldog with shorthair. Those big  ones hanging in back like that, I just had to paint Sid with all his belongings.”

“Dad loved it.”

“Yeah, he took a picture and put it in his office at home. Then he had to paint the whole dining room a new color because Mom decided he needed punishment for encouraging me.”

Hugh takes some asparagus on a pan, drizzles it with olive oil and some salt and puts it in the oven.

“Anything I can help with?” I look around at the spotless counters. Hugh cleans as he cooks, just as I do. Mom had always liked to be able to sit down to eat with as little clean up afterwards as possible.

“You can set the table. Everything is in there already just put it all where it goes.”

The dining room of Hugh and Maggie’s apartment is right next to the kitchen in an open floor plan. I take the plates and begin putting them around the table, and I notice there are four plates, not the three I am expecting. Maybe Hugh had grabbed one too many.

As I set the napkins and silver at each plate I notice there are still four of everything. I turn and stare at Hugh. “Hugh, tell me the fourth person is gay.”

“Don’t I wish. Maggie is getting sex-grumpy and really needs to find someone soon.”

“Hugh.”

“What?”

“Tell me this is not a fix up.”

“Not exactly a fix up.”

“What does that mean?”

“You need a new contract lawyer since you fired Felix for scamming you on those book contracts. Maggie has a colleague that is a contract lawyer. So, if that’s a fix up, then I’m guilty.”

“Just a contract lawyer?”

“Yes.”

“No strings attached.”

“Would I set you up with a lawyer? And I honestly thought tonight would be a good time to help you in your business and as a distraction. I don’t really know any contract lawyers that well. My own practice is more criminal and corporate. Sometimes at the same time.” He smiles.

I can’t help but smile at that. Some of his client stories had been the basis for a book or two of mine with some heavy fudging. But the catalyst was there. He never told me names but gave me interesting facts that he knew I could run with in my writing. Whenever one of those books did well I always made sure to give Hugh a present. Usually a trip or a cruise. A living book escape. Where I do it with the written word, a cruise does it with buffets and margaritas.

Jade

I hope they like this wine. They’ve liked everything else I’ve brought before. Too bad I can’t drink it. Alcohol intolerance is a . . . pain. It’s literally a pain. One glass and ow. I smooth down the front of my dress. I checked my lipstick in the elevator and none had found its way to my teeth.

I push the doorbell and wait. I hear Maggie coming. She always wears heels, which make her at least 6’3” and her confidant strides on their hardwood floors make for a nice warning.

The door opens with verve and there she is, all her goddess like glory. “Lovely, about time you got here. Don’t you know being on time is so not cool? Come early so we can talk and stare at men doing women’s work.” I look at her with surprise at that statement and then she throws her head back and laughs. I know the look on my face is priceless. She knows I am a feminist through and through.

I smile and hold out the bottle of wine.

“My entrance fee.”

“Enter, child, enter.”

My heels click on the floors as I try to look up at Maggie towering above me. And yes, she played basketball while in school and volleyball at university.

I hear voices from the kitchen area. Who else is here? Maggie had not mentioned any other guests coming.

“I swear to you Maggie’s colleague is exactly perfect for you.” Hugh’s voice comes through the air.

“I hope so. I’ve asked around but so far, I haven’t really had a good vibe yet. I’m almost ready to start looking in the phonebook.” I don’t know that voice. It’s deep and has more of a Southern drawl than Hugh’s.

“Maggie will fix you up. This was her idea. And you know she knows what she’s doing.”

“Yeah.”

I walk into the kitchen and there stands a tall man with dark hair and blue eyes leaning against the island. And he’s brawny.

I stop walking and feel Maggie behind me but can’t move. I have been set up. He looks past Hugh and sees me and his mouth falls open. Then it snaps shut and he does not look happy.

New around here

Here’s my first blog writing on The Obscure Dreamer site.
Much Respect
Ronovan

Extra! Extra! Rose & Ghun Bust Hugh Roberts For Letter Hoarding!

For the beginning of this adventure you may want to read

When Ronovan Met Miss Maple (On Skype) Part 1 – A Response to Ronovan at Ronovan Writes

From Hugh Roberts of Hugh’s Views & News and hear his side of the story and why I called in Rose & Ghun.



 

Credit: Freefoto.com

 

Strange things happen in strange places. And when Hugh Roberts is involved they just turn down right weird. Being Southern I am a laid back kind of person that drifts along life as if tubing down the Chattahooche River through Georgia. Sure there may be some white water along the way, such as was used in the 1996 Olympics, but you get through it and end up fine.

 

Then a whirling dervish of a British man comes along with his Miss Maybohleen and the leftover mushroom pizza causes some interesting ocular fallacies. At least that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

 

When my friend Hugh and his friend Miss Marzipan contacted me through Skype I was quite surprised as I had months ago lost the password to Skype and the device scares me for some reason. Having spoken with Hugh on a number of occasions electronically I had noticed there was a difference in our spellings of various words. He called in Miss Maypenny who in all honesty and with great respect I must say did not bring about a solution. I worry that maybe there was not a enough tea and perhaps too much medicinal purposes in her cup of Joe. I’m saying she was a wing short of a wingnut if you get what I’m drivin’ at.

 

I called in Rose & Ghun, two detectives a few states away. I knew Trevor Rose from my Magnolia state days. He’s Rose and she’s Monika Ghun. And as their names indicate–he takes the names of the butts she’s kickin’. They arrived in no time. And amazingly enough they didn’t dance their way up to my door.

Rose1

“Ron, I hope this is important, we are still working out how to handle the Stratford Family,” said Rose.

 

He acted like I should know about the Bradford Family. I knew eight’s’ enough so I moved on. I couldn’t help but notice Ghun. Her obvious Asian and African American background had combined to form a very pleasing to the eye masterpiece. “Umm, well Trevor, it’s like this. For some reason my conversations of late have lost the letter ‘U’ in them.”

 

Ghun stopped her foot tapping as she leaned against the wall. The thoughts that had been vaguely dancing at the corners of my mind, okay Ghunthey were slam dancing trying to break through, died down slightly at her stare. I had heard rumors about her but they were only that until proven otherwise. “We drove through the night and all of those hours for a spelling test problem?” She asked. The voice made my head slam slightly to the side. “You’re a bit old for the spelling bee aren’t you?”

 

“That’s right. Well no, I mean to say that . . . well when talking about my favorite color, you see there are two ‘U’s missing,” I said. “Then there is the case of this crazy hallucination we had about some type of ship at the end of our conversation, but that may have been the left over mushroom pizza.”

 

“Skype waves,” said Rose. “There have been theories only of visual chatting devices causing mass hallucinations all over the world. As for the ‘U’ problem…”

 

“I’m fine speaking it seems. It’ writing the words that seem to be the problem,'” I said. “I was hoping y’all would fix it.”

 

I don’t know why Rose knelt down on my living room floor, but he suddenly became all broody and I swear it became darker. It was like nighttime had come already. You would have thought he was looking at a dead body or something. Ghun was still leaning against the wall with her arms crossed and one foot back against the wall. How she looked as if she were not feeling the humidity in all that black leather including the little jacket was beyond me, but I wasn’t complaining.

 

I was a gentleman, I wasn’t dead . . . yet.

 

“Reminds me of some of the guys we ran into at Down Under Mike’s,” said Rose. I had to lean in to hear him. He looked up at Ghun who slowly began to nod.

 

“Their ‘H’s,” she said. I think that’s what she said. Her dark hair shimmered and flowed with each nod as if it were water.

 

“So what does that mean for me?” I asked.

 

“You aren’t missing any ‘U’s,” said Rose as he stood.

 

“I’m not?”

 

“No, the British have kept them from being exported so they can keep them for themselves. It’s a commonly known practice on the Grammar Black Market,” he said. “Don’t worry about it. If you really want to say col our instead of col or, then just break it up into two words like that.”

 

“Trevor, we’re out of here,” said Ghun. “We still have to find Miles before Martin and the rest get to him. If not there will be a world of suck going on.”

 

“You ever need anything else like this call Amanda Lyle. She’ll be able to help you,” said Trevor Rose and the two disappeared out my door.

 

“Whoa,” I said. Moi herself? Was she secretly some crime fighting mistress, mastress, master . . . guru?

 

“Oh, Ronovan, who were those colourful people? Your favourite exterminators?” Hugh asked from the computer screen. I had forgotten it was still on.

 

“Bless your heart, Hugh, they were detectives. I knew Trevor from back in my Magnolia days. He says y’alls trade practices are the reason for some of the unnecessary ‘U’s missing from my words.”

 

“Oh really,” said Hugh as he dunked an Oreo in a cup of something that looked like weak coffee. “Hmm, you know that does make a lot of sense. The government over here really has no clue at times, but then you would be sympathetic to that, what with your limping fowl in office.”

 

“Hugh, I really don’t understand you a times,” I said shaking my head. “Biscuits and cookies, chips and fries? And I suppose you’re going to deny that a woman wrote all of Shakespeare’s plays next and Piers Morgan the former editor of The Daily Mirror and News of the World who was highly associated with phone tapping and cellphone tapping isn’t really a cousin of yours. I think y’all does protest too dang much.”

 

Hugh2“Ronovan, I heard a rumor during this cruel summer that he’s got tact. But that may have been a careless whisper and that is the last thing on my mind. Love, truth, and honesty, I can’t help it, preacher man, I’m just a shy boy who lives the wild life and if you can’t take that then do not disturb me. I want you back as a friend, cause it t’aint what you do. Cheers then.” The Skype window went blank.

 

That was the strangest rambling I had ever heard from Hugh. I went to the window and looked up. It was indeed night time. I could see what might have been Venus, but was probably a trick of the night. My mind went to Rose & Ghun. I was glad for their help an didn’t envy whoever the Stratford Family was because there was some rough justice ahead.

 

I thought about calling Nathan Jones, an old friend of mine who might help me with the Grammar Black Market. I wondered if he still had that old van of his. It was every shade of blue and could only move in one direction, forward. The reverse didn’t work. Well enough of that.

 

I sat back down at my desk and began to work on my story about being young at heart. The main character, well he was really sayin’ somethin’ to the leading lady about ‘only your love can take me to your heart’. She looked back at him and said “Love don’t live here.” He grabbed his chest. “If you want your heart look on the floor, and if the cops ask, I’m the one that did it, I committed love in the first degree,” she said.

 

She began to walk away but fell.  She turned and glared at me. “I’m always tripping on your love. Here, I found love and now it’s set on you,” she said and put his heart back on his sleeve.

 

I looked down at the page  and thought, more, more, more. Robert De Niro’s waiting  for this after filming Long Train Runnin’ with Mr. Bean.

 

I wonder what Hugh is going to do with all those Oreos and weak coffee? And what about that lady Shakespeare author?

For the next episode in this tale of ne’er do wells read:

When Ronovan Met Miss Maple (on Skype) – Part 2

From Hugh at Hugh’s Views & News then come back and meet The L.A.W. in the first part of their involvement:

Hugh is Diasppearing! What does Ronovan do?: The LAW comes to town

 

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A Nod and A Smile: Southern Culture

There are different customs in different parts of the world. In the South, that is the southern United States, we nod and smile when passing someone in a store, on a sidewalk, in a parking lot, or in a hallway. Visitors or transplants from other areas have difficulty at first wondering if they know the person and are just being rude having forgotten their name. But no, it’s just our way.

Why do I nod and smile, or at least smile? For one thing, I’m a Southern Gentleman, and for another I am acknowledging that upon making eye contact that you are a human being of worth and that I have no ill will toward you. I don’t know where you are from, your history, or anything about you, but for that moment we are two equals who share a clean slate with one another. It’s a greeting and agreement rolled into one meaning that I mean you no harm and I expect to receive the same treatment in return, not the smile and nod.

So if you are ever down South as they say and someone nods and smiles, then nod and smile back and venture onward. You didn’t forget their name and 99 times out of 100 they aren’t flirting…maybe.