Character Assassination

9F00B283-3619-42C7-8BE1-2427672C2F6BI hate when that happens. At around 11 pm last night I composed this post in response to the “In Other Words” prompt from Patricia’s Place. My post was about a conversation between Martha, who was complaining about her seasonal affective disorder, and Milton, who thought she was talking about a seasoning disorder.

Right before I turned out the light and went to sleep, I scheduled that post to publish at around 3:30 am my time. And when I woke up this morning, I checked to make sure it actually posted. It did. Yay!

But when I read it with my fresh and bright morning eyes, I saw that, much to my chagrin, in the middle of the post, Milton became Martin. But then, in the next sentence, Martin reverted back to Milton. WTF?

I have since gone back and edited the post. I removed Martin, may he rest in peace, in the offending sentence, and inserted Milton back where he belonged. I feel bad about taking Martin out, but it had to be done. Just business, nothing personal.

The moral to this story is that you shouldn’t compose and schedule a post when you’re really sleepy and your eyes are half closed. In the end, you, too, might have to assassinate one of your own characters.

Nothing Personal

The man in the military uniform shoved me through the doorway and pointed to the lone chair in the middle of the otherwise empty room, motioning for me to sit. I sat down and he proceeded to bind my hands and feet to the chair. Then he told me to stay put. “Your quite taciturn, aren’t you?” I said.

“Huh?” he grunted.

“You don’t have much to say,” I responded. He ignored me and left me alone in the room.

After a few minutes, a short, sinister-looking man in a business suit walked into the room and shut the door behind him. I looked up at him and sarcastically said, “I love what you’ve done with the place, Boris. It’s quite opulent, don’t you think?”

“Who are you working with, James?” he asked.

“Seriously, Boris,” I responded. “No small talk, no clever banter. No how’s the family? How very disappointing.”

Boris leaned in close to me, his face inches from my own, his sour breath fouling the air. “Answer my question, James,” he demanded. “Who are you working with?”

“Boris, Boris, Boris,” I said. “You know I only fly solo.”

“I find your wit strangely quaint under these circumstances,” Boris said, “given that you’re unlikely to leave this room alive. So let me ask you yet again, James. Who are you working with?

“Unlikely to leave this room alive?” I said. “Are you going to tell me next that it’s nothing personal and that it’s just business?”

I’ve always liked you, James,” Boris said in a mocking tone, “but if you don’t tell me what I need to know, I think you will find what happens next will be quite personal and even more painful.”

At that moment the door was pushed open and a flash grenade was tossed in, filling the room with smoke. By the time the smoke cleared, Boris was lying unconscious in front of the chair.

A woman came over and untied my hands and feet. “As usual, Natasha,” I said, “your timing is impeccable.”9B3987E6-81FF-461D-955C-7CB87951E06C

Written for these daily prompts: Scotts Daily Prompt (stay), Word of the Day Challenge (taciturn), Your Daily Word Prompt (opulent), Daily Addictions (solo), Ragtag Daily Prompt (quaint), and Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (personal).

Nothing Personal

bare wallsYou’ve seen those TV crime dramas, right? You know, the ones where the cops bust into the apartment of the suspect. They look around, trying to get a sense of the man, a glimpse into his personality.

One of the cops says to his partner, “No pictures on the walls, no books on the shelves, no personal knickknacks. This place hardly looks lived in. What’s up with this guy? What makes him tick?”

Well, I was that guy. No, not a perpetrator of a crime. I just had no pictures of any kind on my walls, no books on the shelves (actually, no bookshelves, either). No plants to be found. Not even artificial ones. I was a true minimalist.

Only the necessities. A bed and a chest of drawers in the bedroom. A recliner, a small dining table with two chairs, a TV stand on top of which sits a TV in the living room. There’s also a small desk in one corner, along with a desk chair and an empty, two-drawer filing cabinet. The apartment looks totally generic, sterile. Anyone could have been living there. Or no one.

In fact, if some police psychologist came to my apartment, he would probably have tagged me as a shady, isolated type; a drifter who didn’t intend to be there very long, who had no stability or sense of self, and who had few human connections.

But that wasn’t me. Well, at least not when my wife was still alive. In my defense, though, when I moved into my apartment a year and a half ago, shortly after she died, I kind of knew it would be temporary. After more than four decades together, it’s not easy to transition from a life together to a life in solitary.

So when she died, I sold our house, the furniture, and all of our shared personal possessions, at least the ones that my two adult daughters didn’t claim. And because I thought I wouldn’t be in that apartment for very long, I didn’t invest in much to make it my own. But then again, after she died, I didn’t really know, anymore, who I was.

Turns out I wasn’t in that apartment that long. I guess being alone didn’t suit me. And now my daughters, who each live in other parts of the country tending to their own families, have flown in to claim whatever possessions their dearly departed and estranged father left behind, which wasn’t much at all.

Certainly nothing personal.