May 21, 2008

Runaround pt...3 I think.

You know, the more I write this, the more I think it's just going to be a straight story of a guy getting mixed up in shit he doesn't wanna be...mixed up in. Why does it have to be gay porn? It doesn't. probably won't! Go me. Besides, it'd never get to that point anyway, I'm too interested in just writing a sort of...mystery novella.

Here it goes. I don't think it's totally typo-free but I tried.

Note: Oh, sometimes I hate Firefox spellcheck. I like my non-words.

It was seven in the morning when I rolled out of bed. I got up without my alarm clock going off, which was unusual for me because I can rarely make myself get up before noon. I didn’t have any classes until that afternoon, so I wondering what had made me get up so early. Then I remembered and started feeling sick again; my little errand to the station to see how Matt Woldenhurst had potentially ruined my life. I figured I’d better get my run over as soon as possible, so I staggered around for a bit looking for a clean pair of pants and a shirt. I settled on some khakis and a t-shirt, even though I don’t think they were mine. In fact, I’m pretty sure they were Denny’s.

Speaking of Denny, I found a post-it note stuck on my wardrobe from him. I was surprised he’d even been in the room without me waking up since I’m a pretty light sleeper. The note basically said he’d be gone until later that evening and he needed me to go pick up an order for him, a biochemistry book. I didn’t realize Denny was taking biochemistry, he was a Psychology major. I suppose it was just an elective, but I still found it pretty weird. But I’d pick the book up for him since I was gonna be out anyway.

I put the sticky note in my pocket with my keys and wallet and headed out the door. I walked down that same path again, except when I came to the Square I kept going in a straight line. Right down to the Andrews—one building was Andrew Gibbons, the other was Andrew Crest and they were twin buildings—where the station programs were broadcast from. They were essentially glorified basements with some recording equipment, a pretty sad state when I thought about it considering how nice the buildings look. The architecture was amazing, twin antebellum two-story buildings that used to house at least five hundred students until the other dorms and apartments were built.

I went inside Andrew G, the main building, to see Clarissa Smiths. She’d been in charge of the station about three years I think, at that point. She was a pretty stern lady, which is how I guess you have to be when you’re in charge of a college radio station. She wasn’t necessarily liked or disliked, maybe feared a little; I think that’s the perfect position to be in really.

The office was cold even though it was about eighty degrees outside. It was pretty humid too. I saw Smiths sitting at a desk looking like she was doing paperwork, but when I moved in closer it looked more like she was dozing off.

“Miss Smiths?” I called, and she jerked up. She looked at me, a little red-faced at first, but she regained her composure and sat up straight.

“Can I help you?” she asked. Her voice was a little heavy and she had the slightest trace of an accent; I’d heard she was from somewhere in the Caribbean, I don’t remember where right now.

I had no idea what to say, really. “Some guy sent me up here” was kinda vague and wouldn’t cut it, but that was the honest truth. I took a deep breath and told her my name and mentioned I’d been applying for an open spot for a few months.

She looked over at a stack papers—resumes, I realized—then cocked her eyebrow when she turned back to me. I got the drift.

“Okay, um, a Matthias Woldenhurst just recommended me…” I said, hoping that would help. Miss Smiths sighed and rubbed her temples.

“I remember Woldenhurst, but he talked to Joyce, not me. He’s down the hall in room 125.”

Joyce, I would find out, was one Martin Joyce, a second year sophomore. Like me sometimes, he just preferred to go by his last name. He was the unofficial news anchor of the station, I recognized his voice. He broke campus and local news and sometimes did the weather in the mornings. He didn’t have one of those deep, rich radio voices but it had its own smooth quality and he was easy to listen to; like water, relaxing and calm.

His demeanor was that way too. When I entered his office he was sitting in his chair, leaning on the back legs so far I thought he would tumble over. He had a mug of hot tea or coffee—I forget which—and his hands were folded serenely on his lap. I cleared my throat to get his attention.

“Hi, come on in,” he said, and I almost expected to hear a weather update behind it. Instead he invited me to sit down. I just leaned up against the desk and stood there for a moment.

“Speak up,” he said.

“I’m Ezra Quint,” I started. I don’t know why I was so nervous, maybe because I had no clue what Matt had said about me. “And Matt Woldenhurst—”

“Woldenhurst,” Joyce said suddenly with a sour look. “Yeah, I talked to him.”

“Wh-what’d he say?”

“About you? Nothin’, just said you were a hard workin’ kid and you’d been after the job for a while.”

“Oh.” I didn’t know what to say to that. He’d actually said something nice, I wasn’t expecting that. Joyce pitched forward in his chair and gathered up some papers on his desk.

“And guess what? You got it. I don’t know what you’re really like, hanging out with the likes of him, but enjoy the job.”

“We’re not…friends or anything,” I said quickly. “What job?”


I went pale. I was flabbergasted; an anchor! I was a news anchor! I would read traffic reports covering six highways and four little streets, weather reports, break important news, and maybe interview some new professors. My heart started beating like a rabbit’s and I’m sure my blood pressure had skyrocketed. I was tingling all over like my blood vessels had just suddenly shrunk. I watched Joyce pick up the rest of his belongings and head out the door, just watched him dumb as a rock. What a sight I must have been but I just couldn’t believe it.

“Oh, Ezra?” Joyce said before he left. “Good luck. Look me up if you need help, if you’re here that long.”

The...morbidity and wrongness of that statement didn’t sink in until after that disastrous summer, and I did laugh at the irony, a good mirthful laughter. But I’m getting ahead a little.

I stood in that office for a while after Joyce was gone. Then I decided to go to the office to see Miss Smiths and inform her of her new employee. When I got up there, I was surprised to see Joyce still there, leaning up against the desk talking to Miss Smiths. He saw me and grinned, pointed to me.

“There he is.”

“Oh. You again,” she said and looked at me more contemptuously than she had earlier. She must have known about the strings Matt pulled to get me in. I cursed his name and spat on his imaginary grave.

“Yes...when do I start?” I wasn’t going to play anyone, I knew how I got here and so did they. Dirty means be damned, I’d landed my dream job, all with some stranger to thank. A stranger I didn’t even like, but so be it. I wasn’t thinking at that moment of the consequences or anything else, just wanting to know how early I had to be up from now on.

“Come in about six until seven thirty, then from noon to two o’clock, and again at six to seven-thirty.” She cleared her throat and said, “Like he asked.”

“M-Matt?” Again I was utterly amazed. Not only had Matt gotten me a job, but worked out my damn schedule. And later, when I went back to my dorm, I realized he’d worked it around my class schedule. My schedule that only Robbie could have told him. A complete stranger knew my schedule well enough to work a job around it; my elation quickly turned to fury. I had to find Robbie.

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