Writing Club: 08/22/2012


Exercise One

Write about eccentric kid you once knew or someone scary or strange.

I gleefully strolled down the hallway and planted myself on the couch by the side entrance to school. Occasionally I would order pizza in the morning and have it delivered at lunch time. It made me feel cool. Besides, I didn't like eating in the cafeteria. Too much teenage drama, too many people, and definitely too many girls.

As I bit into my first piece, one hand curling the slice in half, with the other under it to catch delicious grease dripping down everywhere, I saw Matt coming down the hall. He looked from side to side with somewhat judgmental glances as he walked about. Maybe judgmental isn't the right term. More like mistrusting, cautious, paranoid?  Was he nervous?  Was he misbehaving? Did he really think everyone was out to get him as it often appeared? Black jeans, a black v-neck t-shirt and a black trench coat were all he ever wore. He was very smart, and when you got to talking to him he was an extremely interesting guy.  He just tended to shy away from everyone else.

Matt continued to stroll in my direction with no particular destination obvious in his stride. He kept moving full speed as though he was going to barrel into me, probably excited to ask for some pizza, but just as he was about to fall into my lap, he stopped, abruptly. I sat there in wonder as to why he had so aggressively invaded my personal space. He quickly opened the front left side of his trench coat, fumbled around in one of the deep inner pockets, and pulled out a piece of paper. It was haphazardly folded probably five times into what had become a little ball. He promptly handed it to me.

Before I could even get it open, he started to speak. Three point one four one five nine two six five three five nine ... I finished unfolding the note to reveal the exact numbers he was spouting at me. The sheet of paper was nearly marginless and filled with extremely small text. All numbers with one period after the first 3. It was pi and he was reciting it to me, un-asked, to the one thousandth digit. I knew this for sure because the other side of the paper said, "Pi, to the one thousandth digit."

He went on for about ten minutes while I sat in silence eating the rest of my pizza. I probably ate three slices while I stared at Matt wondering why he had memorized pi ... how long it took him ... and why he had chosen to recite it to me in the hallway at lunch. What a strange fellow, but what an interesting guy. It wasn't exactly impressive, but it was fantastically unique. When he was done, he grabbed the paper, stuffed it back in his jacket and walked off.

Exercise Two

You mistakingly enter a room marked, "For Authorized Personnel Only."

"Look i'm just trying to take a piss.  I don't care what the fucking door says.  Besides, what are you doing back here?"

Derek, looked right into my eyes, disappointed.  The split second in which he captured my gaze was just long enough for him to slap me, full force, across the face.  I had no warning whatsoever.  "I'm trying to get my fuck on."

"Your fuck?"

"Yeah. My Fuuuccckkk," he said slowly with closed eyes in his deep sexy TV voice.

"So you are having sex right now?"

"Does it look like I'm having sex right now," he retorted.

"OK.  Whatever.  I really need to take a piss.  Where's the bathroom?  I saw Steve and Andrea come back here like five minutes ago."

"I told you," Derek said in a serious tone I don't often get from him, "The door says 'authorized personnel only'.  Are you authorized to be here?  Have you been given speeeccial permission?"  He drew out the word special as though to emphasize the fact that I was not.

I stood there, continuing to look him in the eye, still reeling a little from the open hand slap across the face.  He'd never actually slapped me before.  No one, in fact, had ever slapped me before.  Normally I'd be laughing, but no one else was around and I could tell by the way Derek was standing ... upright, arms crossed, slight furl in his brow ... that he was not fucking around.

I took this moment to look deeper into the room I had mistakenly wandered into.  I hadn't noticed at first, but it was almost pitch black.  The only light was coming from the crack in the door I had come through that was still swinging back and forth as it came to rest.  Why was Derek in the dark back here?  I could almost make out the silhouette of another person against the faint ambient light echoing, on and off, throughout the room.  It was like a gentle dying strobe light.

Something was moving in the corner.  Rhythmically.  Back and forth.  Almost like it was dancing.

Suddenly, two burly guys in yellow shirts burst through the swinging door.

"What the fuck is going on back here?"

Before I could even turn around, Derek replied, "We're trying to find the pisser.  Is this not it?"

"No.  It's not.  You guys have to go.  Authorized personnel only back here."

A third guy came in behind them.  They surrounded us and we were escorted out of the establishment.

Derek drove me home.

Right before I hopped out of his car, I tapped his nuts pretty hard with the back of my hand. "That's for bitch slapping me in the dark, fucker.  Have a good night."

Exercise Three

Someone from ten years ago calls. What's do they want? Why are they calling?

"Dude, your phone is blowing up."

"Who is it," I said.

"I don't know.  It's a 410."

Random calls from Maryland always make me worry that something's wrong with my family.  Only Alice calls me, and I know all her numbers.

"Eh, it's probably another insurance offer."  I wandered back into the office and pressed the home button.  One missed call.  Good.  No message means it's not important.  Back to work.

A few minutes later, my phone buzzes on the glass table top.  Damn it … one new message.  I tell myself, and others, that these random numbers are always spam insurance offers, but I know that sometimes, they are actual people, and those people always want something from me.  They want to ask for something, or they want to make me do something I won't want to do, or they just want to talk.  Ugh.  That's the worst.  I can't stand having a conversation with someone without mentally preparing myself.  I like to think I'm extroverted, but I'm most certainly not.  Socializing exhausts me.  The phone wears me out.  Besides, I can't concentrate on a conversation when I can't see the person.  My mind drifts and I zone out.  I like to think it's a common problem for men, but again, it's an internal lie.  It's just me.

"God, I hate these stupid spam calls," I blurt out, to reassure my roommate that I don't screen ALL my unknown calls.  Why can't I be more excited when people call me.  Why can't i be more like him?  Just this afternoon I witnessed him, on a single phone call, talk to aver ten different people and joyfully engage them all with honest interest, asking questions about their lives that he genuinely wanted to know the answer to.

Who had called me.  I held the phone up to my ear as I waited for the voicemail to start playing.  My ear was hot, and starting to sweat.  Really, I'm that nervous to listen to my voicemail.  WTF I thought to myself before chastising my brain for abbreviating those three words in thought.

"Hey Jones.  It's me, John.  We have to talk."