Sunday, June 13, 2010

"Townspeople" (Part 1 of 6)


"Townspeople"

by Jason Hart

Part 1 of 6

-Present Day
-

Nate pulled a half used pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes from the pocket of his button-down shirt with his right hand, and smacked the pack rapidly several times against the palm of his left hand. He loved smacking that pack of cigarettes. On a practical level, it packed the tobacco tighter so the cigarette would burn slower, but on an emotional level, it was his way of being defiant. He slipped a cigarette out of the pack, set the pack back into his shirt pocket, and lit the cigarette. He placed the cigarette between his lips, sucked just the right amount of smoke into his mouth, paused for a second to allow the smoke to cool, and then, finally, inhaled the smoke into his lungs.

Nate shifted positions restlessly. He laboriously stretched out his legs, massaging his thighs in a vain attempt to speed up his circulation. A full hour had almost expired, and Nate was still waiting for her to go to bed. Anyone who might have had the unfortunate pleasure of spotting his dark crouching figure would have have immediately suspected his sinister intentions. But he wasn't going to be noticed, and he knew it. He sat outside the house with his back pinned up against the east wall, virtually invisible to any cars that might have passed by, or the casual scan of a nearby neighbor. The sound of laughter drifted through an open window of the house. Nate scowled and exhaled slowly. It was going to be a long night.

****

-Sometime in the Past-

Paul's fishing business was in decline. This statement may actually prove to be somewhat deceptive, because it implies that there was a point in history in which Paul's business was actually thriving (which would be the deceptive part). Paul began fishing with his father when he was 14, and when he was 20, Paul bought his own fishing boat, named it "Lucky", and sailed out to see if he could make it on his own. Paul ate, drank, and breathed fishing - and fishing allowed him to eat, drink, and breath. Despite his utter lack of budgetable income, Paul chose to marry the love of his life, Abby. So poor were the two of them that they couldn't even afford to buy each other a wedding ring. "One day," Paul promised, "I'll buy you a diamond ring, and your finger will never be naked again."

Several months passed, and the promised ring never materialized. They tried to convince themselves that they were happy with a modest living, but things took a turn for the worse after their one year anniversary. That first year, they struggled to break even, and after another year, they began losing money. Then, what they thought only happened to other couples began happening to them - they drifted apart. After months of bickering about things large, small, and in between, they made the unspoken agreement to co-exist under the same roof. Their plan of starting a family, once hindered due to financial reasons, was now hindered by a much more pragmatic reason, they despised one another.

And all the townspeople declared, "Paul, this is bad."

****

...to be continued.

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