by Howard Rue
A warm up writing exercise with a GBLT theme.
|Shane looked up the Chromebook and wanted to, if he could, kick himself. He had read all the books about meditation, about maintianing focus, about staying to one thing. He was there to finish his evening's writing, to get away from the house.
But the stranger with the red baseball cap chose to sit facing him in the java hut.
Shane focused down again, and imagined that his characters, having discovered the murder were busy setting about taking pictures and then, accidently, tripping, The protagonist leaned down and noticed that....a red baseball cap.
He was staring again.
The young man across from him was different from what Shane would ahve expected as his type. He noticed that he was one for more blue collar types, ones who did not find the gym the place to be. He liked men to be a bit dirty, for lack of a better word, with worn jeans, long sleeve shirts and had no idea what was television these days. Since the coffeehouse was right next to the trucking warehouse, this provided a boon when the writing was not enough to satisfy his creativity.
But the gentleman was different. He was cut and built, but in such a manner that it did come from hard labor, but a gym membership. The beard he had was well honed, the cap was clean and did not bear the salt stains of a sweaty existence. The tennis shoes had matching socks, but the sneakers were worn from some serious athletic material. The shirt was not tight at all, but the arm hole were.
And he was sitting across from him.
Enough was enough. Since starting back on writing this new novel, he had not glanced at his dating apps; work kept everyone busy until the weekend.
Shane stood and walked over to the gentleman, carrying his laptop, but moving his headphones to his neck, like a broken necklace.
"Is this seat taken?"
The young man looked up, if a bit taken aback. His eyebrows met and he looked at Shane as if he swore.
"I'm sorry, this place is busy with the evening's post dinner crowd, do you mind if share this table? You're closer to the power outlet," he had not planned on the comment, but it seemed to fly out of his mouth. He took it and went with it, with a gesture to the plug. "Besides, you look like you could use some company. Are you waiting for someone?"
There was no ring on the young man's finger.
He looked to where Shane had gestured, as if Shane had chosen Swahili over English to communicate with. Once he realized the need, he shrugged and took the plug from Shane's hand as Shane sat down. Shane sat facing the man. They were evidently the same age. Gray had begun to find a home in his beard, as it had begun in Shane's scalp. The young man's nails were cut, if a bit polished, and now Shane could see that the logo on the gentleman's cap was the same as his black tee shirt, the logo stretched by his full bicep.
"Name's Shane. Budding wannabe author. Yourself?"
Shane's hand launched over the top of the laptop.
The young man shook his head, a very obvious no his response.
Shane lowered his hand and scrunced up the side of his face, unsure of the message.
The young man shook his head again and waved his hand, palm facing Shane. Then he pointed at his ears.
And then smiled. The teeth were like a beacon.
"You're Deaf?" The young man must have lipread some. He nodded with the words.
Shane looked at this keyboard. He had no pen and paper. WIth a click and a click, he rotated the screen to his companion.
"I am Shane. Nice to meet you."
On the word screen, the young man smiled broadly.
"Mike. Mikey. Nice, too."
Shane blinked twice. The book seemed to move down two notches on his things to do tonight. The silence had been broken.