Paul is an interesting man who's craves attention, but usually doesn't get it, until now.
|Busy people must be important people. That’s popular opinion nowadays, isn’t it? His shaking hand nervously screwed the bright yellow cap back on the bottle. The contents within the bottle made him question the stupidest of things. Why aren’t eyebrows considered facial hair? Can you daydream at night? Stupid things that made no sense. Absolutely stupid.
Paul Westerly was his name. The lonesome man who always stationed himself at airport terminals, not knowing what to do with his days. No one recognized him, simply because not a single person was ever at an airport for more than a week. And he always made sure to reposition himself to not cause alarm to any of the gate attendants. Smart, right?
Today Paul was at gate 11A. Gate 11A was definitely his favorite. The busyness it always seemed to attract kept the lonesome man occupied. One of his favorite activities was to analyze people and wonder if they noticed him. The eyes of so many looked in his direction, but they always seemed to be looking at something else. No one ever noticed him, not a soul.
Always sitting by himself, he would look in the distance as planes departed from the runway. Right across from where he sat there was an Einstein’s Bagels and to the right of that a men’s restroom. Everything he needed within walking distance. His legs sometimes failed him though. He knew what he wanted to do, but his body simply told him no. It was the bottle’s fault. It was always the bottle’s fault.
Stupid bottle. Why am I always holding a bottle?
M-e-n’-s r-e-s-t-r-o-o-m. His finger went over every single letter. He had to make sure he was at the right restroom. Surely he wouldn’t want to make the mistake of walking in on the girl’s restroom. Oh god, that would be horrible. His mother would always tell him, “Son, being a gentleman means you have to be courteous and respectful to all ladies”. And this definitely meant using the correct restroom.
Mother would be so proud.Thought Paul.
“What in sam hell do you think you are doing?”. A rough shove came from an unknown bearded man. Green eyes targeted Paul’s eyes. Paul always noticed the eyes first.
“Umm, nothing. Just making sure I use the correct restroom. Is that okay?”
For an instant the man made a face of disgust once Paul decided to speak up. His face twisted into a snarl; almost as if he had smelled something absolutely retched.
“Why sure, but you don’t need to stare at the damn thing and be pointing at it like a crazy man. Now if you’re going to use the restroom, go right on in and stop worrying all these people.” His hand ushered to a crowd of about 10 people. All curiously staring at Paul.
Finally, I’m actually getting some attention.
Learning from his first mistake of standing too close to Paul, the man had backed away. Making sure to keep his distance once Paul spoke again.
“Oh… Okay. I’m sorry. I really didn’t know I was causing all this commotion. I’ll go right on in.”
The hair on his neck stood on all ends. He had never been this excited before.
They were looking at me. Actually noticing me.
While washing his hands he noticed something odd. Where was the bottle? His right hand had always been holding it, but now it mysteriously wasn’t there. He didn’t know what to think of this.
Maybe it’s a good thing.
The crowd had dispersed. He went back to where he was sitting and started plotting what to do next.
If they liked that, then they’ll most definitely enjoy what I have next.
Einstein’s Bagels had always intrigued him. The smell of warm bread never failed to put him in a good mood, while the chopping of the bread reminded him of home. Now the airport was his home. The workers were always different for some reason though. He had never met someone twice, which he hated. All Paul wanted was a familiar face to interact with, but one never revealed itself.
“Hello there, can I have one bagel please?” The worker at the counter backed away almost instantly and gave Paul a dirty look; just like the bearded man.
“Sure. That’ll be $1.40 sir.”
“Here ya go.” A trembling right hand of Paul reached forward and handed the man a $2 bill.
“Thank you. Here’s 60 cents in change.” Paul noticed the man’s name, “Richard” read the name tag. He made sure to remember the name and ask for a Richard next time he came. Blue eyes, interesting. Richard with the blue eyes, that should definitely make finding him much easier. Richard with the blue eyes pivoted and started making his bagel.
“Here’s your bagel sir. Have a nice day, and remember, Einstein’s is for sure the best bagel shop you will ever eat at.” He gave a quick wink and charming smile as he handed him his bagel. Right after he gave the bagel to Paul, the man quickly backed away a couple feet from the counter.
What is wrong with me? That’s the second time someone has been hesitant to be near me. Oh well. I really want my bottle.
He went to sit back down in his usual spot and start to rehash his plan.
The bagel wasn’t for him to eat, no. He had a much greater plan for it. Attention is all I want, is that too much to ask?
Being a former baseball player would work well in Paul’s favor. He had a strong right arm that once carried his former high school team to the state championship. Oh this is going to be great.
He unwrapped the bagel and admired how scrumptious it looked. For a second he thought about ditching his plan, but he decided he craved attention way more than the bagel. But then again, Richard with the blue eyes said it was the best bagel shop in the world. He decided to treat himself with another bagel once he completed his plan.
Oh I sure hope this works. Nothing would make me happier than to get people to notice me. Please work, please work.
The right arm of Paul Westerly started to angle backwards as he targeted somebody in the crowd. Someone started to notice him and stare with questioning eyes, but it was too late for them to actually stop Paul.
The bagel flew in the direction of a young boy. He was an innocent boy; holding his iPhone, probably playing angry birds or fruit ninja. Paul had great aim, so when the bagel hit the boy right in the middle of the nose, Paul was ecstatic.
How innocent the boy was, but now he was falling backwards onto the dirty airport terminal floor; all because lonesome Paul wanted attention. The iPhone toppled to the ground; falling face first.
“Yes!” Screamed Paul; jubilant over his success with throwing the bagel. Oh that was amazing, absolutely amazing. The bagel was wasted, but it was definitely worth it.. Expecting eyes to dart towards him and just stare, Paul became completely horrified when he realized what was happening.
A man next to the boy hurriedly picked him up and dashed towards Paul. Utter rage permeated through the man’s face; red, the color of hate, started to define the man.
Fear engulfed the face of Paul. He started to run backwards.
Oh no not now, why aren’t my feet doing what I want. Oh god, why does this always happen.
Paul stumbled to the ground and went in the fetus position; trying to protect himself.
“You best get over here you punk.” The man was shouting obscene language at Paul and was almost upon him.
Oh no, what have I done. This isn’t the attention I want. Oh no, oh no, oh no.
Strong fists started descending on the curled up body of Paul Westerly. Each punch becoming more and more painful. All Paul could do was wimper and attempt to cover every inch of himself. Blood began to make small streams along his face, while his eyes burned from tears starting to pour down.
Where’s my bottle? I need my bottle. I need my bottle.
“Get off him right now! Get off!” A loud booming voice came from somewhere beyond Paul’s line of sight. All he knew was this was the voice of God, coming to rescue him.
Where am I? Huh? How did I get here? What’s going on? Paul's mind raced at incredible speeds trying to decipher where he now was.
Steel bars were now in front of Paul. He was laid out on a bed when he awoke. Completely confused, he began to shout and pound on the cement brick beside him. His hands quickly became sopping wet with blood.
Paul thought back to what his mother would say, “Whenever you feel lost son, always remember that God is with you. No matter what. Just remember that baby, and you’ll be fine.” Oh how sweet his mother was. He started to calm down and pray, instead of shout.
“Our father who art in heaven hollowed be thy name…” He repeated the Our Father prayer seven times until someone came to acknowledge him.
“Hmm, Paul Westerly, it took a while to find you in the books son. How are you doing?”
“O-k-aay I guess.” Wimpering and not wanting to look the man in the eyes, Paul’s voice shook with fear. He had forgotten why he was here. All he wanted was his bottle.
“Alright well I presume you know why you are here? If not, let me spell it out in plain English for you. For some other worldly reason you decided to hurl a bagel at a boy walking by. This is definitely the strangest reason why someone has come here. The boy is fine, but the dad was wanting to press charges. In evaluating your records, its clear that you have extreme cases of alcoholism and mental health issues, so I got the charges dropped.”
Paul wasn’t paying any attention to what the man was saying. He heard the first sentence and zoned out, not wanting to acknowledge him or anything he was trying to get across.
“Hello son? Hey you listening?”
“Huh.. Oh yea, I’m fine. Can I have my bottle back please? I seemed to have lost it.”
“Oh no I’m afraid you won’t be receiving your ‘bottle’ anytime soon. You need to get clean, so you can actually function.”
“No no no, this isn’t going to work. You don’t understand, the only reason I can function is if I have my bottle. I ne-e-dd it n-oo-ww.” His helpless face stared up at the officer for the first time since being in the unknown place.
Blue eyes, weird. The second thing he noticed was the name tag, “Richard” it read.
His face looked oddly familiar. For once he thought he recognized someone.
Finally, maybe I’m starting to make friends. Oh how lovely.
“Okay son. I’m going to leave you now. Don’t you go anywhere. Oh and one last thing, here’s a freshly cooked bagel I made just before I came here.” With a wink and a smile, he threw the bagel in Paul’s lap and started to head back to his quarters.