Statistics and crime map…
Oct 24 Published in Novel Excerpt by Wordsmith
Here is chapter two of my novel, Heart's Delight. This is a shorter chapter than the first, and is more of a bridge into the longer third chapter. The action takes place on the following day during the late afternoon. We see the protaganist, Jason, at his job and get a more detailed view of his personal life during a phone conversation with his girlfriend. As I said in the preface to chapter one, this is still a work in progress and may be changed some more, and the time is late spring/early summer of 1990.
Jason was about to take a drink of his coffee then noticed it was almost empty. He grabbed the coffee pot from the maker, filled up his cup and returned to the circle of conversation in the break room of his work.
“...So no way we’re having another Bay Bridge Series this year,” Kevin said.
“Oakland, possibly, but not the Giants,” Larry said, “and that's too bad because we could use the attention.”
“It’s early yet in the season,” Jason said, “they could turn it around.”
“Not that early,” Larry said.
“Too many pitching problems,” Phil added, “I’ve already written them off.”
“I guess no one is going to catch up with Cincinnati,” Jason said.
“Better Reds than Dodgers,” Kevin said and most agreed.
“Can't wait until we get the Sharks next year,” Laura said.
“I didn't know you were a hockey fan,” Kevin said to Laura.
“My family is from Michigan,” Laura said, “very popular over there.”
“Have you seen the new arena lately,” Larry said, “it's coming along nicely.”
“Yeah, I know,” Laura said, “I drove by it the other day.”
“What was there before?” Kevin asked.
“You know, I can’t even remember,” Larry said.
“Whatever it was, it stood in the way of progress,” Phil said.
“I just hope the arena looks a lot better than the convention center. What an eyesore,” Kevin said.
“I'll say,” another coworker added. “Whoever designed that was either blind, stoned, or just bored with their job.”
Everyone laughed then someone came up to Jason. “You have a call on line two.” Jason left the break room and went to a wall telephone out in the corridor. He picked up the receiver and hit the flashing button.
“Hi, honey, how’s work,” Christine said over the telephone.
“Not bad,” Jason said, “the usual, you know.”
“Still at lunch right now?”
“Yeah, just hanging out in the break room with the rest of the crew.”
“Good, I thought I called too late,” Christine said. “I tried to call earlier but we got a visit from these big shot clients, so we had to give them the red carpet treatment.”
“Yeah, got to please the money people,“ Jason said.
“Now they're all in a closed door meeting, probably something really important,” Christine said facetiously.
“Might be good for business.”
“Good for business means I’ll have to work more hours.”
“At least you’ll get overtime,” Jason said.
“I’m salaried, I don’t get time and a half.”
“Well, I’m sure they’ll will notice you working hard.”
“Yeah, right,” Christine said. “Oh, guess who I ran into today when I was at lunch.”
“Claire, right.” Jason tried to remember a face to match the name.
“You remember her, don’t you? You know, Claire,” Christine emphasized. “She’s only one of my best friends, we used to hang out all the time, I guess that was before we were together. Yeah, we just about died when we saw each other. I told her about Todd’s party, she said she’d try to make it.”
“Oh, yeah, Claire.” Jason remembered her from a party where she drank a lot and acted crazy. “Yeah, she liked to party.”
“She’s a wild one, all right, but did you know she just graduated from Chico State and now she’s going for her master’s? Go figure.”
“How did that party animal find time for school.”
“Why do you think she went to Chico,” Christine said. “She’s probably staying in school so she doesn’t have to go out in the real world.”
“That’s smart, stay in school and avoid full time work.”
“And she’s getting a grant, she won’t even have to work. Of all the luck.”
“Must be nice,” Jason said bluntly.
“I'm sorry,” Christine said, “I shouldn't have brought that up.”
“No, no, it's all right.”
“Hey, if she can do it, anyone can.”
“Yeah, I know,” Jason said, “it just seems like some people get all the breaks.”
“Don’t worry,” Christine said, “you almost have enough units to be a junior, you'll get your chance. Think of all the money your saving right now.”
“True,” Jason said, “I hear the State schools are over $500 a semester now, and U.C.'s are at least double that.”
“And you can imagine how much a private college is,” Christine said. “That's a whole different world.”
“Yeah, and one we're not a part of,” Jason said, “but at least I’m still feeling pumped about that game Randy and I played yesterday.”
“You should’ve seen me and Randy school those two punks.”
“I know,” Christine said, “you told me all about it last night.”
“Yeah, and I wish you could have seen it, what a battle,” Jason said. “I got to play more often so I don’t get out of shape.”
“I’d say you’re in plenty good shape,” Christine said.
“Thanks,” Jason said as he smiled
“So did you get a chance to talk to your supervisor?”
“That's good,” Christine said. “It has been over a year now, they at least owe you a review, I'm pretty sure that's the law.”
“Yeah, it’ll happen soon. John said that things are kind of up in the air right now because they’re looking to get some new investors, plus all the other changes happening in the world right now, but everyone is positive. I even told him about my credit card debt and how I’m trying to save money for college, he said he was sympathetic.”
“I’m not being too pushy am I?” Christine asked.
“No, it was my idea,” Jason said, “I’ve got to make it happen, and like you said they do owe me a review.”
“Yeah, but I was thinking that maybe you got the idea when I told you about my rent going up.”
“Just a coincidence,” Jason said. “Besides, I’m not the new guy anymore, I’m due, and high rents are the just the reality of living here or anywhere in the Bay Area. We all need a raise.”
“You know,” Christine said, “I was just thinking, I heard that my uncle who’s a contractor has been very busy since the earthquake, and he’s looking for more workers.”
“Hmm, how much does he pay?” Jason asked.
“I don’t know for sure, but I think he starts his workers at ten an hour, and it's under the table so you'll actually be taking home ten an hour.”
“Doesn't sound bad, but isn't that kind of work only temporary?”
“Not necessarily,” Christine said, “once you get more experience, he can take you on as a regular employee, and then you’ll be making at least twice that.”
“Yeah, sounds all right, something to think about,” Jason said noncommittally. He wasn't sure he liked the idea. “But you know what, I know some guys in that line of work, and they say it’s a lot of hours and I don’t know if I can do that and go to school at the same time, also there’s also times when there’s not enough work, especially in the winter when it’s raining. I think I should just stay here for now.”
“Well, okay, just thought I’d mention it,” Christine said deflatedly.
“Yeah, sure. I mean, it sounds all right, and I know you’re trying to help, it’s just that I can’t be talking about that kind of stuff right here at work, we'll talk about it later, all right?” Jason waited for a response.
“Of course, no big deal,” Christine said. “I guess it is kind of a dumb idea.”
“No, it's not a bad idea,” Jason said, “it's just that I don't think I need to be looking for a new job right now.”
“You're right,” Christine said, “and it’s not like a take it or leave it right now kind of thing anyways, I’m sure they’ll have plenty of work for a while. I suppose I was just thinking that it doesn't hurt to have another option.”
“Yeah, of course, doesn’t hurt to have options,” Jason said. He thought of the idea some more and still did not feel inclined toward it.
“Okay, I better let you go now, don’t want to tie you up. After work I have to go to
the store for my mom, and then I’ll have to get ready for the party.”
“So what made you think that I might need to change jobs?”
“It’s nothing, really,” Christine said emphatically. “I knew it, I'm being too pushy.”
“Relax, you're not being pushy,” Jason said, “it just seems out of the blue.”
“Look, this is what happened, I was talking to my mom earlier, and while we were talking she mentioned how busy my uncle is right now, how a couple of his guys quit, and I just thought I’d mention it you. Honest, there’s no conspiracy.”
“Even if I was looking for another job, I'd look for something in the same field.”
“But you know how things are always changing in the technology field, it doesn’t hurt to have options.”
“Everything is going along fine here,” Jason said, “why worry.”
“But what's it going to be like down the road,” Christine said.
“We'll find out when we get there, no need to stress.”
“I wish I could be stress free, but the firm wants me to work more hours, mom and dad want me to take care of Stephanie’s baby shower because Aunt Rita can’t do it on her own because she just got out of the hospital, plus we have to get our guest bedroom ready for grandma...”
“All right, all right,” Jason interrupted. He noticed people leaving the break room. “Lunch time is over, I better get off the phone now, I’ll call you when I get home.”
“Okay, bye. Love you,” Christine said.
“Love you, bye,” Jason said quietly then hung up. He joined the stream of coworkers as they headed back to work.
“Talking to the little lady?” Phil said to Jason.
“Oh, yeah,” Jason said as he tried to refocus on his job.
“If there's one thing I've learned after 10 years into my second marriage is that it never gets any easier,” Phil said.
“We're not married.”
“Could have fooled me,” Phil said jokingly as everyone dispersed out of the florescent lit corridor and into the main work area. People weaved through large computer mainframes and work tables with printers, monitors and other electronic equipment and went to their work stations. Past a far glass wall at the end of the work area was an office with a small maze of cubicles and desks.
Jason went to a black screen monitor, looked at a wide printout of data next to it, and typed a series of line commands onto a keyboard. A series of words and numbers scrolled upward on the screen. He inserted a floppy disc into s drive, typed the save command and a light on the drive lit up as it hummed. He entered some more data then a technician came to him and had Jason work with him on disassembling a component of a larger mainframe. A couple of other coworkers came by, observed and commented with advice. After a while they got the computer working and a large printer began to print out a satellite image.
Jason returned to his computer and spent the remaining couple of hours of his shift entering more data and helped to assemble some components as the mood of everyone lightened from the decreasing workday and the approaching weekend.
When the clock finally reached 5 P.M., Jason shut down his computer and walked with his coworkers through another florescent lit hallway to the entrance. People were already gathered around the time clock and getting their time cards while talking about their plans for the weekend.
“So any big plans this Friday night?” Stan asked Jason.
“Going to a birthday party,” Jason said while he reached for his time card.
“Really, for who?”
“A friend of mine.”
“How old is he going to be?”
©2009 Nicholas R. Kirkendall