At the strangest times – walking through an airport, in the shower, vacuuming the house – snippets of scenes just appear in my head. If I am in the right mood when they come, I can encourage and nurture their development. If they are strong enough and I find myself at a place where I can actually record them, these scenes will make it into my Idea Project file in Scrivener. Some may never find it to a place in a story, while others are nothing more than a way to recollect a feeling. Eventually I know many of these snippets can be reworked to fit another idea I have floating around that may be more developed.
It was at the airport of all places. I never see anyone I know in those vast hallways with thousands of people milling and rushing about. When I was younger I would imagine running into all sorts of people I knew from childhood through adulthood at the airport. Traveling alone was more exciting then. Now it’s a lonely chore.
I saw him first, but before I could avert my eyes we were locked. He was squat, chubby, little man, but his confidence and skill at intimidation made his targets shrink before him. Upon catching my eye, his shoulders rolled back and his spine straightened starting at his neck and extending fully to his lower back.
His intimidating walk toward me forced by shoulders to narrow and every one of my vertebra to compress. I felt three inches shorter while my insides turned to goo.
“So you think you’re a big shot now. Telling me, of all people, what to do. You were the failure I needed. You just don’t know it.” No positive words, probably because his vocabulary didn’t even include such words, were ever emitted from his mouth.
My jaw clenched tighter with every syllable his nasal voice uttered.
“No one will ever tell me what to do,” he continued. “You, . . ., them, you’re all incompetent.”
Like a petulant child, I couldn’t hold back anymore. “You lied to me!” I erupted.
His head cocked to the left and a grin slid across his face. “No shit. Did you really think I was ever giving anything up. You didn’t think this through. Those corporate dumb asses are all about checking things off their lists. You were simply a check mark to them and a pawn to me. My winning pawn. You are a nothing.”
My shoulders slouched and my eyes lowered. His evil stare burned my forehead as if etching his own claim to my soul.
“That was the worst decision I ever made in my life,” I uttered meekly.
“You didn’t make that decision I made it for you with that offer. You should know by now that I’m smarter than anyone you will ever cross, which is why you are the loser.” Satisfied at squashing me again, he turned to go.
My mind raced for the right comeback that never comes until it’s too late. This time the words found their way to my lips. “You’re right, I had no choice. But that wasn’t my worst move.”
“What?” he spun around defensively. He seemed to grow another inch as he leaned in to me.
Regaining some of my own stature, I stated with only the slightest tremor in my voice, “Believing that a single honest word could ever come from your mouth.”
“Don’t cross me or I will take you down further than I already have,” he emphasized with a fat boney finger in my chest forcing me to lean back on my heels. “I’ve done it before.” His hot air, and that’s all it really was, blew from his every orifice.
As I stood before him, watching the blood rise through his face, my confidence grew. As with any bully, he couldn’t take someone actually standing up to him. Slowly he began to shrink to the weaselly little man he truly was.
“You didn’t take me down! You are so naive.”
“Talk about naive, you little bastard,” he said trying to interrupt.
“You gave me my freedom,” I continued ignoring his outburst. “You let me fly, soar! You gave me sight, opened my eyes.”
He stood straighter as my mouth utter such trite phrases.
“You never even gave me a chance,” I concluded.
“GAVE you a chance? I never had any intention of giving you a chance.” I stared back at him without speaking. He couldn’t stand my silence and babbled on like the criminal who thinks he has an edge. “Why would I give you a chance? You have to earn it.”
“Earn it? Right! How do you expect I could ever earn something you had no intention of giving?” For the first time since I caught his eyes I could no longer feel the blood thumping through my veins. “You made up you mind about me before I ever started. There was nothing I could have done to earn it and YOU know it!”
His face was blank. It was my clue that he didn’t get it and never would.
“You’ll fail at this job, too,” he lashed out. “You’ll always be a failure.”
“You have no concept of people, emotions, or rational thought,” I said almost feeling sorry for him. “You’ll die a lonely, lonely little man in a room, alone!” My chest heaved, expanding the breadth of my shoulders and straightening my spine. “Your mind festers with your own erroneous ideas and the lies you choose to believe. I now see you for a fool and eventually the world will see it, too.”
With a subtle, almost imperceptible, shake of my head I turned and walked away. My confidence had been restored by the most unlikely person. I knew that I hadn’t even made a dent in his own reality even though mine was beginning to be rebuilt. This was all about me and that was okay. His cold, lonely heart could not care less about my feelings or my reaction. I didn’t turn around, but could still feel his now cold stare watching me walk away.
With the understanding that this is simply a scene from what would eventually become a larger piece of work and that much of the character development and descriptions would be included in other scenes, I welcome your comments and critiques.