Alright everybody, I’ve decided to dish out a little more from my WIP. This short excerpt follows directly after the last one. Let me know what you think! As per usual DM me on twitter or email me at EvanPickering@EvanPickeringauthor.com
Enjoy! Hope your Summer is kicking ass.
West Crown Apartments, Washington D.C., Two Weeks Earlier
“You ever wish you’d wake up with a totally different life?” Rob said. Sunlight poured in the east window, leaving a rectangle of warmth in front of the couch that illuminated his socks. He wiggled his toes, stretching his feet.
“Nah man. We are where we’re meant to be. There’s plenty of people that got it way worse than whatever you think you got.” Desean Grant let out a puff of smoke as he loosened his tie and unbuttoned his top button.
“I know. Starving kids in Africa and all that.”
“Who said shit about Africa? There’s starving kids five miles from here.”
“Yeah, for real.” Rob slid back, sinking into Des’ couch and resting the back of his head against the cushion. He took a sip of his beer, running his thumb over the bumps of the raised lettering on the dark glass bottle.
“You don’t think we would even be friends if we didn’t sit next to each other all through school, do you?”
“Nah,” Des took a sip of his beer.
“Probably not,” Rob echoed.
“Thank god H comes after G in the alphabet.” Des said, glancing over at Rob.
Rob chuckled, holding out his beer. Des clinked it with his own, and they both took a drink.
“Thank the good lord,” Rob exhaled.
There was an appreciative silence that hung in the air as they both stared at the T.V. that flashed images of sports highlights they both weren’t paying attention to.
“All suffering is relative, though.” Des said, circling back. “Life is a concept we create in our mind.”
Rob chuckled. “You would say some shit like that.”
“How did that date go?” Des inquired lazily.
“How do you think?” Rob shook his head, trying to fight the tired feeling in his eyes. “All this online shit is weird as hell.”
What happened is she’s obsessed with crustaceans. Hood shook his head, uncomfortable laughter welling out of him.
“She told me she wrote a book.”
“About horseshoe crabs.”
“So I laughed. She asked what was funny. When I realized she wasn’t joking, I was all ‘ah, that’s cool, you like a scientist or something?’ She got pissed, started talking about how we’re going to have to talk about this later. Talk about it later. Like we were a couple. Like I wasn’t already willing to fake my own death to get out of the conversation.”
“Man, you gotta give girls a chance. So she wrote a book about crabs, that’s cool.”
Rob sat up and turned to face Des, glaring at him. “You serious?”
“You gotta move on, man. You ain’t gonna find another Jennifer. You gotta be open to new things in your life.”
“The fuck would you say if a chick told you she wrote a book about horseshoe crabs?”
“That’s cool honey, want to go watch Nemo at my place? You ain’t gotta be lookin’ for marriage material with everyone you meet my dude. Have some fun. You’re a good lookin’ man. Go enjoy yourself, like you used to.”
Rob furrowed his brow. “I don’t know if that’s what I want anymore.”
Des shook his head with a chuckle, taking a sip from his bottle. “You don’t even know what you want right now.”
Rob shrugged, taking a deep breath and finishing his beer.
“You want another?”
“No, I have that interview later.” Rob shook his head, standing up. “I should get going, anyway.”
Des nodded slowly, staring at Rob until he had his attention. “Get your mind right. This ain’t the Rob I know.”
Rob paused, considering this for a moment. “You don’t ever wake up wishing the world would just start over?” Rob turned to face Des, searching for some confirmation.
Des shook his head. “Nah man, I got too much to lose.”
“So do you.”
“Yeah, I know. I just want to feel worth a damn again. I feel like I’m drowning in my own mediocrity.”
Des laughed, shaking his head as he took another deep hit, exhaling smoke. “That’s the breakup talking. You definitely need to get your mind right.”
Rob shook his head. “I’ll hit you up later.”
Des puffed smoke, nodding at Rob as he turned to walk out the door.
The fresh gray sidewalk outside the apartment was thick with foot traffic. The gleaming modern structures in the distance that was D.C. proper loomed over the sunset urban neighborhood. A group of high school kids pushed past him, walking home late from school. They took over the sidewalk with swagger and casual dancing.
His feet carried him through the relatively clean streets, the sweat beginning to bead on his forehead despite his best attempts not to exert himself. Can’t be a sweaty mess for this. I hate interviews.
His eyes turned down to his phone. He tapped open messages and typed out something to Ian deftly with his thumb. Hey bro, how are you doin? I miss you.
Rob stared down at it, hovering over the send button. The last message Ian had sent was Things are crazy dude. I don’t have time for anything anymore. That was two months ago. Rob frowned, shaking his head before tapping the delete button until the message was gone.
His thumb swiped over and tapped open Instagram. First post, there she was. Looking pretty in a summer dress. Rooftop bar with friends. And that smile…
He locked his phone and jammed it in his pocket. Des is right about me. He took a deep breath, exhaling slowly. So why don’t I want to change?
He feet carried him into the bowels of the DC Metro subway system, the waffle cone concave ceiling towering above him. He tapped his foot incessantly, waiting for the train to glide into the station. The ceiling isn’t gonna collapse. You are safe. There’s nothing wrong with being underground he reassured himself repeatedly. There was a time he wasn’t scared. A time anxiety had no grip on him at all. It felt like a long time ago now.