Episode Thirty One: Again?

I hope that you have noticed a difference in the past couple of updates. I recently reread through some overworked writing quotes that I keep around when I found a small tidbit by an author that I had forgotten about. I’ll paraphrase his words; he said: “It is no use writing for a crowd of people. The best thing you can do for your writing is to write to a single person, and that one person is best when he is yourself.”

These words are obvious to a writer, and have been with me from the beginning of my writing habit, but I had forgotten them.

Although I am blisteringly proud of my episodes, (every single blasted one of them) I have written them to a crowd, and for no specific person, least of all myself. I think that I have made some good writing, but maybe it hasn’t been exactly what I would be delighted to read. This is in a small way an announcement. Thank you for sticking around and reading my words, and I hope that you enjoy my stories as much as I do. In the future, I plan to enjoy them even more. Stick around folks; we’re going to have fun. -BW

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The Day Before . . .

As he walked away, Tannenbaum stole a glance of the youth left far behind him. In the distance, Quin seemed to have forgotten about his obsession with Tannenbaum, and now squatted on the sidewalk, grimacing, and clenching his arms on his head. He looked like he was trying to give himself a headache.

Tannenbaum tried to purge the memory of Quin from his mind, but Sheriff Cook interrupted him.

Listen,” he said, “I can’t even begin to pretend that I know what’s going on. Apparently you and Quin know each other, and Quin has traveled with this Lennard fellow, and you’re going to meet the dude in Alabama. To tell the truth, it’s a little much for an old man like me to take in.”

The average person would reflexively reassure Sheriff Cook that he wasn’t really all that old. Tannenbaum is not, however, the average person. Sheriff Cook is that old. Thankfully, Tannenbaum said nothing. He walked with the old man back to his office and told him a few regaling tales of his exploits, and patiently endured the few worn stories of Sheriff’s Cook’s life. The younger man found Cook’s stories boring, but enlightening to the more mundane aspects of a law officer’s life. Tannenbaum made a mental note to conduct a more thorough study, and excused himself gently.

Outside, he looked up and down the street in a precursory manner to see if Quin still hung around to throw himself at Tannenbaum’s feet. Seeing that the boy was absent, he drove away in his rental car and prepared his mind for the task that awaited him in the next day. His mind couldn’t help wandering back to the mysterious young man who followed him around in such an obvious manner. Really, the way that the youth threw his pointy head at him had begun to look embarrassing. As he pulled up at a red light, Tannenbaum couldn’t think of any other nice ways to say that Tannenbaum didn’t like this Quin fellow.

Philistines!”

Tannenbaum’s head jerked around like a balloon on a string. Quin stood at the crosswalk, shouting at the car that had been beside Tannenbaum, but had risked running the red light to escape the young man with the satchel. Tannenbaum couldn’t believe it. Did Quin stop at nothing to irritate and embarrass him? To follow him to this stoplight was the height of . . .

Suddenly, Tannenbaum realized the obvious in a single moment. Quin was not following him. Quin didn’t even realize that Tannenbaum was less than ten feet away from him. The light turned green and Tannenbaum sped off before Quin could have the chance to recognize him.

The surgeon’s mind raced like his car. How had Quin found him? He didn’t know where Tannenbaum had gone, he didn’t know Tannenbaum’s car, and he couldn’t have possibly kept pace with the car on foot. How could Quin have known that Tannenbaum would stop at that exact stoplight? He must not have known. It could only be a random chance. Tannenbaum shrugged lightly and wrote off the encounter as coincidence.

He spent the rest of the evening thinking, planning, and repacking his things. He hoped to drive to Mobile, Alabama bright and early in the morning, and wanted nothing to delay his departure. Then he realized he had forgotten his razor. A razor is not much to defray the plans of a mindful man of the world, but Tannenbaum prefers to be a man of habit and hygiene. He drove quickly to a local drugstore, pausing at a crosswalk to allow the pedestrians to reach the other side like the the chicken so abused in jokes since the dawn of poultry.

There, in the middle of the crosswalk, surrounded by people, oblivious to his surroundings, and wearing his red sneakers, walked Quin. Again, he didn’t see Tannenbaum, but to be fair, Tannenbaum didn’t give him the chance. He ducked his head down and took the car in an about face.

How? How? How? Tannenbaum asked himself. Again, Quin couldn’t possibly have known where Tannenbaum would be. He knew enough of chance and mathematics to calculate the odds of Quin finding him by accident. The probability against it was pretty dang high. Tannenbaum is too smart to believe in coincidence.

As an experiment, he drove randomly in the city of Miami, not making up his mind which way to turn until the very last minute, weaving a sprawling pattern through the streets of the town. So far, Quin had failed to appear again. Finally at ease, Tannenbaum slowed down slightly, and saw a crowd of fat men in lederhosen peering expectantly at the open window of a bus. Suddenly Tannenbaum’s nightmare poked his head out through the window.

Tannenbaum threw reason to the wind. There could be no possible doubt about it. Quin was not following him intentionally, but he followed him nonetheless. Tannenbaum swerved his rental car into a nearby parking lot, abandoned the car, called for a cab, and demanded to be taken immediately the airport, where he bought an airline ticket to Mobile under an assumed name. The night passed uneventfully, and the events of the evening lost their pale horror in the time alone Tannenbaum spent through the night.

Until the next morning when he drove his new rental to the gas station to fill up and saw the same bus full of lederhosen-clad men at the same gas station. Tannenbaum fled from the car and ran. He looked over his shoulder and saw Quin’s figure small in the distance.

He ducked into a nearby clothing store and disguised himself behind the first pair of uncharacteristic sunglasses his fingers touched. But still the monster stalked towards him, and even entered the same store. In a panic, Tannenbaum took a flamboyant sport shirt from a clothes rack and hid in the very last dressing room, the only one vacant. It was of no use. He could hear Quin come closer and closer, escorted by a saleswoman who threw open the curtain of Tannenbaum’s changing booth.

Peekaboo.” Quin taunted.

Gosh, this is fun. This post has been extra long, so the next installment on Saturday is a little bit up in the air. Come again, and thanks for reading!

 

2 thoughts on “Episode Thirty One: Again?

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