Chapter One: Roger’s Life
The day started like any other for Roger Tisdale, meaning he opened his eyes.
When he looked around the room he didn’t notice anything different; he never noticed
when things changed, or when they stayed the same. That is probably the reason why
Cindy left him, he never noticed her. Now that she was gone he noticed, not her, really,
just the absence of her. As if everyday he said to himself, “Didn’t there used to be
someone else around here that used to talk to me from time to time?” He had never really
needed her, he wasn’t lonely or anything like that, it’s just that “A man his age should
have someone in his life, as everybody knows.” Or so his Mother always told him. It
had been three months since Cindy, angry and broken-hearted, walked out the door and
left Roger who, somehow without noticing it, was able to continue with his life very
much as it was. Today would be different though, and Roger was going to notice it,
whether he wanted to or not.
Roger led a very predictable life. His day began with waking up at eleven
minutes after seven, without the help of the alarm clock that had been set for seven-thirty
for the past six years. He would then start the coffee at seven-fifteen, on his way to get
the paper from the driveway at seven-sixteen. From there Roger would get into the
shower at seven twenty-two, spend thirty seconds trying to avoid the scalding water
falling on every part of his naked flesh until he could adjust it to the most comfortable
temperature he could find. He would then spend the next thirty to forty seconds peeing in
the shower; watching his urine swirl slowly down the drain, hoping that his shower water
didn’t just get recycled back into his house as drinking water, like his Mother always said
it did; which was of course, as his mother said, “The reason you should never pee in the
shower, as everybody knows!” Roger’s Mother was always very big on knowing what
After his shower, which ended at precisely seven forty-six give or take seventeen
seconds, Roger would shave (ten minutes), brush his teeth (two minutes), check to see if
his nose hairs need trimming (two minutes), put on under-arm deodorant (roughly twenty
seconds), and get dressed (another fifteen minutes). Roger would then go downstairs,
start his car to warm it up, go back inside, and drink half a cup of coffee while he
pondered whether or not he should look at the paper while “enjoying” his coffee, which
he never did enjoy but felt he needed a jolt of caffeine to keep him going throughout the
day. He would then dump the other half of his coffee down the drain, again wondering if
he would be drinking recycled coffee later. Roger would then grab his coat and the
paper, and be on his way to work by no later than eight thirty. His day was now in full
Living and working where Roger did fit nicely into his very predictable life,
nothing very exciting (or different for that matter) ever happened here. In fact, the only
interesting thing about where Roger lived was his address; not even his address actually
just the name of his street was interesting. Roger lived at 1610 Coryza, why the street
was named such Roger could never understand because coryza means an acute nasal
congestion due to secretion of mucus, or simply put a head cold. Why anyone would
want to name a street after a head cold was very puzzling to Roger, yet he still liked
living where he did. His house was located on the north side of the street, the third house
as you turned on to his street on the left hand side. The house is a taupe color with white
trim and a three car garage, a nice modest home with three bedrooms two and a half
bathrooms and a well-manicured lawn. A perfect house for a small family, a fact which
always made Roger wonder why he purchased it. Being single he certainly didn’t need
that much room, so he would justify the purchase by telling himself that real estate was
always a sound investment, and besides he liked the neighborhood.
Roger lived in a quiet, well respected neighborhood where everyone kept their
cars out of the street, their garage doors closed, and their porch lights on, even during the
day. His neighbors kept to themselves, for the most part, but still managed to be friendly.
There was a time when everyone in the neighborhood, at one time or another, tried to
invite Roger to neighborhood barbeques, or invited him over to watch whatever game
might be on television. But Roger, in his polite slightly friendly way, would thank them
for the invitation and then let them know that he didn’t think he was going to be able to
make it. Pretty soon everyone stopped trying to invite him to do “neighborly” things with
them and left him pretty much alone. They would still exchange friendly waves with him
and an occasional “how ya doin’ neighbor”, but not much else. Everyone also came to
the same basic conclusion about Roger which was that he was a nice enough fellow, an
odd little duck, but in a less than Norman Bates kind of way, so no one really bothered
him. With the exception of one incident.
Roger never knew it but at one time the Vice-President of the Neighborhood
Watch Association, Verna Colbert age 92, insisted that they keep an eye out for him
because she was sure he was either a Mad Scientist who might be plotting some nefarious
scheme to take over the world one neighborhood at a time, or a Nazi spy. Whichever one
it was it didn’t bode well with her and she didn’t want to be caught with her guard down.
The motion to keep an eye on Roger Tisdale was denied, as the rest of the Association
believed that Verna might just be entering the first stages of senility.
All in all Roger liked where he lived, even if the strange old lady in the purple,
gold, and green jogging suit gave him weird looks out of the corner of her eye. He liked
it so much he sometimes wished he could work from home, and then he would never
have to leave his house, except for the occasional trip to the grocery store.
Where Roger worked was smack-dab in the middle of downtown, approximately
fifteen minutes driving time from Roger’s house, in the second tallest building in the city.
Roger worked for the state government as an insurance underwriter, which was suited to
Roger as he didn’t have to deal with people all that often. To get to work Roger would
drive his white 2006 Chevy Lumina the same way to work everyday. Leaving his
neighborhood he would avoid the interstate taking Stilson Ave, which connected his part
of town with downtown taking him past the old Train Depot, which hadn’t been a
working train depot for who knows how long. His Mother probably knew. The old Train
Depot was now a sort of museum/banquet hall used mostly for weddings and other events
that would fit into a large hall type building. In fact most of the couples in town had been
married there, having taken the pictures they used in their wedding invitations on
the grounds of the Depot, which was very lovely for that sort of thing. Not that Roger
noticed that the grounds were lovely he just knew that he passed by the Depot on his way
to work. Roger then passed by some school, possibly the University. Roger had never
seen anyone who looked like they were unhappy to be there or were there against their
In his car Roger always had his radio tuned to the same station, 100.5 fm “lite hits
you and your parents can both enjoy”. The only time the radio had ever been tuned to
another station since Roger had purchased the car was whenever Cindy was in the car.
She would get in, ask the same question, “How can you stand to listen to this music?”
and change the station, making sure to turn the radio back to the station it was set at when
she got in. Cindy was the type of person who preferred to listen to a station that didn’t
mix Elton John and Celine Dion with Englebert Humperdinck, Perry Como, and The
Benny Goodman Band. As for Roger, he never really listened to who was singing on the
radio he just figured playing music was better background noise for driving than the
sound of the tires on the pavement. So he was tuned to 100.5 fm “lite hits you and your
parents can both enjoy”, not because he liked the music they played, but because that was
the station that the radio was tuned into when he bought his car.
Arriving downtown, Roger would park in the same place everyday, in the parking
garage on the corner of Main and 9th Street, on the fourth level, on the west end of the
building near the outside railing and the elevator. Although his car came with the alarm
feature, Roger never used his car alarm when he locked up his car. The one time he did
use the alarm, he had forgotten that it was on, so when he tried to open his door the
piercing, shrieking sound coming from his car caused him to drop his keys over the
railing and down to the ground, which sent Roger down the stairs to go get them. Of
course the elevator was out of service that day. By the time he got back up to the fourth
level a crowd had gathered near his car wondering who had set off the alarm, as the
security in the garage is usually very reliable. Roger waited with the crowd, pretending
that the car wasn’t his until the car alarm had reset itself and the crowd had lost interest in
who the owner of the car was.
Leaving the garage, Roger would walk south on 9th Street for two blocks, then
west on Quisling Drive for one block arriving at one of the oldest buildings in the city,
The Kennedy Building, where he worked on the 7th floor. This walk took Roger
approximately five minutes. After the elevator ride to his floor, Roger would be at his
desk by no later than eight fifty-three ready to go to work, that is unless he was stopped
by someone in his office with a question for him. No one ever stopped Roger to chit-
chat. Like the people in his neighborhood, the people in Roger’s office had long since
given up trying to make small talk with Roger. Not that people disliked Roger, it was
just that they all understood Roger wasn’t the social kind. So for the most part, unless
someone had a work related question to ask him, most of the people in Roger’s office left
him alone. Most of the people that is.
The hardest part of Roger’s job, and in fact his life, was trying to get to his desk
without running into two of the people in his office, one was his boss Mr. Weynard and
the other was one of his co-workers, Vince Fiore. Mr. Weynard, whose first name was
Barney, was not that bad really it was just that when he spoke to you he mumbled. You
could understand the first two or three words he said to you but after that, what he said
was anybody’s guess. Roger wouldn’t even try to avoid Mr. Weynard if it hadn’t been
for one time, two years ago, when Mr. Weynard had asked Roger for a favor. Roger was
just coming back from lunch when he heard,
“Yes Mr. Weynard?”
“I need a favor, wzzz ymmph trzzz tiii lummptee ahhh feeehl ohna shmmerp annn
buremmp tmmmi bnnn thhh muumle ovv nai waaa?”
“I’m sorry, Sir, I didn’t catch…”
“Thank you Tisdale, I waahh furmmp gahnnt.”
Roger never did find out what the favor was, and apparently Mr. Weynard didn’t
know either because he never came to Roger to find out if Roger had done what he had
asked him to do or maybe Mr. Weynard had simply forgotten he had asked Roger to do
something. Either way Roger wasn’t taking any chances. Roger figured that if he ever
ran into Mr. Weynard, one of two things was bound to happen, either Mr. Weynard
would remember that he had asked Roger to do something two years ago and fire Roger
for not having done it or, heaven forbid, Mr. Weynard would ask Roger for another favor.
Neither scenario was very appealing to Roger. But worse than running into Mr.
Weynard, was running into Vince.
Everyone who has ever walked on planet earth has at one point or another met a
person like Vince Fiore, the BMOC, the Big Man On Campus. The BMOC is the guy
who thrives on being in the spotlight, he has seen everything, and done everything, it
doesn’t matter what it is, he’s been there done that, and he has done it better than you!
He has millions of adventures, sexual escapades, and jokes to prove it, and he wants to
tell you every single one. According to him, he is the envy of every man, the desire of
every woman, and God’s gift to this little planet.
Truth and accuracy are not all that important to the BMOC, you listening to him is
what matters. And the most important things a BMOC need are his cronies, the little
guys that follow him around laughing at his jokes and believing all the stories he tells
them, like how he used to be a porn star before he decided to work where he works now.
Without his cronies, that are always in awe of him, the BMOC is just the loud mouth who
no one likes. Dating back to the time of Adam and Eve when the little BMOC circle first existed, Adam was the guy who was annoyed by the BMOC, the Serpent was the BMOC,
and Eve unfortunately took the role, however briefly, of the crony.
Adam and Eve were just wandering around the Garden of Eden admiring the
perfection of everything when the Serpent came along and told them, “Yeah it’s nice, but
hey take a bite of this fruit and you’ll see something that’ll really knock your fig leaves
off!” Then Adam says to the Serpent, “Whatever.” and walks away. Eve on the other
hand, believing the Serpent, says, “Really!” and takes a bite. Adam and Eve had the
Serpent. Roger Tisdale had Vince Fiore.
Vince Fiore was an Italian who liked to wear clothes that were about two sizes too
small for him; it was much easier to show everybody how big his arms were that way.
Vince always reminded Roger of a professional wrestler he had once seen on television.
He was very large, he liked to flex his muscles, and he didn’t seem to be all that bright.
For example, when Vince first meets someone he lets them know that he is, “Vince Fiore
100% pure Italian!” At the same time he rolls up his sleeve and shows off what should
be a tattoo of his last name, Fiore (which means flower in English), written above the
Italian Flag (green/white/red). What he actually shows everybody is a tattoo of his last
name, Fiore, written above the Irish Flag (green/white/orange).
The stupidity factor wasn’t what bothered Roger about Vince, it was the BMOC
factor that bothered Roger, and the way Vince always greeted Roger every time he saw
him. Vince would call out to Roger from the other side of the room, pronouncing his
name as if it were French saying, “Hey Ro-jer how they hanging buddy?” In fact, he
greeted everyone that way, including women. This was why Roger was always a little
confused about what exactly “they” were. The other reason Roger would go to great
lengths to avoid Vince was that once Vince started telling one of his tales, you were
pretty well stuck listening to him for the next thirty to forty minutes, because even if you
walked away he would just follow you continuing to talk. And the more excited he
became the louder his voice got until the whole room was filled with only his voice, no
other sound, no air, just Vince.
The shortest story Vince ever told was about the time he climbed Mount Everest
with a large rock in his backpack so that when he reached the top he could put the rock
on the peak and stand on it, making him the one who climbed higher than any other man
ever. He had just gotten to the part where he was referring to Sir Edmund Hilary as
“Edward Hilary the Limey Loser,” when, in a moment of divine intervention, Mr.
Weynard stuck his head out of his office and, making every one of his three
understandable words count, yelled, “FIORE! SHUT UP!” Without skipping a beat
Vince said, “Sure ting Mr. Dubba-ya.” as though he was just asked if he wanted a sub
sandwich. At that same moment one of the receptionists, a twenty something girl named
Sharon who wore mini-skirts and low cut blouses, passed by prompting Vince to say,
“Hey Sharon you’re lookin good to-day! Catch you on the flip side Ro-jer. Hey Sharon,
wait up. Did I ever tell you what I used ta do before I came ta work here?” And like that
he was gone, and Roger was able to get on with his day.
Roger would usually work through lunch, that way he could leave by five and still
get in a full days work. After work was the only time anything varied in Roger’s
schedule. Sometimes he would head straight for home, sometimes he would visit his
mother, and sometimes he would head over to a little bistro he was quite fond of for
dinner. Two blocks away from where he worked, Roger’s best friend from college,
Jimmy Heckenkamp, owned a small restaurant called Jimmy’s King Street Bistro. Roger
and Jimmy were roommates in college. Roger studied business and Jimmy studied
several things, but his major was culinary arts. After graduation, Jimmy was immediately
offered a chef’s position at one of the best restaurants in town which he immediately
turned down. Jimmy, encouraged by his girlfriend Marci Robinson, had decided he was
going to open his own restaurant. So that’s exactly what he did. Jimmy’s King Street
Bistro quickly became one of the best places in town to eat. To Roger, Jimmy had never
changed from when they were in college. Jimmy was almost never serious about
anything except his restaurant. When it came to the bistro, the only time Jimmy let his
jokester nature come out was with the sign outside. He had deliberately ordered the sign
in two different sizes of letters; the first line in very large letters and the second line in
letters that were almost unreadable, so that when you went past his place the sign read:
Jimmy said he just wanted to make sure everyone knew who was in charge. Roger would
stop by the bistro two or three times a week. He would eat a small dinner, for free of
course, and visit with Jimmy. He was usually there for a couple of hours, leaving at
around seven-fifteen and heading back to the parking garage.
Roger was never home later than eight o’clock. At home he would get out the
newspaper, which he had carried around with him all day, and finally read it. He never
really read the newspaper, usually he would just read all the story headlines and look at
the pictures that went with the stories, if there were any. “Reading” the newspaper would
usually take Roger about half an hour to forty five minutes, he would then spend about
fifteen to twenty minutes listening to nothing. Roger would just sit there in a quiet room
with his eyes closed and let all the tension of the day just leave, he called this “relaxing.”
By nine twenty Roger was in his pajamas with his teeth brushed, ready for bed.
Climbing into bed, Roger would check to make sure the alarm clock, which he never
woke up to, was set, and be asleep by no later than nine forty-one. Nine and a half hours
later it would start all over. Today, however, things were going to vary ever so slightly in