Chapter One: Chris.
Writing something that people take interest in is about as easy as hitting a bullseye. Meaning, sometimes you hit it right on the mark and sometimes you don’t even hit the board at all. One hit wonder is something that you hear thrown around a lot when it comes to songs. You hear that one song that you remember dancing to during your high school prom and go man that is one good tune. But when you go to look it up, thinking you’ll recognize the name of the band; you’re shocked to find that you’ve never heard of them. Upon further investigation you find they had other songs, all of which bombed in the worst way. Making them, of course, a One Hit Wonder. You don’t think of writers being labeled this way, you think of songs and bands. Yet, here I sat with a laptop screen full of crap and nothing flowing right.
Last month I celebrated my 40th birthday, making me already feel down and about as old as dirt. But that wasn’t all that month was going to dish out to me. First, all of my ideas for new books sent back to me from my editor and being told that they just wouldn’t beat my first book. A best seller, interesting, a page-turner. A murder mystery so scary that Steven King would be jealous, or so one of my reviews said. And the new ideas? Bland, boring, nothing special. Every idea turned down making me think that my career that just started had already ended, just like that. Just as it begun, already coming to a screeching halt. And, to end the month with a bang now, my girlfriend of 5 years decided to end things.
Could this be my mid life crisis? I always imagined myself having one after having a full life. A prospering career, a beautiful wife, a nice house then suddenly out of no where I would suddenly get sad and decided that I should get a motorcycle and invest in a leather jack and pants combo to stretch over a beer belly that I had grown over the years. Yet here I was, unfulfilled and a skinny paled stick at the age of 40 goggling how to get a motorcycle license in the Illinois. If this was my mid life crisis, it was not deserved at all. I hadn’t done enough in my life to be having a crisis.
The sound of my name being yelled at me from the doorway of my office made me slam my laptop shut and look. The tall red head stood looking at me with judgmental brown eyes. Nothing new really, she gave me the same look when we were still an item. Though when we were in love and planning a future together it felt a lot less hateful and a lot sexier. Now though, it was just annoying. “What?”
Arms crossed over her chest, wrapping around her small frame. “I’m all packed up.” Lexi said it in an accusing tone, like she was mad that I didn’t help her. But honestly, it was my place and she was the one that ended it so suddenly. If she wanted to leave, she could do it on her own. “So I’m leaving.”
My fingers tapped on the armrest of my computer chair, what did she want a parade? “Okay?” I spoke, “You know your way out.” I turned back to my desk, throwing open a random notebook. It opened to book ideas, most of which had already been rejected by my editor. I would rather look at failed ideas then Lexi though.
“Honestly, don’t be a dick about this.” Lexi huffed out and I chose to say nothing. “ This is ending because you don’t know what you want in life. All you do is stress out about writing. You’re forty years old living the life of a 25 year old, living your dreams and all that.”
“You work at Red Lobster Lexi. Is it really your place to preach to me?” I said, tapping my pen against paper. Leave, please just leave.
I wasn’t looking at her but, I could sense the eye roll. “Whatever Chris.”
A simple enough thing to say, but surely not the end of her complaining. She never just ended a conversation like that. It was never just a simple whatever, Lexi lived for fights and getting into them. It was me that always hated having them, doing whatever I could to settle a situation. But this time was different, because the next thing I heard was the sound of a slamming door. My eyes rose to look, the figure no longer standing in my office door. Just like that, five years gone in the blink of an eye.
I sighed, leaning back against the chair as I rubbed my face. Their had been times that I thought she had been the one, that this was the woman I would marry. I guess I was thinking that up until she walked in and told me it was over, that she wanted different things and different people. Classic. Then again, maybe I was settling. After a while, you don’t want to worry about true love anymore. You just want to get on with life.
I rose from my feet, walking into the next room on my way to the kitchen. I needed coffee, or maybe even something stronger. What time was it? I didn’t make it far though, I found myself freezing my place to see the small figure sitting on the ground staring at me with brown eyes.
“Jesus Christ.” How did I forget? Only I would manage to forget about my ‘gift’ from Lexi. A birthday gift, she said, or maybe a goodbye present. Who knows? Black and brown fur, literally the tiniest body I had ever seen. I wasn’t one to call a dog a ‘not manly’ choice but… That’s exactly what this was.
A 6-pound Morkie puppy that was sitting on the floor like he had been waiting for me to come out and remember he was there. It’s small tail started to wag at me, like it was trying to sweep the hardwood floor. In my mind I had assumed that Lexi would be taking him with her. Though he was a gift for me, she spent more time with him and took care of the little guy.
What in the hell was I going to do with a beanbag-sized puppy? Or any dog for that matter. I like dogs, but never saw myself getting on until later in life. Like when I had kids and wanted to be the best dad ever. I never thought I would be alone with a small Maltese yorked mix. “Right, you probably want to eat…”
A small yip was given, the puppy scrambling to it’s feet as it ran to the kitchen trading at times on the slick hardwood floor. I ran a hand through messy brown hair, what was I going to do with a dog?
I threw food into a bowl in the kitchen, watching the puppy devour it with vigor as I leaned against the counter with my cup of coffee. I went through my checklist in my head, something I found myself doing almost ever hour these days. Get more things to fill up the house since half of it is now missing, write a best selling novel so I can keep eating, get some food in the house, and…
My list wasn’t completed in my head; my thoughts cut off as I watched the puppy suddenly raise its leg and pee on my kitchen cabinet and then trot off without a worry in the world or any concerns. What a way to live.
Another sip of my coffee was taken, “I guess I should add learning how to house train a puppy to my list.”
Great. This would be great.