Interrogating Josh

I’m sitting at my favorite coffeeshop with its board games on the walls, its sepia walls and Postmodern Jukebox playing on the speaker. My spot is one of the two comfortable chairs halfway up the length of the shop. My computer is perched on the stand in front of me. I’m not, however, making any headway into my story.

I stop, frustrated, and take a sip of my coffee. I buckle back down to writing, or at least staring at my keyboard.

A voice, a light tenor, spoke close beside me. “May I sit down?” 

I look up to see a slender man with black bangs threatening to fall into his eyes. I know this man; I smile and motion to the seat. “Josh, it’s good to see you.”
“I was in the neighborhood and — ” he shrugged. “I thought I’d come in and talk.” He sat on the other upholstered easy chair.

“You’re just the person I wanted to talk to,” I replied. Josh nodded as if he already knew that. Which, of course, he did, being a figment of my imagination.

Talking to one of my characters always felt eerie, like the veil had lifted between this world and the world I wrote about, which looked remarkably alike except for the presence of Powers. Josh, slight and young as he was, held some of that power, and I could feel it in the economy of his movements, in his direct gaze.

“So, Josh,” I began, a little nervous. “You’ve grown.”

“Not really,” he said wryly, indicating his slight build. “I’ve just gotten older.”

“That’s the point. You know what you want now. You’re not having the puppy crush you had a few years ago.” Josh’s crush on Jeanne Beaumont, the botany professor, was standard knowledge between the two of us. 

“I still want Jeanne. Maybe I can get her to believe me now. But still, I’m …” Josh trailed off, and I finished off the sentence in my mind. Twenty years younger. 

“But this is Jeanne,” I offered. “Jeanne’s not exactly — typical.”

“That’s good. Neither am I,” he smiled ruefully.

That’s an understatement, I thought. I imagined I could feel his ki, his energy bunched up in his solar plexus. True power was always quiet, needing not to introduce itself unless necessary. 

“So, what now?” I asked him out of the companionable silence.

“I introduce myself. Worst that can happen is we end up being friends. Or I make a fool of myself.” He looked at his hands.

“But that’s not going to stop you, is it?”

“No. My gut tells me this is what I need to do.” His gut. His ki. The source of his quiet assuredness.

And this is how the story will start.

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  1. Pingback: Words Like Me

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