Sunday, 14 November 2010

Phone Tag

Another little short story for you, because it's been a while. I decided to write this in the first person, partly because I don't write nearly enough in the first person and it's quite enjoyable, but mostly because I feel a little guilty putting so much exposition in when writing in the third person; I prefer to show rather than tell, but that takes much longer, especially when there's so much you need to know to get the point of the story. The pay-off isn't big enough to justify a longer piece, so I decided the change of person was necessary. That being said I rather like the characters, so I might think about a longer story featuring the same people.

Anyway, enough explanation of  my thought process, enjoy Phone Tag.

Andy struck one of his cheesy rock-and-roll poses as he strummed the final chord of ‘Killing in the Name of’ on Guitar Hero. Just as the note faded into the cheering or the crowd, his phone rang. Jumping up, Andy frisked himself in search of his phone and nearly gutted me with the end of the crappy, garish plastic guitar as he spun to find the source of the high pitch tone.
Andy’s face dropped when he saw the caller ID and the excitement of pretending to be a rock star in the living room faded.
“Sorry Steve, I have to take this.” I shrugged and pulled the strap of the guitar over my head. Leaning it on the side of the couch, I slumped into the comfortable seat.
“I was getting bored of Guitar Hero anyway.” I smiled weakly as he pulled the phone up to his ear and turned to leave the room.
“Hi Karen!” Steve called jovially into the phone and walked out of the door into the kitchen of the small flat we shared.
The mention of Steve’s girlfriend snatched my attention. I pulled the remote from down the side of the sofa and hit ‘mute’. Climbing over the furniture, I arranged myself so that I looked relaxed enough, but was as close to the door as possible so I could try to listen to the conversation.
Andy had been acting strangely ever since he got back from work, so I’d had guessed that something must be up, but whenever I’d brought it up Andy had dismissed it as ‘nothing’ and had got angry when I tried to pursue the issue further.
“Listen, Karen, I know what you think happened, and I can see how it seemed that way at the time, but if you’ll just listen, it’s not what you think.” Stress strained Andy’s voice.
I wondered what Andy had done wrong. There was a lot of stuff wrong with Andy, but an adulterer he was not. There were only about two things of which you could be certain when it came to Andy; that he loved Karen and that he was hiding something from you. Andy was a compulsive liar with huge trust issues, which were probably hangovers from his days as an amateur drug dealer back when he was living in Seattle. Since moving to California and meeting Karen he’s cleaned up his act, but he remained a hard man to trust.
“Yes I know I promised honey, and that’s why you know I didn’t do it.” He was cut off mid stream. “But you do matter to me. I love you, which is how you know I’m telling you the truth.”
I wasn’t entirely sure why Karen put up with Andy. He loved her to bits, but was pathologically incapable of showing it. I’d grown up with him, so I knew what I was getting into when I agreed to living with him, but Karen didn’t have the same excuse. He’d barely been in Frisco for a month and they’d hooked up. Karen was my best friend, so I was a little worried when they got together, but it’d turned out surprisingly well so far.
“That’s not true Baby. You know I’m trying. I didn’t betray you I swear, you’ve got it all wrong.” Again he trailed off for a moment. “Of course I want this relationship more, you know that… I have got better and you’re why. I don’t do that any more… What you saw isn’t what happened… No of course I’m not, you’re the smartest person I know, but that doesn’t mean you’re not jumping to conclusions here… I know you don’t trust me, I get that, but please hear me out.”
As I lay on the couch, listening to half this argument, I wondered what Andy had done this time. I was pretty sure Andy hadn’t gone screwing some other chick; Sex had never been Andy’s weakness. I thought Andy had cleaned up has act with regards to substances, but now I was having my doubts.
“OK, I’m coming over, Steve’s here and I need to talk to you in private. You know how nosey he is.” I felt my cheeks heat slightly. “I don’t want to get him involved in this; it’s not fair on him.” I smiled slightly; maybe he had changed since moving from Seattle.
There was a click as the phone was folded shut. Andy walked out of the kitchen with a neutral expression. “I’m heading over to Karen’s, dunno when I’ll be back.”
“Anything up?” I asked from the couch.
“Nah,” he waved a dismissive hand. “It’s nothing.”
As he walked out of the flat, I noticed telltale needle marks on his arms. Maybe he hadn’t changed after all.

No comments:

Post a Comment