[Writing] A Man of His Word Part 2/3 (Short Story by J.R. Stark)

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Words - 1610
Theme - Decline   
 
        Stan hated weddings. He would have ditched this one hours ago, if it weren't his own.
   They had met because of a dating service. They had both worked there for years. They had noticed each other, and Stan had wanted to speak to her, but couldn't build up the courage to say hello.
   She was the one that finally did.
   “I'm Micheal.” is all she had said, presenting her hand.
   “I know.” Stan had said, almost instantly wanting to bite off his stupid tongue, he was finally speaking to her, and all he can say is “I know”.
   He shook her hand, “Want to get, would you, um.”
   “Do you want to get coffee?”
   “Yes!”
   A year ago, they had gotten coffee, and now the main proceedings of their wedding had concluded. It was his job to walk around and speak to all the newly acquired family members.
   A hand shake, some small talk, and move on to the next.
   One man seemed to somehow avoid him. Stan saw him out of the corner of his eye every few minutes, but never got a clear view of him.
   He had given up meeting the mysterious man when near the end, he approached Stan.
   “Hey.” the man said, trying not to make eye contact.
   “Hello. I'm Stan.” he said, reaching out to shake hands with the man.
   Hands locked, the man finally looked Stan in the face, “Mike, I'm your, you married my...”
   “Mike!” Stan pulled him in and began a hug that ended quickly. Mike stood, arms loosely at his side. His body tensed up.
   “Sorry, are you not a hug guy?”
   “No, it's just. I've been trying to think of what to say to you.”
   Stan released him, “Did you?”
   “What?”
   “Think of what to say to me?”
   “Maybe. Everything I could think of sounded like a threat, so I'll just say, you take care of her.”
   “I will.”
   Mike motioned to his nose. Pretending to wipe something away.
   “What?” Stan asked.
   “You're bleeding. Your nose.”
   Stan felt the skin between his mouth and nose, his finger came away red with blood.
   “Oh, sorry.”
   “Here.” Mike handed him a napkin.
   “Thank you.” Stan said, covering his nose with the napkin and tilting his back.
    She walked over to Stan quickly and took the napkin and tilted his head forward.
   “Hey, don't do that, it's not good for you,” she said, placing the napkin back on his nose.
   “Ok honey.” Stan said with a smile.
   “I think it's time we left, we have some business back home.”
   Mike backed away, “I don't what to hear anything else, thanks. Nice meeting you Stan.”
   “Nice meeting you too.”

   * * *
   
   Stan folded the clothing before him. He occasionally took a sip of his coffee and checked his phone. No new messages.
   When he had almost finished folding the clothing, a knock.
   He finished the shirt he had started and went to answer it.
   When Stan answered the door, a police officer stood waiting, his hat in his hand.
   “Yes?”
   “May I speak to you?” the officer asked.
   Stan motioned for him to enter, “sure.”
   The officer took a few steps into the house, then paused before saying, “we found your wife's car. We believe there may be fowl play involved. I'm going to have to ask you to come down to the station with me.”
   “Wait, what do you mean, her car? Where is she?”
   “We do not know at this time,” he placed his hand on Stan's shoulder, “I don't have to cuff you if you can cooperate.”
   “Ok.”
   He let the officer walk him to his patrol car and guided him into the back seat.
   They asked him hundreds of questions. Some seemed to be topical, “Were you two fighting?” or “Did she seem distraught lately?”. Then there were questions like, “Have large amounts of money been disappearing from your account?” and “Has she disappeared before, or gone missing for a while?”
   He felt drained, and was glad when they let him leave.
   He didn't make it back home that night, instead he found himself at the bar nearest the police station. When the sun rose, he returned to his empty home.
   
   * * *

   Stan scanned the room.
   Thirteen chairs set in a circle. Each with a name taped to the front. A small table with hard cookies and cold coffee.
   Only a few of the chairs had people in them, and the most important chair was still empty.
   He checked his watch, the counselor was late again.
   The door opened, and more stragglers entered the room and found their seats.
   When the counselor finally arrived, he first took the time to pour himself a cup of coffee.
   He was a handsome man, but he dressed like a rich boy ready to hit the golf course.
   “How are you all doing today?” he asked.
   A rough looking man raised his hand, and once called on, he stood and said, “I'm doing good, I'm just wondering why our chairs are in different spots.”
   “I thought it would help to change things up a bit.”
   The man sat back down.
   The counselor did not. He continued to hover around them, checking for signs of use from a distance. Stan wasn't sure he could really tell by just looking.
   “Stan, you didn't speak last time.”
   “I don't speak.”
   The counselor nodded, “Yes, I know.”
   Finally he sat.
   “I don't know any of these people. They don't have any business knowing about my wife.”
   “You still blame her don't you?”
   Stan clenched his fist, “why would I? What ever made you think that? The part where she was cheating on me with a drug dealer, or maybe when she hid away because there were people trying to kill her. I thought she was dead. I thought somebody had taken her from me.
   “Now I have to ask myself, did she ever love me?”
   “What do you think?”
   “Yes. I still love her, wherever she is.”
   The counselor nodded and moved onto the next attendee.

   * * *

   His head hit the side of the trunk, but that's not what had woken him.
   Somebody was saying his name, over and over.
   He opened his eyes, and looked around the best he could. The only thing in sight were Mike's feet and a spare tire.
   “Stan! Stan, wake up! Stan! Come on, please. Don't be dead!” Mike screamed.
   The car stopped, or was it a truck?
   Footsteps.
   “I told you to shut up you jack ass. Damn boy. Aint' nobody gonna hear you out here. Save your breath, and my ears. You yell anymore and I'm pulling you out that trunk and beating your ass.”
   Footsteps, then an engine turning over.
   They were moving again, and his head was once again hitting the inside of the trunk.
   “I'm alive.” Stan croaked.
   “Good, we're in a bad spot now,” Mike said, now speaking in a whisper.
   “Were we,” he paused to allow his mouth to generate saliva, “in a good spot before?”
   “Well, if we don't do something soon, we're dead.”
   Stan closed his eyes, “ok.”

   * * *
   
   Did he really have it so bad back then?
   When he had learned the truth of his wife, he vowed to never let this happen to anybody else. He studied, and took many tests. He finally achieved his goal. He became a private investigator.
   He had thought this would fix his life, that it would suddenly turn around and make everything alright. It didn't.
   He got too few jobs, and the jobs he did get were usually wild goose chases.
   That was if he did get a case, which he hadn't that day.
   He sat, watching television, hoping somebody would call and hire him. The knocking on his door didn't register for a few moments, and when it did, he wasn't sure he wanted to bother answering it, until he heard a voice.
   “Hey, Stan... please answer the door man.”
   Stan complied with the request.
   “Hey Mike,” Stan said, moving out of the way so Mike could enter.
   He instead stood in the doorway, “I wanted to talk to you, about... her. I want you to find her. I have to talk with her. I have to figure out why she did this.”
   He had wanted a job, but not this one. This is one that he had wanted to forget. He didn't want to ever think of her again.
   “No,” Stan said.
   “Please, I need to know.”
   “You don't think that I wanted to know, I did. I don't now. I don't want to think about her.”
   “I'll pay you double what you usually get.”
   “OK, for you.”
   For the next few months, he looked for her. He followed a trail that she had lain down.
   When he had found her, he went to Mike's home, and knocked on his door.
   All the info he had found was now in an envelope.
   “Stan, thank you.” Mike said.
   “No problem man, you don't have to pay me anything. I've been getting enough work to keep me going.”
   Mike grabbed him, but Stan went limp and pushed away.
   “I'm sorry.”
   Mike shook his head, “Any time you need me, anything you need, I'm here.”
   Stan simply shook his head and walked to his car. Mike seemed to be waiting for him to leave before going inside.
   Stan waved before driving away.

   Mike ripped open the envelope, a single piece of paper. He pulled the paper from the envelope and looked at it, blank. He turned it over, a single line was written at the top.
   She's dead.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2015, 09:21:05 AM by boe »
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God... poor Stan. Despite whatever happened to him in the previous story, everything he went through here is just heartbreaking. I mean, not finding a decent job? Find out that his wife is dead, and being so shocked that he can only put it in so few words? I about cried while reading this, honest to god.

To me, there's just nothing more sad than having nothing going on in your life. Never mind losses, battles with loved ones, money troubles... if your life is overly simplistic and you really don't have anything (no girlfriend, no job, no car, no real social life), then to me, it hurts more than almost anything. The way you portrayed that in this story is fantastic, and I applaud you for it.

...though I couldn't really find an explanation to the turban from the last story in here, unfortunately.  :-\

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I like the shift from Mike to Stan. ;_; He seemed like a bum in the last one, but you did a good job of making him more human and lovable in this one. In fact, this story makes both of them more lovable characters. I actually really like this part better than the first - though I liked both of them! It's a bit easier to grasp what's going on, the characters are more approachable, and the story tends to keep the same mood throughout. I love it! B)

There were a couple things that I just thought of, somewhat involving grammar:

Quote from: Lord Stark's Story
He pulled the paper from the envelope and looked at it, blank.

For some reason, the ", blank" keeps throwing me off. o.o I think that's done in a couple other parts, too. I feel like they should be another sentence, maybe? But then, that brings the issues of overpopulating one-word sentences. I love the use of them, but I think there may be a bit too many of them sometimes and it makes things just a tad bit too vague. o.o But it's nice and to-the-point at the same time, so I'm just stating an itty bitty preference that could very well just be me. B)
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The one thing I like about your writing is that you have an idea of where your'e going from the start. I like it when an author has a sense of where he is headed. I don't feel like I'm along for a ride where we'll end up lost together.   I liked this installment better, but I thought it needed to be more than one installment. Just because everything seemed to be going so fast. I feel like we learned about several years of Stan and Mike's lives in just a few moments.  I would like to see you develop your characters more. After two installments I still don't care about Mike or Stan and I want to. I enjoy reading your stories so I want to care what happens to your characters. I'm close, I'm just not sold yet. 

Also paragraphs. Commas are awesome, so are paragraphs lol  I am looking forward to the next installment. I can't wait to find out what the deal is with the turban. How is Mike associated with Stan's wife (his daughter? his sister?) :yuyu:

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Rep:
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GIAW 14: 2nd Place (Hard Mode)2013 Zero to Hero2013 Biggest Drama WhoreParticipant - GIAW 11Secret Santa 2013 ParticipantFor taking arms in the name of your breakfast.
Thank you all for reading. ^_^
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