The Fifteen Minute Novel: Day 20

The Fifteen Minute Novel is a novel written fifteen minutes at a time with each week day’s section starting with the sentence from the previous day. At least it is attempting to be a novel. For now I am just aiming at one continuous story, worked on for fifteen minutes each day. Started Friday January 1st, 2021 (in case you want to search for the beginning. I can’t wait to see where it ends up. It could be good, or it could be a mess. We’ll have to see. For now, here is today’s fifteen minutes.

Day 20: “By all means,” James said.  “Let’s go shopping.” 

“By all means,” James said.  “Let’s go shopping.”  Carson handed James his phone, apparently confident that James wouldn’t be calling back to his former life and attempting to settle affairs.  James slid the phone into his pocket and realized he hadn’t picked up his wallet.  Once he retrieved his wallet he realized it was empty as he turned in his former id and cards before being shipped out of town.  The new photos, debit and credit cards were in the folder he was given the night before and James took a moment to transfer them to his wallet, added his wallet to his pocket and picked up the keys.

Carson waited patiently by the door. “Forgot I hadn’t gotten my new id settled,” James explained. 

“Ah,” Carson replied.  “Do you have everything now?

“I believe so.” The two men left the apartment and James locked the door behind him.  If anything the building looked even more depressing in the daylight. They walked downstairs and got into Carson’s vehicle. 

“So was this just the first available apartment you could find or do all of your witnesses end up her for their first six months?” James asked as they pulled away from the curb.

“I can’t really talk about other people in the program,” Carson said going stiff in the neck and shoulders.

“Right. Sorry.”

James looked out of the window and tried to get his bearings as they drove from his apartment to the nearest grocery store. Carson pointed out the nearest bus stop and the map of routes on the bus stop rain shelter.  Most of the map looked to be graffiti-ed over, but Carson promised there was a fresh map in the file. 

When they reached the store, James found his selection was rather limited.  He was hoping to find fresh meals he could keep in the fridge and then either move to the table to eat cold or transfer to the oven to cook according to package directions.  This store had none of that.  It had a sad display of fresh vegetables, mostly carrots and potatoes with a few very bruised looking tomatoes and a couple of questionable cucumbers.  Everything else was prepackaged.  From what James could see it ran heavily to the cookies and potato chip categories.  He was vaguely surprised there were that many varieties of chips to choose from as the vast array didn’t seem to include the brands he was familiar seeing.  Off to the left was a long corridor of frozen foods and it was in this direction James turned. 

“I don’t suppose we could stop somewhere for a microwave so that I don’t have to haul it on the bus?” James asked as Carson walked half a pace behind him, more to stay out of his way while James chose his frozen courses.

“We can do that before we head back,” Carson replied.

James felt a little relief and leaned over to read the listed offerings.  He concentrated on the items that vaguely resembled things where the picture on the front looked vaguely familiar.  When he  felt he had enough food for at least a week, he added a large can of pre ground coffee, a gallon of milk, A large bag of sugar, a couple of boxes of plastic utensils, a packet of paper plates and a sleeve of plastic cups.  After a moment hesitation he added another sleeve of Styrofoam cups.  He couldn’t remember the last time he used Styrofoam but there were no insulated cardboard cups as an option.

As stocked as he could be on groceries, James pulled a copy of every magazine and newspaper from the offered rack that didn’t look like celebrity gossip and added it to his cart.

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