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 30: “Just moving in?” she asked as he began placing items on the conveyor belt.
“Just moving in?” she asked as he began placing items on the conveyor belt.
“I am,” James said.
She nodded, “Thought so. This has the look of a new place to it.” The clerk began scanning his items. Her hands shifted the items from the conveyer belt to bags making them a neater, more compact bundle than he managed in his cart. Her hands never stopped moving, the machine never stopped beeping, but while she worked she looked him over. He felt as though he was being inspected, weighed and judged.
“Just divorced?” The two words came out more as a statement than a question as though she made her assessment and this was the final verdict.
“Does it show?” he asked.
She smiled in a way that was somehow companionable. “Most of these things are either bought by college kids new to being on their own, young couples setting up their first house or the recently divorced who didn’t manage to think of the practical items when divvying up their belongings with their now not so loved one.”
James let out a snort of surprised laughter. The clerk scanned the trash bin. “I suppose she did get custody of the garbage bin as well,” James said. “Although I don’t recall it being on the property list the lawyer’s wrote up.”
“I wouldn’t say that too loudly,” she cautioned. “They might hear you and tack on an extra fee to run the paper work through again with the trash can added.”
“Heaven defend us against another fee,” James said. “I take it you went through the wars?”
“A couple year’s back,” she said. “He got the trash can as well. I had to buy a new one, but I figured he was stuck with the stink from the old one, because I doubt he’ll ever thing to buy a new one for himself.”
James nodded as he thought of Faith. He could see her buying many things, but he doubted a new garbage bin would be one of them. “I can kind of see the point.”
“It’ll get better once your new place feels like home,” she told him.
“Thanks,” James said. He paid for his purchases and turned his loaded cart towards the door as his talkative clerk nodded and turned her gaze to the next person in line, weighing, measuring and judging him. James could almost hear her formulating his story in her head. As he wheeled his cart out to the car, he wondered what about him said recently divorced.
‘It’s been a few months now,’ he thought as he reached his car and used his keys to open the Studebaker’s vast trunk. He wondered if it was the way he stood or walked or dressed or if it was just the accumulated items in his cart that let the clerk look at him, a complete stranger and decide he was recently divorced.
“Maybe it will fade,” he said as he began transferring items out of the cart.
‘Of course,’ he thought. ‘It might be useful now.’ If he looked newly divorced it would explain why he moved to a new apartment with almost no belongings. It would explain why he looked like he was starting his life over.