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 35: James picked up a tire gauge figuring it might come in handy and continued down the aisle.
James picked up a tire gauge figuring it might come in handy and continued down the aisle. At the end of an aisle was a large magazine rack built into the wall. To either side were spinning racks of paperback books. Not knowing when Carson would get back to him, James perused both the magazines and the books, pulling a couple of automotive magazines and two novels to add to the reading material he already gathered at the grocery store that morning. James wandered through the other aisles, found nothing that he needed at the moment and took his items to the counter. He paid Riley for them and left the store with only a few words aid between them.
James returned to his car and put the new purchases in the passenger’s seat before strapping himself in, starting the car and backing out of the lot. Jake’s, whoever Jake was, seemed like a place that could be useful to know about and James felt good about his afternoon drive.
Thinking the day was waning and not wanting to attempt a city tour in the dark, James piloted his car back towards his apartment building. Once there he was relieved to see signs of life. Others were getting home from work and he saw more cars pulling into the parking lot. He saw the city bus pull up to the small bench enclosed in Plexiglas and belch out a stream of commuters. It was good to see the signs of everyday people again. People who were presumably his neighbors. He parked in the lot and climbed the stairs. When he reached his floor he saw a woman about his age, hair pulled tightly back into a bun and a tired expression on her face unlocking the door to the apartment next to his.
She was dressed for office work and when she saw him she paused and gave him the once over. It was a look to determine if he was friend or foe and he saw her hand tighten on her keys.
“I’m James Ferris,” he told her, when he was still far enough away not to intrude on her personal space, but close enough to be heard without yelling. “I just moved in next door.”
She nodded and relaxed slightly. “Emily,” she told him leaving off any further identification. She pushed her door open and then looked back to him. “Welcome to the building,” she added.
Before James could respond, she stepped into her apartment and closed the door. He could hear the deadbolt being thrown and the sound d of the chain being put into place. James shrugged it off and continued to his apartment. He didn’t need to be friends with his neighbors. He only needed the one he passed to recognize him and not think he was a prowler.
James unlocked his own apartment and let himself in. He thought of Emily and threw his own deadbolt and slid the chain into place. “I’m not going out again anyway,” he said. James tossed his purchases from Jakes on the couch and realized he had a small mountain of newly purchased items to unpack and settle in. He eyed the cigarette burns of the couch.
“I think we’ll go for your slipcover first,” he decided.