The Fifteen Minute Novel: Day 67

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 67: Finding there were several locally produced beers, he chose a pale ale from the lot and tried to remember the introductions Mike was giving. 

Finding there were several locally produced beers, he chose a pale ale from the lot and tried to remember the introductions Mike was giving.  As Mike started talking someone started the music system and instead of the clicking of pool balls from the back and the mind conversation, the music ratcheted up to a volume that prohibited talk. 

Some of the others around the table looked a little relived that conversation was no longer required.  Mike said names and James caught parts of them but wasn’t entirely certain he had the names correct. He let them wash over him, confident that at least for now he wouldn’t have to remember them since no one could ask him to repeat them.  He dutifully shook hands with each man introduced.

By the time the introductions were over, the waitress brought his drink.  He nodded his thanks and indicated, primarily using hand signals that he would pay now and not run a tab. He was certain the one beer would be enough. 

With the music playing James found he could only really converse with the person sitting next to him.  It turned their table into pairs of people sharing strings instead of an actual table.  The man next to him, Greg or maybe Gary, possibly Larry, was his conversational partner as Mike was listening to an apparently funny story told by someone who might be either Bill or Gill.  James suspected it was Bill if only because Gill seemed an odd choice for a name.  He knew several Bills but had never met a Gill before.

Deciding that using names he had heard before with other people was probably not the best way to memorize the group names, James turned to Greg/Gary/Larry.  For his own mental clarification he decided to call him Gary, at least for the time being.

“New?” Gary asked.

There were more words in the sentence but that was the one James could pick out.  He nodded. “Just started today,” James answered.

“Welcome,” Gary replied.  “Figured since I hadn’t seen you before.”

James nodded.  The rest of the conversation passed in a more or less innocuous way and as James sipped his beer his fears of saying too much were fading.  While Mike and Bill were having a longer conversation involving hand gestures and much laughter, Gary seemed content on polite small talk.  James wondered if it was because he was new or if this was just Gary talking.  As it kept him on safe topics, James didn’t really mind. 

During the course of the happy hour they covered that this was James’ first day, that he was new in town and that the local team who Gary supported was a good one this year.  Once they got onto teams Gary seemed happier and content to carry the conversation.  James never actually caught the name of the team and in fact was hazy on what actual sport was being played.  He also didn’t know the level.  At one point he thought they were discussing a professional football team and he mentally scrolled through his list trying to place the name.  A few minutes later he wasn’t entirely certain Gary wasn’t talking about a local softball league.

‘Or possibly bowling.’ James thought.  He nodded and smiled at the half heard comment Gary was making.

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