The Fifteen Minute Novel: Day 164

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 164: James decided he would stop for soup and a sandwich before heading back to the house.

James decided he would stop for soup and a sandwich before heading back to the house. He pulled out of the parking lot and out of habit glanced behind him.  He realized that looking for Tucker’s vehicle in the past week had become habit. 

James didn’t see it. 

Admittedly he was certain that if he wanted to, Tucker could probably hide from him if he wanted.  In the past week James was certain he was visible so that he might feel safe. Oddly, not seeing him made James feel more vulnerable.

“And of course I can’t see him on the day I need to call him.”

James shook his head.  He tried to pretend he wasn’t worried about the possibility of not being followed and drove to the soup and sandwich shop.  Although other restaurants beckoned him with their signage, none of them had the same appeal.

James pulled into the lot, got out and walked inside.  He took a dep breath and the air smelled delicious enough to have his belly rumble.  He took his place in line and noticed several people who were in line ahead of him were the same ones who were in line the last time he visited.  He also noticed that very few of them actually ordered off of the menu.  For the most part they shuffled forward and ordered the day’s special.

As he shuffle stepped forward, he decided that if the day’s special was what was perfuming the air then that was what he wanted to eat.  He edged forward as the line progressed and once in place in front of the register, James too ordered the day’s special.  Buttons were pushed, money was exchanged via electronic transfer as he slid is card into the machine and then James was sent to the side to wait for his order to come up.

It didn’t take long.  Soon his name was called and he was heading out of the door with a bag clutched in his hands.  To avoid spillage, once James unlocked his car, he placed the bag in the floorboards of the Studebaker and then slid himself behind the wheel.  He closed the door and fastened his seatbelt.  Again he looked around.

Tucker hadn’t gone into the restaurant.  He also wasn’t anywhere in the parking lot.  James frowned to himself and turned the key in the ignition.  The lack of Tucker nearby had an itch forming between his shoulder blades.

“Not seeing him isn’t cause for panic,” James told himself.  “It isn’t a reason to suspect something nefarious.”  James exited the parking lot. “Maybe it is a good sign.  Maybe it means that there is no need to follow me around.  It doesn’t mean something bad happened to him.”

No matter how hard he tried the sight of Carson shot and dead in the office kept creeping into his mind. 

James made it back to the house, the drive taking slightly longer than the drive back to his apartment would have.  He noticed that a couple of his neighbors made it home before he did while others were still elsewhere.  It put him comfortably in the middle.  The thought didn’t ease the tension out of his shoulders. 

James picked up his work bag from the seat and his bag of dinner from the floorboards. “First we call Tucker,” he told himself.  “Then we eat.”

 James exited the car.

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