The Fifteen Minute Novel: Day 174

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 174: Somehow, the appointment felt like a positive step.

Somehow, the appointment felt like a positive step. James wasn’t certain what it would lead to, but it felt that way.  He set the note with the meeting details off to the side and pulled a file forward.  Samantha would wait, he doubted Doug Harris would.  Only a few weeks into the job and James knew Harris was the sort to show up within hours of filing to ask when his travel reimbursement would arrive. 

James worked steadily through until lunch and when he joined the others for lunch he ended up talking about the television program he watched on their recommendation.  There was excitement as they learned he liked it and discreet hints about upcoming events the others couldn’t contain themselves from allowing to almost slip.  Nearly everyone was several seasons ahead of him. 

James smiled and to his surprise somewhat enjoyed being a part of the group.  As he tidied up from his lunch and went back to his office to finish out his day, James realized he hadn’t mentioned the club.  It hadn’t actually occurred to him.

‘Probably a good thing,’ James decided as he once again settled himself at his desk.  The club was expensive enough that it might raise a few eyebrows and if all went well then the swimming would be part of his morning plans and not something that would keep him from the Friday happy hour. 

‘So there is no point to mentioning it as it would only sound suspicious.’ 

Even though it was logical, there was something inside him pleased about keeping this to himself.  He shook his head.  He had never been one to delight in secrets before and wondered why he was now.  ‘Perhaps because my past is studied by everyone in government and my present is a fiction,’ he decided. 

‘Well maybe not everyone in government,’ James corrected.  ‘I doubt the mayor got a press notice about the inner workings of my past life.’

As James started picturing such a file landing on the mayor’s desk there was a light tapping on his open office door.  James looked up.  He was unsurprised to see Doug Harris standing there.

“James, hi,” Harris began when he looked up.  I don’t suppose you’ve had a chance to look at my file?” His eyes swept the desk and took in the stacks of paperwork James had in motion.

“Sent it on this morning,” James replied. 

“Did you?” Harris asked.  His face shifted as he recalculated who he needed to talk to in his mind.  James could practically see the gears shifting.  He could almost hear the click as the computer in his brain spit out the name of the person next in line. Without another word, Harris turned and walked away to follow the trail his file left behind.  James shook his head and wondered if Harris needed the money that badly or was just too nervous to let the files pile up.  He traveled quite a bit so there was the possibility of accumulation.  In addition, the office gossip lines informed him that Doug Harris had no less than three ex-wives. James shook his head wondering how Harris managed to get three women to actually agree to marry him in the first place.

‘Maybe they are old marriages,’ James thought. He tried picturing Harris as a younger man with better looks and more charm.  He could picture the beauty of youth, but failed utterly in an attempt to make Harris charming.

‘Maybe I’m just not his type,’ James concluded.

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