The Fifteen Minute Novel: Day 201

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 201: He walked across the parking lot to the front door.

He walked across the parking lot to the front door. The check in was the same as always, the staff member chosen for morning duty half awake.  This morning though there were flyers announcing a local charity run.  Everywhere James looked it seemed they were plastered to the wall.  The half-awake staffer, whose name badge titled him Gary, saw his interest.

“The club is a big sponsor.  The owners are big into the charity,” Gary informed him.

“I see,” James said.  He signed in acknowledging that he knew there was no lifeguard on duty in the pool he planned to use.

“It’s actually a lot of fun,” Gary continued, the sleep starting to slip from his eyes.  “They always have a bash for anyone who participates.”

“Sounds nice,” James replied.

“Are you interested?  I’ve got the signup sheet here.”

“I’ve never run a marathon before,” James admitted.

“There are training groups.  The training is free as long as you sign up.”  Gary leaned in.  “We get points for everyone we sign up.”

“Do you,” James.  He supposed the point earning possibility was the reason for Gary’s enthusiasm.  He certainly didn’t think he put out sign me up for a marathon vibes. Gary looked hopeful and James wondered if he only worked the early morning shift and if he was having issues getting people to sign.  “I don’t suppose you have a training class for complete beginners?”

“We do,” Gary said.  He set the signup sheet down and pulled out yet another signup sheet.  This one had several small sign up sections on the same sheet.  Each section had slots for five people and specified a different time for running.  The morning ones that overlapped his swim were already taken so deciding to take the plunge, James signed up for the group that met right after work.  He would be able to make it in plenty of time for the office, but it would mean that his dinner would be late.

‘I guess I’ll just make a larger lunch,’ James thought. Gary was all smiles as James added his name to the list. As James left the front desk area to start his swim, he wondered why he put his name down.

‘Its opening yourself up to opportunity,’ James found his inner voice saying.  James shook his head.  He wasn’t certain a marathon was exactly the opportunity he was looking for.  ‘I don’t have to go,’ he told himself.

In the pool he pushed himself harder than usual as if trying to prove to his mind and body that there was no need for additional activity elsewhere in his life.  This was enough.

At the end of his swim, he dragged himself out of the pool, toweled off, dressed and left.  Gary, who usually ignored him waved merrily.  “See you tomorrow Mr. Ferris.”

“Sure,” James replied with a smile.

He made it home, stretched out his clothes to dry, ate breakfast and deciding it was late enough to make some noise, went to the garage to start work on the Studebaker.  By the time he called it a day, one of the rough patches had been sanded down smoothly enough that James felt certain it would be invisible under paint.  The other, he decided would need to be removed.  It was late enough that he postponed working on it.

“I don’t have to go to the marathon training,” he told himself as he made and ate dinner and then began fixing his lunch for the next day.  “I could just not show up.”  He thought of Gary’s smiling face and made his lunch a little larger to compensate for the later dinner.

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