The Fifteen Minute Novel: Day 232

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.

Wednesday November 24th: Day 232: “If nothing else I’d like to know if my mother died in an accident or not,” James said.

“If nothing else I’d like to know if my mother died in an accident or not,” James said. “Cassie might be the only person who knows.”

Tucker smiled.  It looked genuine and actually went all the way up to his eyes. Until he saw it James realized that most of Tucker’s expressions didn’t touch his eyes.  They were movements that played over his face, like masks.  They didn’t affect the person behind them.

“I guess that means helping me is a way to help yourself,” Tucker said.

“Vested self-interest at it’s finest,” James replied.

Tucker left and James returned to his breakfast.  The coffee cooled so he put it in the microwave.  The breakfast biscuit still retained enough heat that James thought it would be fine.  He knew if he microwaved the egg it would just get rubbery and overly hot.  He decided settling for a lukewarm sandwich and coffee would be a fine compromise.

He took the food and the reheated coffee back to the kitchen table and sat down.  As he ate, he thought about the conversation with Tucker. 

‘I lied to a federal agent,’ he told himself as he chewed his belated breakfast.  ‘And it wasn’t a little lie either.’

James told quite a whopper of a lie. The information about the others who knew Cassie was accurate. ‘And he can investigate those angles easily.’

James knew those angles wouldn’t help Tucker find Cassie. Unless she got sloppy, only James really knew where she was. As he ate, he waited for the guilt to hit him.  There was no guilt. James frowned.  He wondered why he lied to Tucker.  It seemed like the right thing to do at the time.  The words came sliding out of his mouth and felt natural doing so.  James just wasn’t entirely certain why he did it. 

It had happened before to him.  Words would come out of his mouth.  Words he didn’t quite intend to say but felt somehow right for the situation.  Usually it was in a business meeting where something was subtly off. An element that appeared in the paperwork bat wasn’t discussed.  Some bit of slightly ambiguous wording.    There were things that just tripped him up. 

Later when he looked back over the meeting, over his notes, over the paperwork he could see the reason for the internal word change.  It was his brain registering something but processing it without actually telling him.  Only when the situation was over, did his brain let him know what he saw and heard to cause the change.

‘It’s like my brain can work my mouth but it can’t tell me why while it does so.’ He wasn’t sure why he said what he said to Tucker, but it felt right.  It felt like more than not admitting that he violated the agreement by contacting Cassie, however unintentional that initial contact happened to be.

‘I’m sure I’ll figure out why later,’ James thought.  He finished his breakfast and knowing that if he switched to working on something else, then it would be easier to figure out what he saw or heard that cause him to say what he said. ‘Or hide what I hid.’

He still had self-imposed tasks with the car and the possibility of potential dive classes. James decided that the best place to start thinking about something else, was to make his planned phone calls.

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