Saturday, November 3, 2007

Chapter 2 - Delayed

June 5th, 2008
Pappy's Sweet Shop

Jenny should be here by now, Ryan thought. Fighting back the sneaking suspicion something had happened to her, he pulled his cellphone from his pocket to check for a message he might've missed. Damn. No reception in the basement. Great, and my battery needs charged, too.

He tried to take his mind away from paranoia by pulling his big blue notebook from his bookbag. It contained all of his notes about the improv club, including the upcoming show for the summer. The Fools had booked an performance as the opening act for a Chicago comedian, and several retired members of the troupe had mentioned possibly reuniting and joining them on stage. The final head count of members, however, was far from set. Ryan reviewed who he knew would be here over the summer, who couldn't make it for sure, and who was a possibility.

It was just then when Jenny walked up and greeted him with a quick kiss on the cheek. "Hey sweetie, sorry about the delay. There was some sort of accident near Krannert, so my bus was delayed." She slid into the booth across from Ryan with a sigh.

"It's okay. The whole campus seems to be in a funk today - there was something in the paper about a drunk guy biting somebody. Anyway, I was just going over the roster for the upcoming Chicago Show."

"Oh yeah? Who all's gonna be in it?"

"Well, me, of course. Let's see" he scanned the checklist "Renee, Andrew and Eric, for sure. Stu's probably not going to make it. Kyle and John T. graduated, so they're out. Steve and Brant aren't staying here over the summer, but I'm pretty sure they said they would make it. John C. will be here. Benji and Alex are big question marks."

"Sounds like fun trying to plan all of that together. How about you keep working on that, and I'll get some lunch?"

"Sounds great," he said, pulling out his wallet "here's a twenty - get me a cheeseburger, fries, and a cherry coke, will ya?"

"Of course. Back in a few."

Ryan scribbled a few notes while Jenny waited in line for lunch. She returned with a pair of burgers, cokes, and a large plate of fries.

"I've got a quiz I need to study for, okay?" Jenny said, removing a large packet of notes from her bulging bookbag.

"Sure. Is that the only other thing you have today?"

"Well, I've got my afternoon class with the quiz, and then a group meeting, and I work tonight at Hillenbrand. There's a huge bunch of people moving into the hall for a conference and I'm on duty."

"Can I come over and keep you company?" he asked between bites of fries.

"I don't think that'd be the best idea. I have a lesson plan to write and rounds, so I'm gonna be really busy. Perhaps this weekend we can hang out, instead?"

Ryan sighed. "Okay. I guess I'll try and get a hold of the Fools and find out for sure who will be here. I just hate how lonely my apartment is right now." His roommate John had graduated and was working in Michigan at a reactor, so his room was just empty until the lease ended in August. Ryan's other current roommate, Alex, was out of town visiting his girlfriend Steph. "Even our upstairs neighbors are gone for the summer, I guess. I saw a moving truck outside last week and it's been really quiet for once."

She paused to swallow the last bite of burger before noting "At least you don't have to deal with their shitty music past midnight anymore."

"True. I definitely enjoy having the freedom to crank up and rock out."

They continued to chat while they finished lunch. Finally, as the clock neared 1:15, Jenny put away her notes. "Well," she said "I think it's about time for me to get to class. Thanks for lunch."

"No problem. I hope your quiz and group meeting goes well. Have fun at work tonight, too."

"And you have fun tonight. Why don't you try and invite some of the Fools over and do something? Play a game of Settlers of Catan, perhaps?"

"We'll see."

Ryan watched as Jennifer packed up her things and left. Little did he know that he might never see her again...

Current Word Count: 3,400


  1. "John graduated and works in Michigan at a reactor, so his room is just empty until our lease ends in August."

    Sounds pretty expository- probably not something you'd say to me, because I'd know that.

    Should the book bag "continue" notes? Or "contain"?

    "Stu's probably not going to make it."

    Also, what?! We might not see each other again?! Oh noes!

  2. Couple of notes:

    1) "...several retired members of the troupe had mentioned possibly reuniting and joining us on stage."
    The "us" implies first person, and yet that is not the tense of the rest of the narrative.

    2) "...I saw a moving truck outside last week and it's been really quiet for once."
    She paused to swallow the last bite of burger. "At least you don't have to deal with their shitty music past midnight anymore."
    The "She paused" makes it look like it was supposed to be Jenny doing the talking, and clearly it was not. Perhaps a "Jenny paused before swollowing the last bite of burger to say..." sorta thing would be clearer?

    Overall, intriguing storyline.

  3. Thanks for catching those, both of you. I consider them small enough edits that I fix them now, taking your suggestions.

    I'm finding it rather difficult to maintain the third person voice when I'm writing about myself...

  4. Only thing I've been sort of bothered with is that is eeems like everyone is still on campus with a full course-load at the end of May. Non-Boilers might not be confused, but I sort of am.

  5. Well, there's Maymester and 3 sessions of summer classes - plus some people stay on campus over the summer to work.