Among The Thorns (Ch. 1, Sec. 1)

As promised, this is the the first section of the first chapter of the novel I have been working on. So without further ado:

I rolled over and turned off the alarm that had been fussing at me for ten minutes. I spun and sat on the edge of my bed rubbing the sleep out of my eyes. The floor stared back at me, taunting me to move forward. I looked up at the emptiness of the room in front of me. Finally, “Here we go,” was all I could muster before I lurched up to my feet and stumbled into the bathroom.

Another shower alone, another tooth to brush, another hair to comb, and out the door I went to the office. The air always seemed stiff in the morning as if resisting any movement. My hike to the office tower where I worked was comprised of walking, sitting, standing, waiting, and finally sitting again. I was able to look at the brown somewhat curly hair that floated on my head in the reflection of the elevator as I went up to my floor every morning to see if I needed to do any last minute adjusting.

Being a compliance officer for a financial advising firm was exhilarating. I enjoyed every day that I got to look at tiny print on a long report on a beautiful computer screen. The endless monotony of words scrolling down the screen did wonders for my eyes too. As a compliance officer I was tasked with monitoring daily trading and wire transfer activity, and thus I felt like the perpetual peeping Tom on everybody’s computer. Everything was grand. The spot on the wall that I stared at occasionally had become one of my closest friends.

“What’s up with you today,” I would say with my eyes. I preferred the emptiness of the wall to the loudness of my computer screens. My boss would stretch her legs every once and a while, and I would glare into my screen during those moments, looking intently at the random words on my computer with ultra-detail. And then, straight back to the spot.

“Peter, you going to that meeting at three?”

“What meeting?”

“Nancy just sent an email about some new guidelines FINRA has sent out and she wants to go over them with us all,” Jacob from next door would sometimes interject.

“Uhm, if we’re all going, I’ll be there,” I shrugged as I leaned back in my chair.

I went to the meeting and let me tell you, it was thrilling. The part about when the new system will be implemented and how it will affect our current procedures was particularly intriguing, but don’t worry I took plenty of notes.

My usual after work routine was to meet Zach at a bar near both of our apartments. Zach was my other close friend, along with the spot on the wall. He was my college roommate, and had gotten a job in Richmond as well. He was a tech guy. I never really knew what he was doing, but he basically got loaned out to other companies to help build a better website or data base, or something like that. All I knew was that he was incredibly smart. Zach was the guy always telling you something new that you didn’t really need to know.

“Did you know that there are 1,024 Megabytes in a Gigabyte?”

“I did not.” I would say, not even turning my head in amazement.

“Yeah, most people think there’s a thousand, but bytes have to work with the power of two, and a-thousand doesn’t work with the power of two.” Zach lifted his beer and sipped as he raised his eyebrows in approval of this factoid.

“So, are you going to the festival this weekend?” Zach inquired.

“I don’t know yet.”

“Seriously? What else could you possibly be doing?”

“You know, I have a ton of work to do, and I can’t reschedule alphabetizing my records again.”

“Shut the Hell up. You never come out on the weekends anymore.” Zach was an alcoholic. He would never admit to that, but every weekend he would go out, get blazing drunk and not remember a thing. I used to drink pretty hard in college with him, but he turned it up a notch after college. I couldn’t keep up with him anymore, and plus I liked remembering what I did on the weekend, even if those memories were pretty lame most of the time.

“I went to that bar with you a couple weeks ago. And I don’t have to give you an excuse.”

“That was like two months ago,” Zach looked astonished.

“Well, I’ll think about it. What is the festival again?”

“It’s some beer festival. I don’t know, but there will be beer, and there will be girls, so why wouldn’t you go?”

“Exactly, why wouldn’t I go?”

“Shut the Hell up.” Zach took another gulp of his beer. I usually let him abuse me about my weekend habits, because it was less painful than being abused with him on the weekends.

“Have you talked to Sarah lately?” I knew he was thinking about her because he kept glancing down at his phone that was on the bar next to his pint.

“No, not really.”

“What does that mean?”

“I texted her a couple times today.” Sarah was Zach’s ex-girlfriend, and they had just recently broken up for the third time. It was par for the course for them to continue talking after they broke up. Sarah was one of the few people that could tolerate Zach’s harshness and know it all way of conversing.

“What does a couple times mean?”

“Okay, maybe like seven time. She hasn’t responded yet though. She must be pretty busy today.”

“Yeah, I bet she had a lot to do today.” I pulled out my phone and joined him as I swiped around and looked for any messages that someone might have sent me. We spent the next couple hours talking about work, and sports, and girls. Despite his brash attitude, Zach was always willing to listen, and he was really the only person to whom I could vent about my job.

I ended the evening slouched on my couch, the way I normally did. Looking around at the mess I made and thinking about how I could clean it up. I eventually would clean it up, but not that night. Falling into bed at night was one of the only joys that came throughout my day.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this first little tidbit. If you have any comments or questions please leave them below. I appreciate any and all feedback. Please let me know if you would like to read more or would like a synopsis of the whole story and where it is going. Thanks again for any input!

Update: Ch. 1 Sec. 2


3 thoughts on “Among The Thorns (Ch. 1, Sec. 1)

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