Today started just like any other day for him. Even if it was Christmas, it sure as hell didn't feel like it...
...It's just a commercial holiday anyway...
"Merry Christmas, mom."
A man's voice calls out. He's obviously on the phone. Nothing can be heard but his footsteps. He's pacing back and forth.
"Yeah, I'm in Portland now.
I have a few auditions up here
and I'm renting a small
apartment for the time being."
He walks forward. He turns around and walks back. He's got his cell phone nestled between his shoulder and ear as he compulsively bangs a box of Marlboro Lights against his palm. He's packing them. Cigarettes taste so much better when they're packed.
"And it's snowing. I guess it
doesn't get that cold up here
normally, 'cause a lot of
people were surprised to see
With that, he heads out the front door of his apartment, the wooden floors creaking beneath his feet. He's shirtless, just wearing cotton pajama bottoms...the sort of cheap looking ones you'd get from Target or something.
Just outside his front door he watches as light snowflakes gently float from the sky and land on the ground, dissipating into the tiniest puddle of water. It may as well be raining instead.
"I don't know how cold it is!
My nipples could cut steel
right now, if THAT means
He pauses, listening.
"Well, it's, at most, 32 degrees,
because...yeah, SNOW and all."
He pauses again.
"Yes, I'll send you a video."
A third pause.
"Okay, love you too. Bye."
After hanging up, he looks around his block. No cars, no people. Just...snow. Everyone is out of town for the holidays, naturally. He slides open his phone. It's a nifty little thing, sort of like the LG Chocolate phone that Verizon has. Sort of.
He's freezing cold, but he manages to record a few seconds of video. He pans the phone to the left. To the right, and back to the left. He goes to the right once more and captures a young girl on the other side of the street. She waves at him.
He stops recording and looks across the street...in the same exact spot, but no one is there. "Weird", he thinks and goes back inside...
...With the shower running, he strips down, almost methodically folds his pants, and gets in. But of course, if we were watching him at this moment, we couldn't see anything, even if we wanted to. It wouldn't be too impressive anyway, he did just come in from the freezing cold outside, after all...
The flick of the lighter finds him on the couch. He takes a, what seems to be, much-exalted drag from his cigarette then thumbs through his phone.
"Time to make the rounds."
You know what the rounds are... it's when you call every person in your phone book, mainly family, and wish them all a Merry-f'ing-Christmas.
As insincere as it is, the tradition of "the rounds" must be completed every year, without fail. You wouldn't want your grandmother to send you an ugly sweater AND nag you in the same day, would you?
As he's waiting for someone to answer, he opens up his laptop and goes to MySpace.
He's an addict just like the rest of us.
"Hi Grandma, Merry Christmas."
She speaks, inaudibly, but rapidly.
"Well, I'm actually going to
spend the day with some
people I met in L.A."
She responds. Again, inaudibly.
"I wish I could be there, too,
but, you know... I'm doing
my thing. Trying to get
famous so I can buy you
that house I promised you.
You know that sound. When someone else is calling you while you're already on the phone.
He looks down at his phone at the caller ID. Someone named James is calling.
"Hey I gotta let you go.
My other line is ringing.
I love you."
He switches over.
After a brief pause, he stops typing. Now listening intently, and is apparently receiving news he was not expecting to hear. He simply says, "Oh. I see..." and stops.
"Oh. No I'm still here. Um,
I'm going to put you on
speaker so I can check
And he does. He begins typing. James calls out:
"'some things' huh? You mean
"AND e-mail. I'm not the junkie
you think I am."
"Sure, Blake. So how many
messages do you have?"
"Hey, we're not changing the
subject here. I want to know
why your brother decided to
say no to me coming over
Ouch. That's bad.
James is quiet for a moment, then responds, rather quickly: "Well, it was actually Sarah...if you want to get technical".
Blake rolls his eyes and retorts: "The B*tch. I should have known."
"Yeah, she said it wasn't
right inviting someone
they barely know over
for a family-oriented
"Oh, please. Your damn
sister-in-law just doesn't
want to see two guys with
a better relationship than
"That's not why she doesn't
"Oh really? That's interesting,
because I never said she
didn't like me."
James tries to dig himself out of this fresh grave.
"Oh...uh, it's not that she
doesn't like you, she just-"
"Yeah, you know what? I
gotta go. I'll see you later."
Blake thinks to himself for a moment before responding.
...And he slides his phone shut. By this time, the cigarette he lit has already burned out and it left an intact trail of ash, yet to fall off the filter.
He walks over to the closet and grabs a leather jacket, hanging on a wooden hanger. It's worn, but it's his favorite jacket. There's a patch of black colored duct tape on the front breast, apparently covering a hole.
Not the most effective repair, but it works!
He grabs a single key with an 8-ball chain on it off his table and walks out the door.