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Sam walked up the stairs of his apartment and unlocked his door. As he turned around to shut the door and lock it he soon realized what he did. He quickly looked over at the clock he had hung on the wall. It wasn’t late enough or dark enough that the streets would be clear. He quickly moved to his bedroom and peaked out through the holes in the tarps that were still hung up to cover the windows. He looked down the street and noticed two guys get out of a car and cross the street. After they crossed the street both of them pulled out smaller hand guns. Sam cussed to himself. After he saw them pull out their guns he quickly ran to the empty bedroom and opened the window. He was about to climb out when he realized that he probably wouldn’t be able to return. The cops would continue to surveillance his place and he might not be able to sneak back inside again. Sam heard a banging on the outside door on the ground level. He quickly but quietly walked back to make sure he had locked his inside door. He heard one of the men yell that they were the police and they had a few questions for him. There was a small opening in the ceiling where a piece of the ceiling could be moved to gain access to the attic. It was right below his upstairs door. Sam pulled over a chair to slide the ceiling piece so that there was an opening. Sam had kept everything of value and importance up here. If a person hadn’t lived here before it was very rare that anyone would notice the small opening. Sam quickly went to his bedroom and grabbed a book bag. He went into his office and tossed in his laptop. He moved back to the kitchen area and placed the chair back next to the table. He heard the men at the bottom of the steps attempting to break the door down. Sam took a running start and leaped off the wall and up towards the ceiling. He grabbed the ledges opening and steadied himself before pulling himself up. He managed to close the ceiling piece back in place before the two cops broke down his inside door. There was nothing left but for Sam to be quiet and listen.
Sam heard the two men go through his place and clear each room. One of the cops saw that the back window was opened and he said over the radio that the place was clear and nobody was here. Once they didn’t see anyone running down the alleyways the two cops considered this a failed effort. Sam overheard the two of them saying things like: “this place was trashed, do you think there are people after him? Do you think he’ll come back?” Sam himself wondered how they knew to look for him or anyone at this area. It grew quiet for a while and it sounded like the two men had left but Sam knew that they hadn’t and was afraid they might have found his location. He nerves were calmed as one of them said something about the papers he used to have on the walls which were now thrown all over the room. The other officer then stated he was going to check out the bathroom. Sam knew this was his opening. In the attic Sam kept a safe with important documents, a black bag full of cash, a container that held a few small guns, and other random things that were significance to him and that were significant to pulling off his cons. Sam had already pulled out one of his guns and was loading it up as he heard the man approach the bathroom. He grabbed a ski mask and put it on his head. He also grabbed another one and placed it in his front pocket. Sam was still wearing his suit from the funeral and left the jacket in the attic. Once the cop was in the bathroom Sam opened the ceiling piece and quietly fell from the attic to the floor. He knew he wasn’t in the best location being in between both men but Sam decided he was going to go after the cop that entered his bathroom and at worst the bathroom was across from the empty room and Sam could make a run for it. Sam quietly followed in the direction towards his bathroom. Sam was lucky enough that the cop had left the bathroom door open. The cop was about to lift up the back piece of the toilet when Sam cocked his gun.
“Don’t move.” Sam said calmly. The cop stopped and had placed his hands in the air. “Put your hands on your head” the cop followed orders.
“Don’t do anything stupid.” The cop said. Sam quickly came over and took the gun from the cop’s holster.
“You’re the one who broke into my place. I have the right to protect myself.” Sam said. “Now turn around” the cop followed orders. He threw his other ski mask on the floor. “Reach down and grab that mask. Slowly.” Sam was a step inside the bathroom door. The cop grabbed the mask. “Now I need you to put that on backwards” The cop slowly followed these instructions. “Turn around and face the wall with your hands up.” Sam paused as he followed his instructions. “Now I need you to reach for your handcuffs and put them on behind your back where I can see them.” The cop slowly followed these instructions.
“You find anything?” The cop yelled from the other room.
“Don’t answer.” Sam said and came closer to the man and made sure the handcuffs were tight and locked in. “Follow my lead and you won’t get killed. Don’t speak.” Sam led the man out of the bathroom and down the hallway. Before he could enter the room where the cop was the cop entered through the door and to the hallway. He quickly raised his gun. Sam made sure to stand behind his hostage.
“Put the gun down and let the man go. We are police officers.” The second cop pulled out his badge and showed it to Sam.
“Unload your gun and put it on the floor or else your partner is going to get a bullet in the head.” The second cop listened and followed orders. “Now slowly walk back to the room you were just in but continue to face me. “ The second cop followed orders as well. Sam grabbed the second pair of handcuffs his hostage cop was holding on his belt. He tossed it to the other cop and instructed him to handcuff himself in the front where he could see it. Then he told the second cop to get on his knees and Sam walked the hostage cop over next to that cop and told him to get on his knees as well. After both cops were handcuffed and on their knees Sam proceeded to bash the back of their heads once so that they’d pass out. He grabbed a pair of handcuffs the unmasked officer had and handcuffed the handcuffs together. Sam was fortunate enough that nobody was radioing these two officers. He needed some time to think.
Sam stood there for a moment trying to figure out the best plan of attack. He had some drugs to keep them sedated but he didn’t have the proper equipment to hook them up to. He didn’t want to risk either of them catching any subtle clues about him when they woke up so Sam decided he needed to make his getaway quick. He grabbed the wallets, radios, and keys from the two officers. Sam threw the wallet and keys in his book bag that he still had on his back and turned off one of the radios and tossed that inside it as well. Sam had stored an emergency getaway military bag in his attic in case he needed to leave in a hurry. It had the very minimum of stuff he needed. Two outfits worth of the most basic clothes, a few thousand dollars of money, and a gun. He went to his trash bag first that was in his kitchen and went back to the room with all of his papers. He quickly tossed everything he had in the garbage bag. He then walked it back to his back room and left it there. He grabbed the chair from his kitchen and hopped up to his attic. He grabbed all the documents from his safe, put the guns in a protective suitcase, and tied up his black bag full of money and tossed everything down on the floor. There were a few costume items laying up there as well. Sam grabbed a wig and a dress and tossed it onto the floor as well. He placed the documents, the money, the wig, and the dress in the large military bag. He made sure that the protective suitcase was locked and placed these items in the back room as well. Sam went back to the office room to make sure that the two men were still unconscious. They still were. He did a quick look around to see if there was anything he’d regret to leave and didn’t notice anything. He still had his wallet and keys in his pockets. It had gotten dark by now. Sam made sure to place the chair back next to his table as to not give away the location of his attic. He grabbed his items in the back room and headed outside on the roof. He calmly walked down the alleyway to his car and tossed everything in his passenger side. He took a quick glance back down the alley to his apartment for any signs of stirring. The lights were still off and he didn’t hear any screaming so he decided he was still in the clear. He started up his car and drove off.
The next day Sam woke up in an upper class hotel feeling like he only had gotten a couple hours of sleep. His mind was racing on what he should do next. He knew he needed to warn Charlie, Lauren, and his brother but he had destroyed his phone and threw it in a restaurants dumpster. He was afraid to call any of them on just any phone line. The night before he had parked his car across the street and checked into the hotel under a fake name. He paid with cash for two days. Sam sat at the end of his bed with a thousand thoughts running threw his mind. He knew he could just take off and disappear for a while but he wasn’t sure how that’d affect anyone he knew. He wasn’t even sure what the cops knew about him or why they were there. Sam saw a notepad and a pen at the desk in his room. He walked over and sat down at the desk. He had grown accustomed to writing everything he thought down and using that as a way to organize his thoughts. His first thing he had to do was contact Charlie. If he contacted Charlie he knew that was the same as indirectly contacting Lauren and his brother. Charlie was smart enough and calm enough to do this favor for him. The second thing he needed to do was figure out what these cops were looking into at his place. Was it something as simple as just being caught for house squatting or had he been tipped off by somebody about one of his cons. He underlined a name. Serrasi. This was the cop that he had helped before in exchange for clearing Nate’s record and he also managed to gain Amie’s medical files for him. With Sam’s help Mr. Serrasi had gained a promotion for cracking a big case. The two of them were probably even but Sam knew Mr. Serrasi might be willing to help him out if he could leverage something for him that could be of use. Sam pulled out the two wallets he took from the cops and glanced over them. The third thing he needed to do was get a background check on these two officers just in case they happened to be a dirty cop. Sam went down to lobby area and looked up the numbers he had saved on his phone through the internet. He wrote down his number and called him once he got back to his room. Sam also stopped by the small gift shop in the lobby area and bought shaving cream, a razor, and some girly sandals. He called the guy as soon as he got back and gave him the names and the addresses of the two cops and told him to rush anything he could find about them. The next part was the part he hated the most. Sam shaved all of his facial hair off. He also had to shave his chest and his armpits. He knew where he could find Sam but he also knew that it was going to be a very public place and it was going to be on the college campus. If they cops knew to look for him above the bookstore it would be of no surprise to find them hanging out on campus.
Charlie was sitting at an empty picnic table outside of the student center reviewing some notes. A girl came over wearing a green sundress and sat down at Charlie table. Charlie did nothing but glance at the person and then went back to his notes until he felt like someone was staring at him and looked back at the woman. Except that it wasn’t a woman. It was Sam wearing a blonde wig and a dress staring at Charlie until he looked back at him.
“Sam? Is that you?” Charlie questioned
“Don’t laugh. I wouldn’t be dressed like this if it wasn’t serious.” Sam said quietly. Charlie couldn’t help but snicker a little bit.
“What on earth are you doing this time?” Charlie asked with a smile.
“Just listen. Two cops broke into my place last night after I got back. I tied them up and left them there. You absolutely cannot be seen going over there. I don’t know why they were there or how they found out about me. All I can tell you is you need to stay away from there and if anyone asks about me you’ve never heard of me. Remember their names or take their cards. I’ll find a way to get a hold of you and then you can tell me about them. I also need you to tell Lauren that I’ve disconnected my phone and all the same stuff I just told you. That is the easy part. Now the hard part is I need you to contact Nate for me too. I’m not sure what they know and if it’s really bad they’ll know my real name and they’ll know that recently my brother had his record clean and has moved from a shitty apartment to living on a small boat.”
“You moved your brother onto a boat? I thought he just went back to his apartment once he paid off his rent and bills?”
“I have a friend who lives on his boat and he knew an older guy who was retired and elderly and he moved into a retirement home and sold me his boat real cheap. I moved him and Lilly in there as soon as I could to get them out of Lauren’s hair. I’ll write down the location for you to find him. I just don’t know what to tell him. He doesn’t know what I’ve been doing. He’s completely ignorant to the actual truth.”
“Don’t worry about it. I’ll come up with something for him.”
“Yeah it’ll be good. I promise. But what are you going to do then? How are you going to figure out what they know? You going to spy on the police station?” Charlie asked.
“That’s not out of the question. I do have their ID cards but it’d be very risky using them.”
“Who says you have to use it? What if you just flaunt it?”
“What are you talking about?” Sam said with a puzzled look.
“These ID cards open doors but they also have a picture on them. What if you just replace the photo or make your own ID card and flaunt it. Play the part and ask around at the water cooler. Maybe somebody tells you something that your private investigator can’t?”
“It’s risky pretending to be someone inside of a police department.”
“I’m sure not all of the cops drink the coffee that is brewed inside their office. Just find the closest coffee shop nearby or small town diner. I’m sure if you scout one out for a while you’ll find the right officer or two to talk to.”
“Have you been reading some of the books I’ve been letting you borrow? Because you’re getting smarter” Sam said with a grin. Charlie smiled.
“Your books are more interesting than the actual books I’m supposed to be reading. That’s why I take extensive notes in class to cover up my lack of studying.”
“Well that’s all you really have to do. After a while you pick up on teachers’ tendencies and they basically hint on everything that’ll be on the test. That’s how I passed all my exams.”
“Somehow I think your skill for reading people is way more advanced than mine.”
“All you have to do is really look at something to figure it out. I have to go.” Sam said and walked away.
That night Sam had a message waiting for him on the answering machine in his room. It was his private investigator reporting that the two cops that had broken into his place were in fact clean. They also were new officers in their careers. Right away that relaxed Sam. New officers meant that his case could not be a very high priority. He also knew that as new officers they were most definitely embarrassed by the whole ordeal and probably were getting teased about it pretty bad among their other officers. Sam went to bed early that night knowing that tomorrow he had to get up early the next morning to scout out potential officers at a nearby coffee shop. His private investigator let him know which office the two guys were working out of.
“Ouch” Charlie said as he entered through the back window falling to the floor of Sam’s apartment. “Sam you here? You haven’t been answering my text or phone calls lately.” Charlie said getting to his feet. “My sister is pretty ticked off you skipped out on your date.” Charlie soon drew quiet as he walked through the empty bedroom and noticed a chaotic looking apartment. The dishes weren’t done and some plates were even smashed against the wall. Charlie stepped over the broken shards of glass and headed back towards Sam’s other rooms. He peaked in his bedroom and noticed his mattress was standing up against the wall and all the papers he had tapped to his wall were now on the floor. He looked into his office area. His printer was broken and smashed apart against one of the walls. His laptop was nowhere to be seen. All the books he had collected were scattered acrossed the room and his coffee table had been broken into two pieces. Only his small couch remained untouched. Charlie assumed this was probably where Sam fell asleep after he let all his rage out or in a worse situation this was where Sam was sleeping when somebody broke into his apartment and came after him. Charlie went back to his bedroom to re-examine the chaos. There was a tie and dress shoes sitting next to Sam’s dresser that he had never noticed before. Charlie opened up his cell phone and tried to call Sam again but it went straight to voicemail.
Charlie decided he was going to go down to the garage and hoped that the guys there knew something. They were probably the next closest things that Sam had to friends other than the few older ladies he was having affairs with. After he went down there he realized they weren’t much help. All they could tell Charlie was that Marcus would never do any jobs around this time of year. He told them he went on his vacations and it was usually with his family or with one of the ladies he was currently having sex with. One of the guys gave him a number to one of the ladies. Charlie decided he was going to call her and see if she knew anything.
“Hi, I’m Charlie. I’m one of Marcus’ friends. I was wondering if he was with you or if you knew where he was?”
“I’m sorry who is this and who are you looking for?” a younger lady sounded on the phone.
“My name is Charlie. I’m one of his friends from school. I’m sorry maybe I have the wrong number.”
“Do you mean Sam?”
“Uh… yes I do. He didn’t tell you his name was Marcus?”
“No I know who he is. He’s told me a lot of things.”
“Are you, are you Sam’s new girlfriend?”
“Oh God no. I’ve known Sam for a while now.”
“And how do you know each other? I was told you’re one of his new flames but I guess it’s not a real reliable source.”
“I’m Sam’s former counselor.”
“Former? I didn’t know he had a counselor.”
“Well he hasn’t had any sessions with me for a while now. It’s been at least two years.”
“What was he seeing you for?”
“You know I can’t discuss that. It’s all confidential.”
“Ok yeah. Well I’m trying to find him and can’t reach him. He’s not answering his phone and he’s not at his place and it’s completely trashed. Do you have any idea where he might be?”
“He trashed his place? Hold on a second let me look at something.” Charlie could hear the lady flipping through some paperwork. “Oh no.”
“What? What is it?”
“Do you know where Sam’s hometown is?”
“Try looking for him there. If he’s not at the cemetery he’s at a bar nearby.”
“There was a death in the family or something?”
“Not in the family but someone closed to him.”
“I really have already said too much. If you find him though tell him I’d like to start up our session again. He’s a really smart guy and I’d hate to see him waste all his potential.”
“Alright I will let him know when I see him.” Charlie hung up the phone and headed back inside the garage. “Do you think I could borrow one of your cars for a few hours?” The guy looked a little leery about it. “I’ll give you my sister’s number.” The guy smiled and tossed Charlie a set of keys.
Charlie used a navigator on his phone to find his way to Sam’s hometown. The cemetery was not something that could be looked up. He stopped by a gas station and was directed towards the location. As Charlie drove by slowly he saw Sam standing in a suit. He noticed that Sam’s beard had grown back as he walked up towards him. Sam didn’t move as Charlie approached. He was in a phase where he was locked onto something and it was staring at a grave. Charlie just stood there for a few minutes waiting for something to happen. He was sure eventually Sam would realize he was there and say something. Charlie knew it was someone important because Sam never dressed up for anything but he didn’t want to say some insensitive.
“You doing okay Sam?” Charlie asked. Sam didn’t answer. Charlie looked around to take in his surroundings and gave Sam a few minutes to reply but he didn’t. He looked at the grave Sam was staring at. “Who is Amie Fahl?” Again Sam didn’t answer. He took a deep breath. Charlie could tell he was fighting back tears. Sam reached out holding a folder for Charlie to grab. Charlie grabbed it and opened the folder reading through the files. The first pieces he went through looked like medical files. Amie Fahl would have been 26 years old, brown hair, brown eyes, and had no major surgeries before in her life. He skipped through a few MRI photos that weren’t in great quality until he got to a police report with photos of her. She had bruises to her face, arms, and all over her body. There were a few photos of a wrecked car. Sam closed the folder. It was obvious she didn’t survive. Charlie didn’t know what to say to him. He just placed his hand on Sam’s shoulder. The two of them stood like that for what seemed like forever before Sam turned and started to walk away on the road. Charlie followed Sam about three paces behind him. Sam whipped away a tear from his face and didn’t’ say anything. The two of them probably were halfway between Amie’s grave and the road where their cars were parked when Sam stopped. Charlie almost ran into him. Sam turned around and looked at Charlie.
“Why are you following me?” Charlie seemed surprised by the question and wasn’t sure what to say.
“I don’t think you should be alone right now.”
“But I want to be. Leave me alone.” Sam said calmly and then walked away. Charlie continued to follow him.
“Just tell me what happened. Tell me who she is and I’ll leave you alone.”
“You read the file. Now leave me alone.” Charlie ran ahead and cut Sam off from his path.
“Who is she though? Was she your girlfriend?” Sam pushed Charlie to the side but Charlie cut him off again and stopped him. When Charlie did this Sam punched him, out of natural instincts, in the face causing Charlie to fall back on the ground. Sam stopped and paced a little.
“I’m sorry for punching you. But you have no right for being here! Why are you even here?” Sam said upset.
“I went by your place. My sister was calling me freaking out because you stood her up and I snuck into your place to see if you were there. I saw your place was trashed and didn’t know what to think. I wasn’t sure if you were robbed or raided or if you just through an anger fit or something.” Charlie felt the area around his eye where he had been punched. “I went down to the garage and they gave me a chick’s number to call so I called her. She told me you’d be here or you’d be at a nearby bar.”
“Who was the lady?”
“She didn’t give me a name.”
“How’d she know I was here then?” Charlie sighed as he got himself to his feet.
“She said she was your old counselor you used to talk to.” Sam punched Charlie in the face again and then backed away shaking his hand. Charlie stumbled backwards but didn’t fall this time.
“What the hell man! I’m just telling you the truth. Something you’ve failed to do to me for almost a year now. Why didn’t you ever tell me about her? I’m your friend. I deserve to know!” Charlie said angrily
“You deserve to know? You deserve to know? You’re just a kid! I don’t have to tell you anything! This is my life! It’s none of your business if I don’t make your business!”
“Fine. Whatever. So you had a girlfriend that died a few years ago. I’m sorry that happened to you man but you have to move on. You can’t just stay angry about it and hide from everyone.” Sam went to punch Charlie in the face again but Charlie avoided it and then tackled Sam to the ground. “Stop! Just stop!” Charlie screamed and backed away from Sam. Sam just laid there on the ground. He had tears running down his cheeks.
“She wasn’t my girlfriend Charlie.” Sam took a deep breath. “She was my fiancée. I was in love with her. And she didn’t deserve to die.” Charlie walked over and offered a hand to pull Sam up. Sam grabbed his hand and Charlie pulled him to his feet.
“I’m sorry. For anything that might have upset you. If you don’t want to talk about it now you don’t have to. But I still want to know. And I think talking about it will help you.” Charlie said.
“Are you trying to be my shrink now?” Sam said sarcastically.
“Well I’m sure I’m not as good looking as the lady I called. She had a sexy voice.” Charlie said causing Sam to smile.
“Let’s get out of here. You hungry? Let’s go grab a bite.” Sam said.
“Sounds good.” Charlie said. The two of them walked to a restaurant and sat outside by themselves. It was Charlie who initiated the conversation after they ordered. “How’d you meet Amie?” Sam paused and looked at the table and cracked a smile. Charlie could tell he was visualizing it. Then he looked up.
“She went to my high school. She was a year above me. I had never seen her before until I got to high school. She was so pretty back then. Girls at that age are so self-conscious about how they look that they do whatever they can to look pretty but she was already gorgeous. She had this brown hair that went down to her shoulder blades. You know there’s always that one girl it seems in every class or every high school that just seems untouchable; a good athlete but also captain of the cheerleading squad. All the older guys want to hook up with her thinking that she’s just naive enough to fall for their lines but she wasn’t.”
“And you were the one who got her didn’t you?”
“Not at all. By the time I was a sophomore and she was a junior we had some mutual friends. Some of my friends at the time tried to date her and get her to notice them. I think she dated one of my friends, and he was a good guy, but it didn’t last longer than maybe two months. I have no idea how long a normal relationship lasts in high school anymore. Maybe that’s impressive at that age. I saw her around at sporting events and dances but we were in separate crowds.”
“You never even talked to her in high school?”
“The most that was ever said was your typical meet and greet banter of hi, hello, how are you doing, how was so and so’s test. That was it.”
“That’s weird. So why didn’t you talk to her other than that?”
“I told you. She felt like she was one of those untouchable girls. So by the time I was a sophomore and all my friends were talking about her I just did the math. With all these guys wanting to catch her eye and have her attention the odds was against me. I just agreed to not go after it and go after all the other pretty girls I knew I had a chance with.”
“Oh yeah and how’d that go?”
“Oh it went pretty well actually.” Sam said with a smile. “I was kind of a heartbreaker for a while. Probably up until mid junior year.”
“What happened then?” Charlie asked.
“I don’t know. I guess I just got bored. The older girls were gone or I’d already hooked up with and the younger girls just weren’t enough for me. I guess I just started to grow up a little bit.”
“And what about Amie?”
“I think she was dating some guy her senior year and even freshman year of college. College is where I really met her and got to know her. By junior year school had gotten boring for me. My classes weren’t hard they just took up time. Girl’s kind of became an annoyance and sports I had given up on after I torn something in my knee my freshman year. So in my spare time I just started reading books and articles and eventually started writing my own ideas down. Sometimes the best ideas are the ones that you let fester for a while until finally they polish themselves in your mind and pop up and you can use them. But sometimes we forget about the littlest idea. That’s why I write everything down on my walls. You’ve seen my one room.” Charlie nodded his head. “Anyways it was my freshman year in college. I was interested in writing for the school’s paper and seeing if it was something I might be interested in and low and behold Amie was one of the editors for it. I remember realizing it when they had an event in their building. There was probably twenty or so freshman in there and Amie was there with the guy that was ahead of the paper and she was giving us this speech about how this was serious stuff and how everyone that worked for the paper was either an english major or a journalist major, or even a sports writer. And she’s standing up there giving us this speech and she goes:“’We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.’ Thomas Edison said that.”
And by now I had already developed my outspokenness and without two seconds going by after she said that I said. “No he didn’t.” And the place gets real quiet and they all turn and look at me. I of course am stunned because I didn’t really realize the magnitude of what I just said. I was just used to mouthing back to teachers when they were wrong about things. So I looked around at the people and then I look back at her and I tell her “Artistole said that. Edison said ‘The successful person makes a habit of doing what the failing person doesn’t like to do.” And she just gives me that puzzled look that tells me you might be right but I don’t want people to know that I’m wrong. So she says “perhaps” and hands out these papers and tells us to fill them out and turn them in by the end of the week and tells us we can go. Everyone just grabs one and leaves after this thirty or so minute meeting. I at the time wanted to be a teacher and only liked writing as a hobby so I’m glancing through this small packet of papers to see if it’s worth filling out and I’m walking towards the door about to walk out of it and Amie puts her hand on my shoulder. I turned around and look at her and she asks me if I’ve ever written before. I told her I like to write but I’ve never done it for a newspaper before. I was just curious about how running a newspaper was. She goes on to tell me all her credentials about how she dominated her freshman year and was promoted and how she worked on her high school paper while also being an athlete and a cheerleader and the whole time I’m just smiling in the back of my head.”
“She didn’t realize you guys went to school together?”
“I guess not. So after she’s done naming off all the things she’s done and her credentials about why she is where she is. I just smile at her and say if you want to be quoting Thomas Edison you should be reading The Wizard of Menlo Park and not be worried about me taking your job and I left.” Charlie and Sam both laughed at that.
“You had to go and make her feel stupid didn’t you?”
“It did feel pretty good.”
“So what happened next?” Charlie asked. The waitress had come and placed their food on the tables.
A few weeks went by and I’m in one of those big lecture halls for some general education class and I’m sitting in the back somewhere taking notes and she comes in and sits right next to me and places the Edison book on my notebook and says she read it. I’m in class so I just said “okay” and I ignore her. So she goes ahead and asks me why I haven’t come by the printing building or submitted any articles or stopped by any of the writing labs where her work study job is. I’m feeling really good about myself that this beautiful chick is all worried about me so I have a little fun with it. I ask her if she’s stalking me and she gets all defensive. I tell her I don’t need to write in the paper to feel good about my work. I write for myself. She of course tells me I’m dumb. She says how will you know if you’re any good if nobody reads your material? I tell her she’s too ambitious and she must be over compensating for something. She of course is offended and gets up to leave but then she sits back down and challenges me to write a paper about some guy I hadn’t heard of before. She tells me if I can turn it in to the writing lab in three days there will be a reward there waiting. I tell her I’m not interested and she leaves.
“Really? That doesn’t sound like you at all. Someone challenged you and you didn’t rub it back in their face?”
“I wrote the paper. And I turned it into her three days later when she was working in the writing lab.”
“She liked it didn’t she?”
“Oh she loved it. She loved that I wrote her English paper that was due in two weeks in two days all to prove myself.”
“She tricked me.”
“Yeah she tricked me and actually started my career of writing for other kids. I saw her a month later and she had to rub it in my face that she got an A with my paper. I was so mad. I ended up sitting in on one of her classes and got the roster of the kids in her class. Through some parties and other kids I knew I ended up writing some papers for the kids in her class. They of course had to change bits and pieces to make it fit their tone of voice. I did them pretty cheap too.”
“I couldn’t stand that she pulled a fast one on me. So I made sure that she wasn’t going to get the best grade in the class anymore. So when the end of the semester came around and I found out I got a 99% on a paper I wrote for the class she was in I went and found her in the girls dorms. I asked her how she did on her class final paper. She told me she got a 91% on it and asked why it mattered. I of course smiled and told her I got a 99% on it. When she didn’t believe me I went on to explain what my paper was about and what the grading criteria were.
“How’d she take it?
“She wasn’t even mad. It was like she was impressed. She told me she had an actual project for the paper for me. Now that she knew I had the skills to write she wanted to see if I could get an interview that none of her editors could. It was about the dorms and basically trying to find dirt that it was the maintenance people’s fault for something. It was that moment when I realized I was falling in love with her.”
“What do you mean?”
“I didn’t want to do the interview. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to help the newspaper but I realized if I didn’t I had no other reason to continue communicating with her. The funny thing is I got the interview that they couldn’t. Instead of getting dirt on the maintenance people I wrote an article defending them and saying all the things they do that go unnoticed and unappreciated and blamed the administration for not providing them with enough people or enough funding. The other interesting thing about that was that article and that interview are what led me to meeting Andy. He hired me to work for him that second semester and soon after he started opening my eyes to other things.”
“That’s amazing. And what happened with you and Amie?”
“How about you do some talking so I can do some eating” Sam said.
“Sorry. Yeah go ahead and eat.” After the two of them finished eating they got into Sam’s car and they took a drive over to Sam’s old house. Sam knew it was safe now since his brother have previously told him his Dad had moved away. There was a park bench across the street that the two of them sat on.
“So did you ask her out after your article got published?
“I was dating some crazy chick at the time. As interested as I was in Amie I was invested in this other girl.”
“Invested? Girl’s aren’t stocks.”
“It’s a long complicated story, which happens to be the story I told your sister. It wouldn’t be all that interesting to you. Basically hot crazy girl but I stayed with her because the sex was good until she eventually broke it off with me for being an ass. That’s the summary of it.”
“What about after you guys broke up then?”
“She was with some dude for about another month after I broke up with my girl. She had a more mature relationship with him though than I did with her so I had to give her time to get over him. We were friends by this time. We’d meet in the library and work on homework, or the newspaper, or she’d pick my brain about stuff. It wasn’t until that summer that we finally got together.”
“What happened then?”
“A lot happened then man. All type of stuff that happens in a real relationship. We would get in fights and then someone would apologize. Go on small trips away from here and school, spend holidays at each other families and got to know them pretty well. She was even there for me when I got kicked out of school.”
“So how long were you guys together then?”
“34 months, 1 week.” Sam said without having to think about it. “She was fortunate enough to graduate college in her lifetime. She was proud of it so I was happy for her. After she had finished school, and I was living with Andy at the time, I saved up enough to buy a ring. I took her out on a boat ride and in the sunset I proposed to her and she accepted.”
“That sounds amazing man.”
“It was. How’d you get here?”
“I drove a car that one of the guys let me borrow at the garage.”
“Ok we need to go drop that off then.”
“Right now?” Charlie questioned
“Yes right now.”
“But I want to hear more about her.”
“No. I want to think about the good times.” Sam said heading towards his car. Charlie realized that the story must be coming to an abrupt end and decided not to push it. Sam drove Charlie back to the other car and the two of them drove back to the garage. Sam drove back to his usual back alley parking lot spot and the two of them parted ways. It was evening by now and the sun was almost down. Sam was in a phase that he entered his apartment through the front door instead of the back window. Sam also didn’t realize that there was an undercover cop car parked up the street that happened to be surveilling the bookstore.
Cubs sign Soler, will he feast or falter in the Cubs farm system? Discussing current and past prospects of the Cubs organization.
Who wins this Sunday at WWE’s “No Way Out” pay-per-view and who’s my favorite to win the briefcase at next month’s “Money in the Bank.”
Game 1 of the NBA Finals – Heat vs. Thunder game overview
Russell Westbrook and what NBA Hall of Famer and “NBA’s 50 Greatest” his game reminds me of. (Never been compared to)
(I do not own the rights to the following songs)
Kevin MacLeod – Cut & Run
Glory Nugget – Iron Bacon
Kayne West & Lupe Fiasco – Touch the Sky
Kevin MacLeod – Organic Grunge
Kevin MacLeod – Zap Beat
Kevin MacLeod – Cut & Dry
New podcast available from two of your chair members discussing sports & entertainment. We are looking for approval from Itunes and waiting to be confirmed. If/When that happens we will be available to be downloaded on there as well.
Here’s the link to the first episode… BA Today Show – June 11, 2012
Sam was sitting at the bar of an upper scale restaurant having lunch. A man on the other end of the bar kept glancing over at Sam and it was making him uncomfortable. Sam didn’t recognize the man’s face. He was a bit overweight with black hair on the side and a bald spot on top. He was an older gentleman probably in his 40’s and possibly even his 50’s wearing a black suit and a white dress shirt. Sam happened to be doing some research for his newspaper writer and was playing the part. He was dressed up in a fitted suit and a blue dress shirt with a white collar. Sam knew his clothes weren’t making him stand out in this place. Sam took a few more bites and took a big drink from his water class and asked for the bill. The man who had been staring at Sam came over and sat down in the barstool next to him.
“You’re Marcus right? Do you remember me?”
“No.” Keep it short and unrevealing Sam thought. Sam started to worry about this guy blowing his cover or being a guy he did some shady business with.
“Yeah you’re him. You used to eat at that diner up on 23rd street right? I used to go there all the time.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about sir.” The bartender had returned with Sam’s bill. He quickly pulled out some cash out from his pocket and told the bartender to keep the change. He didn’t want to risk the man actually seeing his wallet or any type of identification from it. The fact was Sam had been taken off guard by the man.
“Oh come on. You have to remember me.” Sam got off his bar stool and started walking towards the door. “My name is James Galloway. You loaned me some money. It changed my life.” Sam stopped near the entrance of the building. The name James Galloway did register in Sam’s mind.
“That name does sound familiar. Where do I know you from?”
“From that diner. I was going through a divorce at the time and was at the diner with a ton of legal papers and trying to figure out how I was going to afford everything and keep myself from living off the streets.”
“Ok. Keep going.” Sam still wasn’t sure where the story was going.
“You must have overheard me because you mentioned that my lawyer was overcharging me and gave me a card of another lawyer to call. You said you wouldn’t leave until I called the guy so I did.”
“Yeah his last name was Connors. Anyways I called the guy. He sets up a meeting with me and explains how divorced are tough and he won’t expect any payment until all the papers are signed and I have a place to live. So I thank you for your help and…” Sam cut off the man
“And I bought your dinner. We talked about the financial problems you had been going through and I ended up writing you a check for three grand.”
“Now you remember me?”
“What’s your name again?”
“James Galloway. Yeah I remember you now. You must be doing pretty good now eating in a place like this wearing a suit.”
“I’m doing great actually. I ended up getting a promotion not long thereafter and a bonus. A friend of mine came to me with a business adventure about a year ago and now I’m a partial owner of Magglio’s downtown.”
“Magglio’s? I think I’ve heard about it. It’s like an Italian cuisine place with like piano music and stuff right?”
“That’s the one! Listen I owe you a meal and probably a drink or two at the least. How about you stop by the place tonight and we talk.”
“Tonight’s not the best night for me actually.”
“Oh that’s too bad.”
“How about I take one of your cards or something and I’ll call you tomorrow and see if we can do it then.”
“That sounds great.” James reached into his back pocket and pulled out a business card and handed it to Sam. “Listen I have to run but I’m very glad I ran into you here. I can’t thank you enough for what you did. I’m clearing my entire night for tomorrow. I’ll see you then.” James reached out his hand and Sam shook it.
“Tomorrow night. I’ll see you then.” James walked back to his spot at the bar to pay his bill as Sam walked outside and started walking down the road looking at the business card. He pulled out his cell phone and called his private investigator. It rang twice before he picked up.
“Hey, it’s me. I need you to do me a big favor. I need you to look up the background on James Galloway. He’s a partial owner of the restaurant downtown called Magglio’s and if I remember right he does some work at a bank. I need you to fast track this though. I need it by tomorrow afternoon. Thanks.” Sam hung up the phone.
Charlie was in the computer labs on campus writing a paper. It was a midterm paper that was due by the end of the week but he was desperately trying to finish it because it was the Friday before spring break. He knew he wasn’t going to have enough focus to do it during spring break week and didn’t want the worry of getting it done. Sam somehow knew that Charlie was in here working on a paper and decided to show up while he was working on it.
Sam walked into the computer labs and sat down on the computer next to Charlie. He logged in first before saying anything.
“Hey I need to talk to you.” Sam said.
“I’m a little busy trying to get this paper done.”
“Oh yeah? What’s it for?”
“Psychology class. It’s boring. Now leave me alone.”
“Who’s the teacher?”
“Weber. Now shut up.”
“I think I have a few papers you could copy off of if you wanted.”
“And get in trouble for plagiarizing a plagiarizer? No thanks.”
“Well hurry up. I need to talk to you about something.”
“You’re a grown man. It’s okay to take my sister on a date. You don’t need my permission.”
“What? I was talking about a food place. Where’d you get that from?”
“My sister said you guys connected. Whatever that means.”
“Oh I’d definitely connect with her.” Sam said in a sexual innuendo voice.
“No seriously though. What did she say?”
“She said you guys just hung out and talked on Valentine’s Day. She felt like you guys connected a little bit. She said she got you to open up a little.”
“I told her one story about a girl I dated. If that constitutes as connecting well I’ll be damned.”
“And since then?”
“Oh we bumped uglies for sure.”
“Fuck you dude.”
“No seriously it’s nothing.”
“You still talking to her?”
“She’ll email me every now and then and comment on the articles I get published in the paper.”
“What paper? You’re writing articles?”
“Yeah. I told you that.”
“No you didn’t. Only thing you told me you wrote was like a journal and then outlines for master schemes you wished you could pull off.”
“Am I sensing a little bit of jealousy?” Sam asked. Charlie stopped looking at the article on the desk and looked over at Sam.
“You’ve met my sister once and I feel like she already knows you better than I do. Which means either you like her or we aren’t very good friends. We might not even be friends at all like I thought we were. “
Sam was looking through his emails as the two of them were conversing. He just received one from the newspaper guy. He told him he had a new project that he wanted Sam to focus on and forget about the other one. According to the email the writer had been tipped off about a man in the area, a man who was being investigated for a variety of criminal actions. A man that although had committed serious crimes also seemed to commit certain crimes that allowed the investigators evidence to catch other criminals. The writer wrote that he was “The vigilante version of a modern day Robin Hood.” Somehow cops could figure out his presents by the intelligence of his robberies but could never seem to recognize a face, lift a finger print, or find any form of evidence. This was to be his new research project. Somehow Sam was supposed to research Marcus. The idea sent chills down Sam’s back. Charlie stared at Sam as Sam’s face turned blank. He waited for Sam to say something but he didn’t.
“What’s wrong Sam?”
“I think I’m being investigated.” Sam said quietly looking around the room. It was empty other than the student aid sitting at the desk by the door entrance.
“I don’t know. I might need to lay low for a while though. I need you to do me a favor.”
“What is it?”
“I need you to go to a restaurant tonight and scope it out for me.”
“I’m not helping you rob a restaurant.”
“I’m not worried about the restaurant. There’s a man that will probably be there. I’ll get you a description later. I need you to observe him and see if there is anything weird about him or about the place.”
“Why does it matter?”
“Because he randomly ran into me today and now I’m getting an email about ‘The Modern Day Robin Hood.’ You don’t find that suspicious?”
“Could just be a coincidence. I think you’re just being paranoid.”
“I’d rather be paranoid and careful than easy going and in jail. Can you do this for me?”
“Sure I guess. I just need to finish this paper first. You going to spot me some money.”
“Here’s a hundred bucks. Knock yourself out.”
“This place that expensive?”
“No. But you’re my friend. I want you to enjoy yourself.” Charlie smiled hearing this. “And trust me. I only give your sister money if it’s for sex.”
“Dude! Over the line.” Sam smiled and got out of his seat.
“Meet me at my place after everything is all said and done. Make sure you’re not being followed either. It’s starting to get real serious.”
Sam stayed up reading a book and waiting for Charlie to get back. He had given him the description of James and also asked that Charlie take notes on the layout of the building. Charlie finally sent Sam a text and Sam propped the back window open. Charlie crawled through the window within the next half hour and then they sat down to discuss it.
“This James guy was only there for a few minutes in the two hours I spent there. There was only so much I could do without having a date and not being old enough to order drinks. It’s not like it’s a sports bar where you can just watch sports all day.” Charlie handed Sam a napkin. “I drew the floor plan on this.”
“What did James do while he was there?”
“He talked to a manager there and had a drink while he listened to the guy who was playing piano. After that he left. I’m not a trained spy but the guy seemed normal. It looked like he was just stopping by to see the artist playing and happened to talk to his staff while he was there.”
“Yeah it sounds like nothing. He might have just lucked out with this restaurant. I just can’t help but think he did something shady to turn around his fortunes.”
“You just don’t trust anyone do you?”
“Nope and somehow somebody has said something to somebody that has put me on a news reporter’s radar.“ Sam’s cell phone rang. It was going on 11:30 at night. He quickly looked at Charlie for a reaction. Charlie looked as surprised as Sam was feeling about this phone call. Sam wasn’t expecting any phone calls and with the email he read today he wasn’t sure he wanted to answer it.
“Just answer it. It doesn’t have to be something bad.” Sam clicked the answer button on his cell phone.
“Hello.” Sam said dryly.
“Hey. Sorry about calling so late. This is Sam right?” the voice sounded like a young male and he could hear a kid talking in the background.
“Who is this?” Sam asked dryly again not knowing who it was.
“It’s Nate. Your brother.”
“Uh. How are you? How’s your daughter?”
“Lilly is good. She’s four now. She’s been growing a lot lately and given me a handful to deal with. What about you?” Sam noticed he didn’t answer how he was. He went ahead and talked about his daughter instead. He also noticed that Charlie was trying to eavesdrop on the conversation and Sam walked into the other room.
“I’m doing alright. I’m keeping busy.”
“Well that sounds good. Any new ladies in your life?” Nate asked.
“Nate I haven’t spoken to you in how many years now and you want to talk about chicks?”
“Well I heard about Amie and I wanted to call…”
“What do you want Nate? You wouldn’t call me unless you had to.” Sam said cutting Nate off. Nate sighed.
“I think I need your help.”
“I’m getting evicted. Lilly had some bad ear infections and I don’t have health insurance and neither does her mom. I got behind on some bills and I couldn’t catch back up.”
“So what do you need? You need some money?”
“No. I’ll pay that off pretty soon. I need a place to stay.”
“What about Lilly’s mom? Or Dad? They should let you stay with them for at least a little while. I’m at least an hour away from there and that’s speeding.”
“Lilly’s mom is already living back with her parents. She can’t find work these days. And Dad moved. You didn’t know that?”
“Nate how in the world would I know that Dad moved? That man hates me.”
“I’m sorry you’re right. He doesn’t hate you though. But you think I could crash with you?”
“Yeah I guess. I can find you a place of your own. You’ll have to give me a few days though.”
“Uh. I’m kind of starring at the eviction sign on my apartment door right now.”
“You need a place tonight then?”
“Yes.” Sam walked back into the other room and covered his cell phone and looked at Charlie.
“I need a favor.”
“Another one?” Charlie asked.
“My brother needs a place to crash. He has a four year old daughter though.”
“I can’t get them into my place in the dorms. Especially if he has a little girl, there’s no way.”
“That’s what I figured. You’ve been to Lauren’s apartment before right?”
“No. No. There’s no way she’ll go for that. With everything she knows about you.”
“Charlie. It’s for my brother though.”
“There’s no way I can convince her of that. They’ll either have to stay here or you’ll have to call her.” Sam removed his hand over his cell phone.
“Nate, I think I have a friend who lives closer to you guys that you might be able to stay with for a few days. I need to call her though and find out if it’s ok. Can you get all the important stuff out of your apartment and loaded into your car? I’ll call you back.” Sam heard Nate agree and then hung up the phone. He then looked back at Charlie.
“Shit. This is going to cost me something big, probably something personal with Lauren too.”
“Yeah she’ll want something to hold over your head I bet. Force you into doing something you don’t want to do.” Charlie said.
“Like sex?” Sam said
“Dude! Not cool.”
“Shut up. It’s ringing.” Sam walked into the other room again. Lauren answered on what Sam believed was her last ring before it went to her voicemail. Lauren had been asleep and wasn’t very happy about being awoken. Sam gave it his best chance at being nice and sound sweet and sincere, but once Lauren demanded a date his tone changed. He argued with her and tried negotiating something else but Lauren declined and said it wasn’t negotiable. After Sam hung up the phone he had a weird look on his face. He walked back into the other room where Charlie was laying down on Sam’s couch.
“Did she agree to it?” Charlie asked.
“Yeah. I need to call Nate back.” Sam said slowly.
“What’s wrong? That’s great news right? I can’t believe she went for it. What’d you have to tell her?”
“You do not want to know.”
“Of course I want to know. Tell me!”
“I have to go on a date with her this weekend. A full movie, dinner, club, and coffee night cap date.”
“What! That doesn’t sound like my sister at all.”
“That’s what I was thinking. And she did it so… so… quickly. Like it wasn’t a huge pain in the ass to let my brother and his daughter stay over for at least the next few days. And only for a date? I would have assumed she’d want some money or at least grocery money. Or force me into telling her about my family or something and why I needed the favor.”
“Maybe in her mind she doesn’t need you for that. Maybe she knows that she’ll learn more about you by having your brother there then by actually listening to your bullshit?”
“Is it me or have you gotten smarter?” Sam asked.
“I hang around you enough I start to look at things differently now.”
“Is she that smart to wake up from a dead sleep and figure that out though?” Sam asked but to no one in particular.
“Yeah.” Sam and Charlie both said in unison.
“I guess it might be a good thing for me that I haven’t talked to my brother for at least two years. She’ll be expecting more recent stuff and he won’t be able to give it to her.”
“You think that’s a good thing though?” Charlie asked.
“What? Obviously it is.” Sam said annoyed. Charlie sat up from the couch and looked at Sam.
“No what I’m saying is this, you’ve changed over the years. Whether you want to believe it or not that’s another conversation in itself but listen… Your brother knows probably the best version of yourself. He knows you in high school and he knows you while you were in college correct?” Sam nodded his head. “So he knows you as the straight arrow. The guy who sent him gifts even when he didn’t want to talk to you. He knows nothing about all the shady stuff you’ve done.”
“But it’s true. And my sister is great with secrets so I know she won’t tell your brother any of the stuff you might have happened to tell her.”
“Or that you have told her asshole.”
“Whatever. What I’m saying is that if you’re not interested in my sister this is going to be really bad. She’s going to hear all this great stuff about you and” Sam cut Charlie off.
“And she’s going to draw her own conclusions that secretly I’m this great dude who’s just pretending to be an ass.”
“I will have to agree with her on that.” Charlie said a little glim.
“You can leave now.”
“What? Because I know you’re a nice guy? Fine it’s getting late anyways.” Charlie headed for the door and Sam threw a book at him that hit his arm. Charlie stopped and looked at Sam and mouthed the words “are you kidding me?” and then left. Once Sam heard Charlie leaving through the back window he called his brother and gave him the directions to Laurens place and told him what to do. Sam knew this was a bad idea for him and wasn’t even sure why he helped his little brother.
REDCHAIR; Sports Editor
On May 22nd, 2012 I am about to embark on a mission no man has ever done before (just kidding). I am going to survive one full week living the life of a hobo. I am only allowed a few items like my harmonica, a pocket knife, and maybe a water bottle. No money, no housing, but it will be recorded and edited by one of our fellow chairmen. It’s not going to be easy and honestly it’ll be pretty hard. I’ll definitely be losing some weight and some sleep. Am I crazy? Insane? Well maybe but I’ve been called those before and it never stopped me then. I guess it’s time for me to answer the only major question. Why?
I’m 23, college education with a plethora of related experience and volunteer hours, and well on my way to some boring office job somewhere in the world. I have a lifetime to live. But if I’ve learned anything from watching “The Buried Life” it’s that you shouldn’t wait until you’re old to start crossing things off your bucket list. You shouldn’t wait until you’re retired to continue exploring and having adventures. Ironically one of the things on my list is to live the life of a hobo. But again you ask why? Most people want to see Paris, go rock climbing, see Everest, or go skydiving (this one I’ll do) but living like a hobo? I’m pretty sure it’s not on any of your lists either.
Let me tell you a personal story. I had an uncle who I’m sure has since passed away. The only stories I ever heard about him was that he would visit once in a blue moon without anyone knowing he was coming. My aunt was a little girl at the time but she told me he was a hobo. He traveled all around exploring the world as he could. The one story that she remembers best is that one summer he came to visit my aunt and my dad and he had this big radio. One of those wireless ones that runs on batteries I’m assuming, and she told me about how my dad loved it and played with its nobs because it was something he’d never seen. Now I always wondered how he got that radio. Did he steal it? Did he want it that bad that he worked a job to earn it? I never knew because before long he left and had disappeared again.
I always thought there was something exhilarating about not having to be somewhere and not having to do anything but somehow being able to get by. The mentality that you only have to worry about the simplest of things like eating but also being able to enjoy the simplest things like a beautiful day. The types of things we all take for granted daily because we all have houses, cars, and jobs. And not only with this be challenging for the obvious reasons, the fact that I won’t have my phone, or laptop, or television to entertain me for hours and hours will also be a struggle (as shallow as that is).
So what have I done to prepare for this? Well not much. I don’t want to plan it. If I plan it I can easily make it easy and enjoyable to where it’ll basically be camping. The limited amount of research I have managed to do is that a person can go between 3-5 weeks without eating before dieing. No problem since it’ll only be a week. But I really hope I don’t go a week without eating! A person can only go 3-4 days without water though. As long as I don’t get dropped off in a dessert I can find a way to get water I believe. Now that I have my week picked out I don’t plan to watch any weather reports because I don’t want to know.
Still need further explanation? I’m a person who likes to push people for answers and explanations. Nosy? Not really just curious as to how people think. I like people that are able to push others out of their comfort zone. My comfort zone is so huge that I tend to do insane things to push even myself out of the comfort zone. To prove to myself I can indeed accomplish something that I’m unsure of and to prove to myself that I can still do outrageous things. I guess it’s fitting to call it an ego trip. Get it?
So here’s the bottom line. Bluechair will be following me for the course of the week. It might be camping out in the vicinity as myself or it’ll be through walkie talkie communication. This has a lot of variables depending on how far away I get dropped off at. He will shoot and edit the course of these events in two video parts. It will probably be uploaded on my YouTube channel and his Facebook page. If you are interested in this project feel free to leave a comment or your information if you want to watch.
“Where ever he laid his hat was his home” – Temptations