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Monday, November 25, 2013

The Black Ring: Chapter 2, Part 9

The door to the apartment opens from the outside. As he walks in, Bryson slowly closes it behind him. Next to the door is a tray to place his keys, he drops his keys on top of another set of keys already sitting in the tray. Everything is dark, his roommate must have gone to bed, or she's busy with another query she brought home for an overnight rendezvous. The thought of it brightens his day to no end causing him to forget what he was considering doing before he walked into the apartment. He stands for a moment in the middle of the cluttered living room trying to figure out what he meant to do next, and allowing his eyes to adjust to the dark. After a moment of standing around he finally decides to go to the kitchenette and grab a beer. Carefully stepping around the clutter that litters the living room floor he makes his way to the kitchen where he grabs a Bud Light from the fridge. As he heads to his room the thought that his roommate may be in her room with another man makes Bryson jealous and he stares at her door with a heavy glare as he walks through his own.
Sometime after Bryson was discharged from the military he decided to leave Florida. He didn't want the reminder of his former flame and best friend lingering in every relationship he tried to recreate, and since a few of his former fellow recruits had talked about Green Bay he decided it was time to make the move. Well, that and the fact that the other people he formerly knew that still wanted to associate with him were into drugs or much less savory past times or had simply moved on to greener pastures that he did not find quite as green as they did. While his first few months in Green Bay didn't seem particularly fruitful, he forged ahead not intending to relocate once again. Finally, he garnered friendships and acquaintances from his time at work and frequent trips to some of the local bars.
In the seven years he had lived in Green Bay, Bryson had held many jobs. From the bad (telemarketing, ala Boiler Room) to the worst (working the seafood department at the local grocery store is not a good way to score chicks unless they dug a guy who came home from work smelling like shell fish). Every once in a while he would find a job that seemed to be going somewhere, or at least seemed enjoyable, the company would either fold, he would learn the dark side of the business, or other circumstances would cause the job to go the way of the dinosaurs. After a few marginally successful to dismally disastrous employment opportunities, Bryson finally settled for a fun, if low paying, job jockeying a register at a local Circuit City.
While he hated the customers, he loved his coworkers. From the hipster hippie Aaron who trained him in his position, to the hot yet accessible Anna who he used to jokingly argue with about their (fake) juvenile delinquent kids, to the retarded yet lovable drama geeks it was possibly the most fun he ever had at a job. That’s also where he met Monica. She started about six months after him, and he helped train her. A local journalism major at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, she was something of a tomboy, not afraid to get her hands dirty and easily fitting in with “the guys,” but she still had very feminine qualities in how she held herself and dressed at work. Also, she was a celebrity look alike, the spitting image of Eliza Dushku; in other words, she was every guy’s dream, and she knew it.
She flirted with every guy that laid eyes on her, even the ones who weren’t buying what she was selling. She never gave any of them the impression that they were getting more than her friendship though, but that didn’t keep them from speculating, and Bryson in turn enjoyed the feeling that he was something more than average. Having a friend that was equally comfortable having a beer while watching a football game, going opening night to the latest comic book movie that was driving local fanboys wild, or sitting at home watching a romantic comedy had its advantages, especially when she was willing to do the latter on her own. Bryson found himself more often than he had anticipated on the very uncomfortable stage of a local bar for an unfortunate karaoke duet with Monica. Despite the discomfort, he didn’t really mind it too much; the candle he harbored for her was brightened by being able to call her friends, even if that meant sharing a sticky stage in front of a drunken crowd.
At the time that Bryson had first moved to Green Bay he was staying with the cousin of one of his old Marine Corps buddies on the condition that he would eventually save up enough money to get his own place. Well, that didn’t quite work out the way that Bryson had initially intended. Between trips to the bar, and the occasional lack of work when things didn’t pan out, Bryson wasn’t really contributing or even coming close to getting out. Now his roommate/landlord, Mike, was getting antsy. Actually it wasn’t so much Mike as it was his fiancĂ©e, Melanie. When Bryson first moved in she wasn’t used to walking around Mike’s apartment clothed, and in the several months that he stayed there she still didn’t seem to have a clue what pajamas or night gowns were for. Bryson didn’t mind so much, but she seemed to have a major problem with it. While at first he didn’t have too much of a problem with the living arrangements, Mike was starting to get irritated with having to confine business to the bedroom so he was starting to push harder for Bryson to find his own place.

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