Original article posted by ravenpaine:

The Woman on the Corner

Jake Tulbert sat at his desk typing on his keyboard, soft mood lighting filled the spaces around him and soothing music drifted around his head. He typed slowly, contemplating the trials of his day. He turned his head in an odd twitch every few minutes. His left eye had been troubling him for the last hour or so and he was unsure of what to make of it.

Trouble filled his writing. Terrible things happening to people who did not exactly deserve it. He was being sadistic to the characters because he was once told sadism was the way to treat characters. It made them interesting and let the reader see what they were made of. Jake just liked to do sick things to innocent people. Not that he was evil or insane, but mostly he was just tired, in a constant state of pain, and poignantly lonely.

There had been times in the past when he had not been lonely, but those times die off faster than they should and are remembered painfully instead of joyfully. Jake was aware of this phenomenon and its pervasiveness in the human condition, but he did not let that sway him out of his melancholy. He sipped at the lightly steaming mug at his right and followed that with a quick shot of milk from the tumbler at his left. He was certain that he was getting sick, if not from the constant pain of the eye, then definitely from the low slogging feeling in his heart.

He swiveled around in his chair and stalked across the hardwood of his bedroom floor out into the living room. He contemplated reading one of the magazines laying out on the coffee table but decided instead to make more chocolate to refill his mug. He sighed widely as he heard his housemate enter. Being melancholy and alone was something he was prepared to deal with, being asked about why and trying to be cheered out of such a state was something he was not.

“How are things?” said Kristine from her bedroom doorway.

Jake swiveled delicately, shoulders hunched forward. “Fine,” he said, out of habit.

“Did you enjoy yourself today?” she asked automatically, as if his answer was inconsequential.

Jake sighed again and turned back to the kitchen. “Yeah, it had its moments.” He really wanted to slap her for being so blatantly pleased with herself; that or the guy with her. Not exactly the grandest example of the species. The guy, who would be introduced momentarily already pissed Jake off.

Jake walked into the kitchen before the introduction could be made and made a show of yawning loudly. He smacked his lips twice, loudly, then stalked back to his room. No more chocolate for him tonight. He would have to fall asleep in the next ten minutes or be subjected to the sounds of blissful pompous sex from Kristine’s room. He was not prepared to do this to himself.

“…So anyway,” Kristine continued, “I was just telling Mark how nice it is to have you here, Jake.”

Mark, the infamous ‘guy,’ extended his meat hook of a hand out. Jake nodded at it. “Hello. Goodbye. Sorry, Kristine. Mark. I have to go deliver a book to a friend before 10 O’ Clock.”

Mark smirked, Jake punched him full in the chops then kicked him in the ribs; mentally. Mark smirked. Jake interpreted the look for what it was, a thank you for leaving. An open invitation for Jake to wander off to Hell or go fuck himself, as long as he didn’t return before Mark and Kristine had finished doing their thing.

Jake nodded again, grabbed his coat and fled into the night. All things said, he felt like a tool.

***

Tuesday came sooner than Jake was prepared for. Tuesday was the day when Jake, out of an obligation that stemmed from habit, that stemmed from being raised that way, that stemmed from being neurotic dutifully sat down with Amber to tutor her in English. Amber, who came to the tutoring out of a need to get Jake to help her with her latest relationship, John (if you can believe it) was (Oh my god!) going to leave his other girlfriend (Jenny, that bitch) and go steady with her. The apparent problem in this situation was not that this guy must be worthless if he was dumping one girl for another – and yes, Jake did think that he would dump her too at the sight of an even easier, dizzier girl – but instead was a question of where to lose her cherry to John after he did this important, meaningful gesture just for her.

Jake stirred his coffee, which had started off being a good coffee but had degenerated to a cold sugary slop as he listened through Amber’s barrage of questions about sex, comments about past relationships, avoidance of casual reminders and hints at the actually tutoring he was here to do, and more than one tirade about how poorly Jenny (that bitch!) was treating her precious John. He sipped the sadistically non-strychnine laced coffee and started into what would inevitably be him telling Amber exactly what he would do for a girl if he ever found one who would appreciate the effort. She would gobble up every last word of the scenario, cry on cue at the end and tell him how touching, romantic, and sensitive he was before telling him that he was the greatest guy in the world, next to John, that if anything ever went wrong between them she would come immediately to Jake, followed by more small talk on how great Jake was, then she would shut him out and leave to find John and live the greatest night of her life locked somewhere between the fantasy scenario that Jake had laid out for her and the muscular attractive frame of John as he pumped her for all she was worth.

Jake felt sick. But that was not new, that he did not feel even slightly aroused by his own tale is what bothered him. Normally he would imagine being there with the girl he was giving the advice to, a habit that was perhaps wrong but at least slightly satisfying. This time however he felt nothing at all and realized that he had hit a new slump in his sexual outlook. He no longer cared for any part of the female anatomy. Daily would he dream of a decapitated head that would speak to him and tell him he was important.

***
The following Friday this constant vision, present in an almost tangible fashion, drove him to walking the streets just before Midnight.

He was headed south when he happened to stumble across a woman sitting cross-legged on a corner near the public elementary school. She was dressed in a maroon sweater, black jeans, big white sneakers with mismatched socks, and a navy blue overcoat. Her hair was a chestnut blonde and hung in waves to her shoulders. Her lips were pursed together and painted a warm fleshy color. She was playing with a stick when Jake walked up, twirling it on the ground in front of her. As he walked past she let the stick drop and it pointed at him.

He turned to look down at her. She looked up at him and he could see she had intense blue eyes. He was mesmerized by her presence. What was she doing sitting on a street corner? Was she waiting for someone? She didn’t look drunk maybe she was high. He walked on, leaving her where she was.

She got up and began slowly walking behind him. He quickened his pace and began to look for a convincing place to turn around. He would look for a crowd to lose the strange woman, but there are no crowds after Midnight. Eventually he stopped. He heard her stop and the air started to fill with a projected innocence. He turned to her. She tilted her head 45 degrees and smiled slightly.

Jake sighed. “Fine, I’ll do it, what’s the pitch? Stop bothering me.”

Her head remained angled and her smile grew. Part of her hair fell into her face and she left it hanging there, obscuring her right eye behind chestnut tresses. “You agree?” she intoned.

Jake felt tired and trampled on and like the earth beneath him was chuckling manically. “Yes,” he said, “Yes, I will do whatever it is you are asking of me.”

Her smile grew again. “Do you promise?”

Jake deflated some more. He felt like he was going to have to scrape himself off of his own shoe when he got home. “Yes. I swear to accomplish, fulfill, live out, or complete whatever task it is that you have concocted.” He gave a small bow and held it. She had interesting socks. One was black with orange fish on it, the other blue with white seagulls.

She leaned down and kissed him gently on the forehead. “I want you to be my champion Jake Tulbert. I want you to assist me in the most important quest that any single person can undertake.”

Jake froze where he was, her breath caressing his forehead. His heart was racing and his legs felt like pudding. He struggled with his voice for a second, “And that is?”

She stood up and pulled him closer to her, “Jake, I want you to make me happy.”

***

Making Clarissa happy, in difference to current uses of the word, did not involve money, sex, or drugs. Clarissa, for whatever reason, had been sitting at the corner waiting for Jake to make her his bride. Jake, a man of his word, did promise that he would complete her task, and being a romantic of an old tradition set about courting Clarissa immediately.

The money that suddenly inflated his bank account was certainly worth questioning but love, it is said, makes fools of us all; and Jake spent that money on an obviously deserving target. Clarissa learned to be very happy.

***

Six months later hanging off the edge of a building by one foot and noticing the ground swirling a thousand feet below Jake began to suspect a set up of Rube Goldberg proportions. He wished that he had time to recap it all but the Theo the Thug chose that moment to let go and Jake’s mind filled with other things. One of which was the street but there was a lot of random nonsense and the better portion of this narrative to put together between here and there.

Orginal comments:


Nickname: Greg
Re: A story fragment, where’s the rest?
I would like you to know that I did not read this. That is all.

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