-Hi, I’m Phillip.
He shakes Sasha’s hand, sits down and attempts to move his facial muscles in such a way to indicate that he’s not staring, but is simply concerned with something else. This makes him look doubly uncomfortable and seems to Sasha as if he’s avoiding eye contact.
-Nice to meet you.
-So you like the book so far?
-Yeah, it’s fun. I don’t think I’ve read much like it. Where did you get your idea?
-Lots of places, something like process of elimination. I’ve never seen the plot before, so I thought I’d write something I would find entertaining.
-Who would you say are your influences?
-No one really, probably everyone. I watch a lot of movies and read everything I can find. Most of it is crap though, so sometimes I feel like I have to avoid all the mental junk food floating around in my head to think up anything I don’t hate.
The waitress arrives, Sasha orders coffee and a sandwich, Phillip orders coffee and would like to order the same sandwich that Sasha did, but ends up ordering something that sounds utterly disgusting to him.
-Sorry I took so long getting back to you. I’ve had a crazy few months.
-You were travelling. Where did you go?
-Just New York and Chicago, no place warm or fun. Your questions were funny by the way. Did they help with your story?
Phillip feels like his stomach is boiling and his heart is twitching, but in a good way.
-Yeah, I mean just seeing some of your photos online helped me make some decisions regarding the plot.
-Do you have a publisher yet?
-No, I’m trying to get it done first, then I’ll shop it around. What about the last few months was so crazy?
Coffee is delivered.
-I had some great opportunities that kind of fell through or became disappointing, but I just got a new job and apartment, so things are looking up.
Phillip now shifts in his seat and feels like he might be shaking with excitement at how nice this girl is. He tries hard to stop the shaking and hopes that the coffee will help, even though he knows it will more than likely exacerbate the situation and he’ll have to try even harder to speak without his lips looking like they’re quivering. At this point he’s certain he looks like a twitching mental patient though, so continues as best he can.
-Wow. Thanks again for taking the time to read the section I sent you; you seem to be in the midst of a lot of upheaval.
-It’s really no big deal. I haven’t been going out much and it was nice to have something light to relax and read. I want to know how it’s going to end though, you totally have my attention.
-I got rid of the robot butlers. I just didn’t think they were necessary.
-Oh…. I guess that works, I hadn’t really paid much attention to them other than your Bob guy. Are you cold?
-Maybe a little.
-It is a little chilly in here; you look like you’re shivering though. Do you want to move away from the door?
Sasha’s observation increases the intensity of Phillips shaking and he buttons his jacket up to appear to be trying to warm up. He feels completely psychotic at this point. It takes every ounce of concentration he has to appear relatively normal.
-No, I’m okay. I must be under a vent or something.
The waitress drops off their sandwiches. Phillip successfully resists grimacing at the sandwich placed in front of him. His teeth are chattering as he looks to the ceiling at an air vent that isn’t there. A few French fries seem to help the situation and he focuses on relaxing in his chair a bit and continues the conversation.
-So is your new job like an office job or something else?
-It’s just a hostess job. I’ll still be doing temp work, but the money’s not always consistent and I have rent to pay.
-Saw something in your hobbies about martial arts?
-I do kickboxing a few days a week, a lot of girls do.
-So nothing exotic like Krav Maga or Drunken Boxing?
-I’ve never heard of the Krav one and no, no Drunken Boxing. (Smiles)
-I’m envisioning the character in the book using the Krav one, it’s the one used in the Bourne movies.
Sasha takes a bite of her sandwich and looks out the window. Phillip is convinced he is coming off as a basket case nerd and needs to pull this conversation out of the mire it’s sinking into immediately.
-Sorry, the visualization makes writing it more fun. I know it might not make sense.
-I get it. You’re pretty imaginative. Tell me again why you wanted to interview me specifically again.
-You look pretty much exactly the same as I envisioned the Sasha character in the book.
-You don’t think you may have seen me somewhere before you started?
-Maybe, I don’t think so though. Do you go the bars on South Street.
-Sometimes, not consistently for a couple years though.
-I guess I could have seen you there.
-So were there any other specific questions you wanted to ask me?
Phillip freezes for what feels like 5 minutes, but is actually about ten seconds. The shaking has stopped and his mind now feels like an overheating hard drive spinning harder and harder to find something that isn’t there. With nothing constructive to say, he finds himself asking the question that’s been getting louder in his mind since he saw this girl through the café window, there is no more room for other thoughts it is now at critical mass.
-Are you in a relationship?
-No, does that have something to do with the character or is that a personal question. (Smiles)
-Well, the character isn’t in a relationship either, although I thought that I might give her a romantic interest, but sort of backed out of it because I thought it might compromise her believability as a strong female character. (says all of this in roughly 5 seconds)
-Woah, you can talk pretty fast when you get going. I don’t think it makes a female any less strong to be attracted to someone as long as that someone isn’t a tool.
-Interesting, I might go with that later in the story then. Also, would you like to get a drink later this week or something?
-Maybe, will you have some more of your book done?
-Well here’s my number. Just text me Thursday after 7, I might get out of work early that night.
They finish their meal split the check and go on their ways. Phillip has trouble standing, but holds the door for her and walks in the opposite direction that she does even though he’s now walking away from where he parked his delivery truck. He circles the block a couple of times, partially out of excitement and partially because he wants to be sure that Sasha doesn’t see him climbing into his truck and changing back into his uniform.