Saturday, February 13, 2010

Love at First Sight Blogfest

Oh, my goodness! Where did the time go? I thought that I would have several posts written in the meantime since my last one and this one, but...I didn't. is my quickly pumped out love-at-first-sight entry for this Valentine's Day Blogfest! Sorry--it's a bit long. And sorry--I finished this scene just minutes ago. Seriously. I have been busier than I expected I'd be!

Happy Valentine's Day!!!


Although he was 69, if he hunched over, he could make himself look 84. Put on the reading glasses he carried with him, smudged as they were, round his back, slow his walk. He could change himself completely, could put on a personality as easily as he could put on another shirt.

It was an art he had perfected over the years—changing who he was. It was the Game, the Big Game, the only Game he knew. How to survive. And he was the best at it.

Oh, there were others who played. Granted, they were not without their victories. He knew plenty, in fact; they frequented the same bars and restaurants and hotels that he did. They passed on the street, from time to time. The regulars. The others called him Con. It came partly from his name, which was Ray Conners, and it came partly from what he did.

“Hey, Con, what’d you get, this time?” they said, their greed for his success glowing in their eyes.

It was always something—whatever he wanted. His touch was light, his fortune fair; his memory for numbers and names served him well, and he could pick and pluck whatever he wanted.

After all, he was the Robin Hood of his realm. That’s what he figured. He took from the rich, the well-off. Most of the time. The middle class, occasionally. Only if they deserved it. If they gave off attitude, had a smug glance that proved they needed to be taken down a notch.

You had to be an observer to play Con’s game, and that is exactly what Con was. He took the time to get to know his next move. That was why he enjoyed his walks so much. He liked to walk downtown, along the busy fronts of the offices and stores. He liked to watch people interact with each other. They were awful, mostly; yelling and swearing, trying to get ahead of each other by standing on each other’s shoulders, grinding them into the floor.

It was especially good near holidays.

Con watched people, and he judged people. Who was an easy mark, and how, and why. How he could make his mark count. He was always on the lookout, and he paid attention to every detail.

That was just what he was doing on this particular Wednesday. He was noticing, allowing all movement, all noise, all facets of this new area to dissolve and assimilate into his mind.

That was when Con spied the young boy. The boy had a different look to him; his face was scrunched up in concentration, his baseball cap shoved on his head, his backpack dirty and thin. He was about 12, pushing between some people at a bus stop.

Typical latch-key kid. He looked off—like he had been cared for carefully, but yet like he was neglected. That he didn’t want to be noticed was obvious. Con paused, pretended to be interested in some flower arrangement in barrels that someone had thought would look interesting on the corners of the streets of this particular city. He looked down, and peered across the street.

Someone elbowed the boy—apologized by raising his eyebrows, his suit coat stretched tightly across the breadth of his shoulders and the bulk of his person.

The boy didn’t say anything, and Con squinted. He was confused—had he just seen what he thought he saw?

Then the boy glanced up, and looked at him, and Con smiled jauntily, pretending to be a bumbling old 84-year-old, nonthreatening and non-existent. He walked on, around the corner, continued, rounded the corner again, walked some more, and suddenly walked into someone.

The boy.

He was a soft little thing, and he glanced up at Con and walked around him.

Con felt in his pockets immediately—and smiled. He turned to follow; the little boy hurried forward. As he walked, he reached up, pulled off the cap, and wispy blond shoulder-length hair fell down against his neck. He pulled his backpack off, and he looked like he could blend into the wall. He stopped slouching, and ducked into an empty alley.

Con, whistling, followed. And stopped.

A girl, a plain girl, but her eyes sparkling, a smile playing upon her lips, leaned against a wall. The boy’s backpack was on the ground, and she had set her foot on top of it. She looked like she was about 20. They stared at each other, for a moment. Then she reached into her pocket and held out a dilapidated old wallet—Con’s wallet.

“You’re the great Con.” She wasn’t asking so much as she was telling.

He felt his chest swell, his breath catch. His mind worked. And though he was 69, he realized that he was in love. Truly, dumb-struck, turned around in love. He had never felt it before, and it hurt, just as much it intoxicated him.

Drunken with emotion, he leaned forward, took the wallet from her soft white hand.

“Yes,” he said, standing straight and dropping all pretense. “I’m Con.”


Amber Tidd Murphy said...

What an interesting scene. Is this from a WIP or did you write it solely for the blogfest?

Amalia T. said...

Sarah this is awesome, and I wouldn't have known you'd just put it together, either! I kind of wanted Con to be a little younger so that his appearance of 84 was more of an accomplishment though. I LOVE that the boy turns out to be a girl-- I didn't see it coming at all! Great work!

Just Another Sarah said...

Amber: Thanks! It's a short story that I just started working on, slightly inspired by the blogfest. So...kind of a combination?

Amalia: Ooh, good point. I'll keep that in mind. And, thanks! I'm glad you were surprised!

Laura Canon said...

I like this a lot and I particularly like the unexpectedness of the situation -- that it's not straight-up romantic stuff. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) I'd like to see where you take this.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I'm fascinated by both these characters and wonder where you are taking them. Wonderful writing.

Merissa said...

Very nice! I'd love to know where you're taking this.

Courtney Reese said...

Holy cow, this was wonderfully written! Very good scene except... now I want more. haha. I hope you post more soon!

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Oh my word, this was beautiful. Even though it was 3rd person, the voice felt so strong with its own distinct personality. Everything flowed s smoothly. I really bought this scene. Just sucked me right in. Loved that the reader saw her as a boy first, right along with Con. It's like we were put through the same emotions that he was. Well done.

Elle Strauss said...

This is a great original scene. Nice twist ending. Good job.

Just Another Sarah said...

Oh, my goodness--thanks so much for all the feedback, guys! I'll see about showing you more...perhaps more will fit into another blogfest? :) We'll see!

Jon Paul said...

Sarah--still getting around to read all the Blogfest posts. This was really well done, IMHO, tightly knit and well paced.

I liked the surprise of the girl, and I really understood Con and his world, so a great job all round.

Just Another Sarah said...

Jon Paul: Thanks! I'm so glad. Don't worry about taking your time, I know I've been taking mine...I have so many to read, still!