Monday, June 12, 2006

A Bad Day

Charlie stood frozen at the edge. He looked down nervously to assess the reality of his decision. Five stories were much higher than he thought it would be. But this had to be done right. He had heard of people surviving falls from lower levels. The last thing Charlie needed to add to his depression was becoming debilitated from a failed attempt to ‘end it all.’

A thin man, with signs of a retreating hairline, Charles Mason Jones never imagined he would be in this situation. While he never stood out in a crowd, he was not the typical outcast either. His social skills were developed such that staying at home with a book or the latest Star Trek DVD was not all that life offered…though sometimes that is what he chose.

Another quick glance over the edge and Charlie began to quiver. His knees were weak and he began to second guess his fortitude for follow through. Too late, a crowd was beginning to gather.

“Damn, why couldn’t I have just made this a quick ordeal? I do NOT need a crowd!” he mumbles angrily under his breath.

It didn’t help that many of the crowd were his co-workers returning from lunch amongst them was Jeanie. A gust of wind sent Charlie’s tie into his face and he let out a small yelp…giving away his cowardly disposition. For a moment he retreated inward, reminding himself why this had to be done.

“I have nothing. I am nothing. Forty-two years of life and what do I have to show for it?” A divorce, a small apartment, a huge alimony payment, a beat up Toyota, and a mid-range salary at Home Shoppers Plus answering phones. If I have to talk to one more old lady about shipping cost or purchase minimums, it will be all too soon! I have to do this. What choice do I have now, anyway? I am already the office loser, especially with Jeanie. Going back inside now will just cause me to be more pathetic. And Lord knows, Butch would love to take this opportunity to “let me go”. Oh sure, he would come across like the guy that was just ‘helping me out’ by sending me somewhere. But he never liked me. Always thought he was THE MAN and knew that I was not impressed.”

Charlie had new resolve and a sense of calm. His muscles steadied, he inhaled deeply and closed his eyes.

“Mr. Jones?”

Charlie could not believe what he was hearing. Who the hell is interrupting me here…I am in a zone?, he thought to himself.

“Mr. Jones, let’s talk for a minute.”

Charlie realized that this voice was very close by and he had to open his eyes out of sheer curiosity. Turning his head just to the right, he caught the gaze of Lieutenant Garza with Chicago Police.

“Great.” exclaimed Charlie, realizing he had snapped out of his calm and concentrated state. Fear re-entered the equation as he managed to open his mouth, “this isn’t the best time for a chat, buddy.”

“You give me no choice Mr. Jones. From the looks of things, we may not be able to converse in the near future.”

“Yeah, that’s kind of the point man. Can’t you let a guy have his last moments in peace?”

“I can do that…when the time is right. And that time is in the distant future, friend. Today is just a day that you failed to realize how many people care for you. Today is a day that things can begin to shape up and turn around.”

“Blah, blah, blah…what is on your script next? How many times did you have to practice this speech before leaving the notes at home?”

“Can I call you Charlie, Mr. Jones?”

“Sure, whatever. Might as well be on first name terms with the guy that is TRYING to talk some sense into me as though we’ve been friends for ten years.”

“There is no script Charlie. And yeah, this is my job. Does that make my little chat here any less sincere? I could be out writing parking tickets, you know? Save for the rare occasion that someone yells at me, it is much less stressful.”

“Meter Maid doesn’t seem to suit you.” Charlie admitted with a chuckle.

“See there? We can relax a minute and have a nice talk. Just know that you are in control and I am not going to do anything you don’t want me to do. If you think I suck at my job, then you can still ruin my day and get me fired by jumping a little later. Right now I need to tell you something…something VERY important.”

Charlie was beginning to regret this whole fiasco and felt that this guy might be on the level. He edged over a step towards Garza and said, “What? What’s so important?”

“I saved 15% on my car insurance by calling Geico. A fifteen minute call could save you that much or more. Get a free rate quote, view your account and pay online.”

I should submit this and get a job on the ad copy team, huh? Look for the commercials to air soon!

Special Note - My apologies to those that do not experience the sheer Joy of Geico Commercials. When they are not using their marketing genius to have a talking Gecko (get the play on words...Geico, Gecko) tell us why we need to switch over, they are often doing something much like what you see above. They begin a touching tale of woe or excitment, drawing you in. Once they have you teetering on the edge of suspense, the main character often breaks in and announces that they've saved 15% or more on car insurance. Those jerks! Toy with my emotions, will they?


MTR said...

I called them once, and spent 20+ minutes on the phone, only to realize that they would cost much more than my current state farm policy.

Carolanne said...

We don't have Geicko here. So we have nobody to make our day so much better. LOL
Well, we can "call someone who cares" which is the RACV - which is the company that comes when you've broken down and helps you get back on the road again.
It really was well written. You had me sitting on the edge of my seat wondering how this was all going to end. :)

Nate said...

If you can't beat them, join them???? Frankly sir, I'm offended. And by the way, your character development was lack luster, your dialogue was stilted, and your plot was contrived at best. Jerk.

(Nice work, though.)

I offer 1 begrudging kudos. I'd only give you half a kudos if I could.

Posted by Nate on Monday, June 12, 2006 at 3:13 PM (Cut & Paste from MySpace)

Molly said...

I have to disagree with our friend I think you character development was great. I could see the dialogue start to rush slightly as the story neared its end, but the drama had me reading quickly! By the time I got to the 2nd paragraph, I was writing out multiple endings in my head: the man is chatting with God, the man lands in a soft spot where it was still wet from rain, a sweet childhood memory resurfaced and he decided to live again, etc. How many Chicken Soup for The Soul scenarios could I come up with before I read your punchline? And then, GEICO. Genius. I pulled a similar GEICO prank on someone today, so I offer 2 kudos, for making me laugh and tapping into the somewhat askew and off-kilt humor that is the Government Employee Insurance Company.

Posted by molly on Monday, June 12, 2006 at 3:47 PM (Cut & Paste from MySpace)

Nate said...

No kudos for Molly.

And a word of advice: Never, ever begin anything with the words "I diagree with...Nate." Once you do that, anything you say after is going to be wrong. And people are prolly just going to stop reading anyway. Except for those folks that are in to sensationalism....people that read The Enquirer....people whose hands are mustard colored from reading too much yellow journalism....damned muckrakers.

Anyhoo, no kudos for Molly.

(Though, in fairness, much of what I know about Molly calls for.....nay DEMANDS kudos.)

Posted by Nate on Monday, June 12, 2006 at 11:49 PM (Cut & Paste from MySpace)

Chris said...

Charles Mason Jones.... Upon a quick reading I would have thought more like Charles Manson. At what point does this loser decide to end it all? Perhaps the fact that his name in itself reminds others of a mind manipulating killer. Perhaps he has been fighting this image his whole life. Everything he does good, he gets no credit. Whenever things don't go well or bad, others would call him Chucky (illusions of a killer doll), or or that damn Manson kid is at it again. Finally Charles has had enough, he can't please anyone including himself.

Do yourself a favor and write the story or blog that was in your head. Way back in the darkness, subliminally (sp), death is your vice.

Let young Charles jump from that building and land on that gecko, and while he's at it possibly he can grab that Affleck duck and land on him as well.

Posted by chris on Monday, June 12, 2006 at 6:32 PM (Cut & Paste from MySpace)

Nate said...

2 Kudos for Chris and a hearty Here, here.

Posted by Nate on Monday, June 12, 2006 at 11:40 PM (Cut & Paste from MySpace)

Jon said...

Kudos are definitely in order. I read part of the story yesterday and part of it today, and I have to say that I spent the better part of the morning wondering how ole Charlie turned out. I have to say that such an ending proved even more light and cheerful than I expected. Who cares about Charlie. Let's save some money, right?

Posted by Jon on Wednesday, June 14, 2006 at 9:57 PM (Cut & Paste from MySpace)