Friday, August 7, 2015

Free Fiction: Pre-Focused

This short little bit will probably make more sense if you've read last week's ficlet, but I think it should stand on its own very well, too. It's actually set in the midst of Focused, but it is from Frank's perspective!


Frank had the side of the van open and he was puzzling out why the ladder suddenly didn’t fit the allotted slot when Mike lugged a full toolbox into its storage space.

“Can you see what’s in the way?” Frank asked. He’d been dreading trying to stretch or crawl into the small space. Once upon a time, he might have, but he was padded out with a few dozen heavy meals that now got in the way, permanently. Mike was stellar at weaseling into small spaces.

“Sure.” Mike climbed into the cargo space, eyeballed the slot, and then reached an arm deep into the recess. “Try now.”

Frank pushed and the ladder slid into place. “Thanks.”

“It was some old work gloves in the corner. Must have fallen out of something.” He paused for a beat. “Hey, Frank.”

Frank turned. “Yeah?”

“Do you remember that guy today? The one with the glasses.”

“Guy?” Frank thought about it for a moment. He’d been on the job long enough that he didn’t pay too much attention to the people. He worked one contract site, then the next, and all the people blurred one into another.

“He let us in to the lock down spaces and played babysitter,” Mike prompted.

Frank dredged up an image, but the guy was nondescript at best. Not too tall, not too short. He wore glasses and had the same waxy complexion that all office workers seemed prone to. Nicer than most employees who needed to waste their work time helping out contractors, though. He had been pleasant. “I guess,” Frank admitted. “Why?”

“I don’t know,” Mike said. “He caught my attention. I thought he was sort of interesting.”

Frank groaned. “You and your interesting. What is it with you and these nerdy guys? They look at their shoes when they talk to you instead of eye to eye.”

Mike grinned and shrugged. “Not this one. He spent a lot of time looking me in the eye.”

Frank groaned again, louder and more forcefully. “Ah, Mike. These guys eat soggy shredded rice cakes for dinner.”

“We’re here for at least three more days. I thought if we needed help for something, we could use him. I might get a chance to talk to him a little more.”

“Fine, fine.” Frank shook his head. “Just remember, you gotta wait until after the job is over. Nobody wants a repeat of that business like we had with that skater creep you found ‘interesting’,” he stressed the word, “at that job last summer.”

“Never gonna happen again,” Mike promised.

“Okay,” Frank said.

“One more thing?” Mike asked.


“Can you tell George?” The words were hardly out of Mike’s mouth when he backpedaled ferociously, and scurried away. “I’ll get the rest of the stuff!” he yelled from yards away, headed directly back into the building. He passed George, who had an armful of materials.

George emptied his load into the van and then leaned against the side with a knowing frown. “Tell me what?” he asked.

Frank covered his face with one hand and groaned.

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