Get A Life Alyce
“What’re ya writin’ a book?” “Well, as a matter of fact I am.” “Well, kiss my ass and make it a love story.” Charles laughed and was quite pleased with himself. If that line was funny in high school fifty years ago, it was hilarious today, he surmised. Absolutely giddy about his own razor sharp sense of humor, he paused his presentation for a few moments to regain his composure. Charles was on the lecture circuit, simultaneously sharing his wealth of knowledge on writing and promoting his newest book. “What Your Parent’s Did In The Sack,” was an expose of sorts, bringing readers to terms, parents and grandparents, were people too. A brilliant writer, with the ability to put words to paper on virtually any given subject, with or without any base of knowledge. Having never, to anyone’s memory, ever told a funny joke, he had the ability to take people’s breath away with the oldest, crustiest attempts at wit. “So, I said to my wife with a wooden leg, hey Peg.” Moving two barstools away and experiencing Henny Youngman nightmares, would be a normal reaction, but that it brought Charles to tears was sidesplitting.
After the seminar in Chicago, he held court in the Lobby Bar, of the Palmer House Hotel. Several of the attendees joined him for cocktails, free advice and bad jokes, none of which they could seemingly get enough of. All aspiring writers, Alyce was a widow of forty, who’s police officer husband, died in 9-11. Her writing, therapeutic but she still couldn’t write about him or the Twin Towers. Steve, a twenty five year old bartender, spent his spare time, what little there was, writing. He cared for his wife and four year old daughter, hoping his laptop would take them to a better life. Four women and a man at the table were members of a local writing club, each claiming it a frivolous hobby and pastime, while privately, striving to be a better story teller than the others.
The widow Alyce, looked furtively at Charles, with no reason apparent. Charles stood and raised his glass, “I propose a toast to the finest writing group to have…” Gunshots rang out and the restaurant flew into a panic, those seated at Charles’ table, looked to be be in slow motion. A man in black, wielded an automatic rifle and fired indiscriminately, several people in real time went down, injured or dead. Still in slow motion, Alyce’s head jerked back, she had been shot in the heart. The restaurant went black and when light shown, as if turned up by a dial, emergency personnel were carrying people out on stretchers. Two priests giving last rites, listened to confessions they couldn’t hear and blessed the souls of the dead and dying they had never met and would never see again.
As the light had become brighter, so did it now grow darker. A conference room table showed twelve people sitting at it. The view from the rear, was a man at the head of the table asking questions. “Was everyone taken by surprise?” All agreed they had no way of knowing a gunman would appear. A man at the table, “how many dead?” The man in charge, “don’t worry about that, we can play with the numbers. How about you, any comments?” He was looking at the woman two seats to his left. She smiled, “in the first draft, you at least bedded me before I was murdered.” Charles laughed, “Alyce, you’re an incorrigible whore.” Everyone including Alyce, laughed heartily. Charles smiled and as he closed his laptop, their laughter became muffled. Computer under his arm, Charles left the conference room alone. Tomorrow’s another day.