Indie Author Answers #4: Too Much Telling!

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3: Brian


Brian left Heather’s apartment in the campus-adjacent area of Boulder known as the Hill, and returned along a bike path towards campus while fingering the diminished bag of good weed in his pocket. He had dribbled some Visene in each eye before leaving Heather’s apartment, which had accomplished little; his eyes– or at least the tiny slit of each that remained open– were streaked with red lines like bloody river tributaries against a white landscape.

Following the path across campus, he kept his eyes on his feet, which caused two separate near-miss incidences with bicycles. He bumped into his friend Matt, and made plans to go paintballing with him and his crew the following weekend. By the time he got to his dorm, he forgot all about the plans. He and Heather had smoked joint after joint, which left him a few shades below normal mental capacity. As he entered Cheyenne Arapahoe Hall, also known as The Chey-Ho, also known as The Ghetto, he wondered if anyone would smell it on him.

At the third floor, his floor, he sauntered down the hall, less affected by the chaos. As he approached the room belonging to the kid with the spiky blond hair, Brian found him atonally plucking at his guitar. Brian decided to stop in and say hello. The preppy-looking young man was sitting on the edge of one of the twin beds, lost in thought while staring at a Radiohead poster on his wall.

Brian peered into the doorway. “Hey man, I’m Brian.”

The kid maintained eye contact with the poster. “The RA, right? Am I doing something wrong?”

Brian might have been annoyed by this a few hours before, but right now, it amused him. “I’m not the enemy,” he said. “I was just cruising around the floor, and I wanted to stop by and say hi.” He nodded towards the Radiohead poster. “You a big fan? Radiohead?”

“Pretty much my favorite band.”

“Ever seen a live show?”

The kid finally took notice of him. “I saw them at Red Rocks last time they played there, and got a handjob from some chick I didn’t even know in the john. Best night of my life.”

Brian laughed, even though the kid was probably lying. Brian entered the room and rearranged a few boxes to make space on the opposite bed.

“Do you know where my roommate is?” Alex said. “I’m supposed to have a roommate.”

“Maybe just not moved in yet. Don’t worry; he’ll come around eventually. So, what’s your name?”

The kid scooted his guitar closer up on his thigh towards his body, wearing it as a shield. “I’m Alex. I got their new album early off the Internet. Radiohead, I mean. It’s not even released yet.”

“You can do that? Get an album before it’s released?”

“Sometimes, yeah. You just gotta know where to look. I could put it on if you want to hear it. I don’t know though, dude, it’s all electronic and shit. Really different.”

“I’m not normally into that stuff, but if Radiohead does it, I’d give it a listen. Where you from?”

“Highlands Ranch,” Alex said, slightly elevating his chin.

Brian now understood Alex’s lack of accent. Native Coloradans had no discernible differentiation in their speech, as far as Brian could tell.

“Nice, a local. Me too. Not Highlands Ranch or anything nice like that, but Denver too. Just off Colfax near downtown.”

“The Hood, eh?”

Brian smiled. “I guess you could say that. My neighborhood wasn’t too bad.” Brian sensed something about this kid… Brian liked him already. Alex seemed brash, and arrogant, but also unsure of himself.

Brian fished in his pocket for a quarter, then laid it on the back of his index finger’s knuckle, and began rolling his knuckles up and down. The quarter passed from one side of his hand to the other, like a wave.

Alex nodded at the quarter. “What’s that all about?”

Brian looked down at his parlor trick. “I’m trying to quit smoking. Or at least cut down. I just need something to do with my hands sometimes.”

“Hmm. Whatever works for you, I guess. You want to hear that Radiohead album?” Alex said.

“No doubt, we could do that later. We have floor orientation in the Common…” He paused to check his watch. “Crap, in ten minutes. I gotta bounce.” As he walked out the door, he turned to say, “oh, I play guitar too. Mostly blues and rock, but I’ve been playing for a while and I could show you some stuff, if you want to jam sometime.”

Alex wiggled his head, apparently unaffected. “Sure, whatever, that’s fine, dude.”