For the last few months I have been in the process of writing my first novel. Below is an excerpt from the first chapter of my Fantasy/Comedy novel titled "Wayne's Manner."
Wayne unlocked the door to his apartment and using his shoulder he powered it open. This was typical of the time of year. He could call his landlord like his neighbors have, but that would require work and he was done with that for the day. He tossed his keys on the counter. You couldn’t see the surface through all the piled up junk mail with only the pizza coupons clipped out, but you knew it was there somewhere. Floating ads just don’t exist in the real world. The rest of the place wasn’t necessarily dirty, but one could tell Wayne didn’t labor over keeping it tidy. There was one place that was a hub for half drank sodas and various remotes and that place was his comfy chair. Plopped down in the chair Wayne pulled out his cellphone and listened to his voice mails.
“Hey Wayne, it’s Mark. I moved again. Gotta wait around for the cable guy to show up. Could use you from noon to four this Thursday. I’ll have pizza and beer per the usual. Thanks.”
Wayne wrote it down on his calendar with a reminder to call Mark back later. The next message came from a woman with an incredibly raspy voice.
“Hey there. I’m lonely and could use a man like you to come over and play with my…” Wayne deleted the message and clicked the next message and put it on speaker. He made his way to the kitchen and pulled cold pizza and a beer from the fridge.
There was silence over the voicemail for a short period then an old man with a Mid-Atlantic accent spoke.
“Mr. Morris, my client is in the need of your particularly unusual service. Her name is Martha Fairweather and she is dying. She has requested your attendance at her bedside to accompany her in her final hours.”
Wayne, balancing his pizza and beer in one hand, walked over to his phone and leaned down to delete the message. Upon pressing delete there was a knock at the door. Wayne jumped and dropped his dinner in the seat of his comfy chair. The dilemma to clean up or answer the door first ran through his head until another knock came.
Wayne tried to see who it was through the peephole, but couldn’t see anyone. He opened the door and a man in a nice, but dusty looking 1950’s era suit stood up from a kneeling position. The Suit Man handed him a flier for Chinese food delivery.
“You don’t look like the usual guy who drops these off.” Wayne said sarcastically while taking the flier.
“I assure you I do not work for General Wong’s Chinese Buffet and Delivery.” The Suit Man retorted with the same Mid-Atlantic accent as the one on Wayne’s voicemail.
“Did you just call me?”
“Hours ago. The matter at hand is rather urgent. May I come in?”
“I don’t want to waste your time. What you’re asking isn’t really my thing.”
“Then let me be brief. In exchange for your time we are willing to pay double your normal fee.” The Suit Man pulled out a checkbook.
Wayne paused a moment and looked at the checkbook. He hadn’t seen someone carry a checkbook around with them in years. “I spend time with people who don’t want to be alone during boring events like going to the grocery store. I don’t watch people die.”
“Three times the rate.” The Suit Man flicked open the checkbook.
“Man you could offer me five times the rate and I still don’t think I’d be down for something so morbid.”
“Alright then,” the Suit Man began to write a number on the check. He ripped the check out of the book and handed it to Wayne. “This should be well more than you will likely make in ten years doing the type of work you do.”
Wayne looked at the check and read the number one followed by five zeros. His eyes widened and he stumbled back.
“All you have to do is sit with her until just before she passes. At that time the nurse will come in and relieve you.” The Suit Man handed Wayne a small card with instructions on it and walked away.
“Wait, I didn’t say I would!” Wayne spoke up out of his trance.
“Everything you need to know is on the card.” The Suit Man continued down the stairs and to his car, a very nice 1959 Black Cadillac with white wall tires.
Wayne watched the Suit Man drive off and then shut the door. He made his way back to his comfy chair without taking his eyes off the unbelievable check. Stopping at the chair he reached down and picked the pizza up which had landed face down and took a bite. He finished off what beer hadn’t soaked down into the cushion and looked at the card. It read: Saint Mary’s Hospital, Room 1031. Wait for the call.
Thank you for reading. If you liked what you read please visit www.patreon.com/thetylerhuffman for information on how you can help support this project as well as others.