telescoping things out
(originally posted 6/15/2019)
Jim was weighing pros and cons and eating apple pie. In his head, apple pie was the logical choice for such endeavors. Nobody is going to come to any conclusions eating cherry.
Pumpkin? Are you serious? Pumpkin pie is something a Dan Brown character would eat as he wrestled with a decision and let me tell you, Dan Brown doesn’t know shit about pies.
It was almost closing time so he invited the waitress to sit down and help him make a decision. He’d been coming to this diner for years so it wasn’t as if she was a total stranger. She’d helped him decide on many an entree before so he trusted her judgment.
He unfolded the contract and invited her to read it.
“In a nutshell, what she’s asking me is permission to occasionally watch me through a telescope” was how he began.
Eve’s, the waitress’s eyes… I mean Eve’s, Eve who is the waitress in this story’s, eyes… Eve’s eyes slowly made their way down the first page of the agreement (Fuck, that was an exhausting sentence. Hardly seems worth it now).
Jim continued with a little back-story to help her see the big picture. “I’m not sure if you know this or not but I live in the high-rise over on 34th. She lives in the high-rise on 35th. Our buildings face each other.”
In retrospect I should have used custard as an example of a pie you can’t eat and reach any conclusions. Cherry, being a fruit and all, doesn’t seem to be that different than apple. At least in the pie world. Dan Brown might not know shit about pies but I’ve never seen him have to admit a mistake halfway through one of his stories.
Eve looked up with a blank look and asked “So what’s the problem?”
“Good question” Jim answered earnestly. “On the face of it is seems an innocent-enough transaction. All she asks is to occasionally check up on me. Take a quick peek into my life. As she explained it, it would be like being in the world’s lowest rated reality TV show.”
“An audience of one” added the waitress.
Wanting to give Eve both sides of the argument, Jim lobbied on behalf of the girl with the telescope. “She could have done it without even asking. I would have never known. I’m sure plenty of people in high-rises buy telescopes and check out the neighbors.”
“Pervs” interrupted Eve.
“Some… sure. Others might just enjoy seeing what other people are up to. What they watch, when they eat, how late they stay up.”
“And some probably whack it every time a neighbor undresses” the waitress once again said interuptingly.
Jim laughed. “Ok Eve, try and keep an open mind. She agreed never to record anything, never let anyone else look and to never ‘whack it’ to me as I undress.”
Now Eve laughed. A little too hard.
“What? I’m not whack-worthy?” Jim said, feigning hurt feelings.
“Girls don’t whack it… that’s all I was laughing about” she replied, still laughing.
“I bet you’ve whacked it before” he countered.
“A girl has to keep some secrets Jim” she said in a failed attempt at being demure.
“Anyway, this girl seems on the up and up. She took the time and energy to find me. She just wants to watch people that are ok with being watched. Nothing more, nothing less.” Jim placed his hands flat on the table, as if he’d just made his closing statement.
The real problem with introducing pies into a story is the reader’s expectation that somehow they will be important later on. Like Eve wants to open a bakery or her mother was killed by a runaway Sara Lee truck and I will somehow weave this into a brilliant ending where you’ll gasp and clutch your chest and say “It was a pecan pie after all!”
This is a pie-less finale. I’m just telling you now so you don’t get your hopes up.
Jim sat back in his booth and watched Eve sit back in hers. The truth was as much as he wanted to have an opinion on the subject, he really didn’t care if some faceless stranger watched him every now and then. He was ok being one of hundreds of people in a nondescript building in a big city. If he was in a reality show with an audience of one so be it. Either way, what could it hurt?
He would let the waitress decide.
“So what do you think?” he finally asked Eve after she finished reading the small print.
She folded her hands and looked him directly in the eye.
“I would have gone with the banana cream.”