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Part I, Chapter IV of Lovely Kiss, Kiss, Kiss
The afternoon sun became less offensive as Ian finished the walk back to his apartment. He could tell the beer had a clarifying effect on his brain as removed his keys from his pocket, quickly found the right one, and unlocked the door with a gratifying precision. The kind of precision that was beginning to demand food. He set his keys on the door-side table and made his way to the kitchen to remove a frozen pizza – Tombstone Pepperoni. Ian doesn’t have particularly fond memories of the men his mother dated while he was growing up, but one guy, Frank, used to leave Tombstone pizza in his mom's freezer. Frank was alright.
Ian lay on the couch while the pizza cooked in the oven. It was almost one in the afternoon and he was thinking about what to text Laila next while his phone started buzzing. He quickly remembered it was Saturday and it was 1pm and that meant it was 10am in Miami, where his brother lived. When Ian moved to San Francisco, he and his brother, Theo, made a pact to talk on the phone every Saturday at 10 and 1. It worked most of the time.
“Ayeee,” Ian said as he answered the phone, immediately putting on speaker. Theo didn’t say anything for a minute, Ian could tell he was chewing.
“I found the best breakfast burrito recipe man, Cauliflower instead of potatoes,”
“Hell yeah brother” Ian replied. The two sat in silence for a minute while Theo ate and Ian scrolled through Twitter.
“So I was at The Deuce earlier this week” Theo started.
“Yeah” Ian replied and flicked Twitter away to pay more attention. He sat up and laid his phone on the coffee table.
“Was playing pool with the boys and started flirting with these two girls at the bar”
“Super cute. One was a brunette, total hottie. God bro, I swear, since shit with Renee ended its always the brunettes for me"
“Yeah? Operant conditioning.” Ian replied.
“Anyways, I beat this old-timer to get the table and ask them to play a game of pool with us. The other girl had a few more drinks, she was going, maybe that’s why I was attracted to the brunette.”
“Always attracted to the caretaker” Ian dropped in again, starting to smile as he thought of what it meant, how accurate it was.
“Ok shrink. Anyways, again, what I am trying to get to, the blonde girl asked to give me her number when she left. Right after she literally fell over with Jake while they were putting quarters in the table. Didn't see it coming. Was trying to play my cards to chat with the brunette. But, whatever. So, you know, the next day I was feeling like, whatever and I shoot her a text. I said, “do you want to play a game?”
“You said do you want to play a game? Like Jigsaw?” Theo and Ian laughed for a second, and Theo continued.
“Yeah man, and it was so sick, she said yes! So then I had to figure out some game to play.” Ian could smell the pizza now. He stood up from his couch and opened the oven door to check how done it was.
“So what game did you make up?” Ian asked.
"I don't know man it went sideways after that. I tried to make something up about stories from our childhood but then she goes "This kinda scares me" They both laughed as Ian grabbed the cutting board to pull the pizza from the oven.
“So then what?” Ian asked.
Here we are with Ian again.
One of the literary devices I stumbled into with this story is chapter alternation. After seeing how their lives overlapped a bit in Chapter One, it felt natural to start doing a deep dive into each of the characters individually. Rough plan is to do this for a few chapters and have Ian and Laila meet up again later in the story. Thinking they could have a night together in Bolinas, turn up the heat a little.
Some things I was thinking about for the start of Chapter Four here –
Mac’s Club Deuce
The best dive in Miami. Timeless, cheap, always a cast of characters. I was down there a few weeks ago with my brother and some friends. Had a hell of a night, owned the pool table. Maybe a story similar to the one above happened, maybe not.
Male Friendship / Bechdel Test
I’ve been thinking about male friendship recently; what it requires, what it benefits. I just learned about the Bechdel test. I’ve noticed that in real life, not in fiction, my single friends talk about the women in their life at a significantly higher rate than my friends in relationships. I don’t know why. So, it felt natural here, for two single guys, brothers, to talk about women.