Little bit on Paul Peter

Call it fifteen years, he figures.  The timeline from hopeful to resigned.  He's got a closetful of clothes that look good on him, an apartment in a neighborhood where nobody pukes on the street, his haircut is solid, his boss likes him, company car is waiting in the garage and women come into his life frequently enough to let him feel neither alone nor smothered.

But, still.


The job, maybe.  The nearly endless tedium and bottomless paperwork with the occasional spike of fear and running wildly down hallways after people who'd much rather not see him.  He's been shot at four times, and each time the panic that he'd felt only a moment earlier reduced itself to a tiny mote of unease and his body flung itself in what it had calculated was a direction in which the bullets would not be traveling. Each time his boss had given him two days paid to recover.  A corporate policy to allow those who couldn't stand to be shot at the time to soberly draft a resignation and send it on to HR.  Around the office, the ghosts of hardcollars who stretched their two days into retirement hovered at each workstation.  Paul was the old man of the group, and his eight days made him granite and steel in the eyes of the other men.

Or women?  Maybe it was time.  The ease of accessing women had always left Paul in a state of gratitude that they'd come into his life without much more than him simply showing up.  But they exited just as rapidly as they entered, and maybe it was time to invest something of himself in relationships that rarely evolved past a few months of nice dinners and pleasantly naked weeknights.  The thought had crossed his mind quite a bit lately, stirring morning coffee in an apartment that held nothing but his own tastes and desires and lacked even the whiff of another soul. His life had become so deliberately constructed as to negate the chance for personal randomness, the opening for something surprising to speedbump the rut he'd dug.


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