Mark Fraser: Day Three Hundred and Sixty One – Dice, Part III

Posted on December 27, 2011 by

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I totally messed up the formatting on that Ginsberg poem yesterday. Totally unforgivable. I’ve went and sorted it.

Part three of Mr Ivins’ story. Enjoy!

Nevertheless, he decided to press the girl a little more. For a moment he wondered if she might be attracted to him, the thought made his stomach flutter a little. The allure of someone else was exciting, and he thought he’d see if there was anything in it.

“So, what about right now, are you late or early?”
“Well, if it’s 13.08-“
“13.11, actually.”
“If it’s 13.11, then I’m early. Although I said to my friend that I’d get her outside the library at around 20 past 1 so I’ve got some time to kill.”

The girl said “13.11” almost mockingly. Regimented and with a smile. Ivins liked it.

“What is it you do, Eddie?”
“Eddie?”
“All Edwards are nicknamed Eddie.” Said Ariadne definitively. Edward couldn’t help but laugh.
“Oh Eddie, is it? That’s a new one.”
“What? Hasn’t anyone ever called you Eddie before?”
“Not since high school, no.”
“Not even your wife?”

She was observant. Edward was surprised by that; another thing he liked about her. He was beginning to warm to her, her uncoordinated sense of style, the way she tilted her head back when she laughed, her lack of timekeeping and the way her life appears to be unbound by schedules were all attractive to the regimental Mr Ivins. It was an idle attraction though; he was a happily married man. He had children. She was younger than he was, or so he presumed, nevertheless it was fun to feel that spark of attraction. Not even his wife called him Eddie. He hated it.

“No, not even my wife.”
“How long have you been married for?”
“Oh, a while, y’know…”

This made him uncomfortable because he didn’t want to talk about his wife to this beautiful girl. Even her name was beautiful. He just wanted to find out more about her.

“Are you married yourself?” he said,
“Ah, no. What age do you think I am?”
“Mid 20s? What age do you think I am?”
“Mid 30s?”
“Ha. Close. 41.”
“You look great for someone in their 40s.”

Is that a compliment? Should I ask? Is she flirting? All of these thoughts occurred simultaneously in Edward’s head.

“It’s the scheduling.”
“The scheduling.”
“Oh yes, I have a schedule I must keep to every day. It ensures stress free living.”
“But what if things don’t go according to the schedule?”
“The schedule is moderately flexible, so it allows for things going wrong.”
“I see. Did your wife come up with that?”
“Oh no. Heavens no. She hates it.”
“And does she look older than she should because of that?”
“Well, I…”

The girl suddenly started laughing. It took a moment for Edward to realise that she was joking. He blushed and looked bashfully down at his screen. When he looked back up she was smiling again so he laughed, partly at his own reaction and partly in relief.

“She looks good, I suppose. I certainly have no complaints.”

Her eyes flashed as she took a sip of her coffee. Was that doubt? He had no idea. She was still smiling.

“That’s good. Happy marriages are good, aren’t they?”
“Indeed.”
“Anyway. What time is it now?”
“13- er, 1:14”
“Okay. Well, I must be off then. It was nice chatting with you Edward. Maybe we’ll cross paths again sometime. I know so much about you now that I could probably stalk you if I wanted.”

She winked and flashed a playful smile. Edward had no idea if he should be alarmed or elated.

“Yes, quite. It was nice to meet you too, Ariadne.”
“Bye then.”

And with that she was gone. Edward watched her walk out of the library. It was almost as if she’d never been there, as if she were some kind of dream. He thought perhaps he was attracted to her, but it had been so long that he’d forgotten what new attraction felt like.

Allowing himself to be distracted for a moment with thoughts of this mysterious girl, Edward noticed a chap in a black suit weaving in and out of the tables, pausing periodically and placing his hand on a chair before moving on again. An entirely unremarkable looking gentleman who by all accounts looked dressed for a funeral with neatly cropped hair and some rather fashionable looking stubble. After doing a circuit or two of the room he retreated to the far corner to sit at the very last table next to the window. Ivins gaze followed the man to his table where he sat with his head down for a moment. The man then reached inside his jacket and produced what appeared to be a small vial, opened it and necked the contents. He then started to slowly scan the room as he if were looking for someone, before resting his gaze on the door. Irvins had no idea why this man had drawn his attention, perhaps it was the funeral attire or the morose look on his face, either way he shook it off and returned to his work only to be interrupted by someone coughing loudly behind him. Wary of catching something, Edward moved his chair to the left as loudly as possible but the coughing only grew louder.

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