Thing a Week 41: Connexions

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Adam woke up dutifully every morning at 7AM to prepare for work as a bank teller. Every morning he would wake up, shower, dress, eat, and drive his little, blue Honda to First State Bank over on Herald Street. For more than eight hours each day, he stood at the front desk and helped the people who came in. He didn’t mind the monotony; after Sarah had left him the year before, he’d really not given much enthusiasm to anything at all. His job was perfect for passing the time.

Sarah left Adam for Ben, who was in a band. The band, named the Flaming White Trains, weren’t popular enough to make a living on their own, but at least popular enough to serve as a crutch when any band member wanted to pick up a new girl. Ben had met Sarah at a little coffee shop in town one night on accident, and she enjoyed his music. Or, maybe, she just said she enjoyed his music—but regardless, she stole his heart fast and ruthlessly, which was quite the disappointment to his girlfriend at the time, Carol.

Carol was a bit of a nobody that had latched on to Ben’s fame for no other reason than to meet new people. Every day she could be found smoking just outside of her little, worn-down house. Most people left her alone; some were scared of her distanced demeanor, some where apathetic to strangers—even those clearly suffering, and some just didn’t even see her. She looked like a sad, worthless girl, after all: so why would anyone want to talk to her? Luckily for her, it all worked out for the better, because she preferred the silence. When she wasn’t outside smoking to feel something, she was locked inside with classical music blaring and a paintbrush in her hand, painting the most beautiful paintings anyone would ever see.. or not see. Carol’s paintings didn’t sell that often, but she didn’t mind because she just loved painting them.

One painting in particular caught a man’s eye with its playfulness and he purchased it for his daughter Gretchen, hoping to get her something that would promote culture and intelligence. On her fifteenth birthday, he gave it to her among a mountain of new clothes and electronics from Gretchen’s friends. She told him she liked it (with her big smile), but she really thought the only thing it was good for was gathering dust and covering up an old crack on her bedroom wall. “It may be ugly,” she said to her friend David one day, “but it sure looks better than that crack.”

David agreed. He was slightly older than Gretchen and might’ve agreed with her solely because he secretly (well, not actually so secretly) liked her, though it’s not absolutely unheard of for a painting to look better than a crack on the wall. Even though David (subconsciously) chose to only pursue the girls he thought were a league beneath him, he often ended up in what he frustratingly referred to as “the friend zone”. He was never very good at knowing what to say to a girl, and often resorted to always-positive remarks without weight, like “that painting looks better than a crack in the wall”. Although he didn’t want to admit it, he occasionally worried he had been irreparably scarred when he was younger from a bad experience with his uncle Evan.

Evan agreed, but probably would have cared more if he hadn’t been thrown out of the family and sentenced to thirty-five years in prison. No one in his family even went to his trial. Feeling forsaken, he created a new family while in prison of thugs, gangbangers, and the generally corrupt. Among these, he most related to Edgar.

Edgar was born into a military family. As such, two things were instilled into his character: one, he had an inflated sense of pride—both for himself and for the greater good of his country, and two, he never learned to truly trust anyone. The latter might’ve been a side effect of having to move around from base to base during childhood, but it could have also been onset from the abuse and harassment from his peers that inevitably resulted at each new school.

The worst of Edgar’s bullies was named Ralph, and he made it his personal mission to pick on Edgar at least once a day. Over the years, Edgar’s anger intensified, his authoritarian pride dwindled, and his regard towards the law plummeted. He got into drugs and violent crime in high school and robbed his first convenience store shortly after. Now, looking for his next high, he anxiously fingered his revolver in his pocket as he walked into First State Bank on Herald Street, looking to move up from convenience stores and into the big leagues.