Rocking Chair Reflections on "Highly Unlikely"
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Okay, I know I risk showing my age here, but how many of you reading this remember the show "The Odd Couple"? If not, maybe the theme music will ring a bell.
Although the tones of the show were primarily comedic, it was intriguing to see such total opposites coexist. I dared to modernize this in the story "Highly Unlikely."
There are two men who tell their segments from their own perspectives. Earnest, a man who drinks excessively to cope with loss during Christmas, which signifies one of the most painful times of the year, and Octavious, a man who is struggling to keep a connection with his son due to living his truth. These men are next door neighbors, and at the opening, they appear anything but friendly as portrayed in these lines:
Earnest opened the door and saw Octavious, sporting a green knit sweater and matching corduroy pants. The fuzzy red Santa hat and red Nike kicks prevented too much fashion monotony.
Octavious put up the wreath, then stepped back from the door to admire his handiwork.
“It’s crooked,” Earnest replied.
“No it isn’t,” insisted Octavious.
“Of course it is. Any fool can see that it’s off by two centimeters.”
Octavious shrugged. “I guess I’m a fool then. Besides, the world won’t be over if my wreath is crooked.”
“Whatever,” Earnest noted. “By the way, can you keep the singing down?”
“Earnest, I wasn’t even that loud. I can demonstrate loud if you wish—”
“Don’t be so obnoxious,” interrupted Earnest. “Besides, it’s too early for all that racket.”
Just as Earnest was about to slam his door, Octavious countered, “I guess it would be early for drunkards. Any hour before noon might as well be five A.M.”
Earnest was temporarily taken aback but composed himself enough to yell, “You’re a dick!”
“And you’re an asshole Earnest. Guess we make quite the pair, huh?” Octavious faux blew a kiss at Earnest before going out of the building.
As events unfold in both of their lives, they come to an intersection, making them question their views on each other:
While Octavious was in mid swing with the bat, Hakeem reached for something in his pants. Amil was yelling but blind rage deafened Octavious.
Suddenly, someone’s body was between Octavious and Hakeem.
“Octavious you don’t want to do this.” Earnest pleaded, yanking the bat out of his hands.
“This deviant attacked my son!”
Hakeem flashed a slick smile. “You should listen to the man.” Hakeem raised his shirt, exposing his steel. “You don’t want any of this faggot!”
Octavious reached around Earnest’s body to nail Hakeem with a fist. The force of the blow knocked Hakeem on his tail.
“Bet you didn’t know a ‘faggot’ could do that huh?”
Hakeem sat up, prepared to retaliate, when he noticed Earnest with his cell phone.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m about to call the police unless you high tail it out of here. Don’t worry; I won’t tell a soul that you were punched by a gay man.”
Hakeem chose freedom over soothing his fragile ego, running off before Earnest could press a digit. Octavious stared at Earnest in disbelief. His pain in the neck next door neighbor saved his ass. A bat was no match for a gun.
Is this event enough to make Earnest and Octavious be more neighborly, even friends? Find out more in this touching tale, one of the many inspirational scribes in my book.