Donald E. Westlake’s Edgar Allan Poe-award winning novel God Save the Mark inspired the following ‘scene.’
His walking stick was what set him apart in my eyes. He was lean and well-dressed, in casual gear from the pages of a catalog or maybe some department store display where a mannequin’s vacant gaze set him on the path to looking good. Of course, he looked distinguished, sporting what he did. I hoped he would notice me. The navy blue that was draped on me suddenly seemed overly modest, but I did think I might have his attention as he rested on his feet. Old Chesterbrook Road went for miles. What was he doing here? I knew I came here to take pictures. Something about here seemed to best the more artificial brush closer on to McLean. I liked doing this. It got me out of town and gave me something to put on the Internet. My slightly paranoid habit of drinking too many glasses of red wine and surfing dating sites wasn’t particularly getting me anywhere. Or maybe it did. I didn’t really know. It seemed like it was fun, better than watching half hour comedy reruns on cable or having slightly one-sided conversations with the small potted plants that were despite their reluctance to join in friendly companions to me on the balcony when I was having a moment of reflection in their company. Would the gentleman like me? Like I told you, I certainly hoped so and I wondered what I could say to break his reverie. He was looking at the rolling waters of the stream like it was a long lost friend to he. I wasn’t certain I should interrupt but the time and place was ours and it didn’t mean much to the skies above if I didn’t. Maybe he would take a hint and be the one to have something to say. I hoisted my purse on my shoulder, my cheap camera safely stowed in its place inside beside the unseeing sunglasses in case of a shock of sunlight on my retinas and beside the energy bar that promised to be my companion back in the car when I needed the wherewithal to drive home alone. Maybe today I wouldn’t be, now that I seemed to have a gentleman. My brain was nearly doing flipflops when I noticed he seemed to be looking in my direction. The navy blue was fine, I silently told myself. A second check of the purse on my shoulder and I knew was a bit nervous after all. Did I need to be? Keep it together, Kelle, I told myself. This is going to happen.