Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bathroom Monologue: Men in Reflective Houses

 This story was written from the above photo prompt,
provided and taken by Icy Sedgwick.
Tidwell and Aloysius liked to people-watch in-between meetings. By streamlining charts and skimming facts in their 10:10 meeting, they were granted a brief reprieve for this hobby before their customary 10:25 consultations. They would share one third of a packet of whole wheat saltines and ogle the aging joggers and purposefully striding suits on Main.

It was 10:17 as the man crossed before the Brightsides Building, dragging rolling luggage behind him. The Brightsides was unique for its many reflective windows, casting a near-perfect image of the brick establishment across the road. Tidwell and Aloysius’s brick establishment. The only thing that prevented it from looking real was the crisscrosses of molding between the Brightsides’s panes.

The man stopped before one pane. A breeze took his blue tie in a direction, and he declined with one hand. He walked toward the pane, shading his eyes as though focused on something behind the glass.

"Probably had a bender last night,” proffered Tidwell. “You think he's looking at himself for the first time this morning?"

"Must be. Those trousers haven't been ironed in weeks."

Tidwell couldn’t make out whether or not they’d be ironed lately.

The man walked a few panes down, to where the Brightsides reflected the image of a window from the other side of the street. He craned his neck, seeming to peer inside the window-within-a- window.

“You see that?”

"Probably just trying to see if his wife's working inside."

"Maybe she's sleeping with somebody in there and he's spying."

"Disheveled for a spy."

The man pulled a wallet from the luggage and shuffled through it for something.

"Is he counting cash?"

"Maybe he's going to buy the Brightsides."

"Hope he stocks up on glass cleanser."

The man nodded at his cash. He walked down past the doors of the Brightsides, to where their brick establishment's doors were reflected. There he stopped, turned and reached. Tidwell lurched, thinking he was about to see a nutter punch through the glass. Glare flew up from the Brightsides and both men shielded their eyes.

Just as he brought his hands down, Tidwell thought he saw a door swinging shut. He blinked his vision back to 20/20 and saw that no, it was only the image of a door. That door was still trembling as though having just shut, though.

Tidwell turned to face their brick establishment, to see if a man had entered there. But no – the secretaries were standing in that door, sharing a smoke.

Aloysius followed his eyes. He asked, "Did he just walk through that window over there?"

Tidwell scratched his balding head. He scratched harder when he saw that man with his luggage passing behind the windows - the windows of the reflected brick building. The two businessmen rose from their bench and waddled down the sidewalk, eying both the man within the reflection of the Brightsides, and their own establishment’s windows. There was no frumpy-trousered man in the latter. Only some secretaries, who shot them derisive looks.

Tidwell asked, "What was all that about?"

"I don't know. But I hope he doesn't intend throw stones."

Tidwell punched his friend in the shoulder, then crossed the street.


  1. I love the direction you went with this. I totally expected him to smash through a window or something.

  2. So glad you managed to get something from my prompt! Love the title, too. Very clever story.

  3. "Disheveled for a spy." :)
    Enjoyed the story John. Aloysius is a cool and underused name. Great picture Icy.


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