Tickets - Novella - Chapter 1b

  "Right, mate."  Back to business and Henry heads out to find a mirror to check his hair one last time.  No, he stops.  "About before.  Angie.  You alright?"  Not the time.  "What you going to do?"  Not the time.  "Have you discussed it with her?  Like, do you know what she might want to do?  Ah, Henry.  Five minutes and you start this?
    "Yeah, she's keeping it."  Now you don't know what to say.
    "So, you're stuck?"  Nicely put.  "Not a chance she'd think of..."
    "She did. But she found out too late."
    "So she's pretty far on?"
    "No.  Only about nine weeks.  But after eight weeks it changes definition, so she felt like she'd be killing it instead of just..."  It's clear that Henry knows as little about all this as Jacob.
    "Right.  So that's it.  You're going to be a Dad?"  Dad?  That's what it means to have a baby.  It makes someone a father.  With responsibilities and someone depending on you.  Not just one person, though.  There's always the mother.  The father is stuck with the mother no matter what.  Always linked with that one person because of that thing you did together that made something else.  Someone else.  And that decision isn't even left to the father.  Sure, he chose to have sex, but he didn't choose the end result of fatherhood.
    "Are you ready?"  Time to cut the deep thinking and get to work to think about nothing.  Who ever thought that work would be the relaxing place?
    "To be an Uncle?  Or for the interview?  Uncle Henry, I like it."
    "You'd be lucky to get to hold the child if Angie has anything to do with it."
    "What?  She loves me.  She finds me comical.  That's a compliment in my eyes.  It's what I'm going for.  She gets me.  But, yeah, this interview will be fine.  If you can get in, I can do it.  This Janice Price won't know what hit her.  Charm, that's what."
    "Ha!  You've got Price?  Oh, man.  I don't know anyone who was hired by Janice Price.  She's the only female supervisor.  She doesn't hire women because she doesn't want to show favouritism and discrimination and she doesn't hire men because she hates them.  She's like this huge feminist obsessed with equal opportunity.  So nobody has a chance."
    "That makes no sense."  Playing with the obscure train tickets in your hands isn't going to help that.
    "You know those have been used?  They've got the little punch from the conductor.  Are you sure they came through the letter box?"
    "They were lying underneath it.  Man, what am I going to do about this interview?  I need this job.  Or I can't pay the rent if this bank sticks with that due date in August for my loan like they're threatening.  Hey, when's Angie's due date?  Could be perfect timing for you two if you want rid of me and she has to move in."
    "Aw, Hen, shit.  I haven't even thought about any of that.  Angie hasn't even told me when she's supposed to have it.  And she's just signed the lease on this new place."  Keep it distant.  As far away from now and here as possible.  Staring at the tickets is the only thing both boys can do right now.  Paignton would be good.  Timbuktu would be better.
    "That cat bobble head is broken again."
    "What?  How many times did you tap it for luck this morning?"
    "Only ten.  Hey, that's how I noticed the tickets.  The head fell down on top of them.  Well, rolled."  It's not even a cat for good luck.  They've got the moving arms, haven’t they?  Not heads.
    "Cats.  That's it!  Price loves cats.  But it's like a secret, because she doesn't want to be seen as a stereotype, and a woman living alone with a cat is a big one to her."
    "Yeah, come on, cat lady."
    "Just mention cats somehow.  That's how you'll win her over.  But don't be obvious.  She'll be suspicious of anything you say, so make sure you don't push it."
    "Don't worry.  I've got it.  Cats."  Henry's smug smile never comforts anyone.
    "Let's go."  However, Henry's panic is humorous, even after a heavy morning.  "You've wasted the last five minutes.  I can't be late if Price is definitely covering this shift."
    Running out the door isn't going to stop the time you've already missed.  "I just have to check my hair."  Should have thought of that before you brought up the impending future again.  A quick comment from Henry is never a short conversation.  He extends any banter or human contact he has for as long as possible.  He never seems to get sick of the same things or people, he's just happy to be a part of them.  It's no wonder he took it so hard when the night club photography company fired him.  He wanted to be in every photo to mark the new friendships he had formed.  He may have invented selfies.  And he got pretty good at them.  It's not his fault he's so eager.  He did take the required photographerless photos also, but the feedback of 'over friendly' was read as creepy by the managers and used as the reason for bad sales.  Well, those got worse when Henry defriended his work and uploaded all the photos he'd taken to his facebook page for any of his new 'friends' to take as they pleased.
    Get moving, get moving, get moving, out the door.  Wait!  Keys by the door, wallet in pocket, phone in hand, yeah.  All set.  If only the brain could be left at home.  Don't need that to sell insurance.  "I'm leaving!"  Clinks in the bathroom before the th, th, th, thud down the stairs and clasp of hands on the back of the shoulders.  Suppose Henry wouldn't mind a person being linked to him for the rest of his life.  One person's heaven is another person's hell.