EVERY GODDAMN DAY
Available on: Amazon Kindle
A pop-culture, bromantic musical comedy. In a book.
Couched in the routine drudgery of an un-average workday, Alan Wright struggles with a decision that will shape the rest of his life in Orlando, his job at the Christian bookstore, and his friendship with Dave at the coffee shop.
Read the first chapter below for free!
Early reviewers of this novella have said:
“That’s a lot of typos.”
"I enjoyed the musical interludes of this book! Especially the naked part!"
“Yeah, sure, I’m enjoying it.”
“I totally dig it. It's funny. It's paced well. I can tell you write screenplays.”
Two Guys and Coffee Shop
It had rained the night before and by nine a.m. the sun had only begun to evaporate the standing puddles of water. The air was already hot and humid, well on its way to the monthly June afternoon average of the low to mid nineties. For most residents of Orlando, Florida, however, the heat did little to dampen daily activities.
That was left to the afternoon thunderstorms.
The thunderstorms were so regular that clocks were set by them. Nearly every day at precisely three o’clock in the afternoon, the wrath of God Himself was unleashed in a tidal force of wind, rain, and the occasional flurry of hail. If He was feeling particularly vengeful, there could even be a twister or three.
For most of the people who lived in the day-to-day heat of the Sunshine State, those mini tropical storms were a welcome respite. There were even those who would revel in the cool, chaotic beauty of the storms and would fall into a childlike state of wonder every time the sky blackened and the thunder boomed. One of those individuals drove an old white Dodge Neon with mismatched side-view mirrors, and was missing all but one badly tarnished hubcap.
Alan Wright pulled into a parking lot and then backed into the same spot he occupied every day. He killed the engine and chewed his lip, tapping the tattered leather cord-wrapped steering wheel. Before him was a small building that contained two storefronts: Heavenbound Books, a local Christian bookstore; and Religiously Roasted, the adjacent coffee shop that had to repeatedly insist that it had no affiliation with the bookstore.
The stores were located on a side street about a mile north of Orlando’s downtown district. Corporate economic development had bypassed this particular street, which made it fiscally possible in the early 2010’s to still own and operate independent stores.
Alan let out what ended up being a mournful and hopeless sigh. This was what his life had come to. He held a part time job at the Christian bookstore–a detail he was still having a hard time coming to grips with in both a professional and spiritual sense. And he had nothing else better to do on his day off than going to the coffee shop to read and hang out with his friend, Dave.
A brilliant display of well-adjusted social integration by the under-achieving youth of modern society.
The twenty-four year old sighed again and resigned himself to a fate of uninspired mediocrity. He pushed open the car door, which squeaked in protest. Alan grabbed his backpack from the passenger seat and then crossed the parking lot to Religiously Roasted. Between the two storefronts was a newspaper box and and Alan fed it two quarters. Sure, there were easier ways to read the news by way of a computer and the internet, but Alan preferred the newspaper–perhaps an ironic twist considering his age. It was simple, actually: a newspaper is deliberate and purposeful. Anybody could write a blog, post a tweet, or shoot off a status, but it took intent and effort to craft a story for print. Alan may not have always cared for a story he read, but he held an appreciation for the person behind it–whomever that may have been.
A tiny bell on the coffee shop door announced Alan’s arrival to no one in particular. The shop was quaint and tidy (read: small) in order to accommodate a larger-than-average kitchen that contained the coffee shop’s trademark roasting ovens. There were only a handful of tables for customers, an old pale green sofa, and a leather chair that had seen better days. The larger pieces of furniture were situated in front of a small platform that was lovingly (sarcastically?) referred to as a stage. There were better places to sample Orlando’s music scene, but if you wanted a good cup of coffee and enjoyed music of the solo variety, it was hard to beat the homey feel of Religiously Roasted.
Alan made a beeline to a small table by the front window, glancing briefly at the art hanging on the walls. The coffee shop liked to feature local artists and the pieces generally came with price tags. The current collection was a series of oil paintings that featured various perspectives of a crucified Jesus. In each painting, Jesus was depicted as a different ethnicity.
Alan quirked an eyebrow at the paintings as he sat down in his usual spot, facing the side of the building so he had a view of the foot traffic to and from the bookstore. In quick succession, Alan laid the newspaper on the table and withdrew a cheap journal and mechanical pencil from his backpack. He put the backpack on the floor at his feet and leaned back in his chair, unfolding the newspaper.
“I have a hypothetical question.”
Wearing a black apron over a green shirt with rolled-up sleeves, Dave Masters–Religiously Roasted barista extraordinaire–flipped around a chair plopped down across from Alan. He placed a fresh cup of coffee on the table before resting his arms on the chair’s back. Dave had dark brown hair that had likely never experienced a comb in its life. He had several day’s worth of stubble on his face and Alan suspected that Dave probably didn’t even own a razor.
“I haven’t even gotten past the front page, Dave,” Alan said, the prospect of his daily repartee with his alleged best friend already making him weary.
“That I can see. I wanted to get to you before you were too engrossed, although how you manage to slog through that self-indulgent excuse for journalism is beyond me.”
Alan rubbed an eyebrow. “Dude, I’m really not in the mood, today.”
Dave offered an indifferent shrug. “When are you ever in the mood?” Dave grinned at his unintended innuendo. “Shit, you’re worse than my girlfriend in that respect.”
“You don’t have a girlfriend.”
“You raise a valid point, Alan. A reminder of a harsh and painful reality that drips with loneliness and self-loathing, but valid nonetheless.” Dave leaned forward and pointed a finger at Alan. “However, if I did have a girlfriend, she undoubtedly would be the cold, unloving type with zero sex-drive and an emasculating personality. As such, I’d surely be bitching to you ad nauseam about my obvious lack of sex.”
“I hate to break it to you, but you already do that.”
“Hey, I can’t help it if I lead a sad, depressing life wherein the only threesome I can ever hope to engage in involves myself and my two hands.” Dave held his hands up and wiggled his fingers. “Now about that hypothetical question . . .”
Alan closed his newspaper and let it drop to the table, giving his full attention to Dave. “Alright. What’s that?”
“Um, it’s a question that’s hypothetical in origin?” Dave replied with a quizzical look.
Alan sighed. It was definitely going to be one of those mornings. “Dave . . . I know what a hypothetical question is.”
“Oh. Right. Okay, say a guy were to walk in here, sit down right across from you and announce that he was interested in acquiring your little toe.”
“My little toe?” Alan replied dubiously.
“Your pinky toe,” Dave said with a nod.
“My pinky toe?”
“Do you have any other little toes?”
“Well, my middle toe–”
“Never mind that, now,” Dave said, waving it off. “Look, he just wants your pinky toe. He’s a crazy old man obsessed with pinky toes.”
“Can I ask you a question?”
“Why does he want my pinky toe?”
Dave threw his hands up in frustration, clearly annoyed with Alan’s elementary ability to follow a conversation. “Because he’s a crazy old man obsessed with pinky toes–I swear to God I just said that!”
“I’m just looking for clarification on the general subject of pinky toes,” Alan responded passively, “so that I might be able to better understand your relentlessly indefatigable brain.”
Dave nodded solemnly. “I’ll take that as a compliment.”
“Now this guy is going to offer you a million dollars for your pinky toe–”
“A million dollars?”
“A million dollars,” Dave repeated.
“Why a million dollars?” Alan asked, quirking an eyebrow.
“Dude, he really wants your pinky toe.”
Alan conceded the point. “Okay. I guess that’s reasonable.”
“I thought so.”
“So what are you getting at here?”
“What am I getting at?”
“I just want to know what you would do if a crazy old guy were to walk in here and offer you a million dollars for your pinky toe,” Dave said.
“And this is a purely hypothetical question?”
“I’d sell him my pinky toe,” Alan stated. “Hypothetically, of course.”
Dave leaned forward with a mischievous glint in his eye and Alan quickly surmised that this did not bode well for him.
“You’re telling me that you would actually part with–” Dave looked sideways as he tripped over his own words. “–well, a part of your own body for one million dollars?”
“Hypothetically speaking,” Alan said again, much more deliberately this time.
Dave nodded. “Okay. So you agree to sell your pinky toe for a million dollars. The crazy old guy lays the cash down on the table and whips out a meat cleaver and a cutting board–”
“Whoa–where did the meat cleaver and cutting board come from?”
“. . . he had it on him.”
“All I’m saying is that you never mentioned he had a knife on him. He’s an old man.”
“He’s a crazy old man, Alan. Which is why he’s got the knife on him.” Dave thought for a moment. “He may be crazy, but he’s also efficient. So he lays out the cutting board and tells you to take off your shoe and sock.”
Alan watched as Dave mimed placing the cutting board and knife on the table in front of him. “He’s actually cutting off my pinky toe right now?”
“That’s part of the transaction,” Dave said matter-of-factly.
“Is he going to use any anesthetic?”
“That stuff that makes me not feel the excruciating pain of having my pinky toe chopped off?”
Dave pushed off the table a little indignantly. “Anesthetic was never part of the deal.”
Alan decided to get indignant himself. “Well, maybe I’m not interested in selling my pinky toe.”
“Are you telling me you won’t endure a tiny bit of pain, that, in the broader picture of your entire life, is surely insignificant, despite the reward being one million dollars?”
“He’s getting ready to chop off my pinky toe with a meat cleaver!”
“A small price to pay for a million dollars!”
“I dunno . . .” Alan said, crossing his arms and glancing out the window at the quiet parking lot.
“How can you not know? This crazy old guy is prepared to hand you one million dollars and all you have to do is let him cut off your pinky toe!”
“And he’s going to cut it off right here?” Alan said, tapping the table.
Alan shook his head, unconvinced. “I don’t know if I’m ready to handle that kind of pain without anesthetic.”
“Not even for a million dollars?”
“I’m a little attached to my pinky toes.”
“How about two million?”
“Two million dollars?” Alan repeated apprehensively.
“Two million dollars.”
“But still no anesthetic?”
Alan rubbed his chin and contemplated the hypothetical. “. . . two million?”
“Well, it’s not like I actually use my pinky toes or anything.”
“An excellent point if ever there was one.”
Alan had an idea. “Hey, could I sell both of my pinky toes?”
“What, and get four million dollars?”
“. . . I don’t think the crazy old guy has that much money,” Dave said, unsure of the hypothetical framework he had invented.
“But he does have two million for one toe?” Alan replied, pointing out the mounting absurdity.
Dave shrugged out of indifference. “He might be able to give you a quarter for the second toe.”
“Yes. Twenty-five cents.”
“For the second toe?”
“You know, something just occurred to me,” Alan said.
“If you’re sitting here harassing me with idiotic hypothetical questions about crazy old men with pinky toe fetishes, you must have literally nothing else to do,” Alan said. “Coffee-related, that is.”
Dave didn’t miss a beat in his agreement. “That is one hundred percent correct. And yet I detect a note of hostility.”
“Did you miss the part about how you’re harassing me with idiotic questions?” Alan responded with more than a hint of sarcasm. “I swear to God I already said that!”
“Touché,” Dave said with a two finger salute.
“Was there a point to this whole diatribe?”
“A point? A point, you ask? Of course there’s a point.”
Alan folded his hands on top of his newspaper. “. . . well?”
“The point, Alan, is that . . .” Dave trailed off as he scrambled to inject meaning into his hypothetical. “The point is that you would sell your pinky toes because they are completely useless appendages!”
“Technically, they’re important for maintaining balance.”
“We’ve achieved amazing things with prosthetic limb replacement technology. Doctors will be able to whip up some fake pinky toes for you that’ll be ten times better than your real ones. They’ll be some kind of kevlar-wrapped titanium shit.”
“Your pinky toes would be able to stop bullets!”
“Which would come in real handy if someone ever shot me in the foot,” Alan said. “What the hell would I want with bullet-proof pinky toes?!”
“How should I know what kind of weird shit you’re into? You’re the whack-job who works at a Christian bookstore.”
Alan opened his newspaper and turned the page. “I think we’re done with this conversation.”
Alan shot Dave a stern glance over the top of the paper. “I don’t want to talk about the bookstore, Dave.”
“It’d be really nice if I could get through at least one section of the paper.”
“I just want to know if you’re going to drink your coffee.”
Alan didn’t look up from the paper. “I haven’t ordered any coffee, Dave.”
“But I brought you some.”
Alan lowered the paper again and looked at the coffee cup sitting in the middle of the table. It was a plain white cup with a black lid designed for sipping coffee. There was one of those corrugated cardboard sleeves around the cup with the shop’s catchphrase about how they roast their own beans emblazoned on it.
EVERY GODDAMN DAY
Alan looked up up from coffee cup. “That’s, um, really thoughtful, Dave.”
Dave smiled, pleased with himself.
“Except for one small thing,” Alan said slowly.
Dave’s smile faded. “. . . you didn’t order any coffee?”
Alan nodded emphatically. “I didn’t order any coffee.”
“I was just trying to anticipate your needs.”
An awkward, painful silence descended on the the table. Alan shifted uncomfortably and Dave glanced out the window.
Alan formed his next words very slowly. “Anticipate . . . my needs?”
Dave looked over to the register and attempted to manifest a customer to wait on.
“Don’t . . . ever . . . do that.”
Dave nodded quickly, in total agreement. “Right, okay. No, you’re absolutely right. Let’s just pretend this never happened, okay? No more needs anticipation. Ever. Done. Okay? Awesome.”