Monday, January 12, 2009

Entry #70

A Balanced Life
by Wayne Scheer


If Franklin Meeks stood completely naked, he would still look like he wore a pocket protector. Of course, the black tape he used to hold his glasses together may have offered a clue.

"Why don't you replace them?" his friends would often ask. “You look like a nerd.”

He’d smile, nod his head, and re-tape his spectacles.

Franklin lived a life as carefully balanced as his meals. He played racquetball with Al Brunette, a fellow actuarial, on Tuesdays and Thursdays and had sex with Linda Myers from accounting every Monday and Friday. Thursday evenings he stayed home to read the New Yorker, Newsweek and Scientific America. Saturdays, he packed a lunch and hiked a vigorous six miles at the Mt. Landlow Mall, where he'd run up and down the escalator at least ten times.

Sundays, he volunteered at the hospital where his sister had been admitted over twenty years earlier. Although the doctors had tried helping her, her life had careened violently out of control and she killed herself while Franklin still attended college.

After her death, he studied mental illness and decided that a healthy life consisted of a balance of eating right, exercise, intellectual stimulation, a meaningful job, good sex, and giving to others. He carefully graphed his life accordingly.

Franklin understood his desperate attempt to keep his own life from breaking apart. The tape on his glasses remained his personal reminder.

24 comments:

Watters Edge said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Watters Edge said...

Absolutely loved your story. Your first line was a knock-out! Made me laugh out loud.

laughingwolf said...

bit of ocd here? :)

JR's Thumbprints said...

Nicely done, Wayne. I've read some of your other fiction, the latest about some dude not realizing he was the blind date. Your character here could be his older equivalent, he just needs that strip of tape to "keep it together."

Lena said...

i liked this story as the entity.. everything just fell right into place. Well done!

McKoala said...

That first line is just brilliant!

Rebecca Livesey said...

ah the life of an analyst! nice write, enjoyed it..can see a sequel when life shifts slightly out of control - what does he do?!

sandra seamans said...

This is really great, Wayne!

harshad said...

great read...and the 'personal reminder'...very profound. loved it.

BernardL said...

I enjoyed every line.

Lauri said...

Laugh out loud funny! Thanks so much for that!

As said- fantastic opening line.

*~*{Sameera}*~* said...

It's hard not to sypmathize with him.Well written :)

Sarah Hina said...

Every detail is fully realized and well delivered here. I especially love that he is an actuary. :) The humor was quirky, and spot on, but there was a nicely understated pathos, too.

Great entry, Wayne! Very fine character study.

JaneyV said...

I love his schedule. I wonder if Linda Myers from accounting has a similar one? You have very deftly painted the picture of a control freak and yet you have me rooting for him.

Excellent.

sawan said...

a beautiful portrait of imagination. luvd it.

Jimmie Vee said...

Hey, my girlfriend's name is Linda Myers from accounting! This was a very easy read - low key and entertaining - unlike some of the other inner turmoil pieces. I enjoyed it.

Precie said...

Well, hell. Guess I have to subscribe to The New Yorker now to join my Newsweek and Scientific American.

GREAT first line and great characterization.

Catvibe said...

I loved the tape and the opening line. Perfect. This obviously one of those people who you could set your clock by when you see them walk by.

Geraldine said...

This is excellent. There is a tension throughout that keeps up the interest. A touch of humor does not go amiss either. Bravo!

bluesugarpoet said...

Hilarious - yet with an underlying tinge of "ouch." Never underestimate the virtue of an ordered life, particularly on Mondays and Fridays. Fabulous character development in just 250 words!

jana

Sharon Poppen said...

You made me laugh in the first line and had me bleary eyed with your last line. Quite an emotional ride. Well done.

Ruth D~ said...

The pocket protector line is priceless, and sets what I see as a serious story on the stage of humor. Nice!

pjd said...

He has the right job, that's for sure.

jason evans said...

Congratulations on the honorable mention!

Great job with pacing, entertainment value, technical skill, storytelling, and voice! And welcome to the Forties Club!!

Thanks for being a wonderful part of the contest.