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Join me during the month of April as I blog through the alphabet. My theme will be What’s In A Name. I will attempt to write up a short fictional character sketch beginning with a different letter of the alphabet each day. Remember that a place can also be a character.

Xochitl

“Zocheel.” That’s all she could get from the woman. She was asking what the plants were called. They had beautiful blooms that she hadn’t seen back in California where she was from. Now there were lush, colorful, tropical plants all over. She was enchanted by them and wanted to learn about them. Wherever she went she took pictures of the plants so she could try to identify them. She had chosen not to have internet where she was living because this move to the state of Quintana Roo was supposed to be a peaceful change, a getaway. She didn’t want to be reached. When she showed the woman who cooked for her the pictures, the woman kept saying the same thing, “zocheel” which was another word she didn’t know.

Frustrated, she decided that the next time she went into town she would find someone who could help her identify the flowers. In fact, she would do that soon.

Yolanda

Yolanda was frustrated. The woman she cooked for kept showing her pictures of flowers and Yolanda kept telling her they were flowers. Over and over again, Yolanda would tell her “xochitl” but the American woman must not be too bright because she didn’t understand a simple word. Xochitl. They were all xochitl. Yolanda threw her hands up in frustration and said it one more time, for the last time, xochitl!

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Join me during the month of April as I blog through the alphabet. My theme will be What’s In A Name. I will attempt to write up a short fictional character sketch beginning with a different letter of the alphabet each day. Remember that a place can also be a character.

Tom

He was sitting at an outdoor table at a chic Beverly Hills restaurant waiting for his wife who was shopping around the corner. But he wasn’t just waiting. He was ogling the fresh, young girls. He always ogled at the young ones, the ones so much younger than he. If one looked his way he thought they were flirting with him and he just about fell off his seat.

He did this all the time. He had never been happy with the wife he had picked. He hadn’t picked her because she was beautiful, or even because he loved her. There had never been love on his part. He had played it well but he had never felt it. Why had he picked her? Well, it was easy to see why if you studied his clothes and how at ease he was in this lifestyle. If you saw him driving, you could tell why. So confident. So entitled.

M-O-N-E-Y. Plain and simple. His wife, the not so lovely, yet kind and generous and loving Yolanda was the only daughter of the most talked about fashion designer in the last fifty years. She was not only his only daughter but the much talked about “ambassador of goodwill” who took great interest in donating to so many charities and bringing attention to causes relating to children and family issues. She was also very generous with her husband and never suspected that he was anything but faithful because she didn’t have that kind of thoughts in her mind and could only think positively of people.

Tom sat enjoying his hundred dollar snack and drink as well as the view of the very  beautiful and the very young things walking by. He was enjoying it all at the courtesy of his wife and father-in-law.

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Join me during the month of April as I blog through the alphabet. My theme will be What’s In A Name. I will attempt to write up a short fictional character sketch beginning with a different letter of the alphabet each day. Remember that a place can also be a character.

Sammi

Sammi took her venti Americano with a nod at the barista and sat at the table with her back to the wall so she would have a full view of all the characters that entered the coffee shop. She had laid out her laptop and her notebook while waiting for her coffee and now she took out her headphones and put them on. What no one would know was that they weren’t turned on to anything, or rather they were but the volume was turned all the way off on her laptop so she wasn’t hearing anything. That was intentional. Sammi wanted to not only see everyone but to hear as much as possible on this mission.

You see, Sammi was trying write a story but had no ideas. She wanted to write characters that were genuine and unforgettable but none were coming so this was a research trip. She took out her pen and began to doodle, ignoring her laptop. That was okay too because no one could see the screen because it faced the wall so she could pretend to be engrossed in her computer while not paying attention to it at all.

She sat and waited. No one interesting came in. There was a mom with a little boy, or maybe it was a little girl. Hard to tell at that age, which she guesstimated was about a year. The mother seemed to be waiting for someone but she was also very nervous, presumably about the baby who was crying intermittently. Probably the mom was worried about bothering the others. No one seemed to be paying attention except the man with the wire frame glasses who had taken his dress jacket off and put it on the back of his chair. It looked like he was on an extended break although it was too early for lunch. He was not just aware of the child with the woman. He was smiling at it and making silly faces; trying to make the child laugh.

Sammi was frustrated because nothing was going on. All she could hear was the older woman who was probably the manager asking the barista where Julie was. Apparently Julie was late for work, whoever she was. The barista mumbled something that sounded like “sick — late — anytime now” while looking nervous. He was trying to avoid saying anything further to the manager. Just then a delivery man came in and needed a signature and the manager started flirting with him. His name seemed to be Jamie and Jamie looked a little uncomfortable with the flirting. He was trying to get out of there as quickly as he could.

Why didn’t anything ever happen when she sat at coffee shops waiting for things to happen? Sammi was thinking of taking her coffee and going to another coffee shop, or maybe she would try riding the bus, if she could figure out how to do that. Buses were supposed to be full of interesting stories. Yup. That’s what she did. She packed up and took what was left of her Americano with her after finding the bus schedule and the nearest bus stop. She rushed out the door, not seeing the man that joined the woman and young child. There was tension between the man and woman but also affection and the baby lit up when she saw the man. The man picked her up and called her his sweet little girls and kissed the top of her head with its wispy light brown hair.

Sammi wasn’t long gone before the Manager began to raise her voice at the barista because he wouldn’t tell her anything else about Julie just as Julie rushed in, full of apologies. She said her babysitter was sick and she had trouble finding someone to watcher her little boy and it wouldn’t happen again. She apologized profusely. But Sammi wasn’t there to watch the subtle looks of understanding that Julie got from the mother with the little girl. The manager had been louder than necessary and the customers had heard and seemed to be on Julie’s side, if it came to picking sides, that is.

No, nothing interesting was happening at that coffee shop. Sammi was sure to find something interesting on the bus because she was so observant and so intuitive and patient. Just as Julie rode off on the bus, the man that had been making faces at the little girl jumped up to defend the young mother who was being belittled and bullied by the husband. Of course, the husband jumped to conclusions and accused his wife of having an affair with the man. He didn’t believe that they didn’t even know each other. They hadn’t even exchanged any pleasantries.

Now there was yelling and pushing and shoving and the manager was yelling at them to stop and the barista was saying he was going to call the police.

But Sammi was gone because nothing interesting was happening at the coffee shop.

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Join me during the month of April as I blog through the alphabet. My theme will be What’s In A Name. I will attempt to write up a short fictional character sketch beginning with a different letter of the alphabet each day. Remember that a place can also be a character.

Raymond

Raymond watched his workers. He always watched because he had to make sure everything went smoothly in the store. So he watched to make sure his customers had the shopping experience they deserved.

That Saturday he noticed Michael was not smiling. He watched. That’s when he started to worry. Michael smiled and chatted politely with each customer but when the customer was gone and before the next one approached, the smile was gone. In its place was the look of worry and anxiety. Raymond didn’t want to be part of that anxiety so he moved on and watched other workers. That’s when he asked Carol if she knew what was bothering Michael.

“Cancer. His mother was just and there’s no insurance.” Carol said it matter of factly and moved on.

“Wow.” That was all Raymond could think to say. He knew Michael loved his mother. She was the world to him. It had been just the two of them since his father had a stroke and  died  when Michael was only seven. Raymond really liked Michael. He had sort of taken him under his wing and he wondered why Michael hadn’t confided in him. He decided to talk to him and let him know he was in his corner and would try to help find some kind of resources for his mother’s health. There had to be something. She didn’t deserve this and neither did Michael.

Raymond walked toward Michael and signaled him to close up the register and come see him.

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Join me during the month of April as I blog through the alphabet. My theme will be What’s In A Name. I will attempt to write up a short fictional character sketch beginning with a different letter of the alphabet each day. Remember that a place can also be a character.

Quintana Roo

She remembered hearing her father talk about it when she was a child. He had described it as a tropical jungle and a paradise. He had talked about how the weather was always warm there. Not too hot; just warm enough to enjoy being next to the ocean. He described the lush tropical plants and the clear blue skies that melted into the ocean.

That’s where she was going to go. She had always imagine it as the perfect place to live but had never had the opportunity. Now she did. Her husband was gone. Her children were gone. There was nothing but an empty house and a business that brought too much responsibility with it. There were memories. Lots and lots of happy memories. There were, of course, some bad ones but most of them were good. She had a pretty wonderful husband and marriage. They had three beautiful children. Her life had seemed perfect with all of the time she spent with her children and her volunteer activities. It had been as close to perfect as she could imagine but now it was all gone.

It hadn’t been anyone’s fault. It was an accident. Sure, there was always someone to blame; something to blame. But when it was all said and done, it had been a horrible accident. No drunk driver. No faulty vehicle. No pedestrian that got in the way. It had been a dog. A dog running out into the road. It had been the rain. It had been the place in the road where there was a blind curve. It had all converged at exactly the same time and so there had been a horrible accident and her family was gone. For a long time, her sanity had also been gone but she was now coming back to life. If that’s what you could call it.

She was taking off. She had left life long friends to run the business and had researched the world. She had thought she would just travel and she still might. But she had also remembered how that tropical and mysteriously named place had called to her as a child and so she had packed her bags and used an agency to rent a small home for her and she was on her way. She didn’t care that Quintana Roo was also in the perfect spot to sustain substantial damage in the event of a hurricane coming off the Caribbean or from the Gulf. They happened often enough and she figured that might be part of the charm; at least to her. She would be tempting fate; challenging nature; making a stand. If a hurricane came and wiped her out, so be it. But then again, maybe she would travel during the hurricane season. Who knew? She didn’t. She just knew where she was heading when she got off of the plane in Cancun–to a less touristy spot where she could have peace and quiet and solitude. At least until the winds called her name.

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Join me during the month of April as I blog through the alphabet. My theme will be What’s In A Name. I will attempt to write up a short fictional character sketch beginning with a different letter of the alphabet each day. Remember that a place can also be a character.

I noticed the car before I noticed the driver. It was a Silver Mercedes C250. It drove right past me as I got stuck behind a big rig doing 45 while everyone zipped by doing 75. When I stopped at the Rest Area I noticed the Benz parked there as I slowly pulled out and back to the freeway after my stretch break. The driver was on his cell phone and I couldn’t help noticing that he looked irate. I was glad I didn’t have the pressures that business people seemed to have.

At the next area, sixty-four miles north of the previous one, there it was again. I hadn’t noticed it when it passed me this time but it was in the rest area, no driver.

As I walked toward the rest rooms, I saw the blond man I had seen behind the driver’s seat of the Mercedes. He wore a black three piece pinstripe suit and looked pretty uncomfortable in it. He did smile and nod at me as he mumbled “good day.” The was something about him. His obvious discomfort; his smile; a hesitance which made me feel that he was in no rush to get back to his car or on the road or even back to his life. That’s when I named him. He was simply Mister.

When I got back to my car, the Mercedes Benz was gone and as I drove on, I couldn’t help thinking up all sorts of scenarios about Mister’s life.

A couple of days later, it was on the news. Someone was missing and foul play was suspected. A business man who had last been seen leaving the parking lot of his office building in a silver Mercedes Benz C250. The man’s description matched Mister. The suspicious thing? His car had been found at a rest area, locked, and without its driver. A search had not turned up the driver. He had simply vanished at the rest stop.

I wondered about Mister. What had happened? Was he really missing or had he simply chosen to disappear?

I thought about Mister and kept a close ear out for news. I wanted to know what had happened to Mister and wondered if I would ever find out.

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Join me during the month of April as I blog through the alphabet. My theme will be What’s In A Name. I will attempt to write up a short fictional character sketch beginning with a different letter of the alphabet each day. Remember that a place can also be a character.

Kiki

“It’s Kiki, not Kiko!”  Why can’t they get that through their heads. I always call others by their name, not by someone else’s name. How would they like it? That guy that just called me Kiko, his name is William and he is called Bill. How would he like it if I called him Bob instead of Bill? That’s what he’s doing to me. Kiko is the nickname for Frank or Francisco. Kiki, my name, is the nickname for Enrique which is Spanish for Henry. Frank and Henry are two entirely different names. So are Kiko and Kiki. I’ve told people that before but it doesn’t stick in their heads. Geesh!

I know that I just correct them politely and smile and go on and the next time I see them, they call me Kiko again. I never even told them or inferred that they could call me anything but my real name. Why are they assuming they can use the friendly and familiar Kiko? Even if it were my name, they shouldn’t assume they could call me that. Only my friends and my familia get to call me that! I guess it’s my fault because I don’t forcefully correct anyone. I just smile and gloss over it. That’s how my parents raised me but I wish they had raised me differently. I wish I could stand up to them and put my finger in their chest and tap it with every word: “MY NAME IS ENRIQUE, NOT KIKO OR FRANK OR ANYTHING ELSE. REMEMBER THAT!”

Red faced and fuming, Kiki walked off, knowing that nothing would ever change. This was who he was. He corrected people politely and they didn’t pay attention. He wondered what it would be like to be Frank. Maybe Kiko would have better luck!

 

Alexa

Babs

Curtis

Diane

Eve

Fran

Grandma

Harold

Iris

Julian

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