“That’s a fine timepiece.”
“Thank you.” Andrew Simons looked down at his wrist. He looked up at the man leaning against the side of the building. He was a scraggly guy. It wasn’t clear if he was homeless or a surfer. He was only wearing shorts. His blonde hair was an unkempt mess. He was a short, wiry guy. He wore knock-off Blue Blocker sunglasses. He gave off a strange vibe. He laughed at Andrew, revealing broken front teeth.
The doors opened, emitting the air conditioning as he walked through the doors. The lobby was fairly conservative. To his left was a small reception desk. The elevator was straight ahead.
“I hope you’re having a good morning, Mr. Simons.”
“Morning, Billy. How are you?”
“I’m good, sir.”
“Billy, please stop calling me sir.” Andrew said as he walked to the elevator. Billy O’Connor was a balding middle aged man. He was the concierge and building manager. He had been steadfastly working that counter the whole time Andrew had owned his place.
He pressed the ‘up’ button. The doors opened moments later. Andrew hit the third floor and the doors closed. He stepped out and turned left. The first door on the right was his.
It was a beachfront condo. He had bought it back in college. He had scraped together some roommates from the dorms and moved in. It seemed crazy at the time for a 20 year old to buy a beach condo instead of renting an apartment, but now he was happy that he did. Almost a decade later, he no longer lived there. He used it primarily for his office.
Andrew dropped his briefcase on the couch. He walked into the master bedroom to hang his suit jacket up in the closet.
He went into the kitchen to make coffee. He had a morning routine. Andrew woke up at 6:00. He wore a suit and tie and never had coffee until he arrived here. He always drank his coffee black. His grandfather had once told him that, “If God had wanted cream in coffee, He would have put it there.” That was one of those nuggets of wisdom Andrew lived by.
Andrew was a writer. He took it seriously. He didn’t want to mix his home life with his business life. This condo let him escape those domestic hours. He could focus on his work without being worried about household chores or the phone ringing.
Phones weren’t allowed in the office. He left his iPhone in the car. The internet was no longer hooked up in the place. He didn’t want to be distracted by the outside world. The only way he was going to succeed in writing something meaningful was to sit his ass in that chair and write. There was no shortcut to writing. There was no app for that. You could either write or you couldn’t.
He emerged from the kitchen with his coffee mug. Andrew had a desk in the center of the room, facing out to the patio. He sat his coffee on the coaster sitting to the right of the keyboard. It was the only thing allowed on the desk, besides the computer.
Andrew walked past the desk and opened up the French doors. The smell of the ocean filled the room. He had always loved the ocean. It helped to calm his mind and let him get down to real writing.
He didn’t linger too long at the doors. He walked to the bookshelf and turned on the sound system. The iPod had a mix on it filled with his favorite songs; Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, The Grateful Dead with assorted other classic rock and blues. He didn’t have to worry about what to listen or skipping tracks. He just pressed shuffle and it would play all day long.
He finally sat down at the computer and opened the current piece his was writing. Andrew reread the last pages to remind himself of where he left off. He closed his eyes for a few seconds before typing. Sometimes the words wouldn’t come to mind and he sat there looking at the screen without seeing anything. He let his mind go slack. He pulled at his tie to give him another inch to breathe. He massaged his neck, trying to get some words to fall onto the pages.
The grandfather clock in the foyer rang out the hour. That was his cue to get up and walk around. He never liked to get stagnant. Sometimes he stretched, other times he just refilled his coffee. He would keep drinking coffee all day long.
The hours passed with this cycle of writing, pacing and drinking coffee. The clock chimed five times, which meant it was quitting time. Andrew finished the paragraph he was working on and saved the document. He always shut the computer down before he left for the evening. There was no point in wasting the energy.
Before He left for the day, he always straightened the place up, closing the French doors again. He washed his coffee mug and wiped down the counters. A little effort in the evening always made the mornings easier to deal with. He enjoyed walking into a clean office. It eliminated stress. Andrew retrieved his suit jacket. He straightened his tie in the bathroom mirror.
Andrew grabbed his briefcase, making his way downstairs. He felt good. He had put in a solid effort. He had written for the majority of the time he was at the office. Distractions came, but were dealt with promptly.
“Good evening, Mr. Simons.”
“Hey, George, it’s good to see you.” George McDermott manned the desk in the evenings. He wasn’t as polished as Billy, but he was the right man for the job for that time of day. He looked like a mob henchman from Central Casting. He was intimidating, but a sweet guy to the residents.
Andrew walked out the front door of the lobby into the late afternoon. The sun was working its way to the horizon. He could feel the summer getting away from him. The temperature was already down to a comfortable level.
“Hey man, you got the time?”
“It’s 5:17.” Andrew said, before realizing it was the same guy that commented on his watch in the morning. The guy smiled a goofy, toothy smile. It was difficult to look at him with that orthodontic nightmare going on.
Andrew did his best to keep walking. He used the key fob to unlock his car doors. Before he could get to the door handle, a baby blue convertible Bug stopped behind his car.
“Andrew!” He turned to see it was Holly. Sweet, beautiful Holly Lang was a girl he had liked for a long time. She was one of the perkiest blondes he had ever known.
“Hey there! What are you up to?”
“I was just in the neighborhood. I’ve been at the beach with the girls.”
“Sounds like a rough life.”
“You should have been there. It was fun.”
“I’m sure it was. Beautiful women on a beautiful beach. What’s not fun about that?”
“Don’t forget the scantily clad, beautiful women part!” Holly raised her eyebrows flirtatiously.
“Oh, I’ll never forget that. Trust me.”
“Wanna get a drink with me?”
“Of course I will.” Andrew popped his trunk and tossed his briefcase in before walking around to the passenger side of her car.
“You always look so good.”
“Thank you, Holly.”
“Why do you always wear a suit?”
“I just want to feel like a professional. Sometimes I don’t feel like an adult yet, you know?”
“Yeah, I get that.”
“I think if I look good, I’ll feel good.”
“Why aren’t all guys like you?”
“Because there’s only one Andrew Simons!” He said smiling broadly. She smiled and leaned in to kiss him briefly.
“I’ve always liked you, Andy.” The tender moment was interrupted by a voice coming from the building.
“Hey Suit! Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do with Miss Sweet Tits!” The homeless/surfer guy chortled to himself like he was the funniest guy in the world.
“Ugh, I hate that guy!” She put her arm out across Andrew’s waist. “Please don’t do anything. He isn’t worth getting arrested over.”
“Do you know him? He was here this morning.” They both looked back at the man. Andrew’s fists were balled up.
“That’s Groper Rob. He is always bothering all the girls on the beach. He thinks he’s smooth and funny. He’s just a creeper.” Andrew stared at her, then looked back at the guy. He was still chuckling to himself and for anyone around him.
“Why do you guys call him that?”
“Because if you get too close, he’ll cop a feel. One time he flashed us. It was gross. He has such a tiny dick.”
“That’s not right. Why don’t the cops do anything?”
“They always remove him, but he keeps coming back.”
“I’ll talk to Billy about keeping him away.”
“At least that’ll keep this beach safe. Thank you.”
“It’s no problem. We need to keep the beautiful women of the world safe!”
“Don’t you mean, we need to keep all the women of the world safe?”
“Why yes, Holly, that’s exactly what I meant to say.” Andrew deepened his voice for dramatic effect.
“What are you talking about?” Holly said as she laughed.
“Nothing, I’m just being silly.”
“You’re a strange guy, Andy Simons. But for being such a gentleman, let me buy you a drink!”
“You do realize that a gentleman wouldn’t let a lady buy a drink, right?”
“Well, we’ll work something out.” Holly said with a wink.