Sunday, October 9, 2016

A Word on Southern Living

8:45am - I woke up to a drum roll on my door and groaned. I was too tired to wonder what kind of maniac would knock with a ferocity clearly formulated over years to rouse people from their beds and force them to reactivate their cognitive processes, so I instinctively checked the clock instead. "Come back in two hours," I shouted. As a rule, I don't do anything before 10...

10:45am - The knock came again; I stifled another groan, and I opened the door. My bespoke navy suit suddenly came face to face with two tan trench coats. One of them covered a man in a ratty green shirt with thin white stripes who reached out a hand and declared himself to be, "Simon Worthington from Southern Living," in a slow serious tone. At 6'1, Worthington stood exactly at my height, and the camera around his neck pointed directly at the center of my chest. I put on my dimples and gleamed, as we shook. "Barnabas Evergreen," I said. The second trench coat surrounded a man in a light blue shirt who stood about two inches shorter than his friend and held a pencil and clipboard in his hands. "I'm Chris," said trench coat number two, "May we come in?"

"By all means," I said, gesturing in towards my apartment. Worthington walked past me and sat in the large arm chair directly in front of the door. Chris followed close on Worthington's heels and stood just behind and to the left of his partner. I countered by sitting on the couch against the right wall and angling myself towards my visitors, holding my cane perpendicular to the ground and resting my hands on top of it.

"Tell us something interesting."

"What?" I asked, raising one eyebrow. Worthington's request caught me off guard.

"Our magazine is doing a piece titled '15 Southern Towns Making a Comeback', and yours is on the list." Chris cut-in energetically. "We have to get something from every person in this building. Mr. Simon just wants to cut to the chase, so that we can move on with our lives."

My charm turned a little wry despite my efforts. "I have more secrets to tell than you could possibly imagine," I said pointedly. "You're going to have to be a bit more specific."

Worthington suddenly smiled and quickly slid in with a reply. "I didn't ask for secrets, Mr. Evergreen. We're here from Southern Living not Vice. I'm looking for a cushy story that makes people smile. Human interest is not what people like you and I would consider interesting."

I smiled wider and nodded. Worthington was alright. "Tell your magazine that I'm an experienced immigrant businessman turned entrepreneur, who's trying to get his consulting firm off the ground. Every day brings new struggles, but I'm a hard worker striving for the American dream, and I've found that self determination is the pinnacle of satisfaction. I love living here at the Victorian, and there's no better place in which to have a home office."

Chris scribbled furiously and then frowned. "You're an immigrant? You don't have an accent."

"I lost it a while back," I said. Chris went back to scribbling.

"I don't suppose that you'd let us take your picture, Mr. Evergreen," Worthington said. "Might be good for your business." He took his camera into his hands and held it up.

"No thank you, Mr. Worthington."

"I didn't think so. At least it was worth a try." Worthington stood, turned on his heels and walked out. Chris took one last look around my living space and followed suit, still scribbling. I closed the door behind them.

11:30am - I take a deep breath. People are exhausting. Unfortunately, I have to keep up appearances, or I would lock the door and pretend that there had been a nuclear apocalypse. What I wouldn't give to be the last man on Earth. I haven't cared about anyone other than myself in a long time.

I need a drink.