Uggh. So, this one was difficult. Which I knew it would be, because the prompt — Write a story about a character as unlike you as you can manage — made me no. t want to do this one. It’s not (I hope!) that all my characters are the same (or me), but I know I shy away from characters that are male, for one. Straight, for another. And that’s just to begin with.
I struggled over the course of the day to come up with something. This is actually two characters from my novel-in-progress (backstory, if you will). And really, Craig isn’t that different.
“Hey, Craig!” Lionel said as the other man walked past his open office door.
“Hi,” the younger man answered, his right hand coming up and pushing back the dark hair that flopped in front of his eyes.
“Want to come out tonight with the guys? We’re going to the Maple.”
Craig suppressed the sigh that came involuntarily. “Sure. That sounds great.”
Craig had very mixed feelings about both Lionel and the after work drinks at the Maple. It was not that he disliked either, not exactly. But he was very much uncomfortable with both.
The thing was, he did not dislike his co-workers at the bank. For the most part, they seemed like decent, largely likeable people. He did find it more than a little peculiar that there was such a strict gender division. After work, the ‘boys,’ as they liked to refer to themselves, would go out together, and so would the ‘girls.’ But there was very little mixture between the two groups.
This, in itself, would not have been a huge problem, except for that Craig had very little in common with the other ‘boys.’ He was not sporty, in any way whatsoever, and the other men were enthusiastically sporty by season — baseball, football, soccer, hockey, and repeat. There was always something on the big screen at the bar.
Craig was… not. Craig worked at the bank to support himself, because being a performance artist was not particularly well paying. Sports did not much impinge on his view of the world. Which would have all been fine, if the others were interested in speaking of anything other than who had won what when.
“Five, man,” Lionel said, as he turned back to his computer and the papers on his desk. It was an obvious dismissal. Lionel was an investment counsellor, whereas Craig was a lowly teller. They didn’t actually refer to them as tellers anymore, of course, they were customer service representatives, not that it made any actual, practical difference.
The afternoon wiled away, the clock ticking towards five. The bank itself was open until eight, but the ‘day staff,’ as they liked to think of themselves, would be gone long before then.
They gathered outside the doors, men and women in separate clumps.
“The Maple,” Lionel declaimed as they were all present and the men went off.
Craig looked behind them with a certain amount of longing, at the group of women. He did not quite know where they went or what they did, exactly, but he could not help but think that there was some missing possibility there that he wished he could explore.