Untitled Fiction (Chapter 1, Section 1)

My belated post is my first fiction.

I promised the few readers that I have several posts ready for when I get busy, but it turns out most are sports themed, and most of you don’t give a damn about it.

So I thought I’d post my first fictional work for a big change of pace (I even have chapter two written), but I realized it needed some polishing (not that it’s polished now).

The work is untitled.  I leave it to my few readers to suggest a title as the story unfolds (and yes, I actually do have a story in mind).

Suggestions for improvement greatly welcomed.


The cell phone vibrated in the pocket, but Michael Lowell ignored it and tried to remain attentive.  The professor of the class, The Civil War and the American Education System, was renowned for his aversion to technology.  He banned all note taking on computers and required the students to turn off their cellphones during class.  Lowell often forgot to turn the phone back on after turning it off, so he simply kept it on vibrate during every class.  It usually didn’t cause disruptions, but this class was a seminar with only six students and he was starting to get agitated as vibration continued.  He was anxiously waiting for the phone to go into voice mail.  When it finally did, he was relieved.

But his relief was short lived.  Less than a minute later the phone vibrated again and he could tell the professor was taking notice as he turned his eyes towards Lowell, away from the student who was talking.  Nothing was said.  It wasn’t necessary.  Lowell had to make a quick decision.  The phone would continue to vibrate until it again went into voice mail or he could walk out of class and pick it up outside.  Neither option was particularly appealing, but he decided a lengthy quiet disruption was worse than a noisy quick one.  As the professor turned his eyes back to the student who was speaking, Lowell quietly got up and walked out of the room.

Once in the deserted hallway, Lowell took out the phone and looked at the caller.  It wasn’t anyone in his phonebook and it wasn’t from an area code he recognized.  Annoyed the interruption came from an unknown caller, he flipped open the phone to pick up.

“Hello?” he said, his tone reflecting his feelings.

“Hello.  Yes.  Is this Mr. Michael Lowell?”  The male voice on the other side was firm and distinguished.  Lowell did not recognize it.

“Yeah, who’s this?”

“My name is Gunther Wellington.  I’m an attorney in New Jersey.”

“Is there a problem?”  Lowell never cared for attorneys so his voice turned hostile.

“I represent Lancester Carter.”

“Lance?  What’s going on?”  Lowell was taken aback by the unexpected identity of the caller.  He couldn’t imagine Carter getting into trouble that would require an attorney.

“I have some bad news.”

Wellington paused.  Lowell couldn’t tell whether it was for impact or to brace him for the news.

“Mr. Carter passed away yesterday.”

Lowell’s mind went numb.  The various calamitous scenarios that crossed his mind when he heard Wellington was Carter’s attorney got swept away in the shock of the news that he was dead.  Wellington broke the silence even as Lowell tried to collect his thoughts.

“I’m sure this news is unexpected.  Were you close to Mr. Carter?”

“We went to high school together,” Lowell answered, trying to be as evasive as possible.  He was reluctant to share his past even with those who considered themselves close to him, much less total strangers.

“I see…  I’m sorry for your loss.”

“How did he die?”  Lowell asked the one question that came to his mind, the only one that seemed to matter.

“Can we meet in person?” Wellington asked, avoiding Lowell’s question.  “At my office, sometime today or tomorrow?”

“I don’t understand,” Lowell responded, confused.  ” Why do you wanna meet me?”

“Mr. Carter left a will, a will that I prepared on his behalf as his attorney.  He left very specific instructions.”

“And that instructions require me to see you in person?”

“Indirectly, yes.  He asked that I personally meet with the executor of his estate as soon as possible.”

“The executor?”  Lowell was trying to understand what Wellington was getting at but the unexpected news proved to be a distraction to his thoughts.

“Yes, he named you as the executor.”

“Me?  But what about his wife?”

“He and his wife separated six months ago.”

This was news to Lowell.

“And his parents?”

“They were not named.”  Wellington softly replied as if he understood Lowell’s confusion.

“I don’t understand.  Why did he name me as his executor?  I don’t even know what executors do.”

“I’m not at liberty to speak to the intentions of Mr. Carter.  All I can tell you is that he named you as the executor of his estate.”

Now Lowell was at a loss for thoughts.  As much as Lowell had trouble digesting the sudden passing of Lancester Carter, being named the executor was simply beyond comprehension.

“Mr. Lowell?,” Wellington’s tone sought reassurance Lowell was still on the other side.

“Yeah.  Yes.  I’m still here.  What am I supposed to do?”  Lowell genuinely required guidance.

“Are you available today?”

“Where’s your office?”

“In Fair Lawn, New Jersey.  Do you know where that is?”

“Yes.”  How could he not.  It was a town he grew up in.  “It’ll take me a while to get there, though.  I’m up in Boston.”

“I see.”  Wellington paused.  Lowell could hear him flipping his diary.  “Can you make tomorrow at 5?”

“Maybe.  I don’t even know how I’m gonna get there.  I don’t have a car.”

“Can you contact me when you know?  If you can’t make tomorrow, I’m booked until early next week.”

“Yeah.  I can reach you at this number?”


“I’ll call you as soon as I know.”

As Lowell hung up the phone, students came streaming out of the class.  Casey Martin, his roommate, approached him with a concerned look.

“You okay, man?  You look pale.”

“I don’t know.”  Lowell gave the only answer he could and asked,  “Can I borrow your car?”

“Now?  I have class after this,”  Martin said apologetically.  It was rare for Lowell to ask Martin for a favor so he would usually jump at the chance to help a roommate he has grown quite fond of, but a car seemed a bit excessive.

“Yeah, and I’m gonna need it for a day or two, maybe more.”

“Dude, how am I supposed to get to and from the apartment?”

Lowell didn’t bother answering and instead became agitated.

“Can I borrow your car or not?”

Martin stared at Lowell for a couple seconds before raising his eyebrows, squaring his lips, and tilting his head.   Then he reached into his pockets and handed Lowell the keys.

“Whatever it is, it must be urgent.”

“It is.  The car’s where you parked it this morning?”


Lowell darted into the classroom and emerged with his books.

“Where you going?”  Martin asked.

“Back to my past.”

And with that, Lowell hurried down the hallway now filled with students anxious for lunch.



3 Responses to “Untitled Fiction (Chapter 1, Section 1)”

  1. 1 Tony February 3, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    More more!!! This is actually pretty fun!

    • 2 joesas February 3, 2009 at 9:36 pm

      Thanks! I do have part II already written, but it’s handwritten in a notebook, so I have to type it and proof it. It may be a month or so, but I promise more is coming!

      Thanks for reading. I really mean it. It’s my first shot at fiction.

  1. 1 Untitled Fiction (Chapter 1, Section 2) « The World According to Joe Trackback on May 1, 2009 at 2:11 pm

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