Mike Morgan walked down the New York City streets, warm coffee in his hand, smiling as he watched the people wander around. The sky was bright blue, with a few poofy white clouds drifting lazily about in it, and the morning air was cool and crisp. A slight breeze ruffled Mike’s messy, black hair as his brown eyes glanced up at a bird twittering merrily in a tree. Taking a sip of his coffee, he judged that it was still too hot to drink, and continued his walk to work.
As he reached the large-windowed storefront of the gaming store he worked at, he looked across the street. Standing outside the door to the comic store stood the beautiful girl who worked there. Her long, dark red hair was bound in a braid, and her bright emerald eyes looked around casually as she drank her own morning coffee. She wore loose, tattered jeans and skateboard shoes that were nearly as well-used. Over her long-sleeved black shirt, the bright colors of her t-shirt could be quite easily seen, even from across the street. Mike smiled to himself. Today was the day he would go talk to her. Today, he would introduce himself. Taking a deep breath and mustering his courage, he took the brave step off the curb and into the crosswalk.
That’s when it all went wrong.
A group of bicyclists rounded the corner right as he stepped onto the curb. With a yelp of surprise, the first three slid around him. With the grace of an elephant, Mike tumbled through the crowd, doing his best to get through them and to the freedom offered on the other side. His foot slid on a patch of pavement still wet from the previous night’s rain, and he crashed to the ground. After a moment of yells and crashing noises, the rest of the bicyclists stopped moving. On the corner now lay a jumbled mass of bicycles and people. Mike scrambled to his feet, brushing himself off and helping the nearest rider up.
“Sorry! Sorry…oh…sorry to you too.” He apologized, trying to clean up the mess as best he could. His coffee was nowhere to be seen, and his ribs rather hurt from being run over. Stumbling back up onto the curb, he glanced over in the direction of the comic store. The girl was unlocking the door, ready to go inside. Mike sighed. ‘Maybe today ISN’T the day. Oh well. We both come to work every day, right? I’ll talk to her tomorrow.’ He thought, limping to the door of his own store, unlocking it, and stepping inside. Flipping on the bright lights, he went about neatening the shelves before opening for the day. Turning on the bright, neon ‘Open’ sign, he pulled up the shades of the windows. Backing up, he smashed into a cardboard cut-out of an orc. Spinning around in a not-so-elegant dance with it, he propped it back up in its proper place, straightening the bent, pointy ear and hoping no one would notice. Walking behind the counter, he went into the back room to sort the new shipment for the day.
Across the street, Alexandra McBird was also opening her store. Singing softly to herself, she danced with grace among the shelves, putting things back in their correct places and putting the new items where they belonged. Pausing, Alex drank the rest of her coffee, surveying her store. Satisfied, she flipped on the bright, red and yellow, custom-made ‘Open’ sign, turning on the music that would be playing that day. She smiled as one of her favorite songs came on, and began to sing along quietly, organizing comic books back into the alphabetical order that her customers continued to disorganize.
The day went slowly for Mike, who spent most of it spinning in the chair behind the desk or wandering between the racks of games. When it came time to close for the evening, he did so quickly, picking up his things and walking out the door. When he reached his apartment about half an hour later, he entered, flopping down on the couch before even greeting his roommate. Leo Morris, his friend since high school, who shared the apartment with him, was a big, muscular fellow who was surprisingly gentle for his size. His black hair was kept so short that his dark skin was visible through it, and despite the fact that he was still rather young, he already had wrinkles around his friendly brown eyes, showing that he smiled a lot. Leo sat down on the couch beside Mike, crossing his arms across his chest and leaning back.
“Did you talk to her today?” He asked, smiling as if he already knew the answer.
“Nope. I got hit by a group of bicyclists when I tried.” Mike sighed, shaking his head and running a hand through his hair.
“Oh, come on, man! When are you going to start making good excuses? You’ve got to go talk to her!” Leo laughed, sitting up.
“It’s not an excuse! And I just can’t…what if I mess up? You know, like I did with that Ashley girl in high school.” Mike asked.
“So? You messed up, and you can try again another day. I thought the same thing about Heather, and when I talked to her, it was the best thing I’ve ever done.” Leo replied, rising and walking into the kitchen, rummaging about in the fridge hungrily.
“Yeah, but you’re Leo! You’re good with that kind of thing. I can’t even walk past my cardboard orc cutout without knocking him over.” Mike protested, following his friend. Leo stood up, a can of soda in his hand, looking at Mike thoughtfully.
“So you’re afraid to talk to her because you think you’ll screw it up?” He asked, opening the can and drinking.
“Okay. Maybe you just need some more time to build up courage.” Leo decided, walking past Mike and sitting back down on the couch, flipping on the television.
“That’s it? You have that look on your face like you’re planning something.” Mike said, looking at Leo skeptically. Leo grinned harmlessly, shrugging and taking another drink of his soda.
“If you say so.” He said passively, leaning on the armrest of the battered couch. Mike sighed, seeing that arguing wouldn’t get him anywhere, and sat on the couch beside Leo, fixing his eyes on the television.
“You know, maybe the gym could help out with that confidence.” Leo said jokingly. Mike crossed his arms defensively over his stomach, shaking his head defiantly. Leo laughed again, also fixing his eyes to the screen and remaining quiet.
Later that evening, Mike wandered, tired, off to bed. When he was out of earshot, Leo picked up the phone, calling his girlfriend, Heather Johnson.
“Heather, we’ve got to help Mike. He’s going crazy because he can’t talk to Alex.” He said quietly. Heather was silent for a moment before saying anything.
“Don’t worry; I’ve got a plan to help him out.” She replied confidently.
I hope you enjoyed the first chapter of ‘Geekproof’!Be sure to check back next Friday for Chapter Two to find out what Leo and Heather are planning.
Talk to you soon,
Have a themesong!