Stalking My Thoughts – Part Four


Stalking My Thoughts – Part Four

This is the fourth article in an occasional series.  Click here to go to the third article.

reportImagine someone.

Describe them.

Remember someone.

Describe them.

Which was easier?


I pride myself on a vivid imagination.  But..remembering is easier than imagining.  I have taken to sitting in places, and watching peopleI wrote more about this in another postSome day, some of my observations might be helpful in a story, especially if I need someone doing something ordinary.

How Ordinary?

You decide.


Twenty-something Man (Hector)

Hector tempts me to use passive voice.  I resisted the urge.

Hector approaches, down the left side, near the wall.  He walks against traffic.  People part for him, creating a five foot bubble around him.

Hector is Latino, standing a little taller than most, but far more broad.  His trunk is large, from his shoulders, down his chest, and his belly.  He carries himself like a man used to being large, perhaps from childhood, when he was bigger than his playmates.  Once, he might have been athletic, although he does not move with an athlete’s grace.  He is slowly going to fat.

His head tilts down, and slightly to the left, toward the wall and the shops.  His head, save his bushy black eyebrows, is shaven.  His extra weight has reached his face, softening his cheeks, beginning to puff up his features.  No smile threatens his demeanor.  His eyes are receding, hidden in wells of flesh.  He seldom looks up.  When he does, he glances, vaguely, into the shop windows.  Anyone meeting his eyes would avert their own, avoiding dulled, lifeless orbs.

He wears a navy blue, zip up jacket, emblazoned with the shield of some private security group.  While his jacket strains to cover his girth, the sleeves slip down over his knuckles.  Were he to make a fist, he could hide his hand.  His white shirt and black tie contrast with his jacket.  The collar is tight, pinching his neck below his Adam’s Apple, rolling up the flesh.

As he walks, his arms move no more than an inch or so, fixed to his sides.  They might well be the arms of a statue, a statue that can walk.  Lack of arm or shoulder movement emphasizes the sway of his trunk.  His stride is proper for his leg length, being neither too fast nor too slow.  His large, black jogging shoes carry him relentlessly forward.  He walks this floor because he must, not because of conviction or sense of purpose.  He does not carry himself like a person afflicted with weariness or fatigue, so much as boredom.

The vistas of the Mall are his domain, large and varied, but not infinite.  He has his entire shift to visit every side passage, stair landing, water fountain, and ramp, many times.  With no destination other than his circuit, he lumbers to infinity, waiting for the end of his shift.  Whether he truly ignores the people flowing past or not, he has seen their kind so many times, in so many ways, that there is little to draw his attention or interest.


Will I ever use Hector in a story?

I will call Central Casting when I need a man with nothing to challenge him, going through the motions, resigned to his fate.


Read the next article.



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