Chapter 6

Chapter 6

A Chapter by Paris Kim

            The next morning at the dining table, as we sat eating breakfast together, I summarized an understandable version of the conversation that took place between me and Geoffrey.

            “I say,” Melissa began to say in her sweet Scottish accent, “he’s gey wild. Seems to me he don’t know what he wants in life, considering his success already.”
            “It’s been almost a year since we talked,” I told her. “God, now just because we met at Charlie’s wedding he seems so inseparable. I mean, yeah he’s my friend and all, but sometimes I still get annoyed by how much he really hasn’t changed since college. What could he possibly do with his life even further? The man’s already gotten everything.”

            “Well, he values a good friendship if anything, giving you a call like that.”

            “But he’s not very considerate. Calling a person at night, when he should know the time differences by now! I mean, god we talked for hours on end on time zones in the dorms.”

            Melissa laughed and said, “Well, like you promised just give him a call to see how things are going. He’s living in England, so it’s not that often he’ll come and barge in. Keep it for now a casual, phone-like friendship.”

            How odd would that be? We would barely even talk on the phones I’m sure. I made it a promise to myself while walking to work that I’d give the knight a call on break. Berkeley Books, the aging bookstore my late father had left in my care, wasn’t that much a distance from our house on Chestnut Street, and had breath-taking views on Bridgeway Street that lined the long waterfront of the city. My walk was down the road, then down a deep flight of crumbling stairs onto the main street, and down that way to Berkeley Books. It was the very shop that stopped by dreams of becoming a lawyer dead in its tracks. But it was also family, and if that was the case, family came first without doubt.

            After grabbing a latte from Starbucks (Melissa’s coffee that morning was a bit weak) I headed straight to the shop where one of my workers for the morning shift, Chad Monihow, a black sophomore at UC Berkeley who needed work that summer, stood against the wall clutching his iTouch in one hand and his other hand tightly wrapped around his shoulder bag strap.

            “Morning Chad,” I said to the young man, dressed in Vans and fitted jeans with a print t-shirt that said in dull gray block letters OCEAN BLUE.

            “Hey, Mr. B.,” he said congenially to me as I unlocked the front door and let the both of us in. “I think it’s our lucky day.”

            “Funny, what makes you say that?” I asked as he assumed position behind the counter and I set my stuff down in the back office. Upon returning to the front Chad began in high spirits, “Well, it’s Tuesday�"I believe the shipment for the new Sedaris book’s arriving today.”
            “Then it is a lucky day, isn’t it?” I remarked smiling and took two sips of my chilling latte, “But you seem so happy for it to arrive. Since when were you a fan of Sedaris?”
            Chad shook his head and laughed. “No, buy my girlfriend likes works by him. I was going to reserve a copy, if that’s okay with you,” he explained.

            “No problem with that Chad,” I assured him, and noticing his headphones were still in his ears, asked him about what was on his current playlist.

            “Dave Matthews Band,” he casually replied.

            “I see,” I said, handing his iTouch back to him and suddenly let out a long yawn.

            “Tired?” Chad asked.

            I nodded. “Woke in the night. Friend called me.”

            “In the mid of night?” he questioned suspiciously. “Who the hell would do a thing like that?”
            “My friends in England, apparently. Just that one guy I mentioned a long time ago.”
            “Oh! Yes the royal one. Lucky you are.”
            I laughed and shook my head. “No, a knight isn’t really royal by blood so much as Dukes or Lords, Chad. They can be commoners, usually are.”
            “I think that’s funny how it works. Being knighted is like the highest ranking lifetime achievement award you can receive in the U.K. For regular dudes like us, I mean.”
            “True,” I said, “funny how a regular dude like my friend only produced music and set up charity music programs for underprivileged kids, and look where he is now! Well, I’m good with U.S. democracy. Save for the a*s just leaving the Office.”

            “Of course that would be the case,” Chad joked along. “Obama’s the new thing, I’m telling you! Can’t wait ‘til we vote in November. But anyways, what’d your friend want?”

            I shrugged and just told him about Geoff’s wanting advice on things in his life�"nothing more.

            “There is a difference,” was what Chad said in response. “Can’t really blame the guy.”

            “You don’t know him Chad,” I began explaining. “He’s very imprudent, he is. Him being born into upper class and on top of that receiving knighthood quickly builds onto that shallow ego of his.”
            “Sounds like a real d****e bag,” Chad concluded. I laughed again. “Yeah, right. But true, he seems likes it�"I forget why I’m still his friend.”
            A little after noontime before our lunch break, my second employee arrived for the afternoon shift, before Chad and I let out for lunch. His name was Francois, or as we called him Fran, Verney, a young Frenchman just let out for his junior year at the University of San Francisco. However, my relations with Fran went way back into my teens. My family had made business connections with a French family whom they befriended over the years, and around the time I was fourteen the Verney family began visiting me and my parents in Sausalito, bringing along their newborn song Fran. They stopped visiting after I left college, but in the last four years of those visits only Fran would come. We got along very well, he and I, with occasional Emails after I went to college. Yeah, we lost touch after that for awhile, but then he got accepted into USF. I used to go visit him in the City, and at my aunt’s in North Beach when he moved in with her his junior year. So far since the past two summers, Fran had been staying in San Francisco, and for those last two years up to now working the afternoons at Berkeley Books.

            Fran entered the shop, dressed sharply in a navy Lacoste polo and fitted Lucky Brands with dark Ray Ban wayfarers over his messy blond hair. He carried in contrast to Chad’s shoulder bag a North Face backpack; a French photography magazine which he subscribed to in was in his hands. “Salut, mes amis!” he greeted brightly in his native tongue.

            Salut,” I said casually in a bland accent, continuing to stack new arrivals on the front shelf.

            Chad, who had grown to become good friends with Fran, walked to him and both shook hands followed by a hug. “My boy Fran!” he meekly said. “Ca va?” Languages were in fact Chad’s minor, so it was a no-brainer he’d be fluent in French, and all the more made him more enjoyable for Fran to talk to.

            “Okay, Shad,” Fran replied in English. “Ready to go out? I just need to put my sac-a-dos away and when we’ll be out.” 

            “Sounds like a plan, Chad said. It was always a plan for those two to have lunch together. “Still going for pizzas?”

            Fran thought, but politely said, “There is that café Italien next to the bay. I want a Panini sandwich, s’il vous plait.

            “How was the ferry ride?” I then asked Fran.

            “Not as windy, George, like yesterday. It’s always a beautiful journey, n’est-ce pas?

            “D’accord,” I said grinning. “Well, you guys go ahead and enjoy your break. It hasn’t been so busy today so you two don’t need to come back on the dot.”
            “Has it been today?” Fran asked curiously.

            “I’m quite shocked myself,” I returned, “but then again there are ups and downs. You two go on.”

            Chad shrugged at Fran and said, “I could go for a Panini. Are you going out for lunch too, Mr. B?”
            “Or would you like to come with us?” Fran suggested.

            Grabbing the door keys from the counter drawer I said, “Yeah, but I have other errands to do. I’ll lock up�"see you all in a bit.”

            “’Kay,” Fran said. “A bientot!”
            “See you then,” Chad followed, and out the door they went. Minutes after, I locked up the bookstore, made sure the BACK IN AN HOUR sign on the door was visible, and commenced to walk down Bridgeway in search of food. I ended up having a slice of pizza from an off the wall place called Giovani’s just minutes down the street from the bookshop. Taking my lunch to the rocks along the shore of Bridgeway I paced myself and watched all the ferries and crisp white sailboats glide by in the deep blue water. The wind continued to blow softly and waves lazily crashed onto the rocks just a few feet below me, disrupting the little scattered gathering of crabs which were feeding off the sediment.

            After the pizza was gone with, I sat there and continued sipping my Perrier water and watching the movements of the Bay. Alcatraz was a fairly visible blot in the distance against the bulge of Angel Island a few miles off the Sausalito Coast, and the Bay Bridge was seen as a very thin line running across from the East and into the abundance of small but lean dull-colored rectangles and squares that would make up the majestic vast buildings of San Francisco’s downtown and Financial District. It was a clear warm day for June�"no clouds yet, for a Sausalito local knew better that most days ended in the fog. After observing the Bay Area at work, I then decide it was time to call Geoff. I took out my phone and after dialing the hassle of long distance, I was received by the familiar voice of Tom Rowles, Geoff’s personal assistant. I was still amazed at the fact that Geoff didn’t even keep his own phone for himself, rather letting Tom keep it for him


            “I am sorry, Mr. Armstrong is not in,” he politely picked up.

            “Hey, Tom?” I said warmly. He changed his manner quickly.

            “Is that Mr. Berkeley?” he expressed.

            “Yeah, evening,” I casually greeted. “Is Geoff there? Could I possibly speak to him?”

            “He’s actually in his study,” Tom replied, and then changing his tone to a more congenial one, “I believe he’s actually reading, he is!”

            “Well, then send him my congratulations,” I mocked. It was without doubt that even Tom could agree with me on my friend’s follies.

© 2011 Paris Kim

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Added on March 7, 2011
Last Updated on March 7, 2011


Paris Kim
Paris Kim

San Francisco, CA

an optimistic college student who takes her life growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area and turns it into truthful fiction. always finding a way to smile and laugh and make the most of anything thro.. more..

Madama Madama

A Story by Paris Kim

Chapter 1 Chapter 1

A Chapter by Paris Kim

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