Phoenix Chapter Three: Halloween

Phoenix Chapter Three: Halloween

A Chapter by SweetNutmeg



Chapter Three: Halloween

A couple of weeks later, on a Saturday afternoon, lunch was subs from the place next door, picked up by Gary. 

Ryan unwrapped his sandwich and said, “Me and Rita are meeting up at Marco's after work. Want to come along?” 

“Anyone else meeting you there?” Rogan was suspicious. 

“No, just Rita.” 

“Sure, I'll walk over with you after work.”

Rita greeted them from their usual corner booth, lit by the old Shell gas station sign. A waitress appeared as Rogan slid into the vinyl covered bench seat, next to Ryan. 

“Get us a pitcher and four glasses,” Rita told Ryan. “Dee is coming too.”

“Hey! You said no one else!” Rogan glowered at Ryan. He felt betrayed, being waylaid with another eligible woman like this. 

Ryan put up his hands and said, “Not my fault.”

Rita laughed. “Really, it's not his fault, Rogan. I saw Dee at the shop and asked her along.” Rita worked at a dress shop in the mall. “But you'll like her, Rogan. Smart lady.” 

Dee, when she showed up, turned out to be a short, bubbly blonde. She worked at a beauty shop, giving manicures and pedicures, but she didn’t seem like an airhead. She was, in fact, an aspiring entrepreneur. 

“I want to open my own nail spa, and maybe add tanning booths,” Dee informed him. “You can get small business loans through this government program. I specialize in signature nail systems.” She displayed her own nails, which have tiny black cats on each one. “I did Rita's, too.” Rita had orange and black stripes on her fingernails. It was the day before Halloween, and he supposed that explains the nail art theme. She took Rogan's hand in hers and clucked. 

“Your hands are a mess. What do you do to get them so dirty?”

“I work at Midas. Mechanics is dirty work.”

“Ryan keeps his hands clean,” Dee protested.

Ryan looked a little uncomfortable at this observation.

“Yeah, he stays nice and clean in the office, shuffling papers. I have to change oil and rotate tires and work on brakes.” 

Dee appeared unimpressed by this. Talk moved on and Rita mentioned her and Ryan's Halloween party. Rogan waited to see what Dee said. He didn't want to be roped in again. Dee was nice, but she was not his type. 

“I'm sorry, Rita. I'm already going to Benny's party,” Dee said. 

Feeling the coast was clear, Rogan accepted Rita's invitation. With Claire gone and his high school buddies dispersed, he was happy to have someone to hang with this holiday. 



Once arrived, Rogan was unsure if going to Ryan and Rita's party was such a good idea. He was not particularly good at being anything but Rogan, so without a costume, he felt out of place here. The popular tripe playing on the stereo wasn't really Rogan's style either.

“Hey, that's a great costume!” Rita was introducing Rogan to another guest. She was a sexy nurse named Kirsten, a long legged blonde. Rogan looked down at his motorcycle jacket, Megadeth t-shirt and heavy leather boots.  

Rita beamed and told Kirsten, “That's no costume, he's the real deal.” 

Kirsten looked even more interested. “Are you in a band?” She had one hand on his leather jacketed arm and was leaning close to be heard over the music. 

Rita had evaporated and Rogan was left with Kirsten. 

“No,” Rogan said. Back before his summer with Claire, he took advantage of the whole bad boy appeal to score with girls. And why not again? He was a bachelor, no girlfriend tying him down. 

“But you play the guitar?”

Rogan admitted he did. 

“And you're a mechanic, too? You must be really good with your hands.” She was practically purring in his ear now. 

“Let's get another beer, Kirsten. We can talk better on the patio.”

Rogan let Kirsten lead the way, but kept one hand on the small of her back, ostensibly guiding her. A casual touch here, an innocent touch there, and soon she would be wanting more. It always worked. Out on the patio, they grabbed a couple of beers from the cooler. Rogan gestured toward the glider, tucked under the shadow of a camphor tree.  

The way Kirsten snuggled up to him, he saw he didn't need to tantalize and encourage her, no need for the Rogan moves. He put his arm around her. “What sort of services does Nurse Kirsten provide?”

“I can check your pulse, Mr. Rogan.” She pressed two fingers against his neck. “Hmm, I don’t know, let me see if I can find a heartbeat.” She slid her hand in his jacket, caressing his chest.

“What do you think, will I survive?”

In answer, she kissed him. 

When they paused, he asked, “What's your verdict? Alive?”

“Oh, I'm not sure,” she murmured. “I think we need to go back to my place to make certain. This could be a serious condition.” 

“Lead the way, Nurse, I'm in your hands.”



In the soft light of the dimmed torchiere lamp in Kirsten's bedroom, Kirsten lay curled on her side. Rogan watched her sleep. Her chest rose and fell with her breath. What a knock out she was, curves in all the right places. And a real wild cat in bed. Eventually he slipped out of bed and dressed silently. 

He stroked her arm. “Sweetheart.”  

She turned a little, said “Mmm?”

“Work tomorrow, gotta take off.” 

She sleepily mumbled, “Ok, baby.”

He kissed her temple and made his way to the living room, quietly stepping out into the apartment hallway. He made sure the door locked after him.


Rita was pissed. 

“Why aren't you answering Kirsten's calls?” They were sitting in their usual booth at Marco's.  

“Rita, I never even gave her my number. You did.”

“How can you treat her like this?”

“Hey, it was her idea. She seemed pretty, umm, uninterested in conversation at the time.” 

“So you love them and leave them?”

“Pretty much, yeah. Look, you're the one always pushing these women at me.” He was getting angry too. “All of this would be unnecessary if you just hadn't given her my number.”

“Rogan,” Ryan intervened, “you need to tell her you're not interested. That's all. Don't just ignore her.”

“Stop being such a s**t,” Rita threw in. 

“OK, OK, I'll tell her I misunderstood her intentions.”

“And apologize,” Rita insisted. 

Rogan opened his mouth to protest, but caught Ryan's look.“Yes, I'll apologize, too.” Was one night really worth all this?

Once home from the pizzeria, Blue Öyster Cult on the stereo, Rogan thought about Ryan and Rita. He liked Ryan and Rita. They were great people and good friends, but he shared no simpatico with them. Unlike his high school friends. Most of them moved away after graduation and now he had no one to share his music with. 

His thoughts turned to all of Rita's friends he'd met. They were all blonde and uninteresting. Nothing wrong with them, but no spice. When he thought about it, he wanted someone with a passion he can relate to, not pedicures or clothes or vacation packages. He was not sure what he wanted, but it certainly wasn’t Kirsten or Dee or any of the other women he'd met. He dwelled on this for a while, then thought back to Allison and the accident. 

He got down the picture from their trip to Lake Michigan, all four of them on a pier at sunset, and looked at it. Andy and Allison were now in their senior year. He supposed they are still together. His mind wandered back to the night he spent watching over her. What was it that made him have such a strong reaction to her? How was she different from the string of blondes Rita had paraded for him? Her sleepy smile and warm skin ambushed him. He had never had anyone trust him with their life before.

© 2021 SweetNutmeg

Author's Note

Thank you for reading. Any and all comments welcome.

My Review

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Featured Review

Rogan still playing the field and trying to decide what he wants could be lead to an interesting dilemma, where will lead, how many girls? how many mistakes will it take to find the right one? I can't wait to find out. Please let me know when you have more for me to read,

Posted 1 Year Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


1 Year Ago

Thank you, thank you, again and again. I am in the middle of writing this, so it might be a day or t.. read more


I'll be pretty surprised if Rogan doesn't end up wooing Rita away from Ryan at some point, and ghosting her the way he seems to do as a defensive reflex.

I also just now realized all of their names start with R.

But Allison is the girl for my guy Rogan. He knows it, and I'm rooting for him to get there.

Maybe he doesn't realize that's why he can't connect with anyone else.

Anyway. Good read, progressing nicely.

I did notice a trend in this chapter toward ten dollar words. Definitely not a big deal, not "purple prose", but it's generally a good idea to avoid them when you can. Unless you're really going for poetic effect.

Posted 1 Year Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


1 Year Ago

Hmm, ten dollar words? I suppose so. Not to brag or anything, but I have a huge vocabulary and use i.. read more
This is a review for the latest edit, and it will mostly be about the format and some little nitpicks.

1. Up to “How can you treat her like this?” there are no spaces between each paragraph which is inconsistent with the last few paragraphs.

2. In the first sentence of the last paragraph, "...Rogan thinks about Ryan..." there are two spaces between "thinks" and "about."

3. Now that we're talking about the last paragraph, I'm going to put in my two cents. Now that more content was added, it looks like it can be divided into a couple of shorter paragraphs. Perhaps before "They've all been blonde...," "He dwells on this for a while...," and/or "His mind wanders back to..." But this is all from a person with a short span of attention. Big blocks of text are the bane of my existence (which is also why I often divide my own writing into small bite-sized paragraphs and fill it with more dialogue than narration, but we're not here to talk about that). Anyway, as I say, this is just something for you to think about.

Posted 1 Year Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


1 Year Ago

Thank you again, catching that annoying formatting error. I also divided up the wall of text into sm.. read more

1 Year Ago

The way you divided them up is much better than the way I did in my head, which makes total sense be.. read more
It sure looks to me like Rogan really only has eyes for one girl. And with her taken, what a dilemma!
I've noticed that a few of your commas are misplaced or missing. Here is an example. You wrote "The head mechanic Gary shouts, over the sound of air tools..." Here is how it should be written: "The head mechanic, Gary, shouts over the sound of air tools..." Another thing is "tell" instead of "show". Another example: " Look you're the one always pushing these women at me.” He's getting angry too." Consider leaving off the "He's getting angry, too." and letting his speech or mannerisms convey the anger. Also, there should be a dash or semi-colon after "Look". (I'm a bit weak on those usages, myself)

Posted 1 Year Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


1 Year Ago

Oh my, you have brought up two of my (many) problem areas. Commas are a nightmare to me. I will go b.. read more
This is a huge line I'm gonna step on, but what's the worst that could happen?

Me: Geez, Rogan. Fine, at least the nurse was showing signs that she was also interested.

Okay. To sum up, this chapter made me feel many different things which is a compliment in itself. It also kind of triggered my poly and consent-is-not-the-absence-of-a-no-it-is-the-presence-of-a-yes button.

In any case, reading your writing over morning coffee (like today) is something I can see myself enjoy. Keep up the good work!

P.S. But don't put pressure on yourself. I know "keep up the good work" can put a lot of pressure on someone, speaking as a straight-A-student.

Posted 1 Year Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


1 Year Ago

Yeah, Rogan can be a s**t, as Rita pointed out. He's maybe got some things to learn he didn't get at.. read more

1 Year Ago

That's true. From what I've read, it seems like a spurt of character growth (I'm looking at you Roga.. read more
Rogan still playing the field and trying to decide what he wants could be lead to an interesting dilemma, where will lead, how many girls? how many mistakes will it take to find the right one? I can't wait to find out. Please let me know when you have more for me to read,

Posted 1 Year Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


1 Year Ago

Thank you, thank you, again and again. I am in the middle of writing this, so it might be a day or t.. read more

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5 Reviews
Added on June 27, 2019
Last Updated on February 15, 2021
Tags: mechanic, musician, artist, painter, love



***I am on hiatus and not returning reviews.*** I'm here to improve my writing. I love critiques that give me critical feedback, as well as praise. (Although, I do like praise. Gotta be honest.) A.. more..

Phoenix Phoenix

A Book by SweetNutmeg

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