I resemble a fictional character

i resemble a fictional character i resemble a fictional character


Partner and I ride the Providence trolley to work in the morning. He takes the trolley all the way to his office; I get off before him, on Wickenden Street, and walk about 15 minutes to my office.

But we’re almost always together on the trolley. The drivers and the other passengers know us as a duo, and are always confused when they see us once in a while by ourselves, one without the other.

A while back, Partner was riding by himself one morning when another passenger leaned forward and asked in a whisper where I was. “He’s at the doctor,” Partner said.

“I just wondered,” she said. “You know, I’ve been reading this book – ‘Joyland,’ by Stephen King – and it’s just amazing how much he looks like one of the characters.”

So Partner comes home and repeats this story to me, and I’m glowing with excitement. I’m someone’s idea of a literary character! Here, let me think: a nice kindly older man, with a sweet expression!

I sent for a copy of “Joyland,” and read it with some interest.

Well, kids, let me disabuse you first of all: this book is not Stephen King’s best work. It’s a murder mystery, with a supernatural overlay (of course). There’s a murder, and an obvious suspect. Naturally the murderer is not the obvious suspect.

But I didn’t care so much about the plot. I only wanted to find the character Trolley Passenger thinks I resemble.

I certainly don’t remind her of the narrator; he’s twenty-one years old, six feet four, and never really described physically. Nor am I his friend Tom, who’s the same age and described as “stocky.” Reader, I am not stocky.

Here are the only two physical descriptions that might fit:

Description One: “Out in front stood a tightly-muscled guy in faded jeans, balding suede boots splotched with grease, and a strap-style tee shirt. He wore a derby hat tilted on his coal-black hair. A filterless cigarette was parked behind one ear. He looked like a cartoon carnival barker from an old-time newspaper strip.”

Description Two: “He was tall and amazingly thin, dressed in a black suit that made him look more like an undertaker than a man who owned an amusement park. His face was long, pale, covered with bumps and moles. Shaving must have been a torture for him, but he had a clean one. Ebony hair that had surely come out of a bottle was swept back from his deeply lined brow.”

I’m assuming (because I’m thin, and wear a trilby)  that I remind her of Description One. How flattering! Especially since (spoiler alert!) I turn out to be the killer!

Unless she thinks I look like Description Two. In which case, to hell with her.

But I’m flattered.

(But really? Coal-black hair? Tightly-muscled? She needs to get a life.)


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About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to futureworld@cox.net.

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