A to Z 2017: COURTSHIP


The young man was back again. It was the third time this week, where he'd come scan the same movies and CDs he had just observed during the previous visits. Never buying anything. Samson would normally be suspect at that point, labeling someone as a potential shoplifter, but he didn't get that vibe from the individual. Besides that, being in a wheelchair would make for a fairly shitty getaway were he to be caught and attempt to flee. Even if electric-powered.

Then there was the fact that it would be calling the kettle black, as he himself was there just as many times, if not more. It wouldn't be an issue if he had been an employee there, a mistake some people made — apparently seeing him frequent the store enough emboldened other regulars to ask for assistance — but that just simply wasn't the case. He was just lonely and wanted to be around people, even if not engaging them. He felt certain that the other shopper was of the same mind.

Samson cautiously approached his target of infatuation, he wasn't wanting to scare his prey. The man was wearing a baggy, black hoodie, the hood pulled back offering a view of his unkempt, dirty blonde hair. Stopping beside the wheelchair, shelving lined with the newest heavy metal album releases arranged in alphabetical order splayed before them, Samson took a closer look. The man was also unshaven, a little heavier set than originally appearing, but thankfully there wasn't the detection of any obscene odor emanating from him. He guessed he was in his mid-twenties. He also appeared to be staring at the selection ahead of him, but taking in nothing.

"Precious Meat Space, eh?" Samson referenced the band name stitched onto the man's hoodie. "They're pretty alright." There was no response. "Do you think they were all once porn stars or is that just to build up shock and awe? I mean, it's really strange there exists no video evidence, ya know?"

There remained a lack of vocal response, but the young man flicked the controls on one of the chair's arms and shifted further down the aisle they were in, positioning himself in front of a different section. Again just staring ahead at the shelving.

Instead of taking the hint, Samson nonchalantly strolled down the aisle and again stopped besides him. "You know, not many people bother buying compact discs anymore. It's a dying industry. Everyone just gets their music from various apps and shit. Ever try any of those out?"

The man questioned turned his head and made eye contact with Samson. There was a definite lack of amusement. "Do you mind?"

"Do I mind what? No. I'm not really a minding kind of guy. Do you mind?" He noticed the man's left eyebrow raise slightly. Then, as before, the wheelchair was spun and his quarry was once again moving down the row. This time, however, Samson kept up in stride. "I'm just trying to save you a few bucks, ya know? Can you blame a guy for trying?"

There was an abrupt stop. "What is your damage?" Eye contact was avoided again and a sudden beep from under the hoodie elicited an immediate response to silence the alarm.

"What was that?"

"Just a reminder of how shitty my life is, no big deal, but thanks for asking."

"Are you always so cheery?" Samson went straight for sarcasm.

"Do you always ask so many questions? It's really annoying."

"I'm just trying to start up a conversation."

"My mother told me to never talk to strangers."

"Then let's get acquainted! I'm Samson. And you are...?"

"What kind of name is Samson?"

"The kind of name granted to a great warrior. If you were decently versed in religion you wouldn't ask such ridiculous questions. To be fair, he was a bit eccentric, and my parents a bit fanatic."

"I don't know what your game plan here is, but..."

"Calm down, I'm not trying to marry you," Samson joked. "Yet..." He took a glance in hopes of a reaction and at first there was nothing. Just further attempts at ignoring him. Maybe it just took a moment to sink in, but eventually a smile broke out and a soft chuckle. "See, all I have to do is wear you down a little." He made grinding hand motions to illustrate his point.

"You're a real piece of work, Samson." The man sighed. "I'm Patrick."

"Now, was that so hard?" Samson shook his head at the stark stubbornness that he had just been forced to endure. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Patrick."

"I wish I could say the same..." Patrick's tone was dull and flat.

This time it was Samson's turn to shake with mirth. "You know, you're a real piece of work yourself, my friend. But just you wait, I'm going to change your life forever. You'll be picking out flowers and draperies for our wedding before you know it!"

Patrick stared up at him, giving another chuckle, but he noticed that it didn't reach his eyes. They were still sad, lost in thought. Samson could already tell that there would be many walls to break down if he were going to attempt a friendship. Nothing worthwhile was ever easy, though, he figured. And he knew, without a doubt, that this individual was in need of a friend. If he could somehow make him realize that maybe, just maybe, he was someone special, it really may change his life forever.

Thanks for reading! What did you think of the piece? Constructive criticism welcomed!