Simon Roberson is a creature of habit. Step into his mind during a late evening jog.
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Simon Roberson was a creature of habit. Every evening he would job through the winding and weaving paths of The Woodsberg Park. The last slither of precious sunlight slipped from the sky into the void of blackness. The light poles beamed yellowish spotlights on the sidewalks as they lined the paths.
Last night, he fucked up.
It wasn’t his idea to play ‘catch the pig’. His old college buddies wanted to have a bit of amusement to lighten up the rather standard bachelor party. Simon didn’t like childish games like that, but he caved in for the mere fact that he didn’t want to be the Debbie Downer. After the groom wrote a number on a piece of paper and folded it, the guess game was rather fun. When the loser of the game was selected, the pig had to be selected too.
Like wild animals, these hot-blooded men surveyed the thriving dance club and pointed out pigs that strutted into their lines of sight. Until Eric, the catcher, pointed out a fat girl squeezed into a black satin dress that had entered the club with a friend. At first, Simon couldn’t believe his eyes. He thought the girl looked familiar and after blinking his eyes a few times, he realized that she was.
It was Willow Carter, his co-worker. It was Willow Carter, the frumpy chubby girl who had a crush on him for as long as he could remember. Everyone in the office knew she had a bit of a thing for him. He thought it better to be friendly than fully reject her. If he rejected her, he would have been painted the villain. People were so politically correct nowadays. This whole ‘beauty is the eye of the beholder’ bullshit was nothing but a bandage to make unattractive people feel better about themselves and have attractive people pity them.
He had a type of girl he liked: tall, slender, and light-skinned. Annalise, Hailey, Eden, Yasmine, Leigh, and more recently, Cara fit that bill. Willow didn’t. She had a nice personality though, but that alone wasn’t enough to make her look at him with interest. That didn’t make him a bad person that he thought her laziness and overweight features were unappealing.
When he heard through office gossip that Willow had injured her ankle while jogging in the very park he jogged in, he was surprised and maybe even a little creeped out. While he admired her effort of trying to get his attention by being a little copycat, it disturbed him that she even bothered trying just for him.
So he took it upon himself to ask that she extend an invitation to accompany her. His reasoning was to crush her feelings for him in a gentle subtle way by asking her for womanly advice then mentioning his interest in another woman. Simon had to admit, she played it off nicely pretending his confession didn’t affect her. He knew it did though.
He remembered seeing the twinkle of light leave her eyes. What she didn’t know was that he had been fucking Cara since her first week of employment. Even again no one knew that. He had invited the beautiful new receptionist to lunch and the rest was history. Now during their shared lunch break, he’d drive them around until they found a quiet place to park and have a bit of fun. Willow’s distant behavior after that morning pleased him at first, but then whispers of a new man in her life became the new office gossip.
Darlene’s ‘quiet’ meetings in Willow’s cubicle weren’t quiet at all. Someone always heard some dirty details and scurried off to tell others. It was never malicious gossip. It was more of a ‘we are so happy for her’ gossip.
Everyone in the office was truly happy for her and kept their mouths shut to respect her privacy, but for some reason, he couldn’t be. In the end, it irritated him that she would find a new target of affect so quickly after him. Sometimes, he wondered if she was even truly in a relationship with this mysterious man or if this man even existed.
Maybe this man was a figment of her imagination. Maybe she wanted to fuel office gossip to make Simon jealous.
So last night when Eric pinpointed her in the crowd, Simon told him to pick someone else, but Eric insisted he wanted her.
“I know her,” Simon shouted over the thumping music while the waiter handed them their drinks. “I work with her.”
“Then you just made this game easy. Butter the pig up for me and I’ll take her home and make her squeal,” Eric grinned. Their group of friends laughed heartily.
“Do it, Simon,” the groom chimed in. “I need a good lau—“
A cry tumbled from his lips as something blunt and heavy hit the back of his head in mid-jog. He fell to the ground from the force of it. His hand touched the back of his head and felt something slick and wet.
It was blood.
He heard footsteps and the sound of metal scraping against stone as a hoodied figure came from behind him, dragging a metal baseball bat against the cold sidewalk.
Simon groaned, flipping over onto his back.
“Let’s play a game,” the stranger said as he lifted the baseball bat into the air. “It’s called ‘kill the pig’.”
It just got real.