“Hey babe, I’m so glad we met up. Saves me having to get an Uber. We can walk to our date” Dean beamed as he took his place between the man and Leslie while using his elbow to create more room.
“You’re so thoughtful hun” beamed Leslie who grabbed Dean’s arm tightly.
“Let’s go” Dean ordered in a restrained playful yet stern bark.
The guy protested a little… “wait… what?” as he tried to re-position himself.
Dean, while pushing back and puffing out his chest, turned slightly towards the man and said “hey, thanks for walking my girl over to me… I don’t know you, but I’m grateful”.
Clutching Leslie closer to himself, Dean guided her away from the man’s reach as his hand let go of her backpack and he turned to leave with a polite nod.
A few blocks later, Dean slowly released Leslie and looked at her with deep concern.
“Are you OK?” Dean asked as his eyes probed for any signs of trauma… emotional and physical.
“Thanks to you, my young knight, I am” Leslie replied showing her relief.
“I’m happy I was there to help” Dean ventured as his eyes scanned the horizon for more threats
Once sure that Leslie was safe, Dean stepped back and gave her space.
“What did that dude want?” Dean asked, letting his worry show.
“I don’t know. But I think he wanted my backpack” Leslie replied as she turned to show off her backpack.
It was one of those really cool modern designs that was compact and practical. Definitely not the massive clunker the company gave. It had a compartment for the laptop and a compartment or everything else. Very low profile, which was really good for weight distribution and ergonomics.
“Should we call the police and file a report?” asked Dean.
“No. I’m OK. Thanks to your keen ability to pick up on social cues” Leslie sounded her usual confident self as she elbow-checked Dean.
“What ability” Dean sounded surprise.
“You don’t want me to think you really weren’t acting the role of love interest, do you?” Leslie inquired with subtle curiosity.
“Ah. That. Yeah. I was just trying to buy us time and space to get away” Dean modestly replied.
The two quietly walked along the way to the bus depot. Their adventure had left a lot of questions unanswered. Who was this guy, why did he try to take the backpack, what if Dean had not been there, or quick to improvise…
Once inside the depot, the two faced each other.
“Some day, right?” Leslie volunteered.
“A fine luxurious bag you’re wearing” Dean countered.
Dean wasn’t sure if he spotted a hint of blushing from Leslie. His senses might have read the danger Leslie was in well, but when it came to how she felt about him, Dean was drawing a complete blank. Might as well assume she’s happily in a relationship and avoid confusions.
“My arms aren’t killing me anymore. You should look into this brand, they’ve got compact bags for guys as well” Leslie informed.
With a nod, Dean took a mental note. This smaller more compact bag would make his commute easier. Before he could say anything more, the overhead announcer called out his bus. It was time to go.
“Next time, I’ll be sure to have your boyfriend waiting for you… as he probably doesn’t have to act super hero or the like” Dean beamed.
“Friends can be super heroes too, if they don’t miss their bus in the process” Leslie chided… as she waved her hands to rush Dean off to his bus.
Shortly thereafter, her bus was announced. As Leslie made her way, her boyfriend stepped up from around the bus with a bouquet of flowers.
“Nice backpack you got” he said, as he hugged Leslie.
“Thanks. A man of great taste got it for me” Leslie beamed as she hugged her boyfriend.
“Sorry I’m late, tell me all about your day” he said between nuzzle of his nose against her neck.
“We’ve got a long enough commute, you’ll hear all about it” Leslie said as she climbed into the bus for the ride home.
Dean was feeling pretty happy with the version of the story he had drafted for his blog. The lead character had just foiled a robbery attempt of a bank. The branch manager handled the media spectacularly well.
The masterpiece showcased the smooth confident ways in which the hero read the social cues in the lobby of the bank well. Through his discernment, the hero was able to alert the guard of the pending theft. By cutting off the would-be-burglar with great deftness of swag, the hero bought enough time for the guard to apprehend the suspect before any harm was done.
The story read well. The fans would appreciate it. Because Leslie had no clue that he was a writer, there was little chance that she would recognize herself as the smart manager. But more importantly, Leslie would not know that the hero was based off of himself.
Satisfied with the edits of the story, Dean hit publish. In the morning, he’d know just how well the story was received.
As expected, there were many accolades from his fans. New subscribers joined his list. Progress on this hobby was going great.
A message on social media caught his attention. It said the following:
Thank you for the story. Also, thank you for saving my lady from the would be heist of her computer bag. Just maybe, this story might give you the lucky break you’re looking for. All the best
A deep dive into the social profile didn’t reveal much other than this man was an accomplished banker with many philanthropic projects.
Could this be the non-existing boyfriend he had joked about the day before? Dean wasn’t sure. His senses were up on high alert.
For all the precautions he had taken to change the scene and keep identities private, Dean felt suddenly exposed and vulnerable. Not a place he cared for or allowed to be very often.
If it was Leslie’s boyfriend, then he had better keep his head down at work. If it was some random dude, then, it had spooked him enough. From now on, all of his fiction would be entirely fictional. No longer based on true life events, no matter how modified.
As if on cue, Leslie’s name appeared on his phone.
“Hi Leslie, what a surprise” Dean answered, not trying to hide his surprise.
“Great piece of writing there buddy. Now I know how you really feel about me” Leslie teased.
“Uh… since when you read my blog?” Dean stammered.
“Since you started. I wouldn’t have known it was you except the detailed description of the branch manager’s backpack was identical to mine” Leslie informed.
“Oh. Um. Yeah. Sorry” blushed Dean
“Don’t be. My boyfriend loves it. He put me onto your blog. It’s cool Dean. You’re very talented. I appreciate you” Leslie finished.
“OK. See you at work then. Safe travels” Dean concluded.
Maybe, just maybe, this wasn’t so bad after all. There were opportunities in this friendship that Dean had not calculated and his creative mind had not grappled with.
Didn’t matter. It was time to go to work. In a few days, his own thin ergonomic backpack would be arriving. This could be the start of another mini-adventure series for his blog. Who knows. The possibilities are endless.
the events portrayed in this story are purely fictional with a few highly modified and embellished mash-up of minor semi-factual events from the author’s memory. Any representation or semblance of reality is completely accidental and should not be taken as factual
The mini-series will be listed below. Thank you for reading this story and enjoying the poetry. The gallery that inspired this series will be shared next… next post that is.
Thank your sharing my stories and clicking like to inspire me to create more. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day
- Standing Confidently: Poetry - Impressions may matter but authenticity is always for the win Stand tall Stand proud Stand correct Stand confidently A little poetry inspired by a conversation and a photo
- Leslie’s Adventure - During orientation, it became clear the company had not fully thought about the needs of it's women employees. Leslie took matters into her own hands. That is... until she needed help. Dean, also a new hire like Leslie, was glad to help in the critical moment. And received a valuable tip from Leslie. Flexing a little writer skills... and bringing you a little office drama. What's this got to do with a backpack? Dive in and let me know what you think.
- The Backpack Gallery - To conclude the trilogy, might as well share the photos that inspired the poetry, story, and commentary. A little motivation to carry on with great confidence. Enjoy the mini-gallery