Looking for an idea for a new regular feature for this particular corner of the electronic ether, I was struck by how often I’d start doing up character sketches in my head while out and about for work or play. Granted, this is nothing new, being an idea stolen from at least Wonder Boys, if not a bunch of other places, but it’ll get me writing.
The idea, in a nutshell, is that I see interesting people all over the place. Or sometimes not even terribly interesting people. But they make me want to make things up about what their lives must be like. Or could be like, if the world worked like the inner workings of my brain. Which is to say, not as it does.
So, let’s do it rockapella.
Female, late 20s-early 30s.
Tawny brown hair, pale face, traces of having been a childhood redhead, which she inwardly despises losing, as it made her stand out in a family of five similarly tawny children.
Business casual, white blouse under grey vest, light gray herringbone tweed pants, just a little tighter than is entirely proper for Bay St., which is incidentally where she got off the King streetcar.
Name: Erin Gunn
Occupation: Temp, Bay Street commodities broker
Ambition: Advertising sales, specializing in women’s fashion
The past week has been an unusually good one for Erin, having been offered the possibility of a more permanent and prestigious position in client relations at the firm where she is temping, but that would also mean working directly with Joanne Handler, who has the disturbing tendency to stare down other women’s shirts. Office gossip is divided as to whether Joanne is flat-out gay or simply has some trouble with boundaries and some insecurity issues.
Erin is mildly off-put by the attention, but has, more than once, used the matter as an entreaty to broach the topic of her own cleavage area with Luke, her downstairs neighbour, who she by no means would mind willingly giving a better look at said area. Only problem being Luke’s doctoral candidate fiancée, though her attending school in Calgary means its less a physical boundary and more psychological. But the bi-weekly moaning coming from downstairs (while the fiancée is still very much Alberta-bound) leads Erin to believe that the goal is more than attainable.
Compunction Erin does not have, as would follow: breaking up engagements. She has done it more times than she has admitted to anyone, with her private count being nine. Her best friend thinks the number is six, her sister two, and Luke, zero. To her, it isn’t so much forbidden fruit, or even an upbringing within an unstable marriage (parents still married 41 years), so much as it is a simple fetish. She sees upcoming betrothal as a sign of stability and joy, which she both covets for herself and enjoys destroying in others. Has remained friends with three of the men whose engagements she ended, and, interestingly, two of the women, one of whom is now one of her best friends. Does not consider herself, or is considered by others, to be untowardly promiscuous, despite appearances to the contrary. Never engaged herself.
Teaches intermediate pottery class, sleeps fully dressed. Lives alone with two dogs – a golden lab and a schnauzer-poodle cross. She changes the dogs’ names every six months.
Meticulous routine every morning for walking the dogs (one hour, eighteen minutes), but the rest of her day and life are very loosely and sometimes detrimentally unorganized. Has had three phone lines/cell phones disconnected for lack of payment. Owns every Prince album, single and collectible release, but refuses to see him perform live.