In our first character story (Karlee's Early Morning), we got to know a little bit about Karlee and what her typical morning looks like. In today's story, we're introduced to Joseph. He's a quite a bit different from Karlee but I'll let you read the story below to find out why for yourself.
Note: This excerpt and any other excerpt on the blog are NOT from my actual novel which I am sending out to agents and publishers. These are separate background stories to give you a feel for the characters and their lives while I go through the publishing journey.
Today looked to be a good day.
Joseph O’Hare paced his luxurious beach side condo while scrolling through the Monday morning stock market headlines and drinking a shot of espresso. No significant drops happened in the major stocks over the weekend which put him at ease. A steady stock market signaled a positive start to his week. It also created healthy client morale which, in turn, caused his clients to take a more serious consideration to his higher investment advice. Satisfied with his findings, he finished off his espresso with a faint smile.
He set his empty cup in the sink, replacing it with a full glass of water. He chugged the water then grabbed his wireless earbuds from the drawer. He exited out his back door to his balcony and took the stairs down a couple flights to the base of his building, dropping him off at the edge of Miami beach for his morning run.
At seven in the morning, the beach goers were few. Only the dedicated athletes out for a morning run or the few boogie boarders hoping to catch a good swell of waves populated the vast sand. Joseph relished the quiet.
He picked up a slow jog through the deeper dry sand gradually adding in high knee raises and grape vines to warm up his muscles. Once he hit the wetter packed down part of the beach, he settled into a steady running pace. The sound of his audio book in his ears mixed with the breaking waves against the shore created a peaceful environment, one perfect for preparing for the full day ahead.
Joseph focused his attention on three things and nothing more—his breathing, his running pace, and the words coming through his buds. Everything else could wait. Right now, he needed to focus on his own self.
“Grow my mind, grow my physical, grow my world,” he said to reinforce the mantra from the author of his personal development book.
He smiled to himself. The mantra reminded him of his success. His consulting company thrived at a level no one believed possible when he first started up. He and his partner were even considering expanding into an international level. Endless possibilities and opportunities lay ahead for JJ Enterprises and for Joseph. Nothing could bring him down.
He keyed back in to the book before his mind wandered too far. If he wanted to keep his uphill climb to success, he needed to stay focused, alert to what mattered in this moment.
“Whoa, dude, heads up.” Joseph heard the words but they sounded distant. Still, he glanced to his right in the direction he thought they came from.
Just as he turned his head, a man on a boogie board barreled into his side knocking both of them into the sand. A wave crashed onto the shore dousing them with foam and water.
“What do you think you’re doing?” Joseph swore at the man. “You need to watch where you’re going.”
“Whoa, dude.” The man stood and offered out a hand to Joseph. “Take it easy. Sorry to have knocked you over but that wave was one bad dog.”
Stupid beach bum. Joseph bit back a stream of obscenities. Wet sand seeped into his shoes and shorts. He pushed the bum’s hand away and pulled himself up on his own.
“I don’t need your help. You’ve done enough.” He ran his hands through his dark hair in an attempt to sift out the sand. Only then did he realize one of his buds was missing. “Just great.” This time, he let the obscenities fly as he scoured the area for the ear piece.
“Easy, bro.” The boogie boarder shifted uneasily from one foot to the other. “I said I’m sorry.”
Joseph whirled around, his anger boiling. “I am not your bro or a dude. These ear buds cost more than you probably make in a month. And no thanks to you, it’s either lost at sea or buried in the sand.” He pinned the man with an icy glare. “Either way, I guarantee it’s damaged beyond repair.”
The boogie boarder flushed in what Joseph thought to be anger. Go ahead. Yell back at me. See what happens. His own fury begged for a fight.
“Look, I really am sorry. I got a pair of those as a gift from my girlfriend a few months back. You can have them.” The boogie boarder shook his wet shaggy head. “Well, I don’t have them with me right now. Can’t really take those in the water. Well, you know that…” He let out a nervous laugh.
“Save it.” Joseph cut off his ramble and stomped up the beach, silently cursing the sand in his shoes. He didn’t care to hear any more from the guy.
Halfway to his house he slowed and turned back toward the beach. A twinge of guilt pricked in his chest. Maybe he should apologize. His attitude might have been a bit out of line. The bum, now surrounded by his buddies who were making sure he was all right, shook his head at them.
“I’m fine but I feel bad for that guy, bros.” His voice filled with pity. “What a lonely and miserable life he must have to make him so angry.”
Joseph stiffened. Miserable life? Lonely? His subsiding anger peaked once more. Who did the stupid beach bum think he was, analyzing a stranger’s life like that?
And to think I was going to apologize. Joseph trudged back to his condo. Once inside, he decided a hot shower would wash way the frustration from his run. But the hot water did nothing to revive the optimism he woke with.
With a vengeance he lathered his hair with shampoo to wash out the sand and the comment he overheard. He refused to let the boogie boarder ruin any more of his day. Joseph didn’t lead a miserable, lonely life. He lived a rich, successful, productive life. If anything, he felt sorry for the bum, wasting his days away chasing waves, searching for some sort of thrill that only lasted for a second.
No, Joseph had a much better life. Nothing beat a successful career and a life of money and fortune. He had it all. And he was the boss of it all. He was on top of the world.
Then why did the boogie boarder’s words haunt him so much?