Updated: Feb 29, 2020
This is the short story, The Purple Bike Man. This story will be distributed in parts and was written by Naava Dae. This document is the property of Naava Dae and upon illegal distribution, reproduction, editing, altering, or use, will be punishable by law. This is all the figment of Naava Dae's imagination. All of the characters, places, and events that take place in this story are fictitious, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, places, or events is purely coincidental. © 2019 by Naava Dae
“Yo Lila, he got another one.”
Walking into the apartment I was met with my roommate Danella’s words and a concerned look to match. She must have just finished working out to one of her tapes prior to her turning on the news; her workout mat was still on the floor and her long hair was put into a loose ponytail. Her pale tan face was still flushed and sweat coated her brow line as she frowned at the anchor’s voice droning on our television set.
“15-year-old Ava Ingram went missing Friday night her parents say. Today, her body was found near the Eastcon Pond in the downtown area. She was found with stab wounds near her…”
I turned the channel. Danella turned to me.
“What the hell, I was watching that.” Danella started to try to take the remote back from me but her small 5’3 frame couldn’t reach my arm as I stretched my 5’8 body as high to the ceiling that I could reach. She jumped a few times before eventually giving up and retreating to the couch, begrudgingly watching the cooking show I had turned to.
“Why do you even wanna watch that negative shit all the time anyway. You know I hate the news.” I say before walking down the hall to my bedroom and placing my coat on my desk. I could hear Danella starting the same conversation she’d routinely have with me since Sophomore year when I first met her.
“Lila, I don’t understand how you can be a journalist major but hate the news. Like I don’t understand that. I mean…”
I let Danella keep dragging on our usual conversation: she tries to defend why I should watch the news more and I’ll take off my heels, wash my hands, and pick our cat, Toby up off the toilet that he always ironically is sitting on when I need to use it. The conversation will continue with one of her maternal like rants about why it’s important for me to develop a perspective about all news, especially what happens in our area. I’ll walk to the kitchen, reply to Danella with “uh huh” and “ok” when she pauses in between speaking to catch her breath. Then I’ll make a bowl of cereal, sit on the rocking chair that is in the corner of our living room, and stare blankly at her until she feels necessary for her to end ranting. At the end, and I don’t know why, but we always die laughing, always. Tonight, the procedure was no different.
“How was your first day?” Danella winds down her laughter to give her full attention to me, waiting for me to spill details about how my first day interning at Livingston Press went. I look at her as I rack my brain for what detail to share with her first. I’ve had internships in the past but none like this. It was so busy, so many journalists and writers, so many stories I was exposed to. I thought that I was just going to be getting coffee or doing elementary tasks that no one else would bother wanting to do. But, as soon as I walked in, I was met with my head supervisor, Mrs. Jackie, and escorted around the whole branch. Each floor had a team of hardworking staff all trying to prove one thing to the audience that follow them: Newspapers are not dead! I was in awe of everything and extremely grateful for being chosen to be there. Out of all his students, Professor Cooper saw me fit to be placed as intern for Livingston Press. My job as intern was to absorb as much information as I could, as well as pick which area of journalism I would like to explore. For my senior project I have to not only explain how my internship went to Professor Cooper, but to find my own lead for a story and report on it. Honestly it was overwhelming. But I liked it, I liked being challenged. Danella was shifting her body to face me more and I tried to think of a way to sum that all up without going into too much detail.
“It went good, I liked the work environment. It was really positive, really nice people.”
“Good,” Danella replied.
As she continues, I knew she was going to start getting a bit chatty, Thursday’s are her days off, so she most likely missed the company of someone other than our cat.
“I knew you would enjoy yourself. I mean, I definitely see you being on T.V. one day, reporting stories and wearing cute little blouses. You know the white ones, with the ruffles on it and like your hair in like one of those cute high buns. And maybe…”
I start zoning out a bit. I just was really overwhelmed with my job, especially picking a story lead. I’ve never done a whole story on my own. I was given a team and some guidance from my professor in the past, but never fully on my own. I make the last decision, it’s all up to me. And I don’t even have an idea for a story. I mean, I have ideas, but none are them are good enough for me. Everything I think of just seems mediocre, Basic, average.
Danella stopped speaking and is now just looking at me.
“Lila…” she says.
“Yes…” I reply.
“You tuned me out again, didn’t you?” she says, her head tilted toward me with a slight look of annoyance.
“No of course not.” I chuckled trying to play off my lie. Why do I lie so much?
“Than what did I just say?” she questions, hands folded, eyes still annoyed.
“You were talking about blouses and wearing my- “
“-No, I wasn’t!” she cuts of my feeble attempt to prevent an argument. “God, Lila I feel like I’m talking to a wall, you don’t listen to me. This is why I don’ try to help you.”
She walks into the kitchen and opens the fridge grabbing the water bottle she hid in the left corner; the hiding spot she thinks I don’t know about. She cracks it open, gulping it down aggressively as she makes her way back to the spot on the couch. She finishes drinking her last swish of water and tries to speak again. I beat her to it.
“I’m sorry D. I just have a lot on my mind right now, with the whole ‘Senior Project’ and everything. It’s all a lot.” She looked at me her annoyance turning into soft compassion appreciating my honest apology.
“I know it is. That’s what I was talking about, I was trying to tell you that maybe you could do your project on the weirdo killing all those girls. Like no one found him yet, and he has like a weird ass type and only is killing certain girls that fit that type. That’s crazy, it’s weird, it’s disturbing. It’s the perfect story bro.” She picked up her phone and was scrolling through her apps.
I should trust Danella’s judgement. While she isn’t a journalism major, she is a communication one; she kind of has a weird sixth sense in finding stories and interesting concepts. And because our majors are more similar than others, her ability to assist me was valid and helpful. I just didn’t know if I could do it.
“I feel like any one could do that story though. I mean you don’t think that it’s too mediocre or anything like that? Like you think I can pull that off?”
I looked back at her weirdly hoping she would change her mind or tell me I just couldn’t, so I wouldn’t have to worry about trying.
“Of course, you can Lila! -”
“-I mean I think you can do it. I think you could put your own spin on it, really get into it and do something interesting with that subject. But I mean it’s only a suggestion. Definitely something you can look into; I mean unless you have a better idea.”
She pauses and looks at me. I looked at her shaking my head. I didn’t have a better idea.
“Ok, then it’s settled, now you have one.” She gets up and stretches. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a hot shower waiting for me and a 10:30 morning class to get ready for. Night Lila!”
“Good night!” I say as she leaves the room.
I try to settle my thoughts and try to get my own self ready for bed. Maybe I will do this story. I’ll challenge myself and try something new.
Maybe it’ll all work out.
Why did I do this?
Sitting at the library table I could not come up with any way to open my proposal for my project idea. I had to meet with my professor later to talk about the idea that I may have for my project story lead. Last night when Danella told me about, it seemed easy enough. She made me more confident in doing it but sitting here I remember why I was so unsure. I been here all morning trying to figure this out in my head. I couldn’t think about a good way to introduce this story lead. And while all the details of the story were interesting, I feel as if Professor Cooper is going to want more from me. Going to expect more from me. And no matter how much I research this story; I feel like I’m not going to deliver.
“This isn’t good enough, Lila.” I sigh to myself and try not to imagine my professor saying the same words to me. My thoughts of self-pity are interrupted by my phone buzzing. I picked it up and looked at it. A number I didn’t know flashed my screen. Who’s this? I put the password in my phone convincing myself that it was nothing but a wrong number but still intrigued enough to see what it said.
Immediately I wish I didn’t. What the hell! I looked around me, I couldn’t breathe. No one was there but the library assistant putting books back on the shelves. I closed my eyes and place my phone on the desk, praying that I’m dreaming. Praying that the message I opened would no longer be there. Praying a follow up message would appear on my screen saying how it was a joke and that it wasn’t real. But none of that happened. The message was still there clear as day, its words chilling me to my core. I kept re-reading over and over trying not to believe my reality.
1(446)896-8669: “You’re right that story isn’t good enough, Lila. I think the story of your death would be far more interesting to share.”
Did you enjoy that so far? Come back Thursday night, April 18, 2019 at 8:15pm(ET) for Chapter 2!!
Copyright©Naava Dae 2019