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Shade Webb Shade Webb
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She had a friend.

This story is the first chapter in either a first attempt at a novel, or a series of short stories. It's my first time writing with a plan and layout already drafted and in mind. I post this here without the usual need for ideas of what to do, and justification of what I've written. Instead I hope for technical analysis in the short comings of my amateur writing style, and critiques of mainly grammatical and spelling/diction errors. I do hope someone finds something in this piece regardless. Enjoy.

                                                                            Chapter 1

       He stared at the monitor long and hard, debating on how many minutes he had left before he would have no choice but to start preparing for work. The same ritual. The same routine of debates and over obsession of the minutest of details. He sighed heavily and forced himself away from the screen, clicking out of the semi-pointless website of popular news articles and today's hits of popular videos and internet subjects. The same links, no matter how quickly new ones surfaced to the front page and now matter how often he checked it throughout the day, it only served to fill in the pattern of mindless repetition.
       A quick twist of the knob, clothes stripped off and a few seconds of wondering if he should have brought his mp3 player into the bathroom for music before a quick hand check of the water temperature. A little too hot but bearable, and into the shower he went. Always from right side of the shower curtain, farthest from the shower head. All completely automatic. Hair washed first, the sweet smell of overpriced, and probably unnecessary, dandruff shampoo filling the steamy shower before he moved on to the acne body wash. His mind wandering miles away from the bathroom He stopped for a second to stare at the bottle in his hand and thought the same thing as every other night. Didn't they tell me I'd grow out of acne by now?
       He finished up and stepped out grabbing the same towel from the rack above the litter box. He always wondered exactly how healthy that might be, letting the cat have it's run of the bathroom right under his towel. His mind went back to wandering, as he stepped across the floor toweling off and feeling the occasional stab of litter on his feet on the tiled floor without even noticing. Just another part of the pattern. It had occurred to him to move the litter box, but how could he spare the effort required to think of a place to move it to.
       After all, he had to fantasize about maybe working out later that day, or having a hot bowl of oatmeal instead of milk and frosted cereal. These constant worries about things he knew he'd never change always overrode the thoughts about things he could change. Hell, even the rare moment of self clarity in which he realized this very fact, faded too quickly to change anything. Crowded out by The Pattern.
       The Pattern told him what he would be doing that night when he got out of work. It dictated how he ate, and how often he felt guilty about what he ate. It told him to go to work and just coast through another night of mindless tedium. It whispered into his ear when he had evil thoughts, telling him it was normal, this was a usual thing for him so it was just fine. It told him that the world never really changed. Even when The Pattern told him to hit that old reset button, deleting unnecessary people and objects from his life, he knew it would be back again to tell him to pick up the pieces.
       He came back to find himself almost ready to go. Pockets filled with the usual pack of smokes, mp3 player, phone, and wallet. He did his usual last double check of the room and his clothing even though he knew everything was correct, the same as it was every other night. Then he walked into the hallway to make the only real decision he ever made from day to day, whether to ride his bike to work or take the car. He remembered his roommate Nathan didn't have to work that night, so the car was his. He grabbed the keys and exited the front door, letting the cat run off under his legs towards the woods as she always did. He checked his phone on his walk to the parking lot. No messages.
       He arrived at work and parked the car where he always did in the back lot. As he walked the short distance around the small gas station and entered through the front, the chime dinging above his head as the door opened, he thought about how short the month had been since he arrived in town. How quickly the thrill of a new and exciting place with open possibilities had turned into just another life. How The Pattern had found him even here, living farther from home than he ever had. Ignoring of course that short stint out of state with his ex, which in his justified mind, didn't count at all. He greeted the station attendant on duty who was waiting for him, and began his nightly routine. Barely hearing the conversation he was participating in as his mind casually strolled away to think about the past. Same as always.

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