Engineering Jeremy is done. I still have numerous re-reads to do and there’s no telling how much editing once I start doing that.
But for right now, I’m going to treat myself to a beer. It wasn’t my longest writing project ever (obviously), but it was still a pretty good-sized endeavor and I’m quite happy with the results.
As for posting, I’ll try to get the reading and editing done soon. If I end up happy with what I have, I may just post the rest of the story all at once and let you have at it. That’s a best case scenario. Worst case, a few updates over the course of a few days should get it done.
“I do have to check on my mom before long, though. And I am not looking forward to going outside for that.”
“Shoulda told them to send the nurse when they called earlier”, Jeremy shrugged against Jace’s stomach. “I don’t feel sorry for ya.”
“You realize when I get up it’s gonna get much colder in here. Right?”
“Oh”, Jeremy mumbled. He looked up at Jace again and frowned. “Yeah. You’re right. I forgot about that.”
“Two ways to handle this. I can do it now, get it over with, and come back.”
“Or I can make mom wait and stay here a little longer now.”
“Go take care of your mom”, Jeremy sighed. “I understand.”
“You hungry? I can make breakfast while we’re in the house.”
“I don’t wanna impose. I’ll probably just head-”
“I gotta make it for mom, anyway”, Jace interrupted quietly. His hand moved from petting Jeremy’s stomach up to his face and he ran a finger along Jeremy’s chin. “I’m not ready for you to leave yet.”
“I’ve been here all night, Jace”, Jeremy smiled up at him. “I know you got stuff to do.”
“And you probably do. You’re right. I’m sorry.”
“Trust me, man. I could lay here all day. I never get’ta do this kinda thing.” Jeremy rolled up onto his side but laid his head back where it had been all morning long. “Don’t think it’s cause I don’t wanna.”
“Then stay”, Jace grinned. “I wanna.”
“You wanna what?”, Jeremy asked, raising one eyebrow.
“You know. Whatever.”
“We ain’t gonna whatever.” Jeremy rolled his eyes and shook his head, intentionally grinding into Jace’s stomach a bit.
“Get over yourself, Cohick”, Jace laughed. “I don’t mean what you think I mean.”
Keep them coming! My only regret is that this story might be shorter than i would like it.
It is over halfway done. The table of contents is a rough guess, but based on what’s written so far, I’d say 30 posts is about accurate. I’ve written all but 4 of them. I’ve written the final chapter and the epilogue, even. Depending on how quickly I get the last 4 done, I might just dump the rest of the story on you this weekend/early next week. We’ll see…
DUUUUUDEEEEEE!!! I see what you meant when you said the story was a about to get dramatic ( perhaps dramatic it's not the proper word but that's a hell of a plot twist in chapter 11). On a little bit of a side note, I found really funny that Norman Bates reference. Finally, congrats on EJ it's an amazing story, just to say the very least. :)
Thank you :-) I’m glad you like it. And I know what you meant by “dramatic”… haha. Fingers crossed you continued to enjoy it! I was “writing” the ending in the shower this morning and had that same feeling of satisfaction I felt after finishing the NOIL series - so I think that’s a good sign.
"What's the hardest part of writing Jeremy Cohick?", nobody asked.
Well, nobody, I’d have to say the hardest part of writing this story is keeping my own emotional responses in check. Because Jeremy Cohick and I are very, very different creatures. And in situations where I would probably give a speech, he’s more likely to simply nod or shrug or just look silently at whoever he’s talking to.
Other characters I’ve written were easier because I have a good idea of how they are and how they communicate. But Jeremy is completely foreign to me. I’ve had to scrap pages and pages of writing because, on second or third reads, I realize it’s all wrong. So while I’m inching ever closer to writing the final bits, I’m not any closer to actually posting them all.
That said, I should have at least a little more for you this evening.
Hetero and homo are pretty straightforward. Pan means "I'd bang you no matter what you have in your pants". Bi means "I'll bang you if what I find in your pants doesn't surprise me". Intersex is the same as hermaphrodite, but apparently now "hermaphrodite" is an insult even though it's the medical term? I don't get that, but anyway, I'm not in the position to question it. Of course, you know what cis and trans means. And that pretty much covers everyone.
Huh. Well OK then. I did not know some of that. The things Tumblr teaches me.
For the sake of simplicity, I’m gonna say that anyone reading who feels the need to slap a label of some kind on a character I’ve created can do so themselves. I’m just gonna tell the story.
It means like you like all forms of gender or sex or intersex. You literally like a person regardless of their sex or who they perceive as. People, all of them, are sexy to them. And demisexual is not really a legit term ( at least not known widely) but it just means you have to be very emotionally invested/strong bond to a person to have a sexual attraction with them-or anyone.
Hmm. He likes men and women? Whatever that makes him, that’s what he is. I’ve never even heard the term “intersex” before. I was thinking bisexual in my head? Is that not a thing anymore?
you neeeeeeeeeeed to post more chapters IMEDIATELY!! im the very impatient anon always telling you to post more so I apologize for annoying you lol but I really love this story man :'(
Everything I’ve “edited” is posted already. I put that in quotes because I always miss stuff and find errors later, after it’s published. Regardless, the editing takes time and I have to re-read everything 50 quazillion times before I feel comfortable posting it.
I might have another chapter or two ready tomorrow night. Maybe. If not, soon, I promise :-D
“I was gonna marry Amanda, Jace.” Jeremy looked up slowly, his face dripping with pain or confusion or both. “I’ve been saving for months to be able to ask her to marry me. I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her.”
“You still should, Jeremy”, Jace replied sternly, looking right into the other man’s eyes. “This… this is nothing. A stupid fantasy that I let go too far.”
“I’ve never had this sort of fantasy.”
“I just”, Jace started, unhooking his arm from Jeremy’s shoulder so that he could stand up and look down at his guest. “I just meant that you shouldn’t change your plans or your life. You’re not… this isn’t what you want. I know that. I get it and I understand and now I just want to be your friend. Honestly.”
“And that’s all?”
“I swear it”, Jace said, putting a hand over his heart. “Just be my friend, Jeremy. Please.”
“Well I don’t think I can do that.” Jeremy stood up, shaking his head. “Not knowing what you’re really thinking. Or wondering if you’re looking at me funny or something.”
“I understand”, Jace swallowed hard, his face falling.
“No. You don’t.” Jeremy grabbed Jace and pulled the two of them together, squeezing him in a tight, full-body embrace. “I don’t want to be just your friend now”, he whispered into Johnson’s ear.
Aw I think jace got his feelings hurt a bit when Jeremy said he planned on proposing to Amanda... :/ :(
You picked up on that, huh? I actually thought it might have been a little TOO subtle. Haha. But yes, you’re exactly right. Equally as subtle (I think) was his reference to that being the reason he declined the dinner offer when he drunk-dialed Jeremy, too.
Thanks to everyone who sent me feedback. I know some of you said nice things and I jumped right into my response without thanking you individually. I apologize. I appreciate everyone who took the time to let me know how they felt (even the ones I sorta argued with… haha… sorry).
omg omg omg see people need to give this story more of a chance. I love it honestly. pleasssseeee keep posting multiple chapters like that I just wanna read the whole thing im so impatient haha
I probably will do exactly what I did last night. Post a few chapters and say hey, they’re up… instead of flooding the dashboard with the posts themselves. So be on the lookout for a post that says “hey… they’re up”. Haha.
I learned not to jump the gun and post until I was sure I was committed to a story with Miles Magnus. And I guess from Engineering Jeremy I’ve learned that if it isn’t gay and they’re not in love within a week, it’s boring. Lol.
Wow, what is it about the About page (hehe, funny) having read more than the story. I think it's fantastic, I lovethe characters and the story. I think it's got something about the main character not being "gay" that's why people can't really connect. Only my opinion, though.
I get it… it’s not “gay” enough right now or something. Point taken.
I think the anon meant these past stories after nooneilove seem forced, I can sorta feel that way. Nooneilove series was so real, with it's colorful characters that turned out to be real. I guess writing about real life and experiences even without the reader being gay can connect with them, we all feel love, loss, and grow. I'll read what you out there and maybe the story will grow on me, guess I just wished the nooneilove series wouldn't end. Btw the chats where something else :-)
And that right there is what has me concerned. You hit the nail on the head, my friend.
If nothing I’ve written since nooneilove seems “real” or connects with people, then I’m not really doing a good job of writing. I’m a storyteller, which is what I did with nooneilove. I retold a story that had already happened. Storytelling and writing are two very different things. One is about regurgitation and the other is about creation.
But that’s exactly why those stories had to end. If I kept going we’d be to the point where I’d literally be writing about what people ate for dinner or one of a million pointless conversations among friends. And that’s just… meh… not interesting. Right?
The problem is, apparently none of this other stuff is interesting, either.
It's all about da sex 'Chris'. But honestly I feel that the story is smoothing out nicely. Rushing into things will make the story seem like a plotless fan fiction. I like slow development and seeing a character unfold because then you get attached to that character and you start to feel for them. It becomes like how you made your othr stories. It's awesome to see characters from noil through your words, that you make us feel joy or sadness and sympathy for them. It's quite awesome.
Yeah, my thoughts exactly. There are a bazillion stories out there of people meeting and just BAM - instant “steamy friction”. I’ve been there. That’s called a hookup. Lol.
These guys are strangers. And we’re not even sure of their sexuality. So how realistic is it to have them hopping into bed together on day one? And who cares if they do? Then it just becomes a story about a couple of dudes boning and there’s already a lot of that around. Haha.
Thanks. You sorta get my approach here. At least it’s not lost on everyone.
I don't mean in that kind of steamy friction. I mean in that playful flirtatious friction. Like two characters who deny themselves of something and just end up going for it. Although even then the story is great so far. I find the last recent chapter to be really heartfelt because Johnson was sweating/heating up ( and you didn't at all make an innuendo gj!) and Jeremy helped him and was like all concerned and asdfghhjjkk. It's adorable really and I can't wait for more.
i honestly am enjoying engineering Jeremy but I do have to agree it is a bit slow. and I think what that person means about the "returning to roots" to get a more "connected experience" while reading is that the NOIL series was very open and you knew what was happening with everyone because they all have such colorful personalities. W/ EJ the point of view is Jeremy's and hes pretty bland which is what the story focuses on. you're going to (im assuming) show him opening up himself through cont.
So, more stories with people just like the ones in nooneilove, then? Hmm. I really don’t wanna do that. That’s like the literary equivalent of being typecast. Haha.
I like that Jeremy is bland right now. It makes what’s coming more… I dunno… something. Dramatic, maybe? Profound? Something. But, again, maybe that’s just a thing I enjoy?
Plus, that person said “stories”… as in all of them? Everything since nooneilove has been forced and felt disconnected? Cause if that’s true, then hell… Ya’ll shoulda said something sooner. Lol. I’ve wasted a lot of time if that’s the case. Mine and yours!
I'm honestly loving the story so far. So don't listen to those guys. I can not express how much appreciation I have that I will have some good old character development. U were a great writer before but ur getting better and better. Its awesome
And, just to be clear, it’s not a question of finishing the story. It’s more than half written, so I’m gonna finish it. If you’re enjoying it, fear not - it’ll keep going. But if it’s only a few people interested, I’ll just say “hey, there’s an update” and let them go read it as opposed to flooding people’s dashboards with crap they don’t wanna see.
I guess I’m just curious, since no one has really said much about it so far. Haha.
I think it's mostly the slow beginning. Who knows it might take a few more chapters for engineering jere to pick up a bit. (its not a gay love story yet without some steamy friction between characters)
Honestly, I guess I felt like Tumblr was already full of enough steamy gay shit and some good old fashioned character development might be nice for a change.
I mean, didn’t you ever read one of the bazillion little short stories online that are nothing BUT steamy friction and wonder… “How did they end up here?”
Maybe that’s just something I do. Haha. Who knows.
Thanks for the feedback. I appreciate your honesty. My feelings are pretty undentable, so ya’ll don’t have to hold back on me if things suck. Haha.
These stories seem forced, the nooneilove series was real. It felt real even before I found out it was actually based off real people. The experiences that were written and the way I think everyone read them, made us feel connected with these people and you on a personal level. You are an amazing writer but it all feels so distant now, I wish you would return to your roots. I miss the chats too, it made everyone feel as a family. Made me feel not only as a reader but part of a community. XOXOXO
When you say “return to your roots”, what do you mean? More nooneilove stories? They’ve all been “gay” stories, so I doubt that’s what you mean. I’m confused?
According to my stats, the About page I threw up a couple of days ago has been read more times than Engineering Jeremy. Ya’ll are pretty vocal when you like something, so I can tell by the lack of feedback that you’re less than thrilled with this new story.
So… is it just boring? Slow? What’s more interesting about the About page than this story? Haha.
Or are you just less interested because you know it’s fiction?
Come on… hit me with some feedback. Brutal honesty. I can take it. Make it anonymous if that’s easier.
“I wish you had weekends off of work all the time.”
“Me, too.” Amanda slid her hand across Jeremy’s chest and wiggled herself closer up against him. He pulled her tighter with the arm hooked under her body and leaned over to kiss her forehead. “It would be nice to have at least one whole day together every week.”
“When’s your next turn to have one off?”
“I had last weekend. Did you already forget?”
“No”, Jeremy smiled up to the ceiling. “I just wish you had this one, too.”
“Well then it’ll be another month, baby. You know that.”
“Are you gonna miss me?”, she asked coyly, snuggling up against her boyfriend even more. She rolled up a little and rested her chin on his chest just below the nipple and looked up at the underside of his chin. Jeremy looked down at her with only his eyes and shrugged into the pillow.
“Eh. Not really.”
“Liar”, Amanda laughed, jabbing him in the side with her finger.
“I guess I might miss you a little.”
“A little, huh?”
Jeremy lifted the hand that wasn’t wrapped around Amanda and held his thumb and index finger out with a very, very small gap between them. He didn’t say anything, but looked down at her again, over at his fingers, and then at her once more. Amanda curled her lips into an impressive sneer and gave him the finger. He spread his fingers a tiny bit further apart. She shook her head and kept her middle finger raised. Jeremy grinned down at her and moved his fingers wider until they were spread about as far as they could go.
“Can’t really miss ya much more now.”
“That’s more like it”, she cooed, stretching up toward his face. Jeremy lifted his head and leaned down to meet her, kissing his girlfriend several times quickly with a series of small pecks. He rubbed his hand up and down Amanda’s back while she settled in more and rested her cheek against Jeremy’s bare skin. “What are you gonna do without me?”, she asked softly, her voice vibrating through Jeremy’s ribcage and tickling him ever so slightly.
“I dunno.” He stared at the ceiling for a moment and shrugged against the pillow again. “I may see if Johnson wants to hang out.”
“The guy you’re training at work?”
“Yeah.” Jeremy looked down at Amanda and met her eyes staring up at him inquisitively. “What? Is that weird?”
“Of course not”, she smiled. “I think it’s great that you’re making a friend.”
“I have friends.”
“You mean Joey? He’s questionable.”
“Yeah”, Jeremy nodded solemnly, his eyes shifting back to the ceiling. “You might be right about that.”
“I know I am. I knew he was a shitty friend the day he ditched you in your truck so drunk you couldn’t even stand up.”
“Well, in his defense, he didn’t force me to drink that much.”
“He didn’t even try to make sure you got home, baby”, Amanda quipped, her voice raised a touch. “He literally dropped you in the parking lot and left you there.” She shook her head against Jeremy’s chest, her hair tickling him even more than her voice already was. “The least the little shit could have done was help you back to your apartment.”
“I’d probably have done the same thing to him.”
“Jeremy Cohick, you better be joking.”
“OK. I don’t wanna fight about it.” Jeremy squeezed Amanda again and stretched his head down to kiss the top of her head.
“Anyway. Yeah. I’m glad you’re making a friend. Hopefully a better one.”
“Johnson seems like a good guy.”
“The type that will make sure you get home?”
“Oh lord”, Jeremy laughed softly.
“Hey, does he have a wife? Or a girlfriend or anything?”
“Nope. Just his mom.”
“Think she’d wanna go on a double date?”
“A what?”, Jeremy scoffed, looking down at Amanda with a playful glare.
“You know. Like when two couples go out on a date together?”
“You wanna start swinging?”
“No, stupid”, she jeered, smacking the opposite side of Jeremy’s body with her hand. “Me and you and him and another woman.”
“Why would he want to do that?”
“Because it’s fun? And something other couples do?”
“You bored of me already?”
“Of course not”, Amanda purred, sliding her hand to the other side of Jeremy’s body to hug him.
“You just want other people to go on our dates. I get it. I see how you are.”
“You best be joking.”
“I might be”, Jeremy smirked down at her. “I know what you meant. I don’t think Johnson is seeing anyone.”
“Maybe we need to fix him up then.”
“I think we should stay out of other people’s love lives.”
“Hmm”, Amanda pondered out loud. “I’m not so sure.”
“Oh no. I know that voice.”
“What kinda girls does he like?”
“I have no idea.”
“I’m being serious.”
“So am I. I have no idea.”
“Well find out.” Amanda lifted her head and pushed herself up enough to be able to look down at Jeremy. “I mean it. If he’s a good guy like you say, maybe he’d wanna go out with Shayanne?”
“If you two hang out this weekend…”
“I’ll ask”, Jeremy sighed, rolling his eyes in contrast to the smile on his lips. He’d never been able to say no to Amanda for long. She knew that, too, and used it to her advantage whenever possible. “Maybe.”
“Thank you”, she smiled down at him. After another quick rapid-fire of kisses, Amanda sat up and started to slide out of the bed.
“Where are you going?”
“To the bathroom. I’ll be back.”
“Turn on the fan.” Jeremy kept looking up at the ceiling for a few seconds and then glanced at his glaring girlfriend with a laugh.
“Such a gentleman.”
“Hurry back”, Jeremy grinned.
“Maybe I’ll just go home.”
“You’ll be back”, he whispered, winking at her seductively. Amanda gave him the finger for the second time in the same night and stomped off toward the bathroom in a huff.
Jeremy laughed quietly to himself and shifted back and forth several times in the bed. He looked over at the phone on his nightstand with just his eyes, wondering if he should pick it up. He couldn’t remember the last time he reached out to someone he didn’t really know. Joey had pursued their friendship and pushed Jeremy into hanging out. Jeremy sometimes made the plans they shared now, but that was different. He had a couple of years experience hanging out with Joey.
He reached over and picked up his phone, eyeing it hesitantly for a moment. He slid up the screen, exposing the numeric keypad and tapped the menu button. The entire time he navigated the old-style menus to get to the address book, he debated putting the phone back down and forgetting the whole thing. He could find other things to do during the weekend. Amanda would be home from the gift shop she worked at by 10pm Saturday night and the earliest she’d have to work Sunday would be noon. So he really only had to occupy himself Saturday during the day and Sunday afternoon.
“Johnson”, Jeremy practically coughed into the phone, not really realizing he’d been making the phone call subconsciously while trying to talk himself out of it consciously.
“Yeah. This a bad time?”
“Not at all. What’s up?”
“Shit. I didn’t even think about the hour. D’I wake you?”
“It’s Friday night, dude”, Johnson laughed. “I’m still awake.”
“Oh. Right. Yeah. Sorry.”
“Why wouldn’t it be?”
“You tell me. You called me.”
“Yeah, I did. I was gonna ask you… uhh… well… what are you doing tomorrow? You got anything planned?”
“Not a damn thing.”
“Cool, cool.” Jeremy nodded absently up at the ceiling and waited for Jace to say something else.
“That it? You just curious about what I do on Saturdays?”
“What? No”, Jeremy sighed, slapping his free hand down over his eyes. He gritted his teeth and shook his head at his own stupidity. “Well, if you’re not… if you’re not busy, you wanna… I dunno. Hang out or something?”
“Love to”, Johnson smiled into the phone. Or at least that’s how it sounded to Jeremy. He took his hand away from his eyes and smiled himself in response.
“Anything in particular you wanna do?”
“Oh. No. I uh… hadn’t got that far”, Jeremy chuckled. He felt himself relaxing a little and slid the hand he’d just had over his eyes under his head while he continued grinning up into the air.
“Well, I’ll brainstorm.”
“Yeah, me too.”
“OK then. Wanna give me a call tomorrow when you get up and around?”
“Yeah, yeah”, Jeremy nodded to himself. “I’ll do that. I’ll call you. And think about what to do.”
“Sounds like a plan then.” Johnson didn’t say anything and Jeremy began to look around the room nervously waiting. “So I’ll talk to you tomorrow then?”
“Alright”, Johnson laughed. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow, Cohick.”
“OK, man. Talk to you tomorrow.”
“Yeah, you, too.”
Jeremy slid his phone closed and rolled over to the side of the bed to pick up the live end of the charger. He plugged it into his phone and set it carefully on the nightstand. With a big grin on his face, he rolled back over and put his hand back under his head, sighing loudly. He could hear the water running in the bathroom and knew Amanda would be back any second. He closed his eyes quickly and slowed down his breathing to make it seem like he was asleep.
A couple of minutes later, Amanda came out of the bathroom and headed back toward bed, switching off every light in the small apartment as she did. When she got to the bedroom and found Jeremy in what looked like a state of deep sleep, she sighed quietly and frowned. It wasn’t like him to fall asleep like that when she stayed over. After all, it was kind of an understood thing that one of the reasons she stayed was so they could have sex.
“Whatever”, she mumbled to herself as she approached the bed with a small bit of resentment in her voice. She reached across her sleeping boyfriend to turn off the lamp beside the bed, and that’s when he struck.
Jeremy sat straight up in bed, his arms outstretched toward Amanda, and growled so loudly that it vibrated in her ears. By the time Amanda began to scream, she was already caught up in his arms. And before she was finished screaming, Jeremy sat the rest of the way up and slammed her back onto the bed with a big bounce from the aging mattress. In fact, she was still screaming when he slid one of his legs over her and pulled the rest of his body above her.
“You asshole!”, she yelled despite the smile on her face as his hips lowered and came to rest on hers. Jeremy was grinning down at her and still had her wrists pinned to the bed, but he didn’t say anything.
Instead, he leaned down and kissed her angry lips. She turned her head away after only a half-second of contact and glared up at him. He tried again, but she resisted once more. Jeremy bounced himself above her several times and shifted his body back and forth while continuing to show Amanda every one of his teeth through the smile on his face. She held her playful glare for a few more seconds but eventually relaxed her body, rolled her eyes, and hooked her feet around Jeremy’s.
And this time when he leaned down, Jeremy got his kiss.
“I don’t like him.” Joey placed a small checkmark in one of the boxes on a form held to his clipboard and took a step forward to the next dial.
“Really? I couldn’t tell.” Jeremy rolled his eyes and touched the dial Joey stood next to, indicating that it was within normal parameters. Joey looked down at the dial, too. Once he’d verified the reading himself, he drew another checkmark in another box and moved to the next dial.
“I can’t put my finger on it. But something about him is off.”
“Something is off about you, too, Juarez.”
Jeremy touched the next dial and Joey once again verified the reading before checking it off the list. Their system of checking the generators and boilers wasn’t official policy or how the hospital normally trained people to do the job. But it allowed them to meet the requirement of a two-check system while still talking. One of them read the dial, touched it to say it was good, and waited for the second person to verify and mark it off the list. It worked for them and they got the job done faster than anyone else. For that reason it was rare for Chief to give anyone other than Jeremy and Joey the task of weekly generator testing.
“No, I mean it. He’s weird.”
“I mean it, too. You’re weird.”
“I know you have to be all buddy-buddy with him because of the whole mentoring thing, but you’re not actually becoming friends with Johnson, are you?” Joey checked another box on his form and tried to move to the next dial. When he stepped forward, though, he bumped right into a stationary Jeremy. And when he looked up at his friend, Joey found him scowling.
“Are you kidding me with this shit, Juarez?”
“You’re the one always telling me I need to make more friends.”
“Well, yeah. But… you know… better ones.”
“And what is your problem with Johnson?”
“I dunno, man. It’s just a feeling I have. Down in my gut.”
“It’s called jealousy”, Jeremy sighed, stepping back so that Joey could reach the next gauge. “And it’s really fucking lame.”
“You think I’m jealous?”, Joey started, his voice raising quickly until he was nearly shouting. He cut himself off and looked around to see if anyone else was in the generator room. They were alone but he continued in a much more civil tone after leaning in closer to Jeremy’s face. “You think I’m jealous of that pendejo? Or cause you got a new friend?”
“You tell me”, Jeremy shrugged. “You’re the one that can’t say anything nice about the guy.”
“Because every time I turn around it’s Johnson this or Johnson that.”
“He’s shadowing me, Juarez.” Jeremy leaned down closer to Joey in return and looked him right in the eyes. “What do you expect? He’s gonna be around until that’s over.”
“So you gotta invite him to the bar and to hang out with us at lunch?”
“I didn’t invite him to the roof yet, man. It was just a suggestion.” Jeremy reached out and touched the dial they’d been arguing in front of and shook his head with a loud sigh. “Forget it.”
“The dude lives with his mom, Cohick. That’s fucking weird.”
“And you said it yourself, he’s a bad guy. He got paid to kill people.”
“Oh for Christ’s sake”, Jeremy scoffed, stepping back to the next dial.
“What? You’re the one that told me that shit! I didn’t make it up.”
“You know what, just forget I brought him up. You’re a real great friend.”
“I’m just looking out for you”, Joey frowned up at Jeremy. “I ain’t trying to keep you from making friends.”
“Let’s just get the gennies checked.”
“OK. But I feel like you’re-”
“Don’t get all weird on me, Juarez. Drop it, OK?” Jeremy touched the next dial at the same time that he interrupted Joey. He kept looking down at the small round indicator when Joey didn’t respond to his interruption, too. For a couple of moments Jeremy looked at the dial in silence while Joey looked at something that Jeremy couldn’t see. Out of the corner of his eye, Jeremy saw Joey put a reluctant check on the generator checklist and take a step forward.
“You got any big plans this weekend?”, Joey eventually asked with some residual awkwardness after the long silence.
“Nothing special, no. You?”
“My abuéla’s 95th birthday party.”
“Fuck, Juarez. That’s some exciting shit right there.”
“I know, right?”, Joey smirked at the clipboard in his hands.
“Don’t know what an abuéla is”, Jeremy shrugged without looking up. “But it’s old, whatever it is.”
“You big dumb redneck.”
“I don’t speak Mexican.”
“You barely speak English”, Joey laughed a bit louder.
“So what is it? An abuéla?” Jeremy finally looked up, a little smile on his face that said to Joey he hadn’t completely pissed off his best friend by trash-talking a potential new rival.
“That would be your grandmother. Or I guess my grandmother.”
“A 95 year-old woman’s birthday party sounds badass, man.”
“You don’t know my abuéla, Cohick.”
“She pretty wild?”
“When she puts her teeth in.” Joey held a straight face for several seconds, but when he shifted his eyes up to Jeremy’s and saw his friend trying hard not to laugh, he caved and both men enjoyed some comic relief at the mental image. But their laughter was interrupted by the static-filled squawk of the walkie talkies attached to their belts.
“Cohick, what’s your location?”
“Who is that?”, Joey asked as Jeremy pulled out his walkie and brought it to his mouth. “Is that Johnson?”
“Doing genny checks with Juarez”, Jeremy nodded to Joey while speaking to Johnson through the walkie talkie.
“So you’re not on four?”, Johnson replied a little breathily.
“Why’s he sound like that?”
“Dunno”, Jeremy shrugged. He squeezed the walkie again and spoke directly into the mic. “Gennies are in the tunnel, Johnson.”
“Can you come up to four then?”
“What do you need?”, Jeremy asked, trying to keep the irritation out of his voice. He didn’t like being interrupted, but he had to remind himself that Jace hadn’t been there long enough to know that.
“A ladder.” Johnson’s voice cut off as the walkie shuddered and then came back on. “To get out of the ceiling.”
“How’d you get in the ceiling without a ladder?”
“Obviously I didn’t”, Johnson panted from wherever he was. “But I came back and it was gone.”
“The fuck?”, Jeremy grumbled, glaring at Joey accusingly.
“Why you looking at me like that, vato? I didn’t do nothing. I’ve been here with you all afternoon.”
“Now how’d you go and do a thing like that, Johnson?”, Carl cackled into the walkie talkie from somewhere else in the hospital. “That is some serious skill right there, losing an entire ladder.”
“Someone get him a ladder!”, Chief barked out across the airwaves. “Now.”
“On it, Chief”, Jeremy answered quickly. He glared at his friend again as he reholstered his walkie and turned to leave the generator room. “You guys seriously need to grow up”, he said over his shoulder angrily.
“I didn’t do it”, Joey replied loudly. “How could I?”
Jeremy knew Joey wasn’t the person who physically removed the ladder. But he could tell by the way his friend was struggling not to smile that he either planned or at least knew about the prank. And that’s exactly what it would be called - a prank. It wasn’t unheard of for the guys in the department to prank one another. But it had been a long time and normally occurred between the guys who knew one another pretty well. Johnson was the new guy and no one really knew him well enough to be fucking with him. Not yet, anyway.
By the time Jeremy tracked down a cart, secured a ladder to it, and rode up the service elevator to the fourth floor, another twenty minutes had passed. The walkies had been quiet, too. Until Jeremy pulled his out and brought it to his lips.
“Johnson, what’s your location?” He waited for a little while, but heard nothing back. “Johnson, respond.”
“Uhhh… the hallway at the back of the communications department.” Johnson’s voice still sounded funny. Funnier, in fact. As if he were starting to doze off.
“He’s in service corridor 427, Cohick”, Deb, the engineering department secretary clarified from her office in the basement.
Jeremy made his way quickly to the service corridor and used his hip to press a large, silver button on the wall. In response, two huge metal doors sealing off the communications department swung open. At the end of the hallway, a cart much like the one Jeremy was pushing sat idly next to a wall. Four ceiling tiles were propped against it and small bits of paper with metallic backing and yellow insulation lay scattered about. As Jeremy approached the missing tiles, he began to notice the temperature in the hallway rising.
“Yeah”, his coworker replied from somewhere in the ceiling. “I’m here.”
“What’s up with the heat?”
“That’s what I came up here to repair”, Johnson panted from the ceiling. Jeremy locked his cart and peered up into the darkness above. He could barely make out the silhouette of a man crouching on a steel girder. “Ventilation from the ovens in food service go through here. Pipe busted.” Even from the floor Jeremy could see the trails of sweat pouring from Jace’s face.
“OK. Come on. Get out of there.” He quickly pulled open the ladder and placed it under the missing ceiling tiles. Johnson slowly spun around and lowered his foot, searching for the top of the rung. Jeremy stepped up onto the bottom step and grabbed the other man’s ankle, placing it squarely on the ladder.
“Thanks”, Johnson sighed as he began to descend the steps. As soon as he was visible, Jeremy noticed the huge, dark circle of sweat on the back of his work shirt. When he got to the bottom of the ladder and turned to face his mentor, he exposed a matching one in the front.
“Holy shit, Johnson.”
“Yeah”, he nodded, smiling slowly. “It was really fuckin’ hot up there.”
“I feel a little woozy”, Johnson continued nodding. He took a big swallow and leaned back against the ladder, looking up toward the ceiling as he closed his eyes. His entire face and neck were soaked and the trails and beads of sweat sparkled under the bright fluorescent lighting. Strangely, the first thing that came to Jeremy’s mind was the little courtyard at his apartment and the way the grass always glistened in the morning.
“Hey now”, Johnson chuckled once. “I didn’t do this to myself.”
“Not you. Those fucktards we work with.”
“Oh, yeah. Those guys.”
“I’m sure they thought it was real funny.”
“Kinda was”, Johnson shrugged, trying to smile again.
“Are you OK, man?” Jeremy took a step toward Johnson and frowned, his face falling into something akin to a pout despite the glare still formed by his eyebrows.
“You seem legitimately concerned.” Johnson narrowed his eyes at Jeremy a bit and then snorted once. “Yeah. You are. Or you’re a really good actor.”
“Why wouldn’t I be concerned?”
“Just assumed you were in on the gag”, Johnson shrugged again. “That’s all.”
“I don’t act like this, Johnson. I don’t do stupid shit like this to my friends.”
“Friends now, are we?”
“Nothing”, Johnson smiled. He pushed himself up off the ladder and grabbed the front of his shirt. He pulled at it quickly, fanning himself with the damp fabric. “I’m OK. Thanks.”
“Positive.” Jace looked down at himself and grimaced, his eyes darting up in their sockets to look at Jeremy without moving his head. “Still, I might go downstairs and find a new shirt.”
“I’m gonna go find Carl.”
“Eh, let ‘em be, Cohick. They didn’t mean anything by it.”
“Juarez is supposed to be my friend”, Jeremy mumbled. “Kinda pisses me off.”
“He doesn’t like me very much”, Johnson laughed. “Does he?”
“I dunno what his deal is.”
“Oh well.” Johnson drew in a deep breath and exhaled slowly, closing his eyes as he did so. “I’m gonna clean this shit up and then go change. Thanks for the ladder, Cohick.”
“Go on.” Jeremy nodded over his shoulder toward the end of the hall and the door. “Take a break. Go change. Have some water or something. I’ll take care of this.”
“I can get it.”
“You need to relax.”
“I got it, Johnson.”
“Not necessary-”, Jace started to argue. Jeremy turned to him quickly, his eyes wide and his face drawn to match.
“Let me help you. Please.”
The two men regarded one another for several moments, neither blinking or speaking. Jeremy’s face slowly relaxed a bit, but he continued to hold his stare even after Johnson began to nod his head and swallowed hard.
“Yeah, OK”, Jace said quietly. “I’ll go change.”
Jeremy walked past his coworker and patted the back of Johnson’s arm as he did. Johnson took a couple of precarious steps down the hall and turned back to say something else. But Jeremy was already hoisting the first ceiling tile up the ladder to put it back into place. After a moment of internal debate, Johnson resumed his walk out of the hallway, leaving Jeremy to clean up after him while he changed shirts. He wasn’t afraid to argue with Jeremy. And he wasn’t too good to clean up his own mess.
But there was something in Jeremy’s eyes that Jace wasn’t ready to deal with.
In addition to the new “About” page, I’ve also combined the Series and Shorts pages together into one big page called Writing. Here you’ll find links to everything that was previously split up into two pages… aka, everything I’ve posted on Tumblr.
I’ve created a new “About” page with a little info on me, the stories, and the blog. I’ve also answered a few “FAQs” there and mentioned a change I’m making in regard to the non-fictional elements of my writing. In a nutshell, I’m not talking about those elements any more (and have removed previous references to them from the archive).
So… if you’re following me because you want to know more about the real people behind the stories, you may be disappointed as I won’t be discussing their personal lives (or my own) any more. This is my writing blog and I kind of forgot that along the way. I apologize. At some point I may create a personal blog, but for now, this is it.
If you’re following me because you like the writing, then stick around! I’m REALLY enjoying Engineering Jeremy and I think ya’ll will, too. After that? Who knows.
And since I haven’t said it in a while, thank you to everyone who spends time reading all the stuff I post here. I know it’s a lot and I know you probably have many other things to do with your time. So I appreciate you spending some of it here, with me. I know you don’t have to and it means a lot that you do.
Jesus you weren't kidding when you said this story started out slow. I love the characters so far, they feel real and tangible, and i'm glad it is starting out slow so that whatever does happen next can be even more astonishing. Keep it up! Love your stories!
Thank you. Glad you’re liking it so far!
And nope… I wasn’t kidding at all about it being a slow story. I want you to know the characters, especially the one for which the story is named. I told someone else that a lot of the writing I’ve done so far is about “events”. A date… a hook-up… a hike in the mountains… an argument… whatever.
This story is about a person, hence the name.
It’s called “Engineering Jeremy” as a play on words. Yeah, he works in the engineering department. But it’s more about the act of engineering him as a person than it is about where he works.
So if “Jesus” was meant in exasperation about the pace of the story, fear not… there are ‘events’ coming! Hopefully they’ll be all that more impactful because of how well you “know” these people, too.
“Hey, I was kidding about finding a new best friend, vato.”
“Only cause no one else will have you.”
“I feel like a fourth wheel.”
“Four wheels are a good thing.” Jeremy took a swig of beer and sat the bottle down on the bar before looking at his friend with a smirk. “Five is the problem.”
“You know what I mean, Cohick.” Joey looked toward the bathroom and then up at his friend. “I don’t know Johnson, so he’s like… just your friend or something. And Amanda is coming.”
“You know her.”
“Not really. Not that well.”
“What do you want, Juarez?”
“I dunno”, Joey slumped. He swigged his own beer and shrugged. “Nothing, I guess. I just don’t like being the last one invited to your parties.”
“If you, Johnson, and Amanda are a party, I’m one boring mother fucker.”
“I’m a party?”, Johnson asked, appearing from behind Joey and Jeremy. He clamped a hand down on Jeremy’s shoulder loudly and slid onto the stool next to him. “Sorry about that, fellas. Hated to walk in the door and run to the bathroom, but I was about to piss myself.”
“All good, man.”
“Yeah, all good”, Joey repeated. “We had some shit to talk about anyway.”
“Anything interesting?” Johnson scooted up closer to the bar and leaned in so he could look past Jeremy at Joey.
“Not really”, Joey shook his head.
“Juarez feels like a fifth wheel.”
“No, I didn’t say that”, Joey protested, glaring angrily at Jeremy.
“Right. You said fourth wheel.”
“Why?”, Johnson laughed. “I’m the odd man out here. You guys have known each other for… well… I dunno. Longer than me.”
“A couple of years”, Jeremy shrugged. “He doesn’t like to share.”
“You trying to embarrass me or something?” Joey’s glare turned into a legitimate frown and he looked away as soon as Jeremy made eye contact with him.
“Just fucking with you, man”, Jeremy laughed. He smacked Joey on the back and, when his friend didn’t respond, used the bottom of his beer bottle to clink the neck of the other man’s. “Sorry, Juarez.”
“Pendejo”, Joey mumbled under his breath.
“What are we drinking tonight?”, Johnson asked, clasping his hands together in front of himself with a loud burst of air from his mouth to clear the awkward moment.
“Beer.” Jeremy held up his bottle and swirled it in the air a bit before setting it back on the bar without taking a drink.
“Juarez?”, Johnson prodded, looking past his work mentor.
“Beer”, Joey grumbled in a voice that was a touch louder than it’d been a moment before.
“Beer sounds good.” Johnson looked up and raised his finger to the bartender. “Whatever these guys are having”, he said, nodding toward Jeremy and Joey. “Your girlfriend still coming, Cohick?”
“So she said. But she ain’t here yet. So I dunno.”
“What about you, Juarez? Got a girl?”
“Nice”, Johnson laughed.
“What about you, Johnson?”, Joey fired right back, looking past Jeremy.
“No one special, no.”
“Just his mom”, Jeremy grinned at the top of the bar.
“Yer mom?” Joey leaned back a little and looked Johnson up and down. “This ain’t Kentucky, Johnson. We don’t do that inbred shit here.”
“Well aren’t you just throwing everyone under the bus tonight”, Johnson laughed at Jeremy.
“I guess”, Jeremy chuckled. “Sorry.”
“I live with my mom, yes”, Johnson said to Juarez with a leftover smile. “It’s not a Kentucky thing, though.”
“Could explain why you ain’t got nobody special”, Joey grinned. “At our age there ain’t too many girls who want to sneak in the window after mom goes to sleep.”
“I don’t… I really… there isn’t anyone sneaking in to my house.” Jace’s face went a little flat for a moment, but perked when his beer appeared a moment later and he smiled at the bartender in appreciation. “Can I start a tab?”, he asked, sliding a card across the bar. The bartender took his card and nodded silently.
“What does your mom think about her big loser son still crashing at home?”, Joey asked nonchalantly, a smug grin spreading across his face. He took a quick sip from his bottle and watched Johnson expectantly while the new guy did the same thing with his drink. Jeremy glared at Joey from the corner of his eye but otherwise remained quiet. “What?”, Joey asked loudly. “I’m fucking with him. He knows that. You know that, right, Johnson?”
“I moved away years ago. Only just came back, actually. I haven’t been at home this whole time.”
“What happened? Couldn’t make it on your own?”
“OK”, Jeremy interjected, turning to Joey. “Enough, Juarez.”
“Fine, fine”, Joey sighed, leaning back. “Jeeze. When did you become such a pit bull, Cohick?”
“I try not to make it a habit of inviting people out for a beer just to make fun of them.”
“You try not to make it a habit of inviting people out, period. Johnson must be pretty special.”
“What the fuck, Juarez?”
“Hey”, Joey laughed at Jeremy. “You’re the one that started it. You tried to embarrass me first.”
“You two are the strangest version of “friends” I’ve ever seen.” Johnson made little air quotes around the word friends and chuckled before taking a swig of his beer.
“Cohick isn’t known for his social skills.”
“I’ve noticed”, Johnson laughed a little louder, elbowing Jeremy several times. Jeremy frowned, first at Joey and then at Jace. Afterwards he shrugged to himself and took a long gulp from his bottle.
“Fuck you both.”
“It’s true”, Johnson laughed again. “Not a bad thing. You’re just not very…”
“Friendly?”, Joey finished. “Nice? Approachable?”
“I was gonna say talkative.” Johnson grinned at Joey and then turned his attention to Jeremy less amusingly. “You’ve been nothing but nice to me, Cohick. And I appreciate it.”
“Thanks.” Jeremy shot Joey a little look before lifting his bottle to clink against Johnson’s much like he’d done his other friend’s a few minutes before.
“So before you blessed us with your presence at RMC, what did you do for a living, Johnson?” Joey was eyeing the new guy as if he already knew what Jace was going to say and already had this next thought lined up. He leaned in a bit, waiting to strike like a viper.
“I was a contractor”, Johnson replied a little anxiously. He took a quick drink and gnashed his teeth as it bubbled down his throat. It wasn’t the vague answer Joey had been hoping for, but he still jumped at the opportunity to slam his best friend’s newest friend again.
“You musta been a shitty contractor if your only rebound gig was unclogging toilets in the hospital”, Joey laughed. “What, did one of your houses fall in and kill an old lady or something?”
“A government contractor”, Johnson frowned. “Not the kind of contractor you’re thinking. I didn’t build houses. I provided… security. Overseas.”
“A merc”, Jeremy nodded without looking up at either of his companions.
“Sure, if that’s what you wanna call it.”
“I don’t get it”, Joey said, his eyes squinting as he watched the new guy even more carefully than he already was.
“A mercenary, Juarez”, Jeremy sighed, turning just his eyes toward Joey. “A contracted killer.”
“Well I wouldn’t put it like that”, Johnson laughed nervously before taking another big gulp of beer.
“Those guys that got in all that trouble over in the Middle East?”, Joey gasped, leaning away from the other guys. “The ones that killed all the innocent people?”
“That wasn’t us”, Johnson said, shaking his head quickly and throwing up his hands as if he were defending himself. “Well, not then anyway. They eventually merged with the company I was working for. That’s when I quit.”
“And now you swap out batteries in thermostats and plunge toilets”, Jeremy smirked. He looked at Johnson and shook his head slowly. “Gotta be a strange transition.”
“I can do anything”, Johnson shrugged.
“Except be modest”, Joey grumbled to himself while tearing apart one of the bar napkins.
“No”, Johnson chuckled. “I didn’t mean it like that. I meant I don’t care what I do for a living. Contracting in the Middle East or plunging toilets. I don’t care. Work is just work. So I like plunging toilets with you guys.”
“I’m gonna head out”, Joey said suddenly, standing. He dug around in his pocket and fished out a five dollar bill before stepping back to push his barstool in.
“Already?”, Johnson asked, looking around sheepishly. “Cause of me?”
“Later, Juarez.” Jeremy waved over his shoulder, his eyes still fixated on the same spot they’d been concentrated for most of the night. “See you tomorrow.”
“G’night”, Joey replied, hooking his arm around Jeremy’s neck for a manly, over-the-shoulder hug. “Johnson”, he nodded gingerly, his eyes squinting just a bit once more. He tossed the five-spot on the bar and left without another word, disappearing through the door into the night.
For a few minutes, Jeremy and Johnson sat in silence while the new guy sipped his beer. Jeremy turned his own bottle slowly in his hand while staring at something that Johnson couldn’t see. He’d thought - and hoped - Jeremy would be more chatty once he wasn’t on the clock. But so far, Jeremy Cohick seemed to be the same quiet, almost standoffish guy he’d been from day one.
“Is there something on the bar I’m not seeing?”
“Huh?”, Jeremy asked, looking up slowly to make eye contact with Jace.
“You’ve been staring at the same spot since I got here. But as far as I can tell, there isn’t anything there.”
“A flaw”, Jeremy almost whispered, his eyes moving back to the spot once more. He lifted a finger and placed it next to a crooked line in the wood and traced it slowly, his short fingernail dragging along the flaw almost perfectly. “In the wood.”
“You drunk, Cohick?”
“Maybe”, Jeremy shrugged. “No”, he corrected quickly. “Buzzed, maybe.”
“Am I gonna have to call you a cab?”
“Nah. I’ll be fine.”
“I can’t take you home.”
“I said I’ll be fine”, Jeremy repeated more pointedly, looking up again. “I don’t live far.” He stared at Jace for a moment, his eyes appearing old and sad to the new guy despite the man’s relative youth. “You don’t have to stick around if you’re ready to head out too, man.” Jeremy blinked and returned his attention to the wood flaw in the bar.
“I was hoping to stay long enough to meet… uhh… Amanda, did you say her name was?”
“Yeah. I guess she ain’t coming after all.” Jeremy glanced at the clock behind the bar and nodded in agreement with himself. “She’s in bed by now for sure.”
“Maybe we should do the same thing. It’s a work night.”
“Yeah.” Jeremy cleared his throat and sat up more fully, trying to pull himself out the haze his trance-like obsession with the bar flaw had caused. “You’re probably right”, he continued in a normal tone of voice. He turned the rest of his body and smiled at Johnson before dropping a hand down on the new guy’s firm shoulder. “Thanks for coming out, Johnson. I suck for company, I know. But I appreciate it still.”
“Anytime, Jeremy.” Jeremy cocked his head a little at the use of his first name, finding it odd to hear from anyone except his family or his girlfriend. “Cohick”, Johnson coughed, looking away quickly. “Sorry.”
“S’OK”, Jeremy smirked. “It is my name, I suppose.”
A few minutes later, a quickly-sobering Jeremy and a very sober Jace strolled out of the bar together and headed into the gravel parking lot of Gene’s Tavern. Johnson shoved his hands into his pockets and walked in the general direction Jeremy headed without saying anything. Jeremy always parked in the grass at the farthest edge of the lot. It made leaving easy and he usually just drove his old beater truck right through the grass, down and out of the roadside ditch, and up onto the street. His shitty apartment was just down the road a couple of blocks while the hospital - and the city it was located in - were half an hour in the other direction. That made Gene’s the closest place to get a drink on his way home and was the main reason he and Joey were regulars there.
“So”, Johnson said once Jeremy stopped next to a truck that he assumed was his work mentor’s. “Guess I’ll see you in the morning, Cohick. Thanks for the invite. It was nice to get out and do something with some guys my age.”
“I just might invite you again, Johnson.” Jeremy smiled in the dark and panned his head around in a slow circle. There weren’t any other vehicles around so he was curious as to what Johnson drove to the bar. When his scan was complete, he looked back at Jace and popped his head inquisitively in the air. “How’d ya get here?”
“Oh, my bike is up by the door.”
“You rode a bike?”, Jeremy scoffed, trying hard to contain a laugh.
“Yeah. Why? What’s wrong with that?”
“Nothing.” Jeremy waved his hands in front of himself and shook his head once again. It was an action he was getting used to doing with his new friend. “Go ride your bike home to your mom’s house, man. I’ll see you in the morning.”
Jeremy didn’t wait for Jace to say anything before he pulled open his truck and slid into the familiar bench seat. He dug around in the small storage pocket in the aging dash and fished out a piece of gum with the wrapper half hanging off of it. Amanda hated when his breath smelled like beer and he hoped she was at his place waiting for him. There was a fifty-fifty chance she would be, so the gum was a necessary precaution to keep him from ending up on the couch.
Jeremy looked up from unwrapping his gum just in time to see Johnson stand up over his bike. With a quick flip of the key in the ignition, the sleek, black motorcycle roared to life and lit up, its bright headlight reflecting off the bar and back into Jace’s face. Johnson backed up and looked over at Jeremy with a huge grin on his face. The open-mouthed look of shock on his mentor’s face must have been just what he was expecting if the laughter it caused was any indication. It was NOT the kind of bike Jeremy was expecting and Jace could tell.
Jace threw Jeremy a quick wave as he pulled out of the lot and sped off into the darkness, leaving a small plume of dust in his wake.