Let’s Listen In … Confessions of an Eavesdropper ~ Outside the Margins with Hank Edwards

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Hank Edwards OtM

Do you eavesdrop?

As a writer, I’m always curious about how people interact. I soak up conversations to help me craft dialogue later. Sometimes it’s a single statement by someone that ends up in a book, other times it can be an entire character loosely based on someone I’ve encountered.

I have an Evil Day Job (EDJ) to be able to pay my bills (some day, some day…), and there’s a woman in my office with whom I have a love/hate relationship. I’m going to call this woman Jill. She sits in the next row at my very open floorplan office. We do not have cube walls, we have desks arranged in “pods” with very low walls along the front and one side. Jill sits in the next “pod” over from mine, and she talks. A lot. In a very loud voice. She’s much younger than me, more than half my age, and has that habit of making every statement sound like a question. Ugh.

Anyway, she likes to talk to the other members of her pod, all of whom are loud as well, and are also younger than me. (I’m starting to sound like the grumpy old guy on the block who keeps every ball that lands in his yard… and maybe I am!) They’re a pretty loud bunch, and it’s not just me. The other members of my pod (only once of whom is in my age range) agree.

The members of Jill’s pod talk about any number of things, some of which could probably get them fired or at least written up by HR if I were really spiteful. Their topics cover a large range: shows they watch on TV, complaints about client requests, debates about where a specific conference room is located (I’ll give them this one, it’s a big building and it can be confusing), whether the number of people needed for a meeting will exceed the number of chairs in a conference room, or the latest flavor of Doritos.

One of my favorite moments, however, happened toward the end of last year. Jill arrived at work and, before she had even taken off her coat, started telling her pod-mates what had happened on a client conference call at the end of the day before.

“Joe was on the call,” she stated.

“So?” Pod-mate 1 says.

“Joe is the guy who was at that launch party the beginning of the year?” Jill says.

“Yeah?” Pod-mate 2 says. “And?”

“I was pretty drunk at that party,” Jill explains. “And when I drink that much, I sometimes finger peoples’ buttholes through their pants.”

Pod-mates 1 and 2: “…..”

At this point I do an honest to God spit-take with my tea that goes unnoticed as her pod-mates stare at her. There is a long moment of silence and I watch them over my very low divider wall as I mop up my tea.

Finally, pod-mate 2 offers up this comment: “So, you check their oil levels?”

“Yeah, I guess?” Jill says.

“Sounds awkward?” Pod-mate 1 adds.

“It was!” Jill shouts, and finally flings off her jacket. “I mean, I don’t do that anymore, well, not a lot, but at this client party I did it to Joe? And so he’s on the call last night, and when he hears me say something, he goes, like, ‘Is that Jill?'”

Pod-mates 1 and 2 look at each other.

“So?” Pod-mate 2 says.

Jill tosses her hands in the air. “He was all, like, you know, smirking like.”

“But he was on the phone,” Pod-mate 1 says.

“Yeah, but I could tell,” Jill snaps back. “He remembers.”

I decided it’s time for headphones (my headphones get a lot of use at the EDJ), and I shake my head as I get to work. What would possess someone to finger the buttholes of strangers? Even if it is through their pants? Am I missing out on a new trend?
This is definitely going to end up in a book, I just need to find the right character and situation.

So tell me, do you eaves drop? Writers: What have you heard that’s stuck with you or, even better, ended up in a book? Readers: As you’ve been reading, have you ever come across something that you can just tell was plucked directly from the author’s life?

~Hank Edwards

About Hank Edwards

Hank Edwards is a curious mix of practical realist and feral dreamer, with over a dozen books published. His body of work covers a host of genres from gay romance to humor, paranormal to suspense, and mystery to time travel romance.

He is also a member of the Story Orgy group (www.facebook.com/SOGroup), a clan of writers who post free gay romance reads to their blogs every Monday morning and self-publish steamy stories based on writing prompts. Find his posts atwww.hankedwardsbooks.com/hankerings.

Like his Facebook pages (www.facebook.com/hankedwardsbooks or www.facebook.com/venomvalleyseries), favorite his Amazon page (www.amazon.com/author/hankedwards), and follow him on Twitter (@hanksbooks) to become a true “Hankie.” You may also visit his website at www.hankedwardsbooks.com or send along an email to hankedwardsbooks@gmail.com.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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One thought on “Let’s Listen In … Confessions of an Eavesdropper ~ Outside the Margins with Hank Edwards

  1. Omg this is a spectacular story, I’m still chuckling. It’s also quite disturbing that this colleague would do this (it takes all kinds??) but even more so that she would talk so loudly about it. At work. Wow lol.

    I think this eavesdropping is akin to people watching, which is always interesting. It’s what helps long layovers at the airport be not so horrible.

    I think this age of technology, and expressing every little thing we do (some people do this, anyway) has broken down some of the natural self-checks we have in not sharing every little thing that crosses the mind. Some peeps are clearly losing or never really had this, especially the ones that are the general age of your coworker.

    Soooooo… keep the filters and not hear snippets like this? Or let it all happen and be witness to the
    “…..” lol

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