Hazy Days and Cloudy Nights

How It All Got Started 019: Alex
Free serial fiction from author and creator Matthew Wayne Selznick.

Wednesday, June 20, 1984

Alex slept in. Alex lounged around. Alex worked on his painting. Alex watched daytime television. Alex noodled on his guitar. Alex read.

In other words, Alex spent the third day of summer like it really was summer vacation. And his father could say nothing. Alex had a job.

The idea of working at Hagar’s made him cringe every time he thought about it, and the countdown to his first day felt like a slow walk down Death Row. But it was a job, and it didn’t have to be his last job. Once he had a little money, his driver’s license, and the car in the driveway was officially his, he would find something… anything… else.

Eight days until polyester shirts and a hair net.

It would be worth it.

The phone rang. Alex lurched off of the sofa and picked it up. “Yeah-lo.”

“Is this Alex?”

He’d never heard her voice over the phone, but he recognized it right away. He grinned.


“Yeah! Hi! I hope you don’t mind that I called. I was just on my break, and…”

“God, no, I don’t mind! I was gonna try you tonight; figured you’d be at work…” Did she think he wasn’t interested because she had to call first? He could have at least left a message… crap…

“No, that’s totally okay; I am at work,” she laughed, “so you figured right. I’m just on my ten minutes and so…”

“And so you called me! I’m glad. How are you?”

She had a throaty laugh, with a lot of breath behind it. “Rested, finally. I went to bed as soon as I got home from work yesterday; slept straight through to this morning.”

“Wow. Sorry if yesterday was rough for you…”

“Not even. I… it was totally worth it.”

That gave him a little thrill. “For me, too. That was… it was totally new for me.”

“Me too.”

They found themselves in a little eddy of uncomfortable silence. Alex shooed his butterflies and said, “So… we should, um, have a real date.”


“Um… What about Friday?”

“Yes, again.” Laughter.

“Damn, you’re too easy!” Alex winced. “I mean, not easy… I mean…”

“I know, I know! Are you… nervous?”

Hell yes. “I guess so. A little. I mean, we spent a whole night gabbing away to each other, but talking on the phone, it seems…”

“I know. It’s weird.”


Another silence threatened. This time Heather beat it away. “So let’s go see a movie.”

“That works!”

“How about that one with the guys from Saturday Night Live; the one with the blobby things..?”

Recognition clicked for Alex. “Ghostbusters? Yeah, I think it opens that day. That sounds like fun.”

“Fun is good.”

“Fun is good. See that? We’re in sync.”

Heather chuckled. “I wouldn’t be surprised.”

Before Alex could explore the subtext there, the phone clicked.

“Damn… I’ve got a call coming through. Do you…”

“Oh, it’s cool… I should probably get back to work, anyway. Call me on Friday afternoon with the times and stuff… I mean, you can call me before, if you want, but…”

“I will! Hey!”


“I’m glad you called!”

“Me too!”

They said their goodbyes and Alex tapped the hook to switch over to the other line.


“Alex! Hey!”

Alex was surprised at how quickly the sound of Angel’s voice flattened his mood.

“Oh. Hey.”

“I haven’t heard a peep from you since you came by Monday, my friend.” She sounded cheery. “What’s up?”

“Nothing.” Talking with Angel right now was like a conversation with the anti-Heather. He should have ignored the call waiting, even if Heather did have to go back to work.

He could tell Angel picked up the vibe. “Oh. I just haven’t heard from you…”

“I’ve been busy. Trying to find a job.”

“How’s that going? Any luck?”

“I got one.”

“Um… okay. You gonna make me play twenty questions?”

Alex blurted one of his own. “How’s Mike?”

Angel’s voice was level. “Okay. He’s kind of a trip.”


“Is something wrong? Are you all right?”

“I’m fine. Just busy.”

Angel didn’t say anything. Unlike the silences with Heather a few minutes before, this wasn’t awkward for Alex. On the contrary, it was coldly satisfying to know Angel was floundering.

“Hello..?” she said.

“Yeah. I’m still here.”

“I… I guess I thought you’d tell me what was keeping you busy.” She sounded hurt and confused. “You know. Like a friend does.”

“Sorry. I probably should go.”

“Yeah.” Full-on irritation now. “You should. Talk to you whenever, Alex.”


Alex hung up. He realized he was seething.

He also recognized that Angel probably thought he was a full-on asshole. If she didn’t understand…

Alex shook his head. If she didn’t understand, she was blind. How obvious could he be, riding his bike all the way to her freaking house just to see her? When had he ever done that before? Didn’t she get that it meant something?

Whatever. He had a date with Heather, a girl he’d known for a cumulative total of less than twelve hours that felt like twelve years. Let Angel have her surfer jock. Alex knew it wouldn’t last.

The phone rang again. Angel..?


A man’s voice; relaxed, with a slight drawl. “Hi, can I talk to Alex Kent?”

“This is Alex.”

“Alex, this is Sam Martin, manager of the video department at Pinnacle Records. Do you think you could come in for an interview this week?”


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