Good Guy Standing in the Rain

The good guy is standing in the rain, while in the house, the good woman is ending it with the bad guy she has been living with. The good guy is in love with her. He pictures her crisp golden hair, lean face, her round dark eyes. If her eyes were any bigger she could be an anime character. Just thinking about her makes his heart bang like the heart of a man who has suddenly seen a snake.

He waits.

Cold rain falls all around him, fat and bright as steelhead salmon going over a waterfall in Oregon. Every part of him is drenched except for the hands thrust deep into the pockets of his peacoat, his head under the Greek fisherman’s cap, but he doesn’t care—doesn’t even notice.

He imagines he hears them—the good woman and the bad guy in the house—their voices rising and falling in the agonies of breakup. Of course, he can’t really hear them. They’re inside and he’s outside, the windows of the house closed. It’s winter. But he knows the script: charges and countercharges, warm pleas and cold rejection, the choreography of dying love.

So the good guy continues to stand out in the cold rain of a graying March evening and waits, warmed by anticipation and the half-formed idea that he is making a Grand Gesture. He will wait as long as he has to.

But grand gestures don’t endure. In some warp of time, two months from now, a year, three years, he will be the guy in the house, the bad guy, and a good guy will be standing out here, his heart banging with excitement, steelhead salmon falling all around him.

David Daniel 2

David Daniel was born in Boston and grew up in Weymouth, on the south shore. His novel The Heaven Stone  (1994), winner of the St. Martin’s Press/Private Eye Writers of America Best First Private Eye Novel contest and a Shamus Award nominee, introduced private investigator Alex Rasmussen, who has also appeared in The Skelly Man  (1995) Goofy Foot  (2004) and TheMarble Kite  (2005), all published by St. Martin’s.

In addition to nine novels, including Ark  (1985), Murder at the Baseball Hall of Fame  (‘96), and The Tuesday Man  (‘91), Daniel has published more than 80 short stories (some of which are collected in Six Off 66 and Coffin Dust ) and is co-author of a college English text, Take Charge of Your Writing  (Houghton Mifflin 2001). He has written 300 articles, book and music reviews. He has worked as a janitor, a carpenter, a tennis instructor, truck driver, and a “brain slicer” at Harvard Medical School. He teaches at Lowell Middlesex Academy Charter School and is an adjunct professor at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, where he has served as the Jack Kerouac Visiting Writer in Residence.

Daniel lives in Westford, MA with his family. He served as a consultant to Walter Salles’s forthcoming documentary on Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. Dennis McNally, official historian of the Grateful Dead, declared Daniel’s suspense novel White Rabbit (2004) one of the best “Sixties’ trips” he’s taken. Reunion is his latest novel.

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