Bentley was blind from birth, and he played it right. Flight attendants took pity and if an extra first-class was available, would usher him into the plush leather seats. Bentley would compliment her on how good they felt and drop the line: a touch in the dark’s better than a smile in the light, as he traced the soft skin on her arm. Sometimes the arm was snatched away, sometimes not.
Blindness also paved the way for Bentley to realize his dream of becoming a writer. Right about the time seeing-people were having their midlife crises, Bentley decided his mind was a gift, that his revolutionary thoughts were the world’s prescription. He revealed his opus to anyone who would listen.
Bentley was high on writers’ conference. Plunked into first-class, Bentley discharged his mind on the gentleman next to him. An oldish guy, Bentley figured, based on the voice, on “fine, thank you. How are you?” Those were the only words the man spoke. By 40,000 feet, Bentley had already relinquished his bio, his book idea, and how Oprah Winfrey had plagiarized portions of his memoir.
At some point the gentleman asked Bentley what sort of writing he did.
“Oh, you mean, like, genre?” Bentley felt so smart using that word, genre. “Romantic comedy.”
“Have you ever tried horror?” The man asked.
“Oh no. Disgusting stuff. Gore is for amateurs. I work hearts, my friend. Just watch.”
To prove it, Bentley stroked the flight attendant’s arm as she set down his soda water with lemon. She made a slight gasp, the kind that’s smiling.
Finally, when Bentley finished unloading every awesome facet of himself with the exception of his name, he extended his hand for a shake. “Bentley,” he said. “Ferguson”
“Stephen,” said the man. “King.”
Many thanks to Microcosms for their weekly prompt/contest.