Two More Character Sketches: Matt and Gus

Matt is a self-described “caring narcissistic asshole” who was lucky not to get molested by priests, despite having grown up in a Catholic parish known for such a travesty. His experiences turned him to Buddhism to feel comfortable with life. He described his life path once in just this way to Jess.

To others around him, he seemed aloof. A quiet person at first, he watched people carefully when they talked. Careful not to claim either side of any arguement as his own, he was always quick with facts on both sides. This lead people to think he was neutral — and sometimes he even thought he was neutral. But this was a guise, to keep people at an arm’s length.

He was a sweet man with a troubled past, plagued by habitual drinking. When he felt comfortable and safe, the little boy inside who had known such hardships and danger was allowed to be free. Freedom of spirit lit up his face. When a genuine smile crossed that face, his light blue eyes crinkled at the corners and hid well those dark secrets inside.

As he trudged up a snowy mountainside that morning, the sun was bright and the winds calm. High up in the mountains he felt a sense of peace. A perfect day the leave the daily cares behind. His snowshoes crunched through the crusty thin upper layer of snow as he followed the trail to camp.


Gus is tall and brown-haired with a mustache that belonged on some cowboy in an old spahgetti western and an equally annoying cheek full of chewing tobacco, despite regulations banning tobacco products from being used inside the office building.

Constantly reminding anyone who will listen of his many accomplishments, he often found people yawning around him. Some just gave up after the statement, “I’ve been doing this for twenty years.” This was Gus’ favorite tagline, and although he did not realize it, this became his go-to reason behind every decision he made. Nothing else mattered except that he had been doing this for twenty years.

Why did you choose that phrasing in your press release? I’ve been doing this for twenty years! Why did you mix up your employees’ days off on the new schedule? I’ve been doing this for twenty years! Why did you choose to not allow you employees their own desk space at which to work? I’ve been doing this for twenty years!

Despite his self-assured demeanor, most people around him thought his lifeĀ  and actions disproved Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.


Character Sketch: Jess

I have never tried fiction writing, and I really don’t know what to write. The last couple of days’ writing challenges have been fiction-related, so here is my feeble attempt at a character sketch:

Jess was short in stature but a giant in spirit. With penetrating eyes that didn’t hide many emotions, she tried her best to keep things to herself. She usually failed; people knew right away what she was thinking and feeling. Or so most people presumed.

One day, Jess sat at a desk at work, yawning as she tried half-heartedly to edit the page of information her boss gave her.

“How am I supposed to turn this into something worth reading?” she asked herself with a sigh.

She shook her head and turned away from her computer screen to look out the window. The wind rustled a few dry leaves on the ground.

The truth was that Jess was a continent away, sipping an espresso and watching the fashionable people stroll by her table outside a little Parisian cafe. Or maybe she was dipping a piece of bread into a fondue and listening to the skiers talk about their day in the Alps.

Thoughts? Comments?