Setting Daily Goals Helps Me Stay Focused, Braxton John – Fiction

On Wednesdays, I work on my blog.

Today, I have three goals. I need coffee, I need to write this blog post, and I need to get more editing clients. I’m off from my part-time job today, so I can spend the day focusing on my writing and editing business. I’m taking a shower and heading to Bardstown Road. I might text my friend Braxton John to see if he wants to sit down with me over coffee for a bit, or I might just force myself to go out by myself. Either way, it’s early and I need coffee. The buses are more frequent this early in the morning and I’d rather spend the money I’d spend on an Uber on a better latte.

Braxton John is at The Bean, a coffee shop in the Germantown area here in Louisville on Goss Avenue.

I’ve not been to The Bean yet. It opened last year and I don’t get to Germantown often. I’m meeting Braxton John there while he works on some stuff on his laptop and I work on my blog post. I see him in window of the coffee shop as I turn the corner and go inside. It’s quiet.

Braxton John is at a table by the door. He’s in an unbuttoned button-up over a black graphic tee. There’s a twenty-something man at the front bar in jeans and a flannel shirt. There’s a thirty-something woman in black pants and a white sweater at the bar along the window on the other side of the doorway. I order my coffee, sit and catch up with Braxton John for a minute, and take out my tablet and get to work on my blog post. I see that I have some likes on Twitter. I play around on Twitter while I talk to Braxton John some more. He’s having a hard time with work. He always gets like this around open enrollment time.

I’m taking a nice photo of my mocha for Instagram.

I’ll use the unedited version for Twitter, then I’ll eventually post it to my Facebook page if I still like it later. I’m still thinking about how to get more editing clients. I’m checking Craigslist and other classifieds to see if anyone has requested an editor specifically. The mocha is really good. Lots of foam. I like that I can see the whole thing through the glass of the mug. I open up Google Docs and get back to typing up my blog post. I sip my mocha.

Braxton John wants me to look for a place to eat lunch, not in Germantown though. I don’t know good food places. This will be a project for after I fix my fuck up on my current project, the literary journal. I got in a hurry with some submission responses and accidentally sent some standard rejections to some writers who should’ve gotten the good rejections. I’m emailing those writers individually to let them know. It’s awkward, but I feel like they should know that I liked their story, even though I won’t be accepting it for publication. I go back to working on my blog post.

A guy in a black trench-coat says hi to me.

I remember him from two of my Spanish classes in college. We both graduated back in May. I think his name was Dan. He orders his coffee to go. Braxton John asks me about him. I say that Dan has a girlfriend and that we were in Spanish class together. Braxton John watches Dan leave. I watch Dan through the window as he walks around the front corner of the The Bean and down the sidewalk with his coffee in his hand. I go back to writing my blog post. I come up with a title, Setting Goals For Myself Helps Me Stay Focused. I ask if Braxton John thinks it’s a good title for a blog post. He wrinkles his mouth and says he doesn’t know. I don’t like it for a title anymore, but I leave it as is. Braxton John talks to himself about medical insurance claims.

I’m pretty pleased with my progress on the blog post so far, but I’m not pleased with my progress on getting more editing clients.

I know that it takes time and that more consistent blog posts will help. There weren’t any specific requests for editors on Craigslist, not from any real people anyway. Braxton John is ready for lunch so I set aside my search for editing clients. I’ve been craving a burger. I pack up my tablet and my battery pack, put my green hoodie over my red checkered shirt, and throw my scarf around my neck. I follow Braxton John to his black Jeep. He drives us both to Monnick Beer Company, not too far from where we were. We sit at the table nearest to the door. The bartender nods at us while we pile our bags in the chairs next to the window. Braxton John takes off his brown overcoat and lays it over his bag. I hang my hoodie over the back of my chair.


The bartender comes out from behind the bar and comes over to our table.

He says his name is Chance. Chance gives us our menus. We both order tea. Chance goes back to the bar. Braxton John says he’s avoiding red meat. I look at the burger selection. I can’t decide between the Dutch burger or the classic. Braxton asks how my relationship is going. I say it’s going okay, but that I miss living by myself. I pick up my phone and open up Grindr. Braxton John complains about work some more. He says he has too many medical claims to sort through. He reminds me to sign up for Obamacare. I tell him I will.

Chance comes back with our teas. I order the Dutch burger and fries. Chance asks how I want my burger cooked. I say medium. I browse through guys on Grindr. Braxton John says he loves living by himself. He asks what my budget is. I say 600 for rent, tops. He puts his finger to his lips and frowns. He swipes up and down his phone with his skinny finger. I go to the bathroom.

On the toilet, I search for apartments in Germantown. I find one for $600 a month. I tell Braxton John about it when I get back from the bathroom. He asks where it is. I say Johnson’s Court. He says I can’t live there, that it’s where he refers clients when they get out of jail, have no job, and can’t afford medical insurance. He says I should look over on Bardstown Road. I say it’s expensive there. I wouldn’t be able to afford it by myself. He says I just have to look harder, that I can find something in my price range, like a basement apartment.

Chance brings our plates. He puts a roast in front of Braxton John and my burger and fries in front of me. My burger tastes like smoke. It feels flakey in my mouth. I chew it and it falls down my throat like salmon. I eat half of it before Braxton John even gets his first bite of roast dipped in his gravy. I eat a fry and go back to working on my blog post. Braxton John interrupts periodically to show me pictures of houses on Bardstown Road. Chance gives us the bill and Braxton John pays for my lunch. I say thanks. He says absolutely. Chance takes away our uneaten food and thanks us. I gulp down my tea before leaving. Braxton John and I thank each other for hanging out. He says we should get booze sometime soon. I say maybe this weekend. I watch Braxton John climb up into his Jeep and drive down Shelbyville Street, towards Bardstown Road.

On the bus, I text my boyfriend and tell him I want to move to Germantown.

He says as long as we can find off-street parking and washer/dryer hookups. I go back to working on my blog post.

Eric Shay Howard is a creative writer and freelance editor. He has a BA in English from the University of Louisville. He is the editor of Likely Red Magazine. He lives in Louisville, KY.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Pete Jakubowski

    Enjoyed the Blog. I felt like I was there at another table in both places watching the Actions and Interactions! KUDOS, Eric!! Keep up the Good Stuff!!

    1. Eric

      Thank you, Pete! I’ll try to make this more of a not-so-rare thing.

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