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“GET THE HELL OUTA here!” A boot sailed across the room, bouncing off the wall, which the scraggly tabby cat dodged hastily. “Bloody hell. A man can’t even grab a few winks without you wailing for something.” He ran a grimy hand through his greasy, sleep-do hair and staggered over to the mirror to squint at his reflection in the tarnished glass. “Jesus. Jeremy, how could it possibly get any better than this?” Scratching under his arm, he reached for the baggy dungarees hanging over the chair and pulled them over his bony legs, yanked on the socks from last night, and cursed when he realized he’d have to retrieve his boot from its resting place against the wall. First came a few handfuls of water from the stained sink, then a hasty straight-back comb and a stained, threadbare shirt over the thin, stooped shoulders.
The yellowed, buzzing fridge grudgingly offered green bread, a bag of potatoes, and an apple with one brown spot. Teeth sank into the apple while eyes swept over his kingdom. A sagging mattress and box spring sans frame, one floor lamp with a crooked shade, a dresser with one drawer missing, and three books: “The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce,” John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men,” and a King James version of the Holy Bible. The last was a nuisance. He hadn’t read a page of it, but it had been a gift from Mum, and every time his hand had poised over the dumpster out back, a vision of her pitiful face during his last visit to her hospital room came to mind. So it stayed and gathered dust. Even had a couple nibbles out of one corner from a scuttling tenant who lived in that hole behind the fridge.
He yanked open the top drawer of the dresser. A wallet, two watches, a purse, and best of all, an iPod he’d managed to snatch from some brat at the mall. The kid had sounded like an air-raid siren as Jeremy had pelted away, and he had been so scared he’d not stopped running for 3 blocks. Damn near killed him, but it would be worth it. Ernie would pay good money for this baby – ohhhh yeah. Going to hold that one for awhile, though. Save it for when he needed some smack real bad. The wallet held a Master Card and 15 bucks. Not much, and the Master Card was useless, but he’d eat today. Use the MC and get your mug on a camera… can’t have that. Needed to get a fix, though, so what’s in the purse? Yeaaaaah. A whopping 37 bucks grinned back at him, might as well be saying “shoot that stuff in, baby”. “Come to papa, my lovelies,” he said as he began stuffing the bills into the front pocket of his trousers, thought better of it, removed the ID from the wallet, and loaded it up instead.
He slid on a watch and something about it yanked him back. Jesus, he thought. I scored a Rolex. A genuine, honest to God Rolly. He’d almost decided not to fleece the pudgy guy on 45th, but it had been a slow night, and one stinking purse wasn’t gonna pay the rent. So, he’d stuck his .22 in the guy’s ribs and told him to give everything over or he’d be decorating the sidewalk with his supper. The guy was shakin’ so bad he could barely get his wallet out. Damned slick. Not one of them had the sack to live like Jeremy did, but they got all the breaks. So now he had a Rolly too – and that would pay the rent. He pulled the door closed behind him, ducked into the common bathroom down the hall and took a quick whiz, stomping a roach or two in pure joy.
Wonder where Jeremy is off to?
“Restless Souls: 3 Dark Fables” is coming soon!