One Picture, One Story
My belly was full of something other than booze for the first time in a couple days. I sat silently staring at the grey cat in the window sill. As if automatically, he jumped down letting out quiet meow as he landed and slowly walked towards me. I made the stupid kissing sound we all seem to make when calling an animal over and he jumped into me lap, purring loudly. Looks like you made a friend there. His voice pierced the silence and I jumped a little in reaction. The cat quickly scurried away, alarmed by my sudden movement. So it seemed, I said, motioning towards the escaping cat.
I stood up and stretched as my muscles were stiffening from lack of movement. Thanks for your hospitality! Not bad treatment seeing as I stumbled in uninvited!
He looked at me long and hard; to the point that I began feeling rather self conscious. You leaving so soon? You don’t strike me as one who has somewhere to be.
I peered back at him trying to figure out what he was getting at. True enough, I said, just didn’t want to overstay my welcome. I can stay as long as you want, you’re right saying I don’t have a place to be.
I sat back down and tried to glimpse at the papers in front of him. They’re just some legal stuff for the house here. Just the final paperwork to allow me to live here. I still can’t believe the shape this place is in! He quickly signed on a few lines and whisked them back into the briefcase. I’ve got to go drop this off now. Do you mind holding down the fort while I’m gone? Lots of delinquents haven’t figured out I live here yet. He smiled at me, letting me know it was a playful jab at how I came to be there. The gun’s in the other room if the need arises. Just point and shoot. He flew out the door and skipped down the embankment that had challenged my physical fitness only the night before.
Now that I was alone I began to grow more curious about this little place. The desks were all still set in rows as if awaiting a class to return from recess. The old wood floor was still in unexpectedly beautiful shape and the windows were dirty, but more or less intact. I wandered into the other room and saw the rifle leaned up in the corner of the room. I couldn’t help wonder why this guy picked this place and why hadn’t he kicked me out. People aren’t that nice without wanting something in return, are they? I walked slowly along the wall, feeling the edge of the ancient chalkboard with my fingertips, I glanced up at the old clock above the door and it seemed to have stopped years before with layers of dust having settled on its hands. I moved to the cot in the corner as I was still exhausted and sore from the previous night. I lay down, covering myself with my coat, the cat jumped on my chest as I drifted off to sleep.