The street was dark, September almost passed. Where had this year gone? The calendar had nearly flown off the wall it had seemed so fast a transition. It seemed a pleasant temperature to him as he walked back through the small maze of local lanes that comprised his neighborhood. No sense of imminence about the fact that the sun had now had been missing for over an hour or two. Just a slow steady walk in the emptiness of still night. Cars swished by in the distant proximity of the boulevard a few streets away to far to beset the quiescence of what was a rarity of mental unity of the larger oneness. He heard a woman’s voice from far off and immediately recognized it as Babs. Babs who he had not seen for a decade and a half. Babs who he had wanted so much that he thought so frequently that he would have liked to have stone her favors from two other men but could not. He had been given his chance one night when she had invited him over to cook him a small repast but he had bolted because her young child was sleeping in the small bedroom off the foyer. What a naive fool he always tended to be. He was found out so easily to be a fool. It made no sense to turn around to chase up to her. He could see a small figure down the street as he rounded the last ‘T’ that lead directly to where he now resided. He simply called out as if they had just left each other’s company but a minute before. Kind repartee’s of cheerful words sent to echo into dense nothingness between them. Each round of her voice was a little more distant as the distance mutually increased. Perhaps she was naught but an unexplained resurrection brought on by an odd combination of the unsure measure alcoholic drink and dinner? He knew that the silence that occasioned his thoughts in the last few paces while he checked and rechecked for another exchange came up blank.
Age and the vagaries of the economy had dispelled all myths of prowess for self-survival and he found himself living much-diminished. Those days of indigence over a proclivity to spend money he did not immediately possess for items that he have rationalized that would one day aid his eventual success now gone. The building that now housed him housed so many others long down on their luck. Fortune had not smiled upon the land and there were so many disappointments to be read that the stories of same were no longer worth relating. He walked into the small shabby lobby of what in former generations of the previous century had no doubt been a boarding house. The halls were long with innocuous apartment doors on either side. All painted in some eggshell or cream color that homogenized with the dirty carpet of the rambling passageway that kinked left just outside the elevator then again before it reached his own space. He dodged a couple of his neighbors doing their surly best to avoid him. One uncharacteristically engaging him in conversation for a short sentence or two about the general discontent of the imagined constituency of the indifferent phantoms loosely referred to as tenants. As he rounded the first cataract after propelled by the door slammed he careened past a surly looking male in pajama bottoms sporting his svelte six-pack in a dangerously silent and obvious manner. It being of no consequence in keeping good relations he hustled past minding to his own affairs. The closing proximity to his own door springing forth an immediate mental image of his own rumpled bed covers all askew as he had unceremoniously left it earlier that morning. The obviousness of a lack of prospects in newly encountered unexpected companions accompanying him back after some chance meeting at dinner the now expected nil. The flat mates of bed and despair were the only possibilities awaiting him as he rounded the other blind meander that signaled a arrival at the building’s rear. A less than desirable pair of strangers being caught in flight down the back stair at his approach. Like the others he paid them no mind.
The combination of top lock and its mate broached he entered his own small entryway and turned in the usual smooth rhythm to push the door shut and bar it with an old cane that he had long ago rescued from the trash as part of the contents of a nearby unit ceded by recently deceased resident. He pushed it mindlessly aware that it would not close all the way as if the threadbare rug had advanced into the gap. He pushed and felt the door push back. The instantaneous nature of the circumstance found his sense of curiosity at odds with his caution and he did not answer back with redoubled force. A surrender to a chronic weakness of spirit his current malaise. Two figure pushed unexpectedly past him making a beeline at top speed to the small studio’s opposite corner. A small table’s underslung shelf holding a small stereo with a record turntable sitting atop. The two scrawny malcontents stood poised for the attack that they expected from the room’s most recent tenant. Their adversary posed with an instantaneously rapid assessment of the pros and possible cons of his own fitness to exert his manhood as far as physical violence. He found the cane now gripped in his hand like a cudgel. His opposite picking up its mate in response next to the bed. The probability of being overwhelmed two against one demanding another possibility. Beneath the covers unbeknownst to his new visitors lay an old 32 caliber revolver that represented his only nightly companion. The thought of making a leap over what would be at his current age a senseless geste raced impotently to indecisiveness. The possibility of mortal danger had finally caught up with him in the least expected of locales. He cursed the unexpected smoothness of the night and the way it had derailed his usual streetwise sense of regard.
The instant of eternities passing deferring to the immediate transition of his awakening alone in the dead of night. Feint strokes of light impotently brushed upon the ceiling above him by the streetlamp outside. The covers still up to his neck but a dull ache in his cranium. He lay still flat upon his back trying to sort out the situation in terms of what was his current sense of real and what was nightmarish hallucination. His consciousness analogous to the passing of two workman passing at shift’s conclusion. The normal sense of chaotic order room relatively the same after being rechecked for any details matching the dream he sighed. This cauchemar puzzled him as to it’s source. Given the dun of by the unforgiving hour of the night the possibility of a neighbor’s carelessness in overturning a piece of furniture being the most likely offender for the interruption of sleep. The shackles of sleep still heavily poised upon his limbs he had to fight to regain his normal impulses to rise from beneath he fisherman’s net of covers restraining him. How odd that he could not still disseminate the scenario of the dream from this dark empty room? There was no revolver. That had been a quick invention of the mysterious author of the eerie scenario. The turntable had been a persistent artifact long ago lost immediately after youth. How strange the play of circumstance of characters that though some actually existed in this current iteration of life’s unsolved puzzle, the others had no part whatsoever in his conscious thoughts. Perhaps they were unseen patches to a haphazard rambling existence of the time in-between come precariously loose? His facilities now returned to full functioning he rose from the rumple of covers to patrol the room sneaking a peek outside at the alleyway and narrow corridor and back over to the peephole in the entry door of the tiny studio’s opposite end. All was quiet and undisturbed.