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Alone  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Alone
By Scott Wilson
Word Count: 435

Jane checks outside before she leaves. She sees her neighbor down by his truck, holding his Chihuahua, Alfred, and a cup of tea. It freaks Jane out how he is out there almost every morning. It is far too frequently to be a coincidence. Jane has never intentionally given him the wrong impression and she does not want his attention or affection. She talks pleasantly all day at work. She dreads starting this soon.

He is not attractive, or even plain. His thinning black hair always in a pathetic comb over. His serial killer smile makes her skin creep.
She cannot be late again. She balances her purse, lunch and house keys and steps outside, desperately wanting to close the door quietly and avoid bringing his attention to her.
``Morning, Jane. Off to work?''
``It’s Monday, Tony. Some of us still have to work?'' The words are out before she can bite her lip. When she bites, too late, she draws blood. Tony probably enjoyed this; after all, he gave her the creeps and was probably a mass murderer.

``I sometime wish I were not retrenched,'' He looks too happy to be talked to. “Forced into an early retirement, cause not much work for a fifty-four year old laborer.

``Sorry, I did not mean it like that, Tony. I am running late. Damned alarm did not go off again.'' She turns and feels his smile collapse. Teeth and chin disintegrate. He dissolves like popcorn in milk. She feels him speak to himself unkindly.

***

Tony walks outside, carrying Alfred. Most of his neighbors leave for work about now. If his wife had not passed away the year before he retired, he would not really care. Now, now, he is alone. The only words he said yesterday were to the checkout girl at Coles.

Last night he had that dream where he screams and no sound comes out. He came awake with his mouth open. He reached for the end of the bed, touched Alfred and went back to sleep.

Jane comes out of her apartment. She seems nice. Plain. Always in a hurry. They've never had much of a conversation.

He throws out some small talk about work, glad to use his voice. Her face looks like she is chewing stones. She rarely smiles. He thinks of making her a birdhouse.

She says goodbye. He nods and walks back toward his truck, considering the materials he will need for the project. He puts the dog down and drinks from his insulated mug. The mouthful of heat brings him fully awake and he forgets his dream.

This entry was posted on Saturday, March 14, 2009 at 2:06 AM . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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