Wednesday, August 29, 2012
The man in the dark wool coat is leaning against a wooden sales booth. He peels the chipping paint with his thick overworked fingers and throws it to the dirty snow path leading up to the booth window lined with iron bars. He eyes the headline of the “Truth” newspaper claming higher food deliveries to local stores. He laughs and shakes his head, pulling the newspaper wrapped item closer to his chest. “Next, step right up!”

He walks up to the window and taps on the glass displaying a large yellowing box of cigarettes with a blue silhouette of a mounted horse on the front. He slaps change onto the opening and takes his purchase. He opens the pack and takes a whiff. Empty pack outer pocket, new pack inner coat pocket minus the one cigarette that’s already bitten down on. All routine, all mechanical, all emotionless. He disappears into the unlit building and walks up the stairs.

His finger reaches out for the doorbell but the door swings open and another man walks out. “Who’s he? Doesn’t matter, because there she is.” She stands in the doorway and smiles, fixes her robe and stretches out her hand. Her long frail fingertips reach out. He hands her the newspaper wrapped item. Clutched from his chest to hers. She lets him in and unlocks the belt holding up his loose pants. She pulls him in to the room and lets him climb on top of her. He labors tirelessly for five minutes groaning as she looks up to the ceiling. There’s a leak, should ask someone to fix it, maybe him. Final grunt. He’s off. He walks out to the kitchen and throws the boy the empty box. “Thank you.”

She runs into the kitchen and unwraps the newspaper. It’s beef, a big piece. She smiles. “Look what we got!” The kid smiles back and continues to play with blue horse cut outs from the cigarette packs. There must be hundreds of them. Doorbell. She smiles and receives a newspaper wrapped item. Step right up.
Posted by Marina Kaskadersha at 8/29/2012 10:43:00 AM ::


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