This place is so dimly lit. One small flame quivers pathetically from a dirty candle stub atop a table fashioned out of an old computer box. I guess I’ll have to get acclimated to blackness now.
I can’t believe this is happening to me. Why was I such a sap? I’ve always believed if I did good things, then good things would come back to me, but I would hardly call this karma. What an idiot I am. Why did I ever stop and attempt to have a conversation with him? Why did I feel the least bit of pity for him? I guess I’ve always been this way though. I just have this ridiculous soft spot I guess. Always taking home stray animals or giving some homeless street dweller money, even though I know deep down, well it’s not even that deep; he’ll just spend it on some god awful cheap bottle of booze. Ah yes, Crankhouse whiskey, what a magnificent blend. I wouldn’t use it to clean my toilet. I remember that one resident of the alley who set his home behind a dumpster. Oh, a well decorated refrigerator box he had, perhaps the finest in the alley. I gave him a few bucks one night figuring, just maybe, he would indeed buy some food. But, no, of course not, just an hour later I walked past my back alley bum, and there he was, comatose, lying next to an empty bottle of Listerine. At least his breath wasn’t offensive anymore; it’s quite comforting to know he cared so much about oral hygiene. Well when there are no liquor stores open I guess Listerine will do in a pinch.
God this hurts. I thought it would be faster, but it seems like unending torment; it’s taking forever. This is too surreal, this just shouldn’t be happening to me.
“Just wait until I can move again, my dear Jeff.” I can’t believe everyone calls him Stupid Jeff; I’m the buffoon. He seemed so harmless, just some halfwit who never had enough sense to go in out of the dark. He’d just sit there in his “spot” every night mumbling nonsensically, talking to people who weren’t there or just rocking back and forth. He never really annoyed anybody. It didn’t matter what time of year it was he always wore the same filthy clothes and the weather never seemed to affect his demeanor. So I’d toss him a few dollars now and again. I never saw him drinking or passed out He’d just look at me and continue his incoherent babble. Perhaps that was why I was curious about this lost soul. I wondered where he stayed in the daytime. What was his deal? Why was he so different, so interesting to me? Well, they say curiosity killed the cat, and it got the better of me as well. I know now where he resides during the hours of light.
God, my feet are freezing, and my hands, I can barely move them. Maybe I’ll soon wake up and laugh because this is just a bad dream. Except I know it’s not a dream. This is unfortunately all too real, and all because I tried to figure this cretin out. Maybe I’ll just talk to him; maybe he’s not really that stupid. Look where that line of thought got me. I mean, there are some quite brilliant dispossessed people; they’re just a little touched or possibly going through a bad bit of luck. But not Jeff, oh no, he truly is an imbecile. It’s no act. But I’ll give him credit for one thing: he got me. Maybe he’s just running on instinct, like if you throw a dog in water it will swim. It might not like the water, but it will swim.
Why is he just staring at me like that? Why doesn’t he just sit down? He’s driving me —— arrrrh, I can’t even feel my legs anymore. It’s getting harder to breathe; my chest, it feels so tight, like I’m wrapped in heavy chains and can’t expand my ribcage. I can’t move anything now, just lying here in pain and unable to do anything about it except wait, wait for the inevitable end, or beginning as it may be. All I have left now are my thoughts. I don’t know why, but that candle seems so bright now. All my senses appear stronger, yet I still cannot move. This pain in my neck, so strong, it pulses with each beat of my slowing heart. The air is thick and stagnant; the pungent stench of death assaults me yet invigorates me at the same time. He’s still there watching me; I can feel it, both of us stuck in this disgusting rat hole he calls home. He’s pacing back and forth; that squeaking, shuffling noise his shoes make is getting on my nerves, if I still have any. I mean, why is he so nervous? I’m the one dying. He’s just waiting for this sick scenario to come to an end. What kind of future will I have now? Of all the vampires in the world, I have to get bitten by a homeless moron who can’t even tie his own shoes.
Wayne Thoden is a published writer / poet as well as a stand-up comic / entertainer, graphic artist and photographer. He lives in New York and travels throughout the country for photography and has a fondness for science fiction and horror.