I Wandered

  • by Kenta little cumbersome for you
  • drunk and incoherent
  • into the battery on his belt
  • “I was somewhat stunned.”
  • like busted birthday balloons

Tune in next time part 136                             Click Here for Earlier Installments

I wandered the avenues and byways of Pittsburghistan as darkness gathered, too many things on my mind. Soon I was talking to myself. “Gonna be a little cumbersome for you to sort all this out, when you don’t even have a roof over your head. Better off drunk and incoherent in some back alley, not trying to solve so many mysteries at once.”

“There’s a nice alley right over there,” said a voice beside me. I jumped, literally bounded up into the air in surprise, and the dapper gentleman laughed. He inserted a wire into the battery on his belt and said, “What’s nice about the alley is it has a liquor store right at the end of it. Are you okay?”

“I was somewhat stunned.” More than that I was embarrassed to have had an audience for my solo conversation, but the stranger didn’t seem to be holding it against me.

“I’m a good listener,” he offered. “If you’ll buy me a bottle of rum you can tell me anything you like, and I won’t tell a soul.” He smiled ruefully. “Won’t remember any of it, so I couldn’t tell anybody if I wanted to.”

I self-consciously scratched my chest, the tattoo’s message squirming beneath the dense layer of curly hair under my shirt. Had this friendly man been sent by the White Faces? Their agents didn’t usually talk, but special assignments sometimes required them to. They called it “walking against the wind.”

The man smoothed the battery wire, which went up along his shirt and entered the side of his neck. Perhaps the mime cartel had built androids to bear the burden of speech.

Hoping I was just being paranoid, I said, “Not tonight. You’ll have to get someone else to supply you.” The man no longer wore a warm smile. It was replaced by a disappointedly vexed expression, like busted birthday balloons.

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