Hearing something, he turns and looks out of his open door to see Mr. Martin go shuffling by wearing a bath robe and one red slipper. Jack hears Martin's door close and then for thirty seconds the old man screams, "AAHHH, AAAHHH, AAAAHHHHH." After that the building is quiet, and Jack listens to his own labored breathing.
A glance at the clock tells him it is a few minutes to 7 a.m. Jack hurries from his room into the hallway. They pass each other on the stairs. The big man is coming up the stairs and Jack is going down to the bar to see O'Malley.
Jack has committed a trespass. The big man looks down as Delleto turns. "Hello, Jack, brother." The man smiles, slides the brim of his Giants baseball cap across his forehead and then continues up the stairs.
Jack watches him. When Paul Keater reaches the top of the stairs the red exit light flickers like a candle above Keater's head and then goes out. An instant later the sound of a door closing echoes down the hallway to the bottom of the steps.
Jack Delleto is standing in the doorway at the bottom of the steps looking out onto the wet, bright street.
"Hey, Jack, man it's good to see you. I heard you were dead."
Jack turns, looks over his shoulder. "Felix! How the hell have you been?"
The two men shake hands, then embrace momentarily.
"Ah, things don't get any better and they don't get any worse." The old man shrugs and then he smiles, but his brown eyes are dull and Jack can smell the cheap wine on the old man's breath. "When are you gonna come back to the gym and start workin out? Man, you've got something, Kid, and we're going places.
"Yea, Felix, I'll be coming back. " Jack extends his hand to Felix. The old fighter smiles and they shake hands. Suddenly, Felix takes off down Main Street towards the Food Town super market walking quickly as if he has someplace important to go.
Jack is curious. He sees the rope when he starts walking towards the Wagon Wheel bar. One end of the rope is tied around the parking meter pole. The rest of the rope extends across the sidewalk and disappears into the entrance of the bar. The rattling of a chain catches his attention and when the dog's huge white head pops out of the bar doorway Jack is startled. Jack stops dead in his tracks and as he spins around to run, he slips and falls to the wet pavement.
The big, white mutt growls, woofs once and comes charging down the sidewalk at him.
The rope is quickly growing shorter. It stretches until meets its end, tightens, and then snaps. Now, unimpeded by the tension of the rope the mutt comes hurtling down the sidewalk at Delleto
Frighten, Jack's body grows tense with the anticipation of the attack. Jack starts to stand up, makes it to his knees just as the dog bowls into him knocking him to the grown. The huge dog has him pin down, goes right for his face.
And begins licking him.
Relieved, Jack struggles to his knees and hugs her tightly to him. He looks over her shoulder and across Main Street to the graffiti painted on the boarded shut Delleto Market.
FANTASY WILL SET YOU FREE.
Henry David Thoreau, "I left... for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one"
my thanks to hello poetry for letting me put in stories which are not poetry. thanks to the people who have read some of it.
originally, I started with the idea some chapters of a novel I wrote might work as a short story. larger portions of the novel have been left out. at some point I decided to put the chapters that I included in order of occurrence. the result: a little bit of a mess.
my solution and it might be an innovation but i'm going put a note for the reader to put the chapters in any order they like. Ha, ha.