Harmon rang up sprawls at the break of dawn, knowing his former roommate would be up for work. In under four seconds, a croaky voice tersely answered.
“I’m stopping by to pick up my things.”
“Things I’d left there.”
“Oh. Those things.”
“Yeah. Just wanted to give you a heads up.”
“What ain’t where?”
“Your things. They ain’t here.”
“They grow legs?”
“I sold that shit, man.”
“You… sold my stuff?”
“All of it?”
“Most of it. Rest we threw ou-”
Harmon snapped the flip-phone shut. The undulations of his breath rising in rapidity. Rage subsumed the edges of the world as his fists tightened like fleshy stones, incisors grinding, eyes widening, muscles straining.
Marla inquired from the corner, where she lounged upon the coach, slurping bottom shelf cereal, bed-headed and pajama’d, TV blaring rapid-fire political commentary: A fire. Elections. Immigrant rapist. Human trafficking. Racial radicals. Should racial slurs be criminalized? Father fined for misgendering son. Military tribunals. Sex scandal. Pedo priest. Revolution in the tropics. Killer droids close to home? Sometimes, the world can be a scary place, that’s why you need Lurch Gold. Mysterious man with white jacket linked to multiple slayings of local drug dealers…
“Andy told me bout him. Sounds like an asshole.”
Harmon didn’t respond.
She was silent a moment and then cast her eyes to the milky bowl between her nicotine stained fingertips, as if expectant of a reply from its viscous, albescent depths.
“I had wanted Andy to take me out tonight, but he said he’d already made plans with one of his friends. Would you want to see a movie?”
Harmon starred out the window as he mulled over the question. A noisy crow flapped down from a telephone pole to the left of the tumbledown and began pecking at some roadkill. The creature’s beak scraped entrails across asphalt in a whirl of feathers the color of pitch.
“Sounds like fun.”
“If you don’t want to… its fine.”
“I said it sounds fun. What movie had you wanted to see?”
“I can’t remember the name. Its this political thriller dystopian type thing. You mighta seen it. Commercials for it, I mean. Bout this young group of survivors in a post apocalyptic wasteland…”
Her words faded into indeterminate babble. When she’d finished Harmon turned from the window.
“We can see that if you want.”
“You sure you’ll like it?”
“Don’t know. Haven’t seen it yet. Can tell you when I do. I’ve gotta go.”
As she opened her mouth and removed her eyes from the cereal bowl, Harmon left out of the house before a utterance could escape her lips and trekked across the yard, paused to watch the crow peel out the dead and bloated racoon’s heart and then seated himself within his car and drove off down the sunbaked band of black that cracked like the scales of an ancient snake.