Harmon begin typing as soon as he returned from his encounter with the literate watchman. A new story occurred to him, and, inspired by the day’s events and the memory of the thriller Andy had played when Lyla had come over, he set himself to the task of its completion. A dull, irregular clacking emanated from his keyboard until the light crept over the edges of the world and eschewed the darkness for a magnificent plume of solar irridescence.
After seven hours without a break, Harmon paused, shifted in his chair, lit up a cigarette, smoked a moment and then withdrew to the kitchen and poured himself a glass of ice water and another cup of coffee as Marla came ambling clumsily down the thick-carpeted stairs. Her hair was wild and rabbit slippers obscured her slender, shuffling feet.
“G’morning,” she groaned, rubbing sleep from her puffy eyes, “You been up all night?”
“Sheesh, don’t you ever sleep?”
“You aren’t a vampire, are you?”
“Not last time I checked.”
She chuckled and leaned against the kitchen counter.
“Andy told me you were a writer. Fiction, right?”
He nodded and handed the foggy woman a cup of coffee, which she readily accepted with a broad smile and a mumble of thanks. For a long moment they stood staring at each other before the sound of Andy’s footsteps reverberated on the linoleum above. They both turned to greet him, confused by his furrowed brow and the cloudy expression in his eyes and mouth.
“Sonsofbitches.” He muttered leaning against the wall.
“What is it?”
Andy worked his jaw and then looked towards his guest.
“We’re outta work.”
“What’d Swain say?” Harmon inquired without emotion, crossing his arms and leaning against the counter as Marla.
“Just said we were fired—excuse me—’let go.’ I hate that bullshit. Fucking weasel words. ‘Let go.’ ‘Passed on.’ Bullshit. Fucking bullshit.”
“Sorry baby,” Marla replied, with a pout. She massaged Andy’s shoulder as the man shook his head and glared at the scuffed linoleum of the floor.
Harmon reached up to the cabinet and withdrew a coffee cup and then slid it across the counter to Andy who nodded back in thanks.
“No point complaining about what we can’t change. Other jobs to do.”
“Hell – like what?”
“Well, what are you good at?”
“Ain’t good at nothing.”
“That’s not true,” Marla chided sadly.
Harmon inhaled deeply and then moved off of the counter and looked out the window. Not a single soul stirred upon the barren street, now covered in a thin skin of dead leaves that skittered with the wind like hollow bugs beneath the swaying skeletal boughs.
“Its a lovely day. We should go out. We can go to the cafe I was telling you about and stop by the river.”
Marla smiled and nodded, “That’s sounds nice.”
“Alright,” Andy intoned sullenly.
Harmon turned back to the window and sipped his coffee, watching as a flock of crows tore a red-stained eagle from the sky.