The handsome interviewer smoothed his shiny red tie. “Says you’ve worked at the docks for practically your whole life,” he said, scanning Gwen’s resume on the other side of the desk. “That your crew unloads—whoa—a hundred ships a day? Is that true?”
Early evening light, what was left of it, spilled near Jack Wilkens in his one lone room in the big house, a house once flaunting and imposing in its stance, now cluttered like an old shed forgotten in a back lot, debris its main décor. Despite his reputation as the town drunk, a ne’er-do-well from the first day, an inveterate crank, there had been an instant and subtle attraction between me and the old codger, an attraction without early explanation.
John Martin was hired by a funeral home. Retired, poor, he was to be night watchman. Alone in the former mansion, a Victorian, all he had to do was wear his uniform, walk around the four stories, including the attic and the basement, and make sure nobody had broken in.
She both loved and hated her room, as she would have an overbearing mother.
He walked, alone. The city opened to him.
You can touch Shax, but only by “appointment.” First you have to establish eye contact with the old tom and at the same time make a “scratchies” gesture with your index finger. If you correctly spy permission in his imperious gold eyes, then, and only then, may you apply a “scratchie” to the surprisingly short distance between his ears. Any failure to comply with this procedure will result in a personal math system based on the number nine.
‘I need a lift you see.’
My voice strains to be heard outside Mike’s house. There’s a hot stink of ale chasing him out the door, a cigarette resting along his ear, and a slapped cheek look about his face. He looks down from his considerable height, bolstered by the chunky doorstep. He is a statue on his plinth and I’m a beggar with a crutch.