Working Hour

by Tom Sanford V

It had grown increasingly difficult for him to wake up without having to wipe any sulfur from the sides of his face. He had never figured out exactly where it would come from, though he wasn’t above an educated guess. His shack was only about seven or eight square feet in size and most of his belongings, what little of them existed, hadn’t been tainted. Those that had, like clothing, he brought to the river and rinsed each and every time it became very bad, but that could have been in vain. His drinking water came from a self charging dehumidifier and tasted like rust and popping candy. In his mind it could only be something his body was producing with restful thought. He sat up, reached for his rag and wiped anyway, just in case the usually numb areas on his face were playing tricks. No stains, though. That was enough for a smirk, the first in a long, dry period of little to no facial expression. He knew because he remembered being told by a teacher that his face would freeze if it stayed silly for too long. What if it had only stayed vacant? Living proof! Your clichés were useless, Mrs. Appleby. Please know everyone always hated you.

Inside the shack it was always moderately clean, certainly as clean as was maintainable and he would reach the pique moment of his modern life daily upon that first glance around when waking up. Despite the uncomfortable and often painful process of cleaning the excretions of sleep, that visualization of the room around him was always satisfying. Then he would place his glasses on to his face, the blurred vision would clear and he would remember.

He swung his feet over the cot and slid them into his feet protectors. Shoe was not an adequate term for what were basically soles and velcro. Sandals might have worked, but sandals reminded him of Jesus. Jesus was busy having tea with Mrs. Appleby.

Funny enough he was beginning to look a bit like the son of God. It had been a very, very long time since his last shave and while his beard couldn’t have been tugged on at Macy’s, he may have been stopped at airport security sporting the look. He hadn’t been in an airport in as many as 14 months but based on his last trip, which was solely for a feeling of familiarity, no one would be bothering him. He got up, unlocked the door, skipped the thought of why he was still locking it and stepped outside.

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