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George Ferryman - 2

[Note: This is a continuing story. Please read first installment here.]

Monday, October 9

George had narrowed his choices down to two: Paris and the Bahamas. Mount Fuji was off the table. With the current state of his knee, he’d be lucky to climb a full flight of stairs.

He closed his eyes and tried to imagine himself eating a croissant on the Champs-Elysees, strolling past luxurious brands like Chanel and Cartier, making his way to the Arc de Triomphe to take selfies alongside crowds of other camera-laden tourists — alongside women posing in ridiculous runway fashions, and men with impossibly neat facial hair wearing leather cross-body man-purses.

He couldn’t picture it. Not with his current wardrobe. And although 25 grand would go a long way towards upgrading his attire, he didn’t care enough about fashion to buy anything new. No, a more low-key destination was in order. Moments later, an e-ticket to Nassau arrived in his inbox with a ping.


Later that day, Marilyn found herself at the Rite-Aid. She shoved a $20 at the purple-haired teenager behind the counter. The girl’s black nail polish was mostly gone after a half-hearted attempt to scratch it off. What remained was trapped beneath her cracked cuticles. Marilyn made a mental note to see if it was still there the next time she was in the neighborhood.

“Do you want a bag?” the lackluster girl asked.

“No,” Marilyn replied, grabbing her box of off-brand Neosporin, Sesame Street bandaids (the only ones on sale), Coke, and Mentos off the counter. She shoved everything but the soda into her purse.

Marilyn tossed a Mento into her mouth as she walked down the city street and followed it up with a Coke chaser. The combination fireworked in her mouth, reminiscent of the Pop Rocks she used to steal from the neighborhood Five and Dime when she was a kid. She always made sure to down the entire bag before she stepped into the house, worried that her mother would discover the contraband, praying no one would ask her any questions as the candy ricocheted and crackled against the roof of her mouth.

“She really should put a warning sign on the door,” Marilyn thought as she walked. The cat in apartment 6C had seemed harmless enough at first, but when the woman took the envelope from Marilyn, she let out an expletive that triggered it to attack. Half a box of bandaids later, Marilyn found herself contemplating her life choices. Again.

“I need a new job. A new life. And, while I’m at it, a new hairstyle,” she thought as she walked aimlessly down the street. She stopped at a bench on the outskirts of City Park and sat down. The sidewalk had heaved underneath, pushing up one of the legs which caused the bench to tilt. If she moved her butt a certain way, Marilyn could force the bench to alternate between two positions. The movement made a clicking sound. CLICK…. click. CLICK… click. She shifted her weight and noticed a dedication plaque on the back of the bench: To my loving wife, Hildy, whose presence made my days brighter and my nights warmer. All my love, Edgar.

Marilyn had never felt as lonely as she did in that moment. With a flash of clarity, she stood, dumped the yet-to-be-delivered handful of summons into a nearby trash can, and walked away from her life.

[Read the next installment here.]


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