One Year Before Dorian Knocks
The walls were going to talk, and they weren’t going to be nice.
Raz stared down at his hands, at the new prescriptions, and tried to take a breath. His appointment had gone well, so something horrible had to happen. That was just how things balanced out.
The secretary was staring at him – he just knew it. He pressed the elevator button as quickly as he could. The button took a moment to light up. It worked perfectly fine. It was just…old and worn down, like the rest of the building.
He escaped into the lift, pressed the button for the ground floor, and – grateful that the car was empty – pressed himself against the wall. When it was empty, he could breathe.
The lift deposited him on the ground floor without incident. It had only stalled the once, but it had taken them three hours to get him out – and it had been a wasted trip, as his doctor hadn’t been able to reschedule for the same time.
They hadn’t even reimbursed his fare, wasting money he didn’t have. If they’d reimbursed him then, he might have still had a little money on his card now. Probably not, because even with a spreadsheet to attempt to keep his finances in order, he always ran out of money.
His transit card was empty, so it had been a long walk in, and it was going to be a long walk home.
He wasn’t getting paid until Thursday. Only two days to go with nothing but the few silver coins in the bottom of his bag. Not as good as some weeks, not as bad as others. There was enough to get a thirty-cent cone from Hungry Jacks. It would melt in the heat in minutes, but it would cool his insides just a bit.
Raz had already checked his bank balance fourteen times that morning, just confirming that it was empty, that there was no money to be moved around, and that some magic money fairy hadn’t deposited cash in there, in the seconds it had taken to refresh the page.
Thirty cents to his name – forty-eight cents, if he counted the credit sitting in his Steam account.
Not enough to do anything with.
There was the credit card, but he was doing his best not to think about it.
The credit card that was Only for Emergencies – had to be used Only for Emergencies, else he’d disappoint Jess again. Having to walk home was not an emergency.
She’d paid the credit card off once. It had been a debt he just couldn’t handle on his limited budget, and she’d accepted that as a big sister responsibility, but she’d asked him not to do it again, because she had her own problems.
The free red loop bus could get him part of the way, but that would mean waiting, and he would need the discipline to get off at the right stop.
It was soothing to ride it around and around, watching the city go by. He could pretend he was any of the guys in the suits, imagine that he was on his way between meetings, to talk to important people about important things. Or he could imagine being with any of the guys –
coming in to have lunch in the park, and to listen to Mr Suit talk about his meetings with horribly important people.
And for a moment, he could forget that he was going to back to a one-room bedsit that was so small he couldn’t even close the bathroom door.
It was so strange – that a compulsive and repetitive act could make him feel normal.
The wall beside him called him a fuckhead, and he started towards home.