It's a hot summer day, and Jake never wastes a chance to wear his favourite muscle shirt.
He saunters down the street. He's at the top of his game with a ripped body, lustrous and tanned. No-nonsense jeans and wraparound shades. You can't tell if he's burning a(more) hole through your clothes with his gaze. Doesn't matter. They'll melt off anyway if you get within ten feet of this guy.
That's right. Swoon, ladies, sw—
Wait. What? Why's she giggling? Is it his hair? His hair's a masterpiece. He's spent weeks perfecting it. What the hell is she laughing at?
Jake doesn't feel like walking anymore. Wind's getting a bit chilly, and he didn't bring a jacket.
Back at his flat, he calls up Jim. Jim's a smart guy. "I just don't get it. This is like, the fifth time it's happened."
"Were you wearing the muscle shirt?"
"Yeah, what's wrong with it?"
A pause. "With the shirt? Nothing."
Jake checks out his arms in the mirror. The shirt really shows off his biceps, not to mention—
"Jim," he says into the phone. "Level with me here. What does my tattoo actually say?"(less)
Brandon walked with Betsy to school everyday past the chain link fences and oak trees. They walked past the architectural echos of the post-world war two suburban explosion.
Past Mrs. Cortney's house and Daniel Jeremiah's place where Betsy had her first kiss.
Mr. Tomlinson would rake his leav(more)es everyday in fall, followed faithfully by his little dog. Its grey locks hanging off its jowls like an overgrown mustache.
Betsy looked to Brandon one day as they passed by. "Brandon", "yeah?", "do you think Mr. Tomlinson looks like his dog".
Brandon stole a glance at the man who caught him in the act. The little dog noticed the direction of his masters gaze and turned to look at Brandon.
For a moment Brandon froze, stopped by the feisty stare of both old man and geriatric terrier. It was a look that said "hey! what you lookin' at"?
Betsy had sped ahead a bit. "Hey Brandon" she exclaimed.
Liberated then by Betsy's voice Brandon broke from the grappling beam eyes and hoofed away snickering.
Catching up to her he shook his head in a vigorous affirmative direction.
That little dog outlived his old man and one day as Betsy was walking beside Brandon the little dog came scuttling up beside them.
It's eyes beckoned for their gaze and looking down they could hear it saying to them "please, come rake the leaves".
Brandon looked at Betsy whose eyes were tearing up.
"It's Mr. Tomlinson! he wants us to rake his leaves!".
So the youths went and did as the old man had asked through his dog, and when they were done the dog laid down to peace on the lawn.
That's how Betsy became an animal psychic and Brandon worked in the fall raking leaves and pruning trees for the old people.
Evelyn doddered down the commercial-gray carpet of the antiseptic south-wing corridor. Running her right hand along the wall and using a cane in the other was her choice for stability. Others preferred to use the handrail. But, for the ninety-two year old, the cool glossy paint felt alive underneath(more) her fingertips. Her actions were not a problem, as there were no pictures allowed in the hallways of the Stone Vista Retirement Center.
“Come along Harold,” Evelyn said. “We mustn't be late. Today is fish-stick day. I know how you love fish-sticks.”
Charlie strode up to Evelyn. His tan slacks and dirty v-neck were a trademark around the Center. “Well hello there young lady,” Charlie said as he snapped his red suspenders. “Headed to lunch?”
“Well hello Charlie. Yes I am.”
“Better get some of them sticks before they're all gone. Mmm. There crispy-good today. Where's Harold at?”
“Oh. He's right here. Harold. Say hello to Uncle Charlie.”
Charlie bent down to pet Harold. “There's a good boy. Such a sweet little guy.”
“He's been a little tired lately. But I'm sure he's up for fish-sticks.”
“I'll bet he is! Well. I'm off to the Lounge. Got my new issue of Model Railroad Enthusiast.”
Evelyn continued up the passageway in her slow but steady fashion, eventually crossing the boxy reception center and entering the cafeteria.
Two orderlies watched from the check-in station that guarded the Stone Vista's automated front doors.
“That's Evelyn,” Mark said. “She has a dog named Harold.”
“Umm. I know I'm the new guy and all; but I thought there were no dogs allowed.” Larry said, as he peered towards the cafeteria's doorway.