This room is cold, he said. Could you turn the heat up a bit?,walking in circles with his arms folded. I mean, a little heat ain’t gonna throw our budget off any. This is the beginning of Spring, Winter’s got one more breath left, the old man put a sweater on, a Christmas sweater with reindeer on it. He drew the curtains back.
She sat quietly knitting a shawl. Long gold needles weaved in and out of the fabric. She was humming an old Patsy Cline song, keeping her eyes focused on her nimble hands. She’d look at him and shake her head. Been 36 years with the same man. She didn’t smile, never smiled. Had a grim look on her face. Prayed for the Lord to take her. The sun peaked through the clouds.
I’m going to the store. Want anything?, he asked. She shook her head, then said, Wait. You know those crackers. Those rice crackers I get with the jalapenos in em. I want some of them and a two liter of Fresca. He sighed, got his keys. Didn’t kiss her goodbye. Just got in his truck and left.
And he drove through town. Empty streets, empty sidewalks, a black cat crossed his path. It was like there was some kind of plague going on. The bars were closed, neon did not blink. There was no one coming out of churches, or, banks. A cop car drove by.
It was like the end of the world. Only Christ coming back would make it complete. Maybe that’d happen. Maybe.
He got to the Piggly Wiggly and the parking lot was filled with people. A line formed outside. All this for crackers and Fresca. He stayed in his truck and turned on the radio. Christ had been spotted over on Wells Street. Maybe this was the end of the world.