"It's time for a change, but no matter where you go - there you are!"

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The sun was a god, high and aloof, and it burned its way into Jack's mind through his eyes, despite the designer sunglasses he was wearing. "Christ, I hate Texas summers," he grumbled quietly under his breath.

Oh well, there was nothing else for it. He parked his Audi and killed the engine. The soothing coolness of his air-conditioner died at the same time. Immediately, oppressive heat begin to emanate from sunlit upholstery. Then something struck his beloved automobile with a sickening thud, hard enough to rock it back and forth on its suspension. God damn it, he hissed, turning his head violently to find the source of the impact. A gaggle of sun crazed children streamed between his car and the car parked next to it. They were screaming with childish delight, and seemed not to have noticed the damage they might have afflicted on the rear quarter panel of Jack's Audi. Or, if they had noticed, they certainly didn't seem to care.

Jack slammed the door open with the brute force of his surprisingly vehement anger. It bounced back off the side of a Chevy in the next parking space, and caught his leg as he thrust it out the doorway. God damn it, he hissed again.

Once outside, he first inspected the rim of his open door. The paint was chipped. He didn't even notice the Chevy had received the worst of the damage; it was dented noticeably. Then he went back to the rear passenger side to examine the quarter panel. Nothing seemed out of place. "I hate Texas summers, and I hate kids."

The sources of his anger were nowhere to be seen, but they could clearly be heard. Echoes of their boisterous merriment rebounded from each wall and doorway of Jack's posh apartment complex, so it seemed ten thousand ruffians were loose in the courtyard.

Returning to his open driver side door, Jack retrieved his briefcase and locked up, slamming the door with more force than intended. An electronic tone told him the car's alarm system had been activated.

Climbing the steps to his second floor cracker box, he encountered a pile of bicycles blocking the way. Instead of going around, he simply began kicking the obstructions off the sidewalk.

"Hey! Watch what you're doing," a high pitched voice squealed from the bushes. A red headed monster popped up, his face smeared with dirt. "You'll bend the spokes!"

"Where's your mother? Does she know you're pissing me off?"

"Fuck you," and the red head of hair once more disappeared into the bushes to the sounds of giggles and a chorus of 'I can't BELIEVE you just said that!'

Little bastards, he thought, Just be glad you're not my kids. I'd really straighten you out. All of you.

Seconds later he was inside his frigid apartment and heaving a grateful sigh of relief. A twelve pack was waiting patiently in the fridge for his return, and seemed genuinely happy to see him. SHHHH, the first beer whispered when he popped its cherry, Everything's going to be alright. Summer's only six months long in Texas, and children grow up. Don't sweat the little shit.

Yeah, the little shit. But sometimes a man couldn't help sweating the little shit when the whole world was little shit. What was the fucking point? He worked ten hours a day, riding a telephone like a longshoreman might ride a ten dollar whore, talking to jerks with money so he could become a jerk with money, explaining and explaining and endlessly explaining the fickle nature of the stock market to customers that held onto their money like it was turds and they were constipated, trying to make deals where there were no deals to be made. The S.E.C. was investigating his books for inappropriate trading. His best client- no, make that EX-client- was suing him for fraud and damages. He was a month behind on his car payments and the bank wanted to clip his balls and hold on to them as collateral. He hadn't been laid in weeks. What was worse, he hadn't felt like getting laid, and worse still, was beginning to wonder if his pecker had given up and gone into early retirement. Jack's list of complaints went on an on. But to top them all, it was summer, school was out, and the heathens were up and down the stairs outside his apartment all night long, so their feet sent gong-like shockwaves of head-splitting sound through and through his one bedroom hamster hole.

There went one now. Jack stalked to the window. I'm going to say something tonight if this crap doesn't stop. I'm going right upstairs to that breeding bitch's lair and I'm going to tell her to leash her kids before I have to call the pound to come pick them up. Then he noticed his mail on the floor. He had inadvertently kicked out of the way when he had first opened the door. That's another thing I can't fucking stand. I pay six hundred dollars a month to live here. You'd think they'd have mailboxes like every other apartment complex. But, no, they have these irritating pussy slits in the door, so I have to step over the mail when I come in, if I don't forget, that is, and step ON it. Or it catches in the door and gets ripped to shreds. Or it blows out onto the landing, and downstairs to the ground where it lies vulnerable to the greedy, greasy hands of roving patrols of future gang members and drug dealers.

On top of the pile was a particularly interesting envelope. As usual, it bore the stamp of the soles of his shoes, clearly showing, in an outline of dirt, the hole that had worn beneath the ball of his big toe. Have to get these things fixed, he thought absently.

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