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This morning he got up for work, he hadn't the last two, but after sitting for awhile he continued to sit and the day's work started, coffee-break came and went and he just sat at home. They might have called him but the phone was a buzzing pile of black plastic and wires. Quality Carpet Cleaning was the last call. And when Sheila stopped by to probe his silence he told her through the door to go away and she had. Now he sat on the couch thinking about making a cup of coffee. He told himself that really it wasn't good for him then he argued that it would give him something to do then worried that it would keep him awake and he might decide to sleep again because he was wasted from wrestling with he-didn't-know-what all night long so he yawned and flattened out a lottery ticket on the table, read the date and knew it was past him now, then crumpled up the ticket again, tossed the wad of paper at the waste basket and missed. Other bits of paper littered the room. Most of them had come into the room through the slot in the door: envelopes and bills and advertisements and letters and magazines and all of it was just paper, unread.

He decided to compromise and go out for coffee, convinced different air might do him good as he had been in the room since before the weekend and it wasn't a very far walk to the cafe anyway so he went, wearing a coat even though the sun was hot.

The coffee made the scum on his teeth brown and his mouth taste dirty but he had several refills anyway and skimmed the headlines of a paper someone had left. Nothing in it interested him. He had read those stories before and the ads seemed cluttered like his room so he drank more coffee and looked. Some other people thought he was staring at them but he wasn't.

He left, going home because there was nowhere else he wanted to go. Near his flat a big cat sidled up to him to have its ears and neck scratched. He often petted the cat because it was clean and friendly. He kicked it in the stomach, knocking it over. He went up to his room and sat while the big cat lay, its sides heaving, in the hot sun on the sidewalk with some blood trickling out of its nose.




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