Thursday, September 27, 2012

THE COOKIE (The Runaway--XVI)


JOSH DIDN’T WANT TO LEAVE NIKKO UNDER THE HIGHWAY, but he was hungry. He took off his coat and wrapped it around Nikko, who seemed to be asleep, and crawled out from the cardboard box. The spring Nikko had promised weeks ago had not arrived. The coldest April in history, the newspaper proclaimed. The weather forecast called for snow, but the sky remained cloudless.
The fire pits tamped down, boxes and blankets neatly folded, it was too early to settle in for the night. The sun slid behind the overpass, a dripping fiery yolk, and the stream that threaded through the make-shift camp turned into a golden mirror so bright Josh had to turn away. Nikko’s forehead looked smooth for the first time in days. Josh knew he shot up, probably when he left in the morning to go to St. Joe’s for the free breakfast. He didn’t want to know what Nikko traded for his smack, he knew they didn’t have any money left. He swallowed the anger, no, the hurt, at Nikko selling the guitar for two nights worth of high. As Josh stood over his friend, he wanted to kick him, scream at him to stop being so goddamn selfish.
Josh scrambled up the embankment. This morning a man at St. Joe’s mentioned a restaurant on Newbury Street put out boxes of uneaten food in the alley. Late afternoon, leftovers from the lunch rush. Josh thought he knew the place, the restaurant beside the posh cafĂ© that served herb-infused lattes. He had seen the sign propped on the sidewalk, “Try our caramel and sage latte,” and his mouth had watered.

By the time he reached the alley, shadows stretched long, the dumpsters and cars filled-in silhouettes. Something scurried against the stone wall of a building. Josh flinched. A rat. He relaxed; he was no longer afraid of rodents, he had eaten them.

He found the back door to the restaurant. Cartons and bags lay strewn in the alley, already picked over. Josh found a half-sandwich of turkey or chicken, a bruised pear, broken cookies of some sort. He shoved a piece in his mouth; it tasted of some exotic yet familiar spice. Cardamom, he realized, and he almost cried remembering the bread his mother made every New Year’s day. Pulla, plump with raisins. Swedish food for good luck in the year. He tried to remember why he was so angry with his parents, something to do with the church and the way they whispered all the time around him. He remembered they had forbidden him to hang with Nikko and Gemma, but now that seemed like such a small sacrifice for a full belly.


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The 16th installment of THE RUNAWAY. You can find last week's story HERE. Thank you for reading--much appreciated. Peace...




 

8 comments:

  1. Feels like the most dire circumstances yet in the series of reveals. I like that at least life still finds ways in the work.

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    1. Yes, so far the most dire. Still going down. Peace...

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  2. I don't know whether my heart hurts most for Josh or for Nikko. Innocents abroad both of them in their own way. More please.

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    1. Yes, one of the things I struggle with in this story is: whose story is it? Same bat time, same bat channel next week. Thanks for reading! Peace...

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  3. Josh and Nikko stick with you. Nice writing.

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    1. Thanks Deborah! And they stick together. This is a buddy story. Thakns friend for reading! Peace...

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  4. My goodness, it's just so sad. I feel so much for Josh but not so much for Nikko. Nikko makes me angry on Josh's behalf even though I see that he's suffering too. It makes me feel all torn inside.

    Jai

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  5. Hey Linda, I'm finally able to read a bit so am catching up and Wow! You were right when you said it's about to "get gritty and real, real fast." If these installments are indeed only a small piece of a much bigger story then I am becoming more and more anxious for The Minister's Wife. Love reading your work!
    Congratulations on the promotion at JMWW! And thanks for telling us about yoga for the feet, exactly what I probably need right now so I must learn more.

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