“HELLO?” I shout into Main Street, vacant of life and vehicles, “IS THERE ANYONE OUT HERE?”
I love it when stupid girls shout that in horror movies. I laugh at myself when I shout it now.
“And now I’m destined to die,” I say to Cleaver as his lifts his leg on a street sign. “Where to begin?”
In my immediate line of sight I see a hardware store, two pizza places, a diner, a bar, the local coffee joint, a few other eateries, and several specialty doctors’ offices amongst a scattering of boutiques. There are others in the distance but for now I cross to the coffee joint. All the doors are open. Of all these businesses, this is where I’ve spent the most time. I’m most familiar with this building, and I think that if anyone was left and came downtown, this is where they would go first.
I enter and am greeted with silence. I’ve never been here alone, without someone behind the counter, and certainly not without sound. Cleaver rests in a corner next to me.
“You know, I would be a lot more scared,” I share with him, “but isn’t this just too weird to believe? I mean I’m standing here, witnessing it, and I don’t believe it.”
“No, seriously. Where is everybody? I’m not important enough to play this level of a joke on, but I’m not unimportant enough to leave behind if something… catastrophic happened. And neither are you.”
Cleaver sneezes. Without constant motion in this shop, the dust is already settling. I breathe an exasperated sigh.
“Well… I’m stealing something. Somehow, I think that will help.”
I jump over the counter and reach into a commercial mini fridge with Snapple’s all lined in a neat row. I find an Arizona iced tea.
As soon as I crack it open I feel a little better. Of course there’s no one around, who would want to be a thief’s accomplice? But the feeling fades as quickly as it came. Must steal again. Leaving the shop I grab a few muffins and throw them in my backpack.
Back in the sun I feel less lonely again. Cleaver is running about chasing birds as they dare to land in the middle of the road. I sip the tea and feel a sudden compulsion to go home, or to break into someone else’s. Something about random acts of crime is comforting to me right now. In a way that these vacant lanes certainly are not.
I decide to go to a doctor’s office and try a computer. The first one I find turns on but doesn’t have internet access. I look for a modem, and try to connect it to the telephone’s land line but for some reason the computer won’t recognize it. It seems simple enough, yet I am incapable of bending this machine to my will. I check my watch. 8:40AM. I’m going to be home by dark. I’m not getting stuck down here.