The Ocelot's Coat

  Aside from his name and unpaid rent, Dingus MacPherson didn't have many problems. Well, maybe the overdue alimony. And the child support. And it was raining: a slanty, cold, windswept rain that cuffed at him like a frozen shower curtain.

  Still, he was enjoying life, slowly chewing on a delightfully singed  salmon steak and looking forward to another sip of the wine.

  He reached for it. 

  "Gone, buddy," rasped Heap, draining the last of the three-dollar hootch and tossing the bottle down the alley.  Heap burped mightily.

   "You'd better be, too, " he added as he nodded towards the service door, which was being hooked open from the inside by a plastic-covered shoe. Heap shambled off into the inky recesses of the alley.

   Dingus looked up.

   "Git outta my dumpster, bum," muttered the slab of man who had appeared in the doorway.

   "I'm not a bum in either the anatomical or vernacular sense, Sir," said Dingus grandly, standing slowly to his full height of six-six and raising a chunk of watery cheesecake over his head.

   "Nor is it technically your dumpster. And, my good man, I shall leave only when I have enjoyed my dessert."

   "Well then, here's your doggie-bag," sneered the door man. He underhanded a bulging plastic bag which struck Dingus on the shoulder, knocking his dessert back into the dumpster's depths. The steel door slammed as Dingus brushed at his jacket and straightened his indigo bow tie.

    He climbed easily out of the dining area and looked up at the sheeting rain.

    "You know, Heap, precipitation is an interesting word. It's from the Latin precipitare, of course, meaning 'to throw down'. But - as different as we are - it's one of the few things that you, I, that ill-mannered restaurant employee, and clouds can do. We can all of us precipitate."

    He reflected for a moment.

    "And scud, I suppose. We and clouds can scud. And block the sunlight."

     He reflected another moment.

     "Never mind, Heap. Silly thought. It turns out that there's much that we and clouds have in common. I'm off."  

     Humming a slightly off-key Mozart, Dingus MacPherson tilted his damp bowler slightly and strode off towards the street.

The End

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