Joshua was without hope as he staggered from a back alley in the three-thirty-morning version of New York, a chilly fall breeze blind-siding him and causing tears to sting his red eyes, a sickly drip to tickle his itchy nose, and a wheezing wisp of exhaust to gag his already restricted breathing.
Sick and desperate as he was, he was probably the most sober person stalking the streets tonight. He'd seen many of the other variant, some breathing breaths of sickly fire and spitting with sour swears and insults. He'd done his best to avoid that type, but even without their depressing presence, the world still seemed desolate and hurtful.
Joshua was down on the end of his string, yanking his own chain while his flag hung lower than half mast, the last straw barely keeping him up while his buttons remained forever pressed and his mind forever rattled. He had a few problems, to say the least. It had all started when he'd been fired by a man with less seniority than himself. The man who'd fired him was a corporate monkey, climbing the ladders as if his tail was on fire, and Joshua just wasn't the right species.
And Joshua had been on a business trip when it had happened. So, returning to his company-paid-for hotel, he had felt a few emotions towards the absorbing luxuries of the suite. One thing leading to the next, he'd managed to get himself tossed out onto the street.
His over-priced suit jacket had been ditched quite quickly as the mud from a million cabs somehow found it's mark, and his clunky dress shoes had been traded in for a pair of sneakers with a moment's rebellious grin. And then he had trudged the streets, refusing to find a new hotel, and refusing to prematurely join the homeless. And now he was here on this desolate avenue between the simple lamp posts and the petrified and lifeless, dirty-twigged trees. Exhaustion weighed heavily upon him like a smog while his heart continued to burn it away like a trash can fire in a dark alley.
He leaned against a post with a little less energy than the man who sings in the rain, and he began to stare down the passing cars with a little less energy than a boy watching a parade that marched straight from the gates of hell.
"Shit," he stated. The word sounded like poetry. And then, "What's this?"
He pushed himself back onto his sore heels and gave the pole a studious glare. A single piece of paper clung desperately to the pole with a muddy, soggy exclamation of hope.
Any problem can be solved! And we're the one's to do it!
He crossed his eyes, blinked, and then focused. What was this? He read the tagline.
Everyone has problems. What are yours? Call now and we'll make things happen.
The only other mark of ink upon this small square of paper was a phone number. He frowned.
"What a stupid ad," he cursed. "Who would actually call them? They don't say what kind of problems they solve. Are they offering psychiatric therapy and counseling or are they offering mechanical technician services? They don't even specify."
He flicked a finger at the paper, and it rattled with another night breeze. It did not explain itself. And that bothered Joshua.
"You know what?" he muttered. "I am going to catch them on their stupidity. They want to hear my problems? I'll tell 'em. I'll ask them to give me my job back. And I'll ask them to fix my car too. We'll see what they're really all about..."
He took out his cell phone, which was on its last wheels, and made the call. His snicker was clearly audible through the line, up until the point when the receptionist said a few words.