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Matt Brock takes another crack at it with Part 6. Enjoy.
Families think their ways are best. They love to protect their own, but they can also alienate. I didn’t really have a choice, I had to leave. And while I was gon
Frank wanted to scream. Without any juice left for the laptop, his mind fired back to Thornton’s words about him chasing the wind. Frank couldn’t believe it. He gathered his belongings and hurried off toward Pretzel Palace, the last shop before the entrance to the mall security office. As Frank passed clothing shops, he smelled the high priced perfumes and colognes exploring the hallways and remembered how little he had growing up. He also remembered how bad he was with saving money. Frank was a duck in a sea of soggy bread crumbs and he licked his lips at the striped button-ups and boot-cut khakis. This money thing will surely be a curse, he thought.
At the door Frank gave a mini morse-code rap on the frame, not the door itself, this was one of Thornton’s rules. There was shuffling about inside and a chair screeched as it was slid along the floor.
“Can I help you?”
“It’s Frank, I need you to show me that tape.”
Thornton considered. He wished he hadn’t spoken at all. He unlatched the door in at least 3 separate places. “Get in here already.” Thornton searched back with his slow rewind button and Frank stood looking over his shoulder. Thornton turned over a metal trash can and patted on it. Frank took his seat. “Ok, here it is, but it’s ‘gainst regulations so don’t you dare go chirppin’ to nobody. This is a one time deal. You’ll have to leave right after because i’m as behind as a horse’s tail today.” Thornton raised his bushy eyebrows. “Deal.”
Frank leaned forward for the show.
Things played out as Thornton described. Random shoppers passing from both sides of the booth. The end of the line to the Japanese fast-food place extending into the top left of the frame. Frank burst out of the booth like he was escaping a burning building and then the most peculiar thing, Frank stood staring. Whatever he looked at was outside of the camera’s view, but it held his attention for almost 10 seconds, as seen by the real-time clock at the bottom of the screen. Suddenly, and at the most awkard time, Frank hurried out of shot and even bumped the shoulder of a young man walking by. He was gone. There was no woman, no red-headed child.
“See.” Thornton swivelled around and leaned back. “Now get yourself home, I got real work to do.” Frank wanted to argue, wanted to debate, but he had no case. He shut the door behind him and walked slowly back through the maze of shoe departments and stands with board games and calenders of young pop singers and small clothed puppies. The last thing he heard before awaking from his stupor at the front door of his apartment building was two men in the food court having a discussion about urban sprawl and they were laughing. The fatter man was laughing more.
Frank was at the same apartment door that he used to walk into with Janell. The same creak of 100 year old hard-wood flooring. The same. Frank dropped his keys while fumbling with them and his landlord’s wife opened up from two doors down and stepped out into the hall. Tina might have been beautiful at one time, before the meth and cigarettes.
“Frank, rent’s due.”
“Yes, i’ll have it by tomorrow.”
A small blonde child peeked her head around her mother’s skinny legs. Tina looked down. “Sissy, go get momma her cigees, ok?” The girl smiled as she trotted back and returned a moment later with a pack of Marlborough Lights. “Well, bye then.” Tina shut the door.
Frank opened his door and thought before walking in. Some people deserve money, and others shouldn’t get a dime.