He parked himself in denial years ago. A stereotype behind the wheel, he refused to ask directions and insisted on reading his map any damn way he wanted. It was upside down. He smoked his smokes and drank his drinks and chuckled at the naysayers who warned him of death. Now he smirks, and thinks, “They were still wrong. Its not the death that means anything. Its the landscape.” His lungs confirm this assessment. Bristles of perspiration tingle him all over, under his tummy rolls, beneath his unmentionables.
His real name is George, but today he thinks of himself as the boy raised in the rainforest (or was it a jungle), surrounded by pitiless wild animals with only the thought to devour him, or ignore him if a better meal is in view. It fits rather well given the selfish, oblivious nature of his son and ex-wife. These stairs are his daily hell. He is too proud to refuse or complain. The 38-year old man who still lives at home, his son, remains a “mama’s boy,” which explains why he remains clueless and disengaged from his father’s plight. His ex-tormentor, Sarah? He divorced the woman 18 years ago. The only difference George had been able to enjoy was that she’d moved out and occasionally (he’d begrudgingly learned of her debacles through their son) played the fool for all to see, flirting with the butcher at the supermarket.
He was actually in line once at the front when he’d heard her cackle. He’d instinctively whipped his head toward the hideous but familiar squawk as one would turn at the sound of screeching tires, only to see the encore. “Oh, hellooooooa!” she waved her entire 63 year old body at the poor man behind the meat counter. “God help us! What is wrong with that ridiculous witch?” George snarled to himself. The timid Mr. Schultz, caught in the middle of handing a more sane customer a pound of salami, had issued forth an awkward cough. It was sort of the thing you would expect to happen after realizing your credit card was declined, or you’d locked your keys in the car. Susan had turned to the lady friend she was with in line and giggled like a school girl, as if the camera was on but her mic wasn’t working. She hadn’t even noticed her friend’s mouth agape or her pink cheeks of embarrassment. Oblivious!