So what can I say? My muse is a b-. She doesn't even let me finish before she serves me another. Curveballs most of them, and then she runs away to hide, laughing snidely as she leaves me stranded in the deep blue.
Peekaboo, is it? 'Well young lady, let me tell you ... Ouch... '
Yep, she fights dirty.
It was Christmas, and cold.
Drew was standing outside the tube station trying to decide how he was going to spend the night, riding the train or to look for somewhere else. He had just enough money to get some food, or for the tube, but not both. It was in times like this he wished that he knew how to beg.
It had started to snow, and as the first snowflakes started to fall he finally made up his mind. There had to be a homeless shelter somewhere that could give him a place for the night, not that he ever had been there but he had read about it in a newspaper he found earlier.
It was near Christmas and according to the paper the time of year when there was a surplus of volunteers feeling that Christmas charity wanting to draw their straw to the stack. Not that Drew wanted any of that, but he did need some food and a bed.
You couldn't really call him a cynic, he didn't care enough about anything to become one, no, Drew just wanted to be left alone. As he looked in the paper he studied the address again, 34 Lexington Street.
'Well, can't say that I'm overwhelmed with options here.' He contemplated as he looked up at the cloudy overhang, hiding the sky as a big plug inserted above, shaded in a dark and sinister grey. After considering his options some more he found his mind already made up, his legs already starting to take those first treacherous steps.
As he walked Drew wondered why he even bothered, after all, there were ways to get out of this more or less self inflicted misery. It might have to do with his upbringing, not that he was religious in any way but he had at a short period of his life been placed with a woman, Viola, and her man. They had both been involved with the Salvation Army, and it was some of the best memories he had from his childhood.
He had only been there for a year, maybe two, he wasn't really sure, those memories he had from his childhood was at best vague, but he had missed her terrible when she at last died from her cancer. They hadn't let him see her as she waited on her deathbed, and that he hated them for. After that he had other homes but nothing that could compare with her.
When it came to charity and the organizations involved in it he didn't care that much, he knew all to well how the world worked, and how the people involved made it a business, some even expecting it to make them rich. Well, after all money had no conscience, only humans were expected to have that.
He had found it a shame and a disappointment though, reading how some of the financially responsible had embezzled money from the Salvation Army. Viola's faith had been of a simple and wholehearted kind, making the world a little lighter just by her being there.
As he at last came up to the right door he hesitated. He wasn't that religious really, and being of little faith he almost felt as if he was trespassing as he opened the door. Inside the long hall he found streamers hanging in the roof proclaiming ' a very merry Christmas.' And he could hear Christmas music coming from some of the rooms adjoining it.
'It's very posh' he thought as he looked around, the wallpaper engraved with gold, of a rich green shade. He thought that he had seen some hotels less posh than this 'homeless centre'. As he walked into the room from where the loudest music came he found it empty, just having a lot of folded tables, still standing against the walls, waiting to be packed up.
"Hey you, come over here." A voice called him.
As he looked he saw it belonged to a man in his mid fifties, perhaps a little older, dangerously balancing on the ladder he was standing on, as he in vain tried to put a star on the top of the Christmas tree standing in a corner.
"Can you hold the ladder for me? Before I fall and die, preferably?"
As he went over to hold it the man started to talk with him.
"Are you one of the movers? We sure need some help. Strange, we even had to refuse some wanting the work and then come this flu. Now we're so short of people that we had to rent you guys in instead. Well, that's life I guess, what's your name?"
"Hi Drew, I'm Gerald. Do you think you could start to get the tables up? We want them to become one big long table formed as a 'U' with enough space in between that people can move freely. Do you think you could fix that for me?"
Drew nodded, he felt a strong reluctance telling him that he had come only looking for charity.
It felt better having to work for his food than just getting it for free. He would let Gerald keep his illusions for now, perhaps he even could hide away here later? To get some sleep inside for a change. As he looked at the paper he had in his hand he realized that he was much too early, and looking some more at the room and the polished marble floor, he also realized that this hardly could be a 'homeless centre'.
More probably it was some rich society's, the Lions club perhaps? Someone's posh property anyway, getting readied for a Christmas feast. If it was for the homeless or not he couldn't care less, as long as he could sleep here for a night. And as he studied the address again he saw that he had got the address totally screwed up. What he had thought to be Lexington street should have been Lexton street, and 34 wasn't right either, 43 was more like it.
'What the heck, if I'm lucky enough there might even be some free food' he thought as he started to unfold the tables, trying to place them as Gerald wanted, and boy, was he ever hungry. After finishing with the tables, he started all over again with the chairs, now finding the hunger pangs coming harder.
As he looked at the clock hanging over the door he realized that the time had flown away, it was getting late. If he wanted to buy some food he needed to leave to buy something now, before the shops closed down. As he looked after Gerald he realized that he had disappeared. Instead he saw a young girl standing, looking at him through the door opening. Smiling at her he called.
"Miss, would you know where Gerald is?"
"Dad, someone wants to speak with you." She called out the door. As Gerald came back, looking quite stressed, Drew told him that he needed to leave for a while.
"Why. Look Drew, somehow you're the only mover that came. Nadine said there would be three of you? Couldn't you stay a little longer, we need all help we can get here?"
"I just need to get something to eat Sir."
"Eat? Lena, get him to the kitchen, pronto girl, and fix him a meal will you. You're too valuable to let go of now Drew, you stay right here, we will have work up to our ears before we get this arranged."
As Lena led him through a long passageway to the kitchen Drew started to feel as if things, for once in his life, were going the same way as him. As she sat him down to wait for his meal, placing him at an old massive sort of kitchen table, he took the chance to look around. It was a really big, old fashioned, type of kitchen with wood stoves, and from where he sat, at least, two electrical ones too.
There was a flurry of activity in it, everywhere women running around, fixing and doing, and to that you could add the heavenly smell of newly baked bread, hanging over it all as an odorous cloud, with all kinds of food being prepared on the stoves. It was also warm, very warm, and as Drew sat there he could feel himself nodding of. The night before he had just walked, the whole night through, trying to keep his warmth as he waited for the dawn, and just being able to bask inside, in the warmth, made it a wonder for his tired muscles and joints.
As Lena came back with the food she tried to wake him, but by then he was long gone with Morpheus, enjoying the wondrous sights as they happily chatted away, she looked amazingly like some girl he seemed to know too? All in all it made a heck of a better dream than the nightmares he had became used to. After shaking his shoulder and calling his name softly a couple of times Lena decided to leave him to his sleep. She looked at the food, it would be a shame letting it go to waste she decided sitting down opposite him, starting to eat. After all, she was hungry too.
Taking her time with it she watched as Drew slept, he wasn't bad looking she thought, a little thin perhaps but still nice, and the way he snored made her smile. She idly wondered what had happened to the other movers as she watched his hair lift from his nose, just to fall down again, keeping a steady rhythm with his snoring. As she looked at him she suddenly realized that he was lucky to fall asleep before her getting him his food, thinking that he could just as well have felt asleep in the soup instead.
As she looked up she saw Nadine hurrying past. "Nadine, Dad wondered where the other movers you had hired were?"
"Didn't I tell him? They cancelled it, the flu they said."
"No you didn't, but I'll tell him."
"God girl, gotta rush Lena, a thousand things to do."
As Nadine smiled at her, she also witnessed Drew snoring away.
"Who's he Lena? And whatever did you do to him? To make him that tired?"
"It's Drew, Dad thought he was one of the movers so he enforced him into helping us."
"Oh God, that poor man. Your Dad's a slavedriver Lena, tell him that from me, bye now girl."
.... There is more of this story ...