He's out at night, again.
So is she.
It's not just that it's a wildly out of place object, in a dark alleyway on the bad side of town that smells like gasoline and cigarettes and piss. It's the way that everything goes quiet, when he looks at it, even though he couldn't hear anything before. It's the way it shines from the inside, fluorescent through its frosted windows. It's that shade of blue, that's just like any other shade of blue and yet somehow it -
He's transfixed, he doesn't know why. He walks toward it, softly.
What's that song he doesn't hear? Solemn and misty -
He traces the backs of his fingers across the surface of the wood, like petting a cat. It's cool, it's smooth. And it's real. He hadn't realized he'd been wondering.
He hears a sharp swipe of laughter, from around the corner, and snatches his hand away -
(And he knows they're not laughing at him, whoever it is can't even see him, he's not stupid.)
- and stuffs it in his pocket, and hunches into his coat. Walks away.
It's the next morning, and he's lying in bed in his pajamas, and -
So, on the one hand, his shift starts in ten minutes, and just the other day his manager chewed him out about how he can't miss any more days of work and especially can't miss any more days of work without letting anyone know that he's not coming in or else (reading between the lines, because he's capable of reading between the fucking lines) he's gonna get himself fired, and it's not like he doesn't have any money in his savings account but it's not enough to survive on very long, if he needs to survive on it because for example he got himself fired from his job because he's a lazy shitclown who blew off work one too many times, and he can still get to wok on time if he gets up now and scrambles into some clothes and grabs his keys and shit and runs out the door since the convenience store where he works is just around the corner (which incidentally makes it a lot more pathetic, to his thinking, that he keeps missing work) -
- but on the other hand, he sure doesn't seem to be moving, right now. He sure doesn't seem to be getting out of bed. He sure seems to be making the deliberate decision to blow off work, again, when he knows it'll get him fired.
He wakes up, again, to the sound of his phone ringing, and has the unpleasant realization that he went back to sleep. He looks at the clock, and it's the middle of the day, which means he's three hours late for work. He looks at his phone, and the caller ID says "Manager."
So yeah he's definitely fired.
And suddenly he's fucking furious, and he doesn't have anything to be furious at because it's his own fucking fault, and he picks up the phone and hurls it at the wall of his tiny fucking apartment. THUMP.
There's a muffled "go fuck yourself" sort of sound from the next apartment over.
He grits his teeth and glares at nothing, and rolls his neck.
His phone stops ringing, after a few moments, and just like that it all drains out of him. Who gives a shit, right.
He lets himself fall backward, back into bed,
and goes back to sleep.
And so: he's out at night, again.
First thing he does that night is stop by his favorite ATM and take out a couple hundred bucks. If he's gonna stop trying to be a person and just wander around until -
- well, he might as well have a nice meal, and some walking-around money, while he's out.
He walks, hunched into his coat, down dark streets, and steps into a bright, buzzingly lit 24-hour diner, across the street from yesterday's alley.
He orders a soda and eggs over easy and slumps into a booth, and stares out the window.
The box is still there, impishly blue.
He rests his head against the glass, cool and smooth, and looks at it.
He startles, a little, at the sound of a plate being set down, and looks; the cashier's brought him his food.
"Thanks," he says quietly.
"Hey," he says, looking up from his eggs. "Do you know what that thing across the street is?" He gestures with his fork toward the blue booth.
He picks at his eggs and takes a sip of his soda and looks out the window at it again.
It's still and quiet and waiting.
He finishes his eggs.
He fishes a couple bills out of his pocket and tosses them on the table. "I'm all set here. Keep the change."
He leaves, and jogs across the street.