So now that I’ve (theoretically) stopped working, life has become… different. First thing I did was, of course, call AT&T to beg and plead them into unblocking port 25 so that I could setup a mail server. No luck, of course. And it isn’t worth paying them money, either – the person on the live chat was more than happy to give me their higher-level tech support that, if I gave them money, *might* unblock port 25 if I upgraded plans, etc.

Note to self: ISP’s like money.

The boy opened his eyes. He rolled over from being sprawled on his back, and flopped onto his front. Dry leaves rustled under him. It was dawn. His head hurt. Where’s Mommy and Daddy? Where am I? His headed lolled over to one side, and he took in the sight of a Beatle smashed against a tree.

A Beatle? Mommy drives a Beatle! The boy stood up on wobbly legs and stumbled over. He leaned on the car. There was soot. Why was there soot? Where is Mommy and Daddy? His eight-year-old brain didn’t notice that both doors had been forcibly torn off by firefighters. He turned around. And around. “Mommy? Daddy?”

No response. He spotted a little house tucked behind some trees a little ways away. He wobbled over, his head still pounding, and opened the door. “Mommy?”

He heard only the echo, and the creak of the floor as he entered. He broke into a wailing cry when he heard his echo, and cried himself to sleep.

When he woke up, he realized that he needed to take stock of the situation. Like every boy on the block, he was a diligent follower of every episode of Survivor. He knew that they always took stock of the situation first. He didn’t know exactly what it meant, though – something about finding clothes and fire.

He found clothes quickly enough. He found them along with a discarded box that said “Field Drug Testing Kit.” It looked a lot like the last episode of CSI, which he also diligently watched.

Fire was a little harder. After some searching, he found a can of Sterno and some matches. By then he was hungry, so he looked in the kitchen. All he found was some moldy bread, peanut butter, and a bag of walnuts that had weird little paper packets inside them. He also found a little note that said “We’ll be back.” It looked like his parent’s handwriting, so he saved the note in his pocket.

That’s how his life went for a couple of days. Search the house until he was hungry, then eat something. That’s how it went until he ran out of food.

He had found a map with the house in the center of a lot of circles marked 15min, 30min, 1hr., and so forth. He found Tulsa somewhere between the 1hr circle and the 1hr 30min circle, so he decided he would walk to town and see what he could find out.

He didn’t find out much, except that Tulsa is not very big – Nowhere near as big as where he lived in Houston. He also learned that a big hotel was hiring people, and that the manager was very nice and gave the boy a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The manager pounded the table and asked a few questions, like who are you, why are you here, but the boy just ate his sandwich. The manager seemed friendly, but he really liked to pound the table.

When he finished the sandwich, the manager pounded the table, and said “Well, m’boy, you sure are a hungry little shrimp. How’d you like to have a job, and get yerself a sandwich every day?”

The boy’s eyes opened wide and he eagerly nodded.

The manager nodded, and pounded the table again “Okay then. Show up tomorrow at dawn. I’ll teach ya to be a footman.”

And that’s how the boy’s life went for the next seven years. He’d get up in the morning, go to work, get a free sandwich, get a little cash, and go home. After a year, he earned enough to buy himself a bike, so he biked to work. He grew to be a nice boy, although mysterious – quiet, continuously distant, prefers not to talk about his past, friends, and family. After a few years he befriended a local named Tom – a year older than him, having lived in Oklahoma his whole life and working as a doorman to help support his dying mother after his father died. And that’s how life went for seven years.

The boy grew to forget the day that his car was swiped off the road by an unknown assailant, how he alone was saved by being thrown through the windshield after the car hit a tree. He remembered all that after the first couple months, but made himself forget after a few more years.

But it all came back to him now, seven years later, watching the same drama unfold for someone he’d met only hours beforehand. He had a sense, deep down, that his life would never be the same again. He steadied himself on the burned Aston Martin, took a deep breath, and did what he needed to do for seven years. He cried.


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