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The Shape in the Doorway

August 22, 2016

The other night… There’s shouting outside in the parking lot facing my apartment, so I get up to take a look. My door is open, but I can’t see anything between or beyond the luminosity of my back-lit front room and the darkness outdoors. I take a hit of medicinal marijuana, my third or fourth this evening, go the door holding my breath, squint then look outside.

I spot a full grown man, my neighbor’s son. He’s parked right outside my apartment and shouting something unintelligible at an assumable friend. I don’t know either’s names. And I’ve never met the man personally. I’m certain we’ve spied each other in the daytime, but neither of us have stopped, closed the gap between us and introduced one to the other.

The moment I’m ready to expel the therapeutic vapor from my lungs, that son sees me and he just stares, looking blindly at my shadowed shape in the doorway. He eventually says, “Hello, big man.”

“Odd,” I’m thinking. “Who shouts hello from parking lots to strangers after dark.

I reply with a muffled and stunted, “Hello.” And I wait until he turns away before I blow smoke.

Not much time has passed, but in truth, after four hits of marijuana, I’ve already transcended the temporal. In any respect, he – as in the man outside – he turns away and he speaks to his obvious friend. I am released, at least from that restraint on my lungs. I’ve still said nothing more then returned a greeting when those other two begin walking away. Everything seems normal, peaceful once again. But then that son turns his head and strains his neck and stares at me again.

“Odder still,” I quietly wonder. “Is he on drugs, drunk?”

“Probably,” I answer myself. “It is Friday night. Summer.” Yet his fixed gaze is disturbing, disquieting. The guy stares at me like I’m waving my dick at him.

While he disappears into darkness – the opposite direction of his mother’s apartment, I wonder, “Where is he going?” We all know there is a homeless guy in that direction, one who sells methamphetamine. The LA cops have busted the operation a couple times. They even fenced off the nearby dried-up streambed where derelicts would camp. All the same, even today, there are disaffected transients roaming outside peddling anything from yarn jewelry to much harder stuff.

“Carpe diem,” I mutter aloud and out of earshot of the strange passerby’s. “Caveat emptor.” And they are gone.

In modern American English, I still think, “Don’t stare at another man’s dick, son.” I will need to speak to his mother about this.

– Mr. Binger

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