You couldn’t really blame Grenshaw for his actions that night. He had been at work for the past twelve hours, negotiating with stubborn buyers on a suitable price for his principal money-maker: orange juice. It had been a hell of a day, and he was exhausted. But it had also been a successful day, which is how he justified buying himself sesame-glazed chicken and a bottle of wine on his way home.
The restaurant – a high end place called Nouveau Au Jous – had some trouble fulfilling his wishes. No one had ordered real carryout from them in years. That sort of thing they left to the street vendors or burger joints, who could hand over the food directly, no dishes or napkins involved.
Eventually, Grenshaw offered to just buy the expensive plastic receptacle – Tupperware, they called it – and some utensils to go with the meal.
He walked out of the restaurant and got on his bike, looking forward to his brief ride home and a relaxing night of video clip browsing. But when he turned the key, the power light turned blue: he was out of juice.
Ironic, no? The region’s largest vendor of orange juice runs out of it on his ride home.
Swearing at himself, he started walking home with his wine and his chicken. Of course, it started raining ten minutes into his walk, so he ducked under an apartment awning to wait it out. Since there was no telling how long he’d be waiting, he started eating his dinner. He pulled the top off the Tupperware and dug into the chicken with zeal.
The first two bites were wonderful. The sesame glaze danced across his taste buds, and the warm meat recharged his drained body. He paused after his second bite, sighed with contentment, and gazed across the dark, rain-soaked cityscape, thinking that maybe the day hadn’t been so bad after all, that actually, it had been quite fulfilling.
But then he thought he saw a pair of eyes glowing in the dark alley across the street, and the sight startled him enough that he dropped his chicken.
“Damn it!” he shouted, anger flooding his body. He almost threw his bottle of wine on the ground, but he paused as he considered that it would just result in his feeling more sorry for himself.
And yet, there was something very satisfying about self-pity. He held the bottle over his head, poised to smash it on the ground and then wallow in his regret, but the rain stopped suddenly. He raised his mad eyes from the target he had been imagining on the pavement and muttered to himself, “screw it.”
He uncorked the wine and chugged half the bottle, then stood there squinting across the street into the dark alley. He threw the Tupperware and what remained of his wine toward the now-vanished pair of eyes and started walking home.
to be continued . . .