Sun came in through one half of a window—the other half was covered by a wardrobe that he used as a pantry.
Light through the uncovered half like a two by four.
The wardrobe–he wasn’t able to get it upstairs and the wardrobe had turned out to be functional for him anyway. He’d told people this, the couple or few total people that had each been by at different times.
Honestly, he’d say to them, It’s not bad having it down here and taking up not that much space in the corner. Mostly though, he’d been watching some survival shows in the living room. Shows on TV about how people make it own their own, how they called ‘off the grid.’
Hunt, forage, protect.
But off the grid and on TV—shook his head at that one, he may not be a genius but those two things can’t be reconciled.
Thought over how that could work out, with the TV and for as long as he could stand or maybe he’d just started on something else.
Then he was wondering what had made him move to the woods.
Humanity or society or whatever.
Still got a gas bill, electricity. It was only November and he already couldn’t afford heat and they’d know where to find him.
The move out here—hadn’t been thinking about it much because of regret, the move, no nono, he had already been thinking, saying this all to himself, and his having been thinking led to the thought.
If it was a good idea. What is a good idea.
He wasn’t sure what to do, start since he got here and he wasn’t sure if he believed any of the reasons he gave to the people for his moving away from them, the people who’d wanted to know and asked him things like: Have you been there before? Is it nice? Have you thought much about this? You getting sick of the city? Why not move back to your old town, where your family is from at least? Trying to save some cash? Who’s keeping an eye on you?
Maybe they were laughing at him as he answered their questions, since he’d been thinking about it, on top of everything else. He couldn’t tell if he couldn’t tell or just couldn’t remember.
All these things were asked of him frequently, and sure, they all thought him to be directionless, having no ability to climb, like not participating in some general pursuit. Repeatedly being asked things that they would laugh no matter how he answered or what kind of house he lived in. Everyone he could think of laughing at him and for what, moving east. He couldn’t picture them crying if he had gone west.
It seemed to him, that he knew this: he didn’t miss it with the how many and how few ways there were to get around, no, none of all of that, the constant noise, apathy and viciousness and how it cost money to do anything there, like to use a shopping cart at the big chain grocery story: $1.00. Stumbling up and down the aisles a mess, having to keep picking up the things he had dropped, trying to grab things off of the shelves, opening the frozen dinner refrigerators, eventually breaking down to cycling through things he had picked up earlier on, putting them back on the shelves in wrong places in exchange for the things he went by as he progressed through the store that had seemed more important; all the decisions on top of it all.
Sometimes things still happened to him though, since he’d moved to the woods, that affected him. He did some things impulsively and sometimes he couldn’t get something started that he wanted to finish, like get a move on.
Usually wanted to be in the other mood when he was in one.
When one was happening.
Once from the living room, he saw some movement through the window half covered by the wardrobe. Some pile of grey-brown and blurry in the brush.
He put on his boots and went to see.
Coy-wolf pups squeaking around a dead one, mixed into the bramble and dead leaves off the trail head leading to one of the locals’ fishing spots. He thought, All this happening across the street from the house.
Never heard of the things, the coy-wolves, until he saw the survival shows.
Right in from of him, some of the pups were still trying to nurse.
At work the next day, he tried to tell the story. They all said, What’s that? What’re those? in their own ways and looked at him like there was something they didn’t believe about it.
Or the neighbors, when he’d told them or asked, said they didn’t see a damn thing.
Nathan Dragon has appeared in or is forthcoming in NOON, NY Tyrant, Egress, 7x7, 3:AM. Dragon is currently trying to write a book.