When Morris Safford left the convenience store, it was drizzling steadily. He, for some reason, wore only a windbreaker over his thin cotton shirt and a pair of khaki slacks that day. His socks were thick to cushion his poorly-circulating feet, but they were soaking in the wet droplets striking his ankles where the socks were exposed above his penny loafers. He was almost six feet tall and his head and shoulders stooped slightly forward, casualties of aging and the passing of time and the stress of his constant anxieties. His large silver-rimmed glasses were spattered with rain. His unruly gray brown hair collected water beads as he shuffled out to his car at the far parking space beyond the outdoor ice bag freeze on the sidewalk.
Morris cqrried a wet paper bag that contained Fritos bean dip, a pair of small pliers, several single bottles of Bacardi, and a local car sales circular. His hands were large and knobby at the knuckles, swollen like knots at the bends of a think branch in a tree. His blue Toyota Tercel was from a year before the new millenium rolled over, simple, and unglamorous, and aged like him. The plastic trim stripe running down the passenger side of the car had fallen off the vehicle years ago, on some road in some sun-parched region of southern California, where he had used to live. There was a dent in the rear door on the driver’s side where a truck had backed into the car. It was a dent that was like gouge. It was a little vee of space pressed into the door.
Morris didn’t really care about that, because he never thought about it. He didn’t think about cosmetic things.
He fumbled about in his pocket trying to locate a set of keys in a front pocket rich with coins, curios, and a loop of wire laced through a hundred aluminum can tabs. The keys did not produce themselves while rain dripped off of Morris’ lenses. Morris breathed with his mouth open and spit the uninvited liquid off of his lips. Like a great machine, the absence of keys in his pocket led his mind to a probable situation calculator.
He heaved a heavy sigh after machinations ran their brief course, and turned around with his soaked bag containing necessities, and slowly crept up the sidewalk to the store’s front doors. With effort he pulled the nearest one open and spit rain off his lips again before he brought his soaked frame back inside to search for his keychain.