Snakes and Pills

168 - weep key

Geoff was out of breadsticks. Again. He couldn't believe it, as he just went shopping for groceries three days ago. He ran through the experience in his mind. Crowded. The grocery store was very crowded. Meat. Cereal. A bag of grapes.

No breadsticks. His entire memory of the experience was not altogether clear, but he was fairly certain that he had never grasped a bag of fresh breadsticks in his hands at the store. The lack of breadsticks in the kitchen confirmed his recollection.

Geoff wandered from the kitchen over toward the living room. He poked his head through the entrance to the room, catching a peep of his roommate Taylor. He was lazily reclining on the sofa, mindlessly watching some daytime drivel.

Geoff felt partially responsible for his roommate's activity, or lack thereof. Before he had moved in, Taylor lived alone without a television in the house. Geoff had brought the flatscreen and cable package with him. He thought he needed it, but Taylor was the one that ended up dependent on it.

"Hey man," Geoff attempted to get his roommate's attention over the yakking of the TV judge. "I'm going to head out to the price club. You need anything?"

Taylor did not divert his attention from the courtroom proceedings. He wasn't trying to be rude to Geoff, he was just really engaged in this case. "Weren't you just there a few days ago?" he finally asked, multitasking.

"Yeah. Forgot to grab breadsticks," Geoff admitted.

"Ah," Taylor nodded in understanding. He knew a thing or two about forgetting, and he also knew how important breadsticks were to his roommate. He was just about to tell Geoff that he didn't need anything from the store.

"We'll be right back, after these words from our sponsors," the announcer on the TV suddenly said over the sound effect of a gavel banging. Taylor's mind changed.

"How are you getting there?" he asked Geoff.

"Walking, I guess," Geoff shrugged.

"Want a ride there instead?" his roommate offered.

"Sure, man. If it's no big deal to you, of course. I'd appreciate a lift, but it's not a problem if I have to walk there, either."

Taylor flicked the TV off before the commercials ended and the show tempted him back to lethargy. "Nah, it's no problem. You ready to go now?" he asked.

Taylor's minivan was dirty and beat up, but to Geoff it was rather nice. He never owned a car in his life, so anything with four wheels and an engine was luxurious. He pushed the empty fast food boxes aside as he hopped into the passenger seat.

The air conditioner didn't work, but with the windows down, the afternoon breeze was cool enough. Geoff watched as they whizzed past sidewalks he'd still be trudging upon if he were walking. It took him about forty minutes to walk to the price club, each way. He didn't mind, the walk gave him time to take the city in. And to think.

A car ride was a nice thing, though. Once in a while.

The roommates were making idle chatter about their jobs when they pulled up to yet another red light. A homeless man at the bus stop on the corner got their attention by shouting into Geoff's window. He asked if they could loan him a few bucks.

Geoff and Taylor looked at each other. Geoff made no movement, but Taylor was already reaching for his wallet. From it, he plucked a crisp twenty-dollar bill.

"Give it to him," Taylor told Geoff. Geoff was surprised by Taylor's generosity, and he felt guilty about his own total lack of charity. By now, the light had changed, and the cars behind them began honking.

Geoff attempted to quickly throw the bill at the man. The paper fluttered listlessly in the air.


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