Jesse Jarnow

looper in the dark, no. 3

(Short fiction, shorter increments.)

Looper in the Dark: no. 1, no. 2, no. 3, no. 4, no. 5, no. 6, no. 7, no. 8, no. 9, no. 10, no. 11, no. 12

It was perhaps on account of the offness that Looper was even there, in the other neighborhood. That is what he called it: the offness. Looper considered this as he walked west on 79th Avenue. To be fair, he had not yet called it that to anyone. He merely thought it. Nobody else seemed to do even that.

Like the new secretary. She reminded him of wool, dense wool. She was the one who sent him to the neighborhood. The printed dispatcher sheet was in his coat pocket. Its folds were uneven, of course, despite his best efforts. The destination was far afield, a distance from his office’s assigned territory. “That’s what the computer says,” the secretary shrugged, chewing her gum.

The wind was biting. Looper counted Salvation Army Santas. He looked for a pattern in their distribution. At least his scarf still worked as it should. He crossed a plaza. He remembered a farmer’s market he’d once been to there. On its far side, everything was normal again.