Jesse Jarnow

looper in the dark, no. 9

(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

Christmas fell on a Tuesday that year, so the city closed its offices the Friday previous. As usual, Looper would go to his cousins’ home east of the city for dinner. He did not see them often. This year, he looked forward to the three-hour train ride more than he had since his wife died.

The final straw came on Saturday night, however. Looper had called the cousins to remind him he was coming. He opened the window to admit cold air into the room to mingle with the radiator’s pleasant humidity. Instead, the offness filled his apartment, and he felt as if at the bottom of the ocean.

Looper had the sense to bundle up before he walked onto the street. He did not rush. It was late. The city was silent. He needed to surface. Looper again walked west on 79th Avenue. Soon, he would reach the plaza. And, on the other side of the plaza, he would emerge into the normal. It was only when he got there that he remembered how close he was to the factory.