Pine Street Episode 5

Leo finds no magic to relieve him of having to make his own decisions.

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As Franny went back to cooking her soup, Leo sat by his telephone. In this day and age of mobile phones, “sitting by his telephone” meant he was parked in a camp chair on the back porch of his building, with his cell phone in the pouch made to hold the camper’s beverage. This particular camp chair was lopsided, the canvas on the left arm worn nearly away, but he’d given his two best camp chairs to Franny as temporary seating for her place. Leo wore his parka to stay warm on the cold night, sipped his beer, and stared at his phone.

He liked being outside, even when the temperature dipped below freezing, as it was doing this evening. About six inches of snow lingered on the ground in places where cars or feet hadn’t yet crushed it into sheets of dirty, lumpy ice. Leo breathed in the cold air and sighed. He felt in his pocket for a coin – heads he’d call her, tails he’d drink more beer until he forgot how bored he was.

But no coin appeared, so there was no magic to relieve him of having to make his own decisions. “Damn,” he said out loud, his breath floating a clump of steam in front of his face. His own decisions nearly always led him astray, he reflected, and, oddly, he did not feel in the mood for going astray this beautiful winter night.

Oddly, because he could barely remember any time in the last five years he’d not been in the mood for going astray. This realization unnerved him enough to grab another beer from the six pack beside his camp chair, and stash his phone in the pocket inside his parka.

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