Not For Long

Manual, a tall, handsome young man, stood to the side of the balcony looking down.

The distance was great, some fourteen floors. Below, people were small, but still people. As much as anyone was a person, at least, in the dark, hateful city. Manual stared at one long, dark mane. Ms. Chavan, from a few doors down. Nice enough, if you caught her on a good day. Always inviting Manual to tea, he liked that.

And there, that bald man. Mr. Michaels. His parents, in a cruel twist, naming him Michael Michaels. Manual had smiled to himself every time he saw the name when mail was misdelivered, thrown in his 1402 rather than the 1502 on the address. He almost felt bad for Michael Michaels, if the man hadn’t been such an insufferable codger. Always with a joke about Manual’s accent. Nothing else. Just the accent.

There, a head he didn’t know. Not that he was sure of any of them – a bit too far to be certain – but the likelihood of the other two was higher. But that one, he didn’t. Blonde hair. Slightly fatter, though not unpleasant, at least from up here. Maybe the hermit in 1511, or maybe a new person. Run, Manual thought. Run while you can. Move somewhere else. Somewhere better. Somewhere not here.

Manual sighed, looked back in his apartment. He considered it, all his things. For a moment, he wondered who would take care of it. No one. No one would, it would all be thrown in the garbage heap, and his life would be forgotten. That was it then.

Without another thought, he let go. As he fell, he regretted the decision, but not for long.


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