Bing! Getting in the elevator, Roger became aware of the pungent birth of citrus, he tried to turn, but the car was packed people pushing people shoving with the lunch crowd. Maybe it was an old brandy smell, maybe it was his imagination. They were crammed in the tin tray sardine six-pack for an intermittent dragging of time.

Outside the building, he gazed up at the dizzying height, how far up had he gone to meet the man at the top. It didn’t matter; the exhilaration of the morning had left him spent. He wanted to tell someone about his good fortune, about his turn of luck. He thought back on his luck and how it had played him a fool’s hand; now with something to crow about there was no one to tell; only the empty apartment to go back to; if only Terrasea had stayed; he felt the depression, the nausea hit him once again. Nothing and no one to go back to. He tried to pick himself up by his bootstraps, but couldn’t find the energy. He felt a presence behind him, the smell of apples rotting in the heat.

“Does the sky always reek this same color,” it was the bum from the doughnut shop. “It is a horror what has been done to the sky.”

“Yeah,” Roger not the man from the doughnut shop nudged passed the man as he walked on.

“One cannot explain the ocean to a pond frog.” The man was far too close for Roger’s comfort and, after Ben; he began looking for tell-tale signs of smoke.

“Do you believe there are some things in this world that could be unexplainable,” it seemed the hobo was speaking through him. “That certain phenomenon could be manipulated through thought or energy transference?” Roger picked up the pace, still drifting in the malaise of his own thoughts.

“Do you believe in magic?” Ok, that’s enough.

“Lookit, man I don’t have any spare change, okay,” Roger wheeled around on him. “And I don’t need a lesson in transference or magic, so,” the man gazed deeply into Roger’s eyes, “just piss off.”

“One cannot explain ice to a desert blossom,” the old man affronted him, continued his steady gaze. “Would you call the possibility of emerging within two dimensions as one, magic?” He pushed Roger in the chest, but there was no oomph behind it, no strength. No, this can’t be the same guy. The bum held him with his steady eyes, burning with intensity.

“Yeah, sure,” Roger brushed the impotent hand away. “Now dude, if you would just leave me alone. I’ve got my own problems.”

“Yes you do, you have troubles,” he gurgled, perhaps a chuckle, “Many troubles coming, yes I know. I see it in your future, but what road and for how long.” The man now circled Roger like a spaniel in heat. “Give me Dallas and you’ll be bled less.”

Roger froze for a second, looked down intently at the little hobo. The bum spun once, twice, appeared to look younger as he did.

“Do you mean that you know Dallas Richards?”

“Perhaps, perhaps not,” the hobo stopped and rubbed his chin, “but you don’t listen.” He shot him a coy smile and spoke slowly as if to a child, “Give me a dollar and you’ll be blessed.” He was unpassable now, directly in Roger’s chest like a boxer working inside, the reek of him pulling up bile from Roger’s gut. “Give me a dollar, a dollar, dollar,” the man weaved in and out; Roger dipped quickly into his pocket.

“Okay, okay here’s a coupla bucks,” he pushed the bills in the man’s hand. “Let’s go somewhere and you can tell me all about perhaps knowing him.” But the man had vanished, as if into thin air. Roger swung around in both directions trying to catch a glimpse, but the little hobo had been swallowed up in the wave of the crowd that was jostling Roger.

“Hey, old man!” Roger knew it was futile, he lost a lead to the other story, the malaise returned as quickly as it had departed. “Well shit!”

He walked into the parking garage, pressing the remote and searching for the blinking lights of his pride and joy. Today, I will go topless, takin care of business he thought back to how that had cracked Terr up so much, she loved saying it in public just to get a reaction. The Eclipse roared to life and Roger made the drive from the office to the apartment, as he had done countless times before.

Roger entered the emptiness of his apartment—empty of all but the Dali. The painting hey senor Pareja had appeared to puff out from the wall and now seemed to occupy a larger amount of space or perhaps the barbs shifted 180 degrees or I could be fuckin crazy. He went to find his bong and some sense and just sit and watch. After an hour and nothing happening, Roger shucked his clothes, fell onto the bed I love to work at nothing all day and into a mindless sleep.