the streets

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I had always considered Fifteen to be a very level-headed young lad. He spent a lot of time in Duffy's, though I'm sure he wasn't old enough to satisfy Uncle Mike. Hizzonner will probably decide next that only people between the ages of 35 and 50 are allowed to drink, and then only on weekends. Anyway, the day after Barry told us the story about the streets moving around, Fifteen came into Duffy's and sat at our table, looking vexed. It was mostly the same crew as the previous night, and he sat down and nodded absently to all of us. We continued with our conversation for a few moments, but then it became obvious that something was bothering our young comrade.

Matthew pulled out a penny and flipped it into the air. He caught it and examined it. He looked up, smiling, and said to me, "Heads. You get to talk to him."

I turned to young Fifteen, who was slumping further and further down in his chair. "You look like you're deep in thought," I commented helpfully. "Pondering the rotten state of the world economy?"

He shook his head. "Something weird just happened." He looked around. "Come on," he said to me, jerking his head toward the bar. As I got up to follow him, I heard Matthew say, "Maybe he just found out about girls," but I'm pretty sure Fifteen didn't hear him.

At the bar, he waited until Archie brought him a beer, then he said, "Something very weird just happened." I was tempted to point out that he had already said that, but I kept quiet. "I was just walking along Prescott, down by the docks, and a couple of guys saw me and yelled something."

"Were you on your bike?" I asked.

He shook his head. "No, so I took off as soon as the guy yelled. I ran down that big street by the brewery, and then I turned a corner and then suddenly I was just a block from here, by the old theater." He shrugged. "I may be crazy, but I didn't imagine those guys, and I'm here."

Ordinarily I would have just laughed, but I could tell he was waiting for that, so I stood up. "Come on," I said, "show me."

As we walked toward the door, Archie called, "You want a refill?"

I realized I was still carrying my mug. I held it out. "Sure. I'll bring it back later." He took it and filled it up. I offered Fifteen a sip, and then we went forth into the night.

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About Anthony Lee Collins

I write.
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