revealing two shriveled white mice in homemade chef hats.
“Unless Lacey has some
The words “Fettucini” and “Tortellini” are written neatly be-
hind their putrid heads. They are both wrapped in napkins
sort of awful foot fungus, he
from a small Italian deli down the block. He hears Lacey
doesn’t understand why her
coming back from the bathroom and quickly returns the lid
and stuffs it back onto the shelf. shoes would be smelling up
“Those are just my shoes,” Lacey says smiling calmly. “I
her room so profoundly.”
like to keep them in the box so they stay clean.”
“Maybe it’s in the walls. Did you ever think of that? That hap-
pens, right?” Lacey goes to the linen closet and grabs a towel.
“Maybe. I guess I’ll be going, then. I’ll be seeing you, Lacey.”
“Do you think we’ll have grass on the lawn anytime
soon? It’s just so empty.” Lacey is a little jealous of the neigh-
boring apartment buildings. If she finds any friends nearby,
they’re huddled among the grass somewhere. That will nev-
er happen outside of her apartment without any vegetation.
“I know, Lacey. I’m working on it.”
They say their goodbyes and she shuts the door behind him.
Lacey usually awakes in the middle of the night to check on her friends, but
this time she hears something outside. Something keeps crashing on the pave-
ment or the stone steps. A high-pitched shrill echoes through the building. It’s
not normally this loud this time of night around here. She looks out the win-
dow. Mr. Medley is bent over the earth surrounding their apartment building. He
crawls slowly and cautiously over the dead dirt. He has a flashlight and a shovel.
He eyes the ground and tears out any grass that has managed to sprout from the
dirt. Lacey watches intently as he goes about his secret business. Clearly, Mr.
Medley does not like grass. He is very diligent with his work; Lacey has seldom,
if at all, seen any grass growing on the property. He inches across the small patch
of land and carefully pries the grass from the earth. She shrugs and returns to
sleep—everyone has his own oddities.
After work, Lacey circles the park twice before she thinks it’s getting too late.
The temperature is going down and she starts to shiver. She hasn’t found one new
friend yet, so her eyes are peeled to the ground, weaving between the continual
nuisance of pedestrian feet. Her stomach is tangled, and she wants to get home to
see her friends. She doesn’t need a new one every day, as long as she can see the
family she has already managed to obtain. She gives up and
walks home with two empty boxes in tow. When she arrives,
something doesn’t feel right on Johnson Avenue. It has got-
ten much colder than she originally expected. She doesn’t
notice the professional cleaner’s van parked adjacent to her
apartment, but she does notice a light on in her apartment.
She jogs up the stone steps, ignoring the dirt and crunching
a solitary dead leaf. After climbing the few stories of stairs
to her apartment, she peeks around the corner. The door to
her apartment is ajar, though she is certain she locked it. She
peers from behind the fire extinguisher case.
Two strangers are digging through her finest posses-
sions. Her friends are being discarded into a large gray trash
receptacle. Jamal’s head peaks out from the rubble. Debbie
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