Bad Coffee & Good Deeds
A Charles Splints Case
Think of the last time you were happy. Got it in your head? Did it involve what you love most, who you love most? For me it was the coffee I had two hours ago before this whole thing started.
8AM and I’m looking out the window with a warm paper cup in my hand. It’s raining out, which is fine with me. The coffee isn’t all that great, but it’ll do the job. The guy behind the counter has a pimple on the tip of his nose. The pimple is bright red with a creamy white tip. I don’t want to think about it but here I am. Maybe that’s why the coffee tastes so bad.
9AM. The rain has stopped. I’m sitting on a park bench waiting for my phone to ring. There are better ways to conduct business, I know, but today just feels like that kind of day. I’m hoping this thing goes the whole twenty-four without lighting up, but if I turn it off I’d feel guilty for not at least trying. If you go a day without doing your job, or at least something, it’s bound to feel wasted. So ring, don’t ring, just have enough juice to last until I can get a stiff drink at a decent hour.
10AM and I’m chasing a guy down the street with a purse in his hand. The purse isn’t his, although every so often he shouts back at me claiming that it is. I saw him take it, ripped it right from an elderly woman’s hand. She, bless her heart, has the commercial granny look: grey curls that cut right at her shoulders, thick black rimmed glasses, a mole on her left cheek with a couple inch long hairs twisting out, a floral print dress that I’m pretty sure is a nightgown. The only thing she was missing was a Boy Scout walking her across the street. If I ever catch this guy I’ll score a nice Good Deeds patch and iron it onto my coat.
“That’s a scar I got from a bar fight in my twenties. Don’t remember it much.”
“That’s a patch I got from helping an old woman get her purse back.”
11AM. This guy is toast. There’s no way he still has any juice left in him. I should’ve had water instead of coffee. What day is it? Why is everything spinning? We’ve been running through the city and he still hasn’t given up. I doubt at this point I’ll even be able to find the woman whose purse this is if I ever manage to catch him.
12PM. He’s slowing down. Every time I look up I can see him raising his legs as if they’re weighted with cement shoes. He ended up entering an apartment building with ten floors. I just rounded the stairs at the fifth and he’s about to reach the sixth. This has got to be it. There’s nowhere else to run. I’ve got you buddy. I just have to move a bit faster than he is and I should catch up. He’s out of juice. I’m out of juice. I should’ve had water this morning instead of coffee. I can almost reach him. Just a little bit more. More. I grab the back of his shirt and yank him down the stairs. I fall down after him.
1PM. I wake up to notice him fast asleep next to me. He snores like how I’ve been told I snore — “I swear I was sleeping next to a hog with a deviated septum.” I pick up the purse and hobble down the stairs. My legs feel worse than my back, of which has had a chronic pain I’ve never looked into for the past two decades. Inside the purse is a phone, albeit a small brick with a black and white screen, didn’t know they still made these, but it’s a phone. I pull up the contacts and dial one of the ten names on the list.
“Hey, Grandma! How’re you?”
“I’m tired. My legs hurt worse than my back. I haven’t had any water today and I’ve done enough cardio to last me until Spring.”
“Who is this?”
“Just a Boy Scout looking for a new patch.”