Lets say this. Doug walked into Ames’ apartment. It was clean–spotless. He was glad he had washed his clothes. if he hadn’t he would have been afraid he’d scuff the walls or the furniture. Even now he was afraid his tattered sneakers were leaving dirty, homeless, imprints of his problems on the white carpet.
The apartment was a square with sections filled in to create other rooms. The front door led into a small hallway, a door was on the right and Doug saw a toilet and a sink. The wall on the left shutted forward then peeled off to the same side as the living room opened up. There was a armchair in the left corner and then along that wall a moderately sized TV. A couch was in front of the TV and in front of the couch was a square coffee table with a single glass panel set into it. On the right, after the walls of the bathroom, the kitchen opened up. One slim alley with a stovetop, oven, microwave on the far wall, sink and dishwasher on the other. The far wall was just a small island in the middle of the apartment. Doug thought he liked the idea of a cooking island, but it’d been so long since he’d actually cooked anything he wasn’t sure.
“Take a seat,” said Ames.
“I need you to do something,” said Doug.
“I’m already letting you into my home,” she said.
“Yeah, but I need to know what the cops will do to me if they know I’m the one who had that stuff down at the swamp.”
For the first time Ames sounded a little angry. She sounded like her generosity had been stretched to the limit. Doug noticed there was very few personal things in the apartment. Maybe she kept most of her things in her bedroom.
“I’d go talk to them but they might arrest me for littering.”
“So? Free night or two inside,” she said.
“That’s cynical. I still want my freedom.”
“You’ll be out in 48 hours, max,” she said.
Doug walked over to the kitchen table and let his bag of laundry drop to the ground before sitting.
“Social services aren’t what they use to be,” he said.
“Jesus, what is wrong with you? Why don’t you get a job?”
“I’m an alcoholic.”
“Are you sure?”
“Have you been drinking today?”
“So, you’re cleaned up. Go apply somewhere. The boatyard always needs people to landscape.”
“Look. Go ask the police officers what happened and then we can talk about my problems,” said Doug.
Ames took a breath and closed her eyes for a moment. “You’re not going to steal anything?”
“You’re the only help I’ve got right now. It would be stupid.”
“You’re homeless, but I’m starting to think you shouldn’t be. Do you just like the lifestyle?”
Doug shrugged. “I’m an alcoholic,” he said. “First time I mixed a screwdriver was when I was 13.”
“Lot’s of kids drink when they’re teenagers.”
“Go ask the cops what they’re doing.”
“Your family must be wondering where you are.”
“I think they know,” said Doug.