A Step Or Two Away


It is just a temporary gig. Gordon has no plans to spend year after year taking care of people who cannot take care of themselves. He only works at the halfway house because it is relatively easy money while he goes to college. Usually  he has time to get his reading for his classes done, since he mostly works the overnight shift. He is, in his mind, a glorified baby sitter for grown ups, but that works out just fine for him.

He does not hate the guys in the house. At least, that is what he tells himself, he just wonders how people can screw up so bad. He does not talk with them often, never really being around when they are awake, but what he does learn of them often turns his stomach. He is better than that, he is certain. These thoughts creep through his mind as he, without any sense of irony, pops three caffeine pills to stay up to work on his paper.

This night there is a little, very little, excitement. One of the residents sneaks a phone call to his ex-girlfriend, and voices are raised just enough to be noticed, so Gordon has to say something. The creep is pitiful when he is caught. He is not supposed to be using the phone without supervision, and Gordon knows he is not to call his ex at all. Apparently he has a restraining order against her, go figure, and calling her violates that. People are too weird for words.

He considers himself lucky and considers calling his girlfriend but her folks might wake up. She is only sixteen, so they have to be sneaky, and that annoys both of them a little. She will be seventeen soon enough, legal in this state, but why the hell should they have to wait? It is nobody’s business what they do and Gordon wonders what difference five little years makes as he puts the creep back to bed, certain of his superiority.

Groggy he goes back to the desk and gets to work. He has two papers due and needs no distractions. An hour turns to two and things are going smoothly. With only a page or two to go he hears his phone vibrate against the wood of the desk. It is a message from his girlfriend. He opens the photo.


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