There was too much space, he decided, cowering in the basement in front of the big TV. For weeks he tried to get clear in his head just what it was that was making him feel uneasy, what was making his guts churn with every waking moment. The answer finally came as he shuffled, slowly down the quiet sidewalk and across the street to the local liquor emporium: space.

For all of his “adult” life Hunter lived in the inner city, surrounded by tall buildings, silvers, blues and grays, the streets always choked with traffic, the sidewalks full of people. The sky appearing to him in random shards between the sharp edges of the surrounding apartments, condos, and office skyscrapers, and the constant hum, throb, and white noise was ceaseless.

There was always a certain coziness in living DownTown™ that made Hunter feel at home, safe, even (dare he think it) happy. A kind of warmth that only the buildings, the noise, the people could provide. It always amused him when people he knew complained about these things, didn’t they realize they were living in the inner city? When his best friend, Emu said to him one night in the Ship and Anchor that it “never gets dark in the fucking prairies!” he had to check himself. For years he thought she was one of the smartest people he knew! “It’s not the fucking prairies toots, it the lights of the city, they never get switched off.” She had to admit it made sense.

Hunter stepped out of the store and on to the street, a few bucks down and a bottle of The Captain’s Finest dark rum wrapped in a paper bag under his arm. The sky seemed so huge up here on the ridge overlooking the freeway and the inner city. He ran quickly across the street even though he didn’t have to (no traffic!). The wind was tearing off the ridge, blowing the storm door into his arm as he tried to unlock the main door. On the third try he succeeded and showed his way into the house. Slamming both doors behind him, the only noise was the wind whistling through the window seals in the kitchen.

With a wholly unnecessary flourish, he threw off his alpaca overcoat and headed down the stairs to the basement.


Two Seasons: Cold and Freezing

He stepped out into the cool, fall morning and shivered. Frost covered the city, making everything too cold to touch. Chunks of ice broke free from the handle as he lifted it and pulled open the door on his little frozen car,

He slid the key in the ignition and gave it a crank, the car came to life quickly as it always did and Hunter sat for a few moments, shivering, building up the courage to step outside and scrape the ice, and frost from the windows.

Switching on the radio he heard yet another ad encouraging him to add fruit to his cereal. BALLS!! He thought, Why should I ruin the taste of my delicious cereal with some filthy fruit?

Hunter reached up and adjusted the oversized rear view mirror and took a look at his dark reflection. He ran his hand through blond, scruffy hair then over three days beard growth and chuckled to himself.

Another day of looking California, and feeling Minnesota.

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