-Strange – 18 Pages –
Hamilton Bates III is grumpy this morning. It is eleven o’clock and he just got up after sleeping three hours. He is standing in front of the sliding glass door looking down at Lucy, his grandma’s cat. She is laying in the little squares of sunlight on the floor.
Last night he stayed up till five thirty on the phone with a girl he met on the internet as Nannybabe06; spending most of the time trying to talk her into sticking her fingers or at least a finger into herself. After that he had a bit of trouble falling asleep. Then at eight his grandma called to remind him to feed Lucy. Now his head hurts and he feels numb, tired and nauseous. The cat blocking his exit makes him even grumpier.
He sees a hummingbird land on the feeder that is suspended from the overhang on the back of the house and suck down some sugar water. Another one flies by and the first one chase after it, then circles back and lands again, dipping its beak into the plastic yellow flower.
He closes his eyes and imagines himself stomping every single life from Lucy. “I hate you Lucy, move out of my frickin’ way.”
She doesn’t even stir.
There is a light thud on the glass. He looks up in time to see a hummingbird falling to the ground.
“This cat is under the impression that she is a human!” he screams at the ceiling, “Why won’t you go lay in the sun somewhere else instead of in my way!?”
She is playing games with him and has been doing so since he moved in. She does stuff like spreading out on the steps in the morning which has almost tripped him down the steps a few times. The worst though would have to be stepping in her crap and vomit. This happens often because she loves making a litter box out of the hallway that leads to his bedroom and she also enjoys feasting on grass and then throwing up in the same hallway. He knows she does it on purpose.
“You think you’re better than me. I hate you, move,” he says and waits.
Smelling his armpit, he regrets not taking a shower or at least putting on some deodorant/anti-perspirant. Now he is too close to the door just to turn around and go back upstairs. A minute passes and it becomes crystal that no matter how much cooler he is then this cat she is not going to move. He gives in, slides the door sideways and steps over the napping pile of white, tan and black fur and into the Saturday afternoon where the sun is a ball of fire in the clear sky.
His eyes catch the hummingbird that had struck the glass moments earlier. It is on its side panting. He kneels down and stares at the little gray bird with its long, thin hummingbird beak for a moment. Sweat is forming on Ham’s forehead making his hair cling to it and get in his eyes. He makes a grunting noise then runs his hand through it. With the sweat and grease the hair stays in place. He looks back at the sun and gives it an angry look. The bird stops panting. He stands, kicks it off the porch and walks to his car.
The nagging from his grandparents has become unbearable. So he promised them to try and find a job while they are in Florida. He hasn’t done much the two years he has been living with them. Besides if he had a job he could pay them back for taking him in and start saving to buy a Spoon Sports carbon hood and roof spoiler for his white 1992 Honda Civic hatchback, but that might take a while.
When he is at the car door he looks around the neighborhood. The sound of a lawnmower can be heard. It putters and stops and someone yells to someone else about where their glass of ice water is. The sound of heavy breathing is approaching him from behind. He spins around to see Phil – an overweight Richard Simmons. Phil bounces by and waves at Ham who waves back.
He unlocks the car door and drops down into the red seat that has the word “Bride” on the headrest. The car was bought new and when it was about five years old Ham II started turning it into an ultra fast, high performance racing machine. Back then he usually took a few business trips to Asia each year. If he went to Japan he would buy parts and have them shipped back home: Spoon: wheels, calipers, dampers, pistons … Mugen: exhaust, clutch set, limited slip differential … and more. Sometime later he swapped the original engine with a Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) B16b engine. But these days you can just order parts online.
When he touches the metal parts of the Takata harness to buckle in, it burns. His aviator sunglasses were in the sun and are too hot to put on. The car will be staying hot too because his dad took out the air-conditioner to lower the weight of the car. Ham cranks down the windows. The car also lacks carpet so when a rock or whatever is spun up onto the bottom of the car it clankity-clanked-clank-clanks. He starts the car, the sound is marvelous. This Civic is a lightweight beast and he knows it. He backs onto Madison St where all the houses were built using the same blueprint.
The quest for employment has begun.
He passed Phil who is bouncing his way back home; his shirt soaked and clinging to him. Phil waves, Ham waves and shifts into second; there is a metallic snick as he moves the shifter down.
The Civic has a special place in his heart and he has become accustomed to all of its inhuman attributes. When he got his license his dad let him drive it from time to time. He was given his mom’s old car, a purple Pontiac Sunbird for daily driving. Then later that same year his dad went on a routine business trip to an unnamed place in China and never returned or contacted anyone.
Then about a week later Kyle Sutter, a local news personality, moved in. Kyle Sutter is a very tan, very greasy, twenty-six-year-old asshole and there were instant tensions between Ham and his mother’s illicit lover. So much so that Kyle Sutter gave Lisa, Ham’s mom who was also forty-two-years-old at the time, an ultimatum that he was going to leave if she didn’t kick her son out. She chose Kyle Sutter and Ham had the choice of getting a job and an apartment or going to his dad’s parents in Havelock, a small insignificant town in southern Ohio. He knew that no one would rent an apartment to a sixteen year old, since he couldn’t even get a hotel room. He knew this because he had tried and was told he had to be eighteen. Besides, he didn’t want a job even if he could have rented an apartment. It was a tense scene at the Bates’ home when his mom kicked him out.
Before he left though he backed the Sunbird into Kyle Sutter’s yellow Toyota MR2, took a rag, soaked it in gasoline, stuffed it into the gas spout of the Sunbird and lit it. There was a terrific explosion as he sped off that evening two years ago.
He is now driving down SE Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Stone Bridge, Ohio looking for signs of help; thinking about how different things would have been if his dad had come home. He always scours the internet for information about his father, but has never found anything. Ham has one of his dad’s business cards and calls the phone number on it from time to time. The woman at Northrop Grunman always says, “I am sorry sir, but we have no record of an employee with that name.” Maybe billion dollar weapons companies make all their employees disappear after twenty years, Ham concluded.
At least he could have left him some money.
His mind fell on: his bitch mom, the pretty boy Kyle Sutter, and his girlfriend Aubrey (who he hasn’t seen for two months which was the last time he went home to Cincinnati and had to sleep in his car because no one would let him check into their hotel). Aubrey is going to Ohio State via a basketball scholarship. They don’t have much of a relationship anymore, especially after he left with out telling her. They send the occasional e-mail and that is about it. Ham is starting college soon too and the plan is that five years from now he will have an electrical engineering degree, like his dad.
He starts to ponder other ways of finding his dad when he notices the car is low on gas. He pulls into a gas station and while filling up he remembers that his grandpa, Hamilton Sr., has said, on more than three hundred occasions, “Go to the Post Office, take the Civil Service exam. I worked for the Post Office for thirty years, and they know me down there, I can get you a job.” He claims that he still knew such and such in such and such an important position that would give him a job if he would only go down there.
When the tank is full and the gas has been paid for he makes for the Post Office. The parking lot is empty and when he is in the building there is a sturdy metal partition pulled down over the counter and a strong ink and paper smell. He knocks on the partition and waits for a few minutes; keeping busy by holding his middle fingers up at the surveillance camera. He realizes no one is coming and turns to leave just as an elderly woman comes in and walks to the wall of little doors. Momentarily the Post-Office-smell is masked by her perfume.
She unlocks one and takes out some paper. He puts his hands over his eyes and watches her from between his fingers. The woman watches him as she scuffles out. His headache is reinforced by the geriatrics sordid perfume. He pounds on the partition, buys a one cent stamp and scuffles out like an elderly lady minus the perfume.
He is hungry so he goes home. When he is there two blueberry Pop Tarts get put in the toaster and he calls Nancy, the girl he had spent all night on the phone with. Her dad asks:
“Who is this?”
“Where are you from?”
“How do you know my daughter?”
“Why are you calling?”
“How old are you?”
“Do you have a job?”
“What’s your name again?”
And then says that Nancy is at work.
Ham suspects that he is lying because of his interrogatory tone. The man’s I.T. makes Ham think that the man might have picked up the phone last night and heard what he had been trying to talk his daughter into doing. Oh well. He picks up the note beside the stacks of canned cat food. It is written on personalized stationary that was printed with Lucy’s face in the background. It says:
1. Feed my darling at 8:00 in the morning and 6:00 in the evening everyday.
2. Take the dry food and pour in one of Lucy’s special dishes and cover it lightly with milk and warm it up for fifteen second in the micro.
3. Mix in one of the cans of Fancy Feast (I have them arranged in order so for breakfast take one from the left stack and for dinner take one from the right)
4. She can have milk in the evening if she wants some.
P.S. – Hamilton you best take car of my precious baby while I am gone. I will know if you fail to keep to her on schedule.
And no one is allowed in my house.
“Six o’clock,” he says four times because he doesn’t want to let her down, like he did last time when he starved Lucy to the point of death.
With the Tarts he sits down to watch some TV. When he sits he smells himself; a horrible onion and bacon scent. There is nothing on TV so he decides to give in and take a shower once the Tarts are polished off.
One of the benefits of living with grandparents is the vacant square footage. They had bought the house when they had three kids, and now the kids were gone. So Ham has his own bedroom and bathroom, actually he has the whole upstairs. It is also his responsibility to clean it, something he rarely finds time for. He grabs a pair of boxers from the laundry basket that appears a few times a week with clean clothes and makes his way to the bathroom.
The bathroom’s wallpaper is original from when his grandparents had moved in back in the 60’s. It is a very faded, very patriotic wallpaper; complete with little eagles, George Washingtons, Abraham Lincolns, and United States flags surrounded by wreaths. The toilet and bathtub are pale green and the linoleum is a color that had once been white. There are little pubic hair dust bunnies rolling around like cartoon tumble weeds on the floor. The tub has mold around its edges and drain. It looks like a bathroom playing the “before capacity” in a household cleaning products commercial. The tub is slippery from the mold, or mildew, or soap scum, whatever it is, so he has to be careful, especially when washing his feet. But for how filthy the bathroom is, he knows it is his filth so he is comfortable basking in it.
When he is done he smells a tad better and after flexing in the mirror for a few minutes he puts on his boxers and sits on the couch in his own private living room. He flips through the channels a few times. Soul Train is on, and when it goes to commercial he watches the Weather Channel. During an odd coincidence, while both are on a commercial break, the phone rings. The cordless phone had wedged itself down between the armrest and couch cushion and is giving off a muffled ring.
“Hello,” Ham says into the phone after retrieving it from its tight spot.
It is Nancy.
“Yeah, call me Ham, only my grandma and bitch mom call me Hamilton.”
“Okay,” she says laughing, her laugh had bugged him the whole time they were on the phone, it is real nasally and stupid, like a look-at-me-I’m-a-cheerleader laugh, for example.
“What do you want?” he asks.
“This is Nancy.”
“I know who it is. We talked for what, eight hours last night? I think your voice is going to be pinballing around my mind for the rest of my life.”
He tries to remember something about her; she is eighteen and works at … but can’t remember that much.
She laughs, again. “So wat-cha-doin?”
“Nothing,” he replies and flips through the channels while she talks about something, then someone, then some guy that keeps hitting on her and the flowers he sent her last week, then about this other guy who said she is the most beautiful girl in the world.
Ham assumes he is supposed to be jealous, but he is just annoyed.
“What’s up with you?” she asks real chipper like, plucking his attention away from the rap video on MTV.
“Nothing, you already asked that,” he replies as one of the girls shakes her ass for the camera and the royally dressed black man sitting in a big chair.
She laughs, “Oh, yeah,” she squeals and laughs again.
“So, how was work?” he asks over Nancy’s mindless giggling.
She stops, “I told you already.”
“I know, uh, I was joking.”
“Are you still taking me out to eat?”
He doesn’t remember asking her out, but it was late and he was sort of wrapped up in the perverted moment and could have made a mistake. “Sure,” he said but knew that he better not take any chances, “you’re gonna pay right?”
“Yeah, I can pay. I got my check yesterday.”
“Alright, why don’t you come pick me up?”
“How about we meet, I have never met someone off the internet before and I was talking to my friend at work about you and she said that if we are going to meet we should do it in a public place where there are a lot of people,” she said followed with yet another fit of asinine giggling.
“Yeah, that’s good and all, but what if you are a psycho or something and I give you directions to my house. Then you show up and try to kill me.”
“I know, but …”
He cuts her off, “But look, it works the same, either way we do this, I am trusting you to come to my house and not kill me, so you have nothing to worry about, I have more to risk than you. Besides my car doesn’t have an air-conditioner and it’s like ninety.”
“Okay whatever I will come, so where do you live?”
When he is done giving her directions Soul Train is back on and he begins to masturbate.
“When do you want me to come get you? I am going to take a bath … then I think my mom wanted me to help her with something … after I take my brother over to his friend’s house at five I will be free.”
“It doesn’t matter to me.”
Ham is watching a fine Asian woman on Soul Train, she squats down and stands back up contorting her body all the while.
He doesn’t answer.
“Are you there?”
“Yeah, that sounds good.”
“Tell me about your day again.”
It doesn’t matter anymore; he grabs a few tissues, but still gets some on his boxers.
“Hello, you there?”
“Alright, yeah, what were you saying?” he asks, while walking to the toilet, depositing the tissues and flushing.
“Were you using the bathroom?
“Nah, I forgot to flush earlier.”
“Whatever, so when do you want me to come get you?”
“Okay I will be over a little after five.”
“Alright,” he says and presses the off button on the phone. He flips back to the Weather Channel, since Soul Train has lost its appeal then falls asleep.
It feels like it has only been an hour, but was actually four and a half when he is woken by the sound of someone knocking on the front door. He looks up at the screen it is 5:43 p.m. and 84 degrees. He rubs his eyes and goes to the door. Through the clear part of the pretty decorative glass in the center of the door he can see a girl. He knows it is Nancy because she e-mailed him a picture. When he opens the door, a gust of thick summer air mingled with Nancy’s over-powering vanilla perfume and lotion fill Ham’s sense of smell. He checks her out, before offering a hug.
She is alright; Caucasian, his favorite, tall, thin – but her boobs – her boobs are small, almost too small for comfort. He notices this lack of bosoms first and almost shuts the door, but doesn’t want to squander even one potentiality for a sexual situation this week while his grandparents are gone. She is wearing a tight fitting modern-retro-style Rainbow Bright t-shirt. The tight shirt is how he could tell she isn’t packing much in the cup-size department. Her jeans have fake fade splotches on the thighs and knees.
“Nancy,” he says, holding out his arms for a hug, “I am so glad you are here.”
He is wearing cum-stained boxers which he pulled down a little on the way to the door and is now showing off a bit of the black curls. Nancy is feeling like she just met someone for the first time who is wearing only boxers and who has strands of pubic hair bristling out around the elastic band of his boxers. She forces her hands into her pockets and tips back on her heels trying to look him in the face.
“Alright, no hug that’s cool, come on in.”
“I would rather not,” she says feeling disappointed and violated.
“I fell asleep. Let me get dressed, it will only take a minute.”
He leaves the door open and runs up the steps. In the mirror he notices his big mat of brown hair. It should have been cut months ago and it now flows past his ears and down into his eyes he decides to leave it like it is. He puts on his blue Special Olympics t-shirt from Goodwill and a pair of green cargo shorts from a trendy store at the mall. After a quick brush of the teeth, a good helping of Speed Stick and a little Brute on his neck he slips on his yellow Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars and steps out onto the front porch. Nancy is sitting in a blue Toyota Celica that has a bright pink and yellow mini-Hawaiian lei hanging from the rearview mirror.
“Strike two,” he whispers to himself after adding the strike for small boobies and then the Toyota. He gives her a little wave.
Ham was brought up to be a Honda man, so he doesn’t like Toyota just because. He opens the passenger door and sits down in the vanilla scented car.
“Hey Nancy. What’s going on?”
“So, where are you taking me?” he asks while tying his shoes.
They agree on Chick-fil-A and go to the mall and eat there. Ham has a Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich and waffle fries while Nancy has a chicken nugget kid’s meal. They sit at a green topped square table in hard plastic chairs. In a moment of deep cognizance Ham realizes that he is not going to be taking advantage of his grandparent’s absence, no matter how much he desires it. That there are no feasible means that he can tap into that will enable him to see the nude side of Nancy’s barren-waste-land-of-a chest.
He finishes and watches her. She doesn’t eat whole nuggets, even though they are kid-sized nuggets, but tears the nugget in two then with her index finger and her thumb dips half in Polynesian Sauce then places it into her mouth. He notices she has nice full-bodied lips and almost asks – in a non-psychotic way – “I wonder what your lips will look like in a pile beside my bed at my grandparent’s house in the morning?” but he decides against it, because no matter how he says it, it will sound bad.
His eyes inevitably end up at Nancy’s chest. It looks like she cut a small coconut in two, then cut the halves in half again and then glued the rounded ends onto her chest where her boobs should have been.
“Don’t watch me eat,” she says in a way that pisses him off, but it doesn’t piss him off as much as a certain cat always does.
“You were watching me eat, I was telling you to stop cuz it’s weird.”
“Oh yeah, sure. Why don’t you eat whole nuggets when you eat? You like rip the nugget in two, and they are small nuggets, kid-sized nuggets even, and it was bugging me and since I was done I thought I would watch you, I like your mouth and …”
“Shh,” she shushed putting her index finger to her lips. “You’re weird.”
“I was trying to explain why I was watching you. Do you want to go back to my place when we’re done here?”
“I better not. I told my parents that I was staying the night at a friend’s house tonight …”
Ham smiles and nods his head.
“Because I am going to a party later. You’re sort of creeping me out now, no offense but you weren’t like this on the phone.”
He doesn’t remember much about their conversation, except that she almost put her finger in herself, but claimed that it was too weird and that she had never done it before, of which he was skeptical. “How was I on the phone?”
“I don’t know … I liked your voice.”
Ham has a smooth-black-man voice. “Thanks.”
“Honestly I thought you were black.”
He laughs, “Naw, but like most white people I always try to be as black as I can,” he says and tries to spell the word “blood” with his fingers.
She thinks about what he said then says, “Oh.”
He stops trying to spell “blood” with his fingers.
“Well shit, I’m really sorry that I’m not black. But I think if we start dating it will be easier on your parents then if I was, in fact, black.”
She thinks about it for a moment. Ham notices she is having trouble keeping up.
“You’re probably right. Dad told me that some black guy called when I got home from work, that’s how I knew it was you.”
“Cool. Hey was he on the phone last night when I was trying to get you to finger yourself?”
She turns around, no one heard what he said and she turns back, her cheeks showing a little red.
He almost laughs at her.
“God, I hope not.”
This hadn’t ever occurred to her and she thinks back to their conversation, trying to remember if she had heard a click or some tell-tale sign that someone was listening in. “Do you think he was?”
“I don’t know. He acted sort of weird when I called, but that might have been because he thought I was black.”
Just then a man trying to look twenty years younger from top to bottom approaches Nancy from behind. He has overly gelled hair with bangs sticking up, in-style clothes and Doc Martens; this guy had once been hot stuff, but that was gone and all he could now is cover it up. He gives Ham a look that makes him worry that he is about to lose Nancy for good.
The man puts his hands over Nancy’s eyes. “Guess who?” he asks or states.
If guess who is a question or a statement Ham isn’t for sure and tries to figure it out.
Nancy turns, squeals, stands up and wraps her arms around the guy, who in turn wraps his arms around her. Ham is waiting for them to give each other a French cheek kiss thingy, they never do. They talk of this and that and it is clear after a few exchanges of dialogue Ham knows that the man’s name is Terry and he is gay as a Christmas Elf. So he doesn’t worry about losing Nancy to him, but knows that she is already lost. He gives up trying to figure out what sort of word combination guess who is.
“That is super, just super, I am so happy for you. So who’s your friend?” Terry asks gazing into Ham’s eyes.
“Ham,” Ham replies feeling a little uncomfortable by the gazing and stares at Nancy’s chest.
Suddenly Ham’s sweat glands rupture; a moment of cognizance … Nancy is a guy. He can’t believe he didn’t figure it out earlier. Her raspy voice, being in cohorts with the openly gay, the body of a thirteen year old boy, he has no doubts.
Terry pulls out a chair and sits down at the square table with them. “Where did you two meet?”
Ham looks away, having no intention of joining in and would have walked away but needs Nancy to take him home.
Nancy answers him, “We met online.”
“Oh, that is sort of dangerous, you gotta be careful about that,” he says and touches Nancy’s arm. “I met someone I met online once. And … Well let’s just say they were nothing like they had described themselves,” he says making a sour face.
Ham joins in, “Why do you keep saying they? What was it a he or she? Stop skirting the issue.”
“It was a … er … he was a he,” he says, “Smarty pants.”
“See there is no need to try to hide it. You’re gay, be honest.” He looks at Nancy, “With yourself and others.” “Man, you are free to express your gayness,” to Terry then back to Nancy, “But you shouldn’t pretend to be something you’re not.”
“Okay … Like you know,” Terry says.
“Just don’t lie to people, be honest,” Ham says to Nancy. Then asks Terry, “So what happened with your internet romance? Did he hurt you or something?”
“No, he was … fat,” he replies with the oh my God! face one sees on so many popular, flamboyant, homosexuals nowadays.
“What’s wrong with fat people you fag?” Ham is protective of fats because he had been chubby till he was sixteen. But when he moved in with his grandparents he started lifting weights on the same weight bench his dad had used when he was growing up. In due course he turned from a jiggly-wiggly little boy into a mighty young man. “Huh? Huh? You gotta problem with fat people?”
“No … why are you like getting so protective of fat people?”
Nancy is sitting with her elbows on the table and the palms of her hands under her chin with her fingers back around her ears, she is twirling her fake blond hair with the fingers of her right hand.
“This is getting a bit boring, and I want to go home, do you want to leave?” Ham asks looking away from the mean gay and at Nancy.
“Sure,” she replies, looking up at him.
“I need to go anyway my friend is waiting for me at Starbucks. Nancy, I will see you Tuesday then.”
“Yep, see ya later.”
He walks away.
“Wait,” Ham calls after him.
He turns around gracefully, as if he were on ice, “Yes?”
“Is it your boyfriend or your friend?”
“Um, he is my boyfriend. There … are you happy now?”
“Yeah, sure, just be honest, next your going to say he is your roommate too right? Just say what he is and stop trying to hide it.”
“Whatever,” he says throwing up his hands and strutting away.
Ham is relieved and decides to clear things up with Nancy. She has stood up and is digging through her purse.
“I have something to ask you?”
She keeps digging through her purse; the sound of keys rubbing against change rubbing against bottles of vanilla flavored lotion rubbing against sunglasses rubbing against a compact fill the air. “What?” she asks squirting a little bit of vanilla lotion into her hand and massaging it into her hands and up her arms.
“Is there something you need to tell me, about you?”
She gives him a look, “Uh, no.”
“Cause you can,” he encourages, “I won’t judge you.”
“I don’t have anything I need to tell you.”
“Are you a guy?” he asks looking up her and making a nice, nonjudging smile.
“So is that a yes or a no?”
“I am not a guy you jerk.”
“Hum. Oh well, sorry then, so what’s going on now?”
She looks away, “Well my friend Kim is having a party if you want to come with me you can.”
“Is it going to be a bunch of white kids, cheap beer, maybe some weed and unprotected sex – to the sound of rap music?”
She doesn’t say anything, and then laughs in such away that in other parts of the world would have gotten her slapped. “Yeah I guess. I don’t even know if she would let you in anyway.”
“Either way I think I will pass, but since you know where I live why don’t you, if you are really a girl, come over later once you’re smashed and we can have unprotected sex?”
She laughs a laugh filled with a thick yeah-right undercoating while tilting her head back, “Yeah, right, I will take you home I guess.”
“And that’s it?”
“That’s it,” she says and looks around some more, “So you coming?”
“I think I will stay.”
“Well bye to you too, and thanks for the chicken.”
She walks away. Ham watches the people moving about the food court. A group of five white guys dressed like black guys stroll by. For a moment Ham thinks about how different things would have turned out had he been black. He would have already taken … There’s no point in thinking about it.
A girl who reminds him of a Soul Train dancer walks by in a belly shirt and he thinks about how his uncle used to wear belly shirts back in the early nineties. He had given him a teal one, which he still has.
“I am going to wear that all day tomorrow,” he says.
A small, unattended child walks by screaming. The creature’s high-pitched scream is enough for him to decide that he will never, ever, have kids.
An employee of Chesterfield Mall is standing by the trash cans close by. Her job is to keep the dining area looking tip-top. She walks over to Ham. “Can I take those?” she asks, propositioning Chick-fil-A bag and cartons.
“Sure,” he answers.
She is Caucasian, of average height and weight and posses a nice set of melons. Ham takes a second look at the melons which are now in front of him. He notices a name tag that says “Mary” above her left melon. He knows that she has above average melons and talks to her. She works for the mall, she declines his offer of coming over and he asks her for an application and she says they are not hiring then leaves with the trash and disposes of it properly.
Ham sits at the square table looking around and thinking about how he is going to get home, more important though, where can he find a job. Then he sees the big round clock on the wall above Mary, who is talking to another girl who is giving Ham a nasty look. As he figures out the time, cognition smacks him, smacks him as hard as it can, it is forty-five minutes past time for Lucy’s dinner and he has no way of getting home. He bites his lip and buries his head in his hands.