Horace of the Horizon
A Problem for Horace
A cringe inducing bugle blast of sound filled the air. Honk! Then again, and again, settling in the ear somewhere quite uncomfortably between the call of a large goose and the reverberating upward crescendo of an enraged elephant. Honk! Honk!
I cursed the raw redness that had begun to afflict my nose from the constant blowing that had begun to erode my patience and peace of mind like a block of wood sawed to the point where one block of wood and two blocks of wood is debatable. That is, to put it more directly, razor thin.
I bunched up the tissue in my hand, a veteran of nose blowing duties as it was, and well past any sort of useful service or hygiene and with a quick kick pivoted my desk chair and tossed it into the maw of unfathomable evil that existed In the form of a black garbage bag in my room.
A wave of anxiety washed over me as I wondered if I should take it out to be picked up. Of course it wasn't full yet, but how long had I had it sitting there, and with lord knows what inside it?
Coffee grinds, nasty snot saturated tissues, a broken pen, scraps of paper? Most likely it was fine and actually quite recent, but it still gnawed at me that it might have turned into some sort of polluted crèche of Satan, crawling with unspeakable hellish nightmares.
There was also an opposing and almost equal doubt that gnawed at me that I was embarrassingly unsure of when garbage pick up was.
Thursday, yes! No wait, isn't that recycling?
Cursing my inability to remember and with a clack of computer keys I look up the cities website and quickly find myself thwarted by a maze of confusing options and pandering.
In the end I decide best to take the bag to the large bin down the street that looked like one of the AT-AT walkers from Star Wars with its legs and head cut off.
So I pulled on a pair of pants and lumbered my way down the stairs, down the hall, past the kitchen, past the drab green dinosaur of a fridge and most importantly past the disheveled and beleaguered cork board, that had I even glanced at would have seen the civic garbage collection schedule clearly displayed.
The Viper Lurks
Outside it was a cool summer night, the sky bright but largely starless. The air held a peculiar mix of cut grass, back yard barbecues and garbage that had been left to sit in the sun.
I took the back lane down to what I considered the good bin. There was one that was closer, and indeed that belonged to ‘The Horizon’ the small apartment building I lived in. Just that it was always full. Disturbingly full, and a haven for the largest and most obtuse flies and wasps I had ever seen.
When I reached the good bin, it too was full but somehow it’s fullness didn’t feel quite so unnatural.
The presence of a pair of plump and industrious raccoons who barely saw fit to acknowledge I was in their midst seemed to serve as a kind of vetting of this as indeed being ‘the good bin’.
With a grunt I hurled my bag of garbage into the air, off the propped open lid of the bin and finally to settle on top of the garbage that had come before it.
This prompted a brief look of annoyance from the raccoons, but that is a fact I was to remain ignorant of as I had already started to make my way back home.
Although the night was cool it was humid and the muggy air made it feel as if the grit of the big city air had covered my body in a thin, yet ever persistent film.
I took a moment to wipe my brow with my arm and to appreciate a brief movement of air. I looked up to see the moon, bright and full. Full, like the garbage bin near my building was full, but instead of being full of waste and rot, it seemed to be brimming, beckoning with secrets, with mysteries, untold adventures.
A cloud passed in front of the moon. A baboon! I mouthed, surprising myself that I had almost said it out loud, but it very much, very strikingly looked like a baboon!
I almost allowed myself to get caught up in a moment of whimsy. “Oh baboon who sails across the moon, like a balloon, what mysteries do you bring?”
It was then that I suddenly became aware of the car sitting across the street from me. It was a nice car, a Dodge Viper. The windows were tinted but I could see that there was somebody inside. Were they watching me? It felt like I was being watched. I felt menaced.
I stared back at the smoky obfuscation of the Viper’s windshield for what seemed an eternity but in reality was only a couple of seconds.
I uneasily turned away fighting both the urge to confront the man in the car and the urge to break into a dead run.
I didn't look behind me but I knew the Viper was there the whole time. Surely they were there waiting for someone, or watching someone or something other than me. They couldn't really have been watching me, could they?
As I got further and further from the menace of the Viper and closer to home my nerves began to settle down, but I still could not shake the feeling of unease that churned like spoiled butter in the pit of my gut.
The lighting in the lobby was at the same time too dim as it was too harsh, casting a baleful ‘bug zapper’ yellow glow.
I ducked into the mail room and was relieved to find it empty. Not that this was surprising, as my building was small. Small enough that it didn’t have garbage chutes. It was a rare event to be in the mail room at the same time as someone else, but those few times had felt incredibly awkward.
I began clearing out my mail box, dumping an assortment of fliers and junk mail when a single white envelope slipped out from the bunch and fell to the greenish linoleum of the floor.
The envelope was white, and my name and address had been handwritten in blue pen
C/O Horizon Apartments
28 Horizon CT.
Stamped in the left hand corner was Dr. Adam Ray Jr. . The rest of it, the address was smudged and illegible, but I knew very well who Dr. Adam Ray Jr. was. I had not spoken or had any contact with him for close to fifteen years, but he was my father.
I stuffed the envelope into my shorts pocket and made my way back to my apartment.
What possibly could dad want with me?
To be continued...
Horace of the Horizon is intended to be an ongoing story that will unfold right here on Hub Pages in installments.
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See you next episode!
See you next episode!