The Grind

‘The world is changing; grinding on its gears. Seemingly to a new set of rules. People are afraid and confused.’

Zach stopped at the corner of ‘walk and don’t walk’ and locked eyes with Steven Jacks, a rail thin alcoholic native man sitting on the sidewalk with a bottle of wine.

“Did you say that?”

“No you did.” Steven smiled and continued.

“What did I say?” Zach asked Steven.

“You said, ‘The world is changing. Grinding on its gears… people are afraid, something like that.”

“I must be losing my mind. “

Zach was tall with a shaved bald head and a short beard. Steven never asked his name, he just called him ‘Big Guy.’

“Take off the mask Big Guy. “

“Why?”

“The pandemic is over. Government says you don’t have to wear it anymore.”

“Finally.” Zach said removing the mask and stuffing it in his shirt pocket. “I stopped listening to the news a while back. Thank you Steven.”

“I need money for smokes.”

Zach took out his wallet and handed Steven a twenty.

Steven smiled, “How’s the little girl?’

“Not so little anymore… She’s 10. She’s great, thanks for asking.”

Dennis Mantin

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