Say your name
Try to speak as clearly as you can
You know everything gets written down
Nod your head
Just in case they could be watching
With their shiny satellites
Trent Reznor's voice blasted onto the street from the record store. Outside the store, Thad stood perfectly still, listening carefully to the sounds of the street, eyes darting around him like goldfish trapped in a bowl. Once he had ascertained that there was no one watching him - this time - he darted inside the dingy shop and bought the album that was playing. Something in it had spoken to him, called him from across the street to listen.
Once he had bought the CD, Thad rushed back to his apartment, almost running through the streets across town. As usual, he had trekked across the city in order to do any shopping he felt he needed to do, and as he had used credit card to purchase the album, he knew he couldn't hang around for long. They knew he was on to them, even more so now, since he had bought this CD, which so obviously spoke the truth.
Once or twice, yellow taxi cabs stopped by Thad, the driver of one ostentatiously asking for directions to an apartment block in the area, the other asking if he wanted a ride. Thad ignored both as fully as possible, darting down narrow alleys to get away from them. They must know his route to and from downtown; he would have to change it. It would mean going almost three miles out of his way to get to the same place, but at least they wouldn't expect him to take such a roundabout route.
As he neared home, Thad was exhausted, hungry, and positive he was being followed. There had been a man behind him was the past quarter of an hour wearing the uniform of a UPS delivery man. He was holding a small parcel. Thad arrived outside the front of building his flat was in and kept walking, keeping his eyes fixed on a point ahead of him. After a couple more minutes, the UPS man turned into an apartment block. Thad continued in the direction he was going for another hour, almost reaching the suburbs before turning back and beginning the walk back to his apartment.
By the time he had climbed the dark, grimy stairs to his flat, and turned the key in the lock, Thad was limping badly, blisters burning on both feet. The slip of paper wedged in the hinges floated gently to the floor as he pushed open the door, and the flattened staple fell untouched from its place between the door and the wall. It seemed no one had been here, but they were careful. Nowhere was safe from them. They were everywhere, all the time, watching. They knew he knew, and they still continued, showing their contempt for him. Thad knew he was no one important - the only thing he had going for him was the fact that he knew they were watching. That was the only reason they watched him. That and a mild interest in what he would do. Thad knew this. He knew it, and he knew what they would do if he told anyone, if he spoke to anyone. If he put one foot out of place, they would stop simply watching from the sidelines, and would step in. He had seen it happen to others.
Thad slipped his battered, worn out sneakers off, tiptoeing from the front hall to the kitchen in stockinged feet. He avoided the floorboard that had been loosened since he arrived, a camera or mike no doubt placed beneath it. The kitchen was spotless, almost unlived in. Everything had a place, and everything was in its place. Thad stepped up to the sink, placing his black, horn rimmed glasses on the edge of it, and splashed his face with some of the slow dribble of water that came from the tap. Pushing his almost shoulder length black hair back from his face, Thad bent to drink from the flow of water. That done, he grabbed the paper sack he had been carrying since the morning and upended it, emptying the contents onto the rough, unvarnished wood of the table. He meant to grab the album he had bought and put it on immediately, but at the sight of the fresh vegetables and fruit he had bought this morning from a street vendor, Thad's stomach began to complain, and so he gathered the vegetables, placing the CD reverently to one side.