Four [The Coffee]

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The extra income is wildly instrumental in Harry's financial stability since dishwashing isn't the most lucrative career. He still doesn't make enough money to splurge on material items, but can live comfortably enough to make rent on his meagre studio apartment and to eat one or two meals a day that he swipes from his workplace's kitchen. His grocery list each week is minimal: cream and eggs, biscuits and crackers, sometimes a few apples and some cheddar cheese.

He has enough income for train fare, cell phone service and coffee, a moderate gym membership and sometimes a new pair of sneakers but besides that, he doesn't need anything else to be content. Going to the library and watching sunrises are free; he spends the other forty hours a week on his feet washing dishes, ten hours a week boxing or jogging and an equal amount making pottery. His life is simple, serene and quiet when he is awake and it strikes a necessary counterbalance to his unconscious.

He sometimes has to remind himself to go out of his way to speak to another person each day to keep from going insane, but aside from that he doesn't have much to complain about. It's those pesky colored dreams that throw a curveball into his routine, those colored dreams that manifest into reality within forty eight hours, those dreams that keep him at an arm's length from everyone else in order to protect his corporeal self.

The rubber soles of his sneakers squeak as they hit each cement step while he ascends several flights, his hip depressing the exit device as he shifts through the door and breathes in the fresh air from the roof of the building. The ground is wet below his feet, the rainwater from two days ago not having evaporated due to the cold wintry air. He drops his bag to the ground before gripping a rung on the ladder just above his head, hoisting his body up onto the metal ledge surrounding the base of the tank and settling into his favorite familiar perch.

A sliver of bruised peach among a sprawling field of black reveals itself at the visible horizon just beyond the staggering tower of skyscrapers. Harry sighs and rests his cheek against the pole to his left, his fingers wrapping around the railing spread out across his lap as he wills his mind to stay blank. Images of the dodger being arrested flash before his eyes, his eyelids pinching shut as he breathes in through his nose deeply and lets the thought drift away on a cloud. He doesn't judge himself for the burst of recapture or label the mental action, he simply pulls in another solid breath and lets it disappear downstream with the pull of soft, babbling waves.

When he opens his eyes again, the sky is the slightest bit more rosy now; a layer cake of raspberry, creamsicle and egg custard with a frosting of powder blue that extends as far as the eye can see. It changes every several minutes until the fiery ball of sun makes its appearance over the tops of the buildings, it's canary yellow crown reaching out as if it were waking up itself and stretching it's arms with a mighty yawn.

The reminder of another day beginning has Harry feeling sleepy but he promised himself that he wouldn't rest tonight. He shakes his head before a visual of the bird can present itself, mentally planning out his day of pottery, loitering at a coffee shop and stretching out on a couch at the library before he has to shower and return back to work. He tells himself that he will sleep tomorrow, that his dreams will most likely return to black-and-white for several nights since he paid his dues the evening prior.

He clears his throat and addresses the heavens since no one else is around, the sunshine warming his face as he opens his mouth to mumble the first words he's spoken since he left the gym over two hours ago, "three thousand six hundred and twenty two."


Harry checks his phone for the time, noting that it's well past noon and there is something beyond the threshold of his apartment door that is probably starving for food and attention. He pries the lid from his third large coffee cup of the day, stuffing the plastic cap into his back pocket, biting his teeth into the lip of the cup and holding it in his mouth as he works the key into his lock.

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