Five

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Lester walked out of the courthouse into the afternoon light hungry and a little disheveled. He took off his tie and descended the courthouse steps.He stopped at the sidewalk and debated where to go next. The smell of food made his stomach growl angrily. He decided to go to the coney joint on the way home. A quick jaunt later and he was taking a seat in a booth and picking up a menu. He looked up at the waitress that approached and began setting a napkin and silverware on his table.Her name tag declared her name was Emma.

"Can I get you something to drink?" Emma asked.

"Coffee please."Lester said looking back to the menu. By the time she came back with the coffee he'd made up his mind.

"What can I get you?" She asked.

"I'll have a farmers omelet, white toast, and sausage."

"That'll be right up.

Emma left and Lester grabbed a couple creams and sugar packets and dumped their contents into his coffee. Once he finished stirring he took a sip and surveyed the other patrons. Mostly an older crowd with a few young adults sprinkled in. He tried to keep his new legal troubles out of mind, but inevitably they boiled to the surface. I'm going to go to jail. He thought.How could this have happened? What can I do to stop it? He took another sip of the coffee and decided it needed some more sugar. Not long after Emma returned with a couple plates containing his food. He took the first bite and it tasted simply amazing compared to the trash he'd had for his last two meals in lock up. He ate it slowly, savoring every bite. By the time he finished he'd gone through four cups of coffee and was working on the fifth.

"Can I gt you anything else? More coffee?" Emma asked as she cleared away his empty plates.

"No, I think I'm about done." Lester answered with a smile. She walked off balancing the plates and he fished his wallet out of his pocket so he could give her a generous tip. He then got up, paid his bill, and hopped on a bus on his way home.

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Jackie woke up in a cold sweat, her heart racing. The remnants of her dream receding from her mind. She got out of bed, showered, got dressed for work, then made a quick meal of some oatmeal and a banana. Today would be her first day back to work since Elijah passed away. She grabbed her purse and headed out. Outside the streets had not changed. She expected them to feel different some how. Empty and colder. Everyone,however, had continued on with their lives while hers had all but stopped for the last couple days.

When she got to work most of her co-workers seemed uneasy. A few offered condolences or asked things like "How are you holding up" but most just went about their days without acknowledging her at all. She didn't hold it against them. She barely talked to them on a normal day so why get upset if they didn't have anything to say about her loss.

She settled in at her desk, put on her headset. She then logged in for the day and started taking calls. Thankfully the day passed quickly without any belligerent or argumentative customers. She clocked out, tossed her headset casually on the desk, and departed with a select few goodbyes to some co-workers. Most of them were younger than her and had very little in common so she didn't feel bad about not clicking with them.

She debated whether or not she wanted to return home before the support group later in the evening. She opted instead to just grab some fast food on the way to the community center where it would be held. Against her better judgment she walked a couple blocks and crossed to the opposite side of the street to Anarchy Burger. As soon as she saw who was standing behind the counter she regretted her decision.

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