Oskar (Alternate Version)

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The soggy atmosphere made it so that it was impossible to be comfortable. It was simply that time of year, and it just so happened that the weather forecast was as damp as my soul as I drove around aimlessly. Riding around the downtown core and seeing all the bright lights did not provide the distraction that I had been hoping for so I'd resorted to cruise around the suburbs and residential areas. I had previously erroneously thought that all the apartment buildings downtown were identical but the fancy houses in the suburbs were really identical. I honestly didn't know how any of these people knew which driveway to turn into when they were returning from work, or maybe they all shared their houses with each other. What the hell, I had to get creative to keep my mind occupied.

The darkness only appeared to get darker the further into the suburbs I drove. I didn't know if that was just another one of those erroneous perceptions of mine or if it indeed was getting later in the night. The clock in the car had stopped working years ago and I'd never bothered to get it fixed. Who needs a clock anyway? We all had smartphones and Apple Watches and other fancy thingamajigs that were too advanced for my brain. Getting the clock fixed in my old Tin Lizzie wasn't worth it. So, it might not have been the Model T from the 1920s but that jalopy was lucky to even still be on the road. It was probably a death trap but I supposed that it was still better than not having a car at all.

I didn't know if I was actually going anywhere of just spinning around in circles in between the identical houses but the drizzle had just begun to spot my windshield. I thought about my late grandmother as I got to the next intersection, and how she had told me that if things didn't go right I should turn left, so I did. I turned left. The rain had really picked up by the time I arrived at the next intersection at the end of a considerably long road. I really didn't know where I was anymore by the time I got there. It was a dimly lit part of the city, a very quiet area that included a nursing home. I'd seen the illuminated sign as I drove by. I wondered if my grandmother was still angry with me or if she rolled around in her grave because I'd put her in one of those places near the end of her life. She told me that she understood that I couldn't take care of her anymore but I still couldn't make peace with myself.

I didn't know exactly how my sloppy jalopy had been idle at that stop sign but it was long enough for an old man to open the unlocked door and flop down on the seat right next to me.

Naturally I was surprised that the old guy could brazenly open the door of a stopped vehicle and hop in seemingly without having any qualms about it but at the same time my spirit was uplifted in a strange way. Maybe I wouldn't have to spend the evening alone after all. Maybe the geezer could see right through my problems and give me some grandfatherly wisdom. God only knew how badly I needed some of that! The old man grunted as he pulled his legs into the vehicle with his hands. He must've been in his nineties to look like that, and the vibe coming from him somehow told me that he had probably escaped from the nursing home.

"Quickly," he half-grumbled, half-commanded, "before they find me!"

That confirmed what I thought and having nothing to lose I pressed the gas pedal and headed straight ahead, not going anywhere in particular.

"God finally answered my prayers," the old man went on in less urgent tone of voice, "at last the getaway car was at the end of the street just like I'd always imagined it would be!"

I looked at him for a moment and chuckled slightly. He was well dressed in what looked like formal clothing underneath the street lights. He wore nice clean grey typical old guy pants and a navy blue blazer. His little grey hat matched the pants but I noticed that he was still wearing a pair of shower shoes just like my grandmother had while she was in the nursing home. I didn't know where he thought he'd be going dressed like that in the middle of the night but he didn't appear to be concerned about the destination. He was one of those wanderers who weren't going towards anything, they were getting away from something. At least we had that in common.

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