Tired (Ginger Man 8P)

Maggie drank from her cup. “So the guy doesn’t go with him? Think he’d have more sense than that.”

Charlie opened the drain in the sink, sudsy water swirling down. “What else the guy’s gonna do? Can’t get a decent night’s sleep — ”

Maggie pointed at him. “You didn’t say that ‘fore!”

Charlie turned and looked at her with comic disgust. “Well what do you expect? Guy sees dead people, that’ll make it hard to sleep Mister Man, an’ when he does nod off he’s out there walkin’. ‘Course he’s gonna be tired! An’ this fortune teller’s the only person he’s met gonna help ‘im figger out why these dead people — ”

“Are they the ‘ginger men’ that Mike talked about?” Maggie’s question seemed to stop Charlie physically as well as mentally. He rubbed the thumb against his right middle finger, stared down at the floor of his parents’ trailer. Then shook his head. “Nah. Mike didn’t say what the nurse and cop were, but the Ginger Man, that was a different story.” He snapped his fingers. “That’s right. Ginger Man, he wassa spirit that didn’t know why it came back, but these people, the nurse and cop, they knew the reason they came back. So nah, they weren’t ginger men.”

Maggie had walked to a small couch on the other side of the trailer. Like the other furniture in the trailer, it had been handed down from a member of his family, in this case his parent’s home, across the wide gravel driveway the two buildings shared. As he watched Maggie sink into the couch’s cushions, Charlie remembered the day it had been delivered to his parent’s home; it was one of his earliest memories, he must have been five, watching in toddler awe as two burly men carried the bright green sofa with red and white vertical stripes into their living room. Now, where the upholstery was not ripped, its colors were worn; sagging under Maggie’s weight, the couch looked tired.

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