Norman's routine

“It smells like hot sauce and dog shit out here,” Norman said, addressing no one in particular.

He brushed flakes of dandruff off the collar of his coat, which floated away only to reveal more grit beneath. A middle-aged woman in a sun dress walked out the back door and across the yard.


She kept walking as if she hadn’t heard him.


Nothing. He tailed her around the side of the house to the car port, which led to the laundry room. She was removing socks from the drier. He muttered as he watched her.

Then he heard a splash of water coming from the driveway and followed it. Two house sparrows were playing in a puddle. Norman approached them.

“You think you got is so good splashing around down there!”

Norman attempted to shoo them away, but the birds didn’t react to him at all, continuing to hop around and splash in the puddle.

He plopped down on the driveway and started to sob.

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