CHAPTER FOUR HUNDRED AND FIFTY-NINE
Tuesday morning — 5:13 a.m.
New York City, New York
Seth opened his eyes when a garbage truck revved its engine. He closed them again. The bang of a trash dumpster being set on to the alley made him open his eyes again. He squinted and rolled over. He was pretty sure he was in his bedroom in Hell’s Kitchen but he couldn’t see anything. His hands went to his chest. He was wearing a pair of cotton pajamas. He scowled. Outside of when Rachel visited at home, he hadn’t worn pajamas since he was seventeen. In fact, these might be the very pair he wore. He flopped back onto his back.
The last thing he remembered was …
He sat up in bed.
“Slowly,” a male voice said.
Although he recognized the voice, it was nearly impossible to see anything.
“R.J.?” Seth asked. “Why can’t I see you?”
“You got one of them things on your eyes,” R.J. said. “You know, like rich folks wear.”
“I do?” Seth asked.
His hand went up to his face. He was wearing an eye mask. He pulled the eye mask off and smiled at his friend. R.J. had dealt the blow that removed his front teeth from his mouth. He’d also spent the rest of his working life driving Seth and eventually his mother all over Denver. The man had seemed ancient when Seth first met him, but he was only ten or eleven years older than Seth. R.J. smiled.
“You wear pajamas now?” R.J. asked as he sat down on the bed next to Seth.
“Uh …” Seth looked at the pajamas. “Did you bring me home?”
R.J. shook his head.
“I think a friend of Sandy’s brought me home,” Seth said. “She must have …”
He looked at the eye mask and shook his head.
“I wonder where this came from,” Seth said. He smiled at R.J. “I didn’t realize that you were in town for Big Daddy’s funeral.”
“I’m here to try to prevent your funeral,” R.J. said.
“My funeral?” Seth asked. “Am I in danger?”
“The way I heard it, you was being held captive,” R.J. said. “This friend of Sandy’s save your ass again?”
“I guess so,” Seth said. “I don’t know how I got here. I fell asleep and …”
“You talking about Oshun,” R.J. said.
“Hedone?” Seth asked.
“That chick that’s helped you before,” R.J. said.
“What’s an Oshun?” Seth asked.
“Female goddess of love and fertility,” R.J. said. “Nigerian. She told me that was her name. How can a woman so dark have a name like ‘Hedone’?”
R.J. snorted at Seth’s idiocy. Seth remembered that Hedone, like everyone from Olympus, looked differently to every person who looked upon them.
“Good point,” Seth said with a nod. “Mind if I use the toilet?”
R.J. shrugged. Seth got up to use the bathroom. When he returned, R.J. was sitting on a chair near the door. He nodded to Seth, picked up the newsletter, and lit a cigarette. Like he had most of high school, Seth got dressed while R.J. read the newspaper and smoked. When Seth finished, he stood in front of R.J.
“Breakfast?” Seth asked.
“Claire made them burritos?” R.J. asked.
“I’m sure there’s a stack of them in the refrigerator right now,” Seth said.
R.J. nodded and stood up.
“You’ll tell me everything?” Seth asked.
“As much as I know,” R.J. said. “Which isn’t a lot. You making coffee?”
Seth nodded and they went out in to the apartment.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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