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Distilled Spirits: [Season 2] Ch. 21 — Glenn

January 29, 2014

   If you haven’t seen this web serial before, check out the brief introduction to Distilled Spirits

You can also read the very first chapter here.

Looking to refresh yourself with the the previous chapter, the end of Season 1?  Here you go.

Note: I think I finally came up with an image to represent Glenn, but a friend borrowed my camera.

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Episode 1: “Icing Over a Secret Pain”

Glenn

         Glenn surveyed the lobby of his apartment building and imagined how it would look in a few months.  With some investment from his parents, he’d bought the former factory six years ago, managing to carve out twenty livable units in its six floors.

Most of those units would be vacant soon—Glenn wasn’t sure how many people would stay when he converted the bottom of his building into an emergency shelter for the homeless.

The rent would probably have to be cut in half to keep any of them.

By the elevator bank, Glenn would put the receptionist’s desk—security footage could be piped into a few TVs.  He needed to hire some people—one to check-in the overnight guests, another to ensure that no one got stabbed.  He imagined someone like Ving Rhames as his shelter’s enforcer.

Women on the second floor—men on the first.

Glenn didn’t know what he’d do for cleaning but he had a regular maintenance guy and plumber that he trusted.

“Are you gonna help at all?” Caitlyn called, and Glenn’s vision snapped back to the present.  To his newest tenant holding a paint roller in one hand and bottle of beer in the other.

When Caitlyn had asked if she could move in, Glenn knew that he couldn’t say ‘no’.  Convincing Caitlyn to change her mind was a waste of time so Glenn hadn’t even tried.  Giving her an empty unit in exchange for remodeling help seemed like a fair bargain.

Caitlyn hadn’t bothered with a smock and her jeans were already splattered with off-white paint.  Maybe they had always been that way.  Her baggy NPTU sweatshirt hid her body, but Glenn thought Caitlyn was looking better since she left the hospital.

Since the doctors allowed her to leave.

“Do I still get to do some real painting on the second floor?” Caitlyn asked.  “I have a few things in mind.”

“Sure,” Glenn said, grabbing the last beer of the six pack.  He popped it with his lighter and picked up a second roller.  He started on the opposite side of one window.  “Just nothing depressing, okay?  Some of your stuff is pretty creepy.”

Caitlyn glanced out the window—the surprisingly sunny afternoon had drawn two mothers out, both pushing their own stroller.   “How was Sid’s ‘New Job Party’, anyway?”

Glenn smiled, thinking about two nights ago.  “Sidney got absolutely wrecked but I guess you don’t get fired for being hungover there.  He actually beat Geno in Mario Kart a few times.  You shoulda come—he asked about you.  Hey, did Sid and Eri split up or something?  She wasn’t there.”

“How the fuck would I know?”  Caitlyn kicked the pan of paint out of her way.  “I don’t think Sid knew what he was doing with her.  Or maybe it was Eri.”

Glenn’s roller paused.  “When’s the last time you talked to him?”

“We talk,” Caitlyn said.

“Do you?  Seriously, what did you even tell him?  You just left.”

“Not this again,” Caitlyn said.  “Come on, not today.”

“Did you even think about what this would do to Sidney?” Glenn said, ignoring the dripping paint. “He thinks it’s his fault you moved out.  He thinks a lot of things are his—.”

“Nothing is his fault,” Caitlyn said.  “Tell him that.”

You tell him that,” Glenn said.  “I mean, why did you even move out?”

“Fuck off, Glenn.  I couldn’t live there.  I didn’t want to ruin—it was weird, okay?  Leave it.”

Glenn dropped his roller in the pan.  “Jesus Christ, Caitlyn, why didn’t you just fucking tell him?  Show him the note?  You still have it, don’t you?”

“I threw it away.”

Glenn shook his head, sure that Caitlyn was lying.  “Just tell Sidney that you lo—”

“I don’t love him,” Caitlyn said.  “Stop doing whatever you’re trying to do.”

Someone coughed loudly behind them.  Glenn hadn’t heard the door open.

Molly came in holding a pink pastry box and looked around the lobby with a critical eye.  She frowned at Glenn’s empty hands.  “I brought donuts for the two laziest workers in New PT.”

“Going to the bathroom,” Caitlyn said, wiping her hands on her sweatshirt and walking down the hallway.

Molly put the box on a stool and crossed her arms.

“It’s nothing,” Glenn said.  He stopped himself from pulling at his hair and opened the box of donuts.  Molly knew what he liked—chocolate old fashioned.  With possibly toxic paint chips.

“You have such a way with women,” Molly said.

“Yeah,” Glenn said with his mouth full, “sure.”

“Want some advice from someone who has probably been with more girls than you?”

Glenn waved her along with an empty hand.

“Sometimes we do want to be told what to do,” Molly said, choosing a glazed donut, “but if you pick the wrong moment, you’ll wish you hadn’t said anything at all.”

Glenn ate the rest of his donut in silence and washed it down with his beer. It didn’t taste as bad as he thought it would.  “Looking forward to working nights here?”

“Stop trying to hire me,” Molly said.

“It’s just three hours until check-in closes,” Glenn tried.  “I need the help.  The women will trust you more than some dude.”

Molly poured more paint from the bucket into the pan.  “I’m helping now aren’t I?”

When Caitlyn came back she went straight for the donuts, watching Molly coat her roller while she ate.

“You know,” Caitlyn said, “black might be the worst thing you could wear for this.”

“Oh yeah?”  Molly dipped one finger in the rolling pan and swirled it around.  Touching one breast and then the other, Molly drew nipples on her black shirt and then wiped it on Caitlyn’s leg, laughing.

Glenn’s phone vibrated—it was a number he didn’t recognize—and he stopped looking at Molly’s chest.  He stepped away from the girls to answer.

“Is this Glenn F. Pierce?”  It was a woman’s voice on the other end, sounding like she was in a busy office.

“Umm, maybe?  Who is this?”  Glenn checked the number again but didn’t recognize the area code.

“I’m calling from Children’s Protective Services in Michigan. Am I speaking to Mr. Pierce?

“I don’t have any kids,” Glenn said quickly.

“Sir, can you please tell me if I have the right number?  Do you live at 888 Van Buren Ave., New Portsmouth?”

“That’s the soup kitchen.  I work there.”  Glenn realized he had been pacing in short circles and stopped.  He glanced at the girls—they were laughing about something and still not painting.  “But, uh, yeah, I’m Glenn.”

“Mr. Pierce, are you familiar with a boy named Harry?”

“Harry who?  From Michigan?  No,” Glenn said.

“How about a Mrs. Ada Cheski?”

Something about that name bothered Glenn.

The woman continued: “She was married to a Mr. Joe Cheski who passed recently.”

“Crazy Man Joe!” Glenn said.

I’m sorry?”

“Her husband,” Glenn said, “Joe is—was a homeless man here.  He would come to my kitchen and we, well, yeah.  He told me that he had a family.  Is Harry his son?”

“Sir, have you been in correspondence with Harry?  Have you heard from him?”

“No,” Glenn said.  “What’s going on?”

The woman paused before speaking again.  “Were you aware that you are listed among Harry’s emergency contacts?”

“What?  No.”

“Do you know why you would be listed?”

“No,” Glenn said.  “I’ve only ever spoken to Joe.”

He heard loud, speedy typing from the other end of the phone.

“Sir, we have reason to believe Harry may be trying to contact you.  If you hear from him, please let us know at this number.”

“Is he okay?” Glenn asked.

“I’m sorry,” the woman said, “we can’t release any more information.  Have a good day, Mr. Pierce.”

The phone call ended.

Caitlyn and Molly were both staring at him, waiting to hear the story.

Glenn hadn’t thought about Crazy Man Joe for a few days.  He hadn’t done enough to save the dead homeless man—it had taken Glenn too long to realize that he didn’t do enough for his own community—but maybe there was something he could do for the man’s son.

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