It was a simple thing. A teddy bear lay upon the park bench, listing lazily over the edge at its filth covered end. The rain drizzling, silently soaking into the toy’s fur. It waited patiently for its master to return. It would wait forever if it could. It was a simple thing. With one crack of thunder, the sound gave the bear one final push to the trash littered puddle.
Sage calmly sipped his tea as he waited. The coffee shop was open, warm, and welcoming but not a soul dared to venture out into the storm. Tomorrow was to be a parade or so he heard. It wasn’t his choice really, the women on the bus announced their life stories so well he might as well have sat in on a whole production.
He cringed as the liquid touched his lips. This was not tea. It was a fabrication, something with ‘enhanced’ flavor. Calling it tea was a travesty at best. He let it slide down this throat anyway. No one made it like they used to. No one had time, always busy with endless nothings.
Still, tea was tea.
The plump woman behind the counter was the shop’s only other occupant. Not long ago her weight problem, or so she told him in her rather lengthy cliff notes about her life, would have been considered a sign of wealth and power. Now it just meant one was lazy. She was on a device now mashing her fingers along it as she slowly wasted time.
Technically she worked for Sage and was his current informant about the area. She was very knowledgeable about the shopping district, much of the business district, many questionable pubs, and a few off-limits areas she shouldn’t know about. Sadly, it was all muddled down in lengthy escapades where her and her friends did something reckless then getting off easy but the law or thug or with only a sprained ankle.
Her name tag addressed her as Ida.
Sage let his mind wonder a bit, guessing the girl’s age to be between fifteen and seventeen. It was strange someone so young experienced so much already. Life was fragile. He had learned that, the hard way, some time ago by a fedora wearing lunatic with a trigger happy finger and a bottle of the worst whiskey in his other fist, that was also bashing another’s face in between swigs.
A friend Sage called him, though never to his face. He taught Sage that there was more to life than a few hard facts about the world. Experience was everything for most, and blabbing on about their lives to complete strangers only expressed how limited and fragile they really were. In a blink of an eye their time was up and if no one knew their story then what was truly accomplished from that life.
Besides be a supporting background shoulder for those with a voice. But with hundreds of those voices shouting into the wind did that not only make it moan louder?
“Everything alright sir?” Ida asked, snapping him out of his concentration.
Sage answered with a quizzically raised eyebrow.
Ida giggled to herself. “You’ve been starring.” She blushed slightly before turning around and working on one of the coffee machines. “Here I’ll get you another cup.”
“But mine’s-“ he began but his cup was just as empty as his words. It was surprising how much he drank and still his thirst never seemed to be quenched. “Yes. That would be lovely.”
An engine cut just off to the right, outside a clattering police car door swung open into the soaked covered world. The wheel was up on the curve and while the lights on the car were still going off no siren reached Sage’s ears. Yet, none of that registered when someone dressed in a giant red and white feathered chicken stepped out of the driver’s seat, a ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY’ balloon wrapped around it’s arm. The feathers all along it’s body ruffled as it cocked its head to the right, staring at something down the lane.