It was a stark, cold Wednesday afternoon.
But it was Wednesday everyday to Bram. This one was just colder.
The morning rain gave way to dew, which gave way to freezing that bestowed an icy kiss from the tips of trees to the grassy roots, a gentle ashen shell. Thermometers refused to wake up, leaving even the most ‘reliable’ weathermen a few degrees short of predicted lows. It was the kind of cold that made the air heavy in metal or smell more like the ocean, you could never tell which. A disgruntled ambience blanketed Townwide as people who dressed warmly, now not warm enough, walked faster and drove slower wishing for mittens. Hands moved quicker and there was more nudging, as if the permafrost iced manners as well as grass. Chlorophyll filled ice spears jutted heaven bound on the front lawn, awaiting an impatient heel to test their firmness, releasing a healthy crunch when it did, then yawning back up in stout resolution as fresher treads brushed off ice queen illusions from the dying rose hedges ahead.
He really should put in a walkway to the steps, getting tired of playing cold-feet through the driveway everyday. As easy as slapping down slabs of stone. Throw up a lawn gnome or two and you could call this place a home, or it’d give a better impression of one. Increase property value too, probably. A little paint, some floral décor and who knows. That’s what people wanted nowadays anyways, as if the world lost it’s third dimension around the same time the last cannabis crops of ’69 went up in smoke and everything was just the way it looked. What you see is what you get. And if it’s different than what you expect, you left a negative comment on the seller’s eBay account.
Some might not be happy with the direction this Wednesday was heading in, but to Bram Stoker, it was just another Wednesday, though it might have been Thursday, because Thursdays were just like Wednesdays, which were just like all the other days of the week. Whatever Wednesday this was decided to be colder. Tough. Can't change the weather, but the weather wasn’t about to change Bram. He had worn sandals everyday since he stopped wearing shoes. He owned a pair of black sneakers; they guarded the front floor tiles and received the loose change too lazy to turn itself into a candy bar or tic-tacs by the time it got home. Cold, cold was for penguins, geriatric patients, and guys who wore patterned scarves. Bram would claim he learned to conquer cold when he walked the length of Colorado, the diagonal way, South to North, and came to settle over in North Cali for good. In telling the story, it was his resilience that weeded out the cold from his nerves—not the massive amount of chemical intoxicants he may or may not have smoked, shot, snuffed, or otherwise forcibly administered to his blood stream through a range of orifices. Sure Bram was, was still, and would be a hippie at heart, but he didn’t have to be a pansy about it. He never’d hug a tree, he’d probably say it was in the way of something, or punch it, or say something crass about its mother, depending on his level of intoxication at the time. This could be the same reason, despite the sandals, that his footfalls on the front lawn were more then the wintry grass beneath braced to bear. Bram crunch-crunched his way to the curb and paused briefly, almost stumbling, to see his morning paper stuck to sidewalk.
Bite me Wednesday. You ain’t special. Just cold.
After slipping the ragged sandals off in the cockpit of his ’86 Monte Carlo, Bram sat on his seatbelt, kicked the ignition on without warning, choked into reverse, gave the tires a healthy spin for a few rotations, and took the road on his way to the County Sheriff’s office.