He had not been able to make it upstairs to his dwelling place as he had been stopped by the bum. “Mister, got any Dreams to Spare?”, the bum had said. His dog, a huge mastiff, had been at his side. He had asked the bum the dogs’s name and had only been told it’s name was “Nightmare”, and he looked like his name.
Massive, black and drooling with an expression of guarded loyalty; Nightmare stood by the bum’s side, emitting a low growl. Once again, the bum asked, “Got any Dreams to spare?”; but this time, the customer said “I keep them in the Diner, care for some coffee and we can talk about them?”. “You’d do that?”, said the bum and he lit up like he hadn’t known kindness in years.
“Absolutely, but you’ll have to keep your dog outside”, he said. “Agreed” said the bum. “Nightmare is a good boy….if you don’t bother him or me”. They turned and began to walk back down the staircase to the Diner. DeIDre was still cleaning, and not making much in the way of progress. She looked up at them and said, in a clear very loud voice, “What are you doing here with that lot, Love?”
“All we want is some coffee and I know you have some because my stomach hurts after the last batch so go and get it DeIdre!” the cusotmer yelled at her. DeIdre stiffened. She wasn’t used to this kind of command, especially from him? “Who did he think he was anyway?” she thought to herself. “He must think he’s running this show…and he’s wrong; I run it and he KNOWS it!”, she thought again…but al the same, she got two fresh cups of awful coffee and gave it them.
They both sat down in what was left of booth number 6. The bum facing him directly. “So, what’s your story?” the customer asked. “What happpened to you?”
The bum waited for a long time and finally answered, “I used to be somebody here…I had inpsiration and aspirations; then…” he hesitated; “The Blackness came..and that was the end for me. He took all the Dreams away”.
At this, both the customer and DeIDre looked up quickly and with surprise. “What exactly was your job?” the customer asked him. “I was the idea man.” he said “I was responsible for planning and implementation of the plans here…my real name is E.G.”.
“It’s a privilege to meet you Sir”, the customer said respectfully; he figured the bum deserved that at least, that he thought. He wanted to know more, but he wanted to let the bum explain things in his own way.
“I wanted to be something”, the bum said “when the Blackness came to invade here, I was the first casualty he took.” The customer could definitely understand that after seeing the damage the Blackness could do. He knew that the Blackness was a real threat.
Suddenly, before the bum could finish his story, Nightmare began to bark and growl very, very loudly. It was a sound of warning if anything else. “It’s comin”, the bum said….”Nightmare wouldn’t do that just to do it…he’s coming…”. The customer knew who “He was” as well; it was the Blackness. He felt a little better knowing Nightmare was outside the door; until he heard the high-pitched yelp from outside.
There was quiet. The kind of quiet that you can hear your heartbeat and your ears perk up but nothing else is there to hear.
The door opened. Instead of a black smoke though, in strode a very well-dressed man. He wore a tuxedo with a white collar and vest as well as the old-timey spats on his shoes. In his lapel was a blood red rose….and it was dripping down the front of his coat–which he didn’t seem to mind. He reminded the customer of Bela Lugosi. A cold wind came with him and the Diner momentarily darkened then lit up again, but in a pale yellow that made everything look as if decay was setting in.
He had a seat in the very front booth, or what was left left of it as well, and proceeded to stare at the bum as if the customer was invisible.
“So, you told him your story.” the man said. “Not all of it…yet” said the bum and rolled up his sleeves as if he was about to take this man down. “You’ve told him enough”, the man said and put out his right hand. The bum instantly was thrown backwards out of the booth and into the wall. The force rendered him unconcious.
“He is now as he should be”, said the man and he rose to his feet. He strode past the customer as if he weren’t there. He stopped at the feet of the bum and bent to whisper in his ear. The customer heard him but only barely; “Sorry about your dog…” the man said. “At least there will be no more Nightmares now; …except for me.”
The man then turned on DeIDre and said, “Get to cleaning you waste of space. You missed a spot; in fact several”, and he spat at her. The spittle hissed as it hit the floor. It was also blood red.
The man came to booth number 6 and, flipping he tails of his tuxedo up; he sat down and eyed the customer.
“Now; ” he said to the customer…”it’s time for my story.”