The radiator squealed in a brassy tantrum. Jerry Muser rocked back and forth between noise-cancelling headphones, unable to address the appliance’s protest, or indeed any of the world’s problems. The Airedale that shared his room—Mug—warmed the man’s feet with loyal, serene dreams. He’d stay there forever if Jerry did.
A sea of steely hair made an island of Jerry’s bald spot. The skin around his chin hung loose, and it wobbled as he chomped a potsticker with nicotine teeth.
The phone rang, Jerry didn’t hear. Mug hoisted a floppy ear and decided, as with all the other calls, that it wasn’t important. Their shadows twisted against cabinets, dressers, chipped walls.
Police officers arrested a violent drunk outside Jerry’s apartment building, but he was calm and glad six floors up, blasting music. Mug heard everything pretty clearly with the window open, but it didn’t register as anything urgent—certainly not enough to leave his human’s worn, knotty toes.
A Newark-bound Cessna grumbled through the clouds scudding past the window.
Two miles away a BMW 5 series wrapped around a telephone pole and wept smoke. The driver, who was under the influence of cocaine and was on his way to divorce proceedings with his acrimonious bitch of a wife, fled the scene because it was his girlfriend’s car and she was unconscious with a potentially serious head wound.