You’d be shocked to know that I left my front door key under my front step black kitty cat face place mat but I had. An exercise of trust. I did not want any keys jangling and I knew no one, not even myself, would look under the front mat for my key. Unless they did, but I felt secure placing the heater down for a moment, lifting it up, grabbing they key and unlocking it quickly. Safely inside, there was no safe inside, but we were all pretending and so was I.  I set the heater down next to the door, walked to the table, snatched the charger and proceed to re enter the night. I had an inch of a plan: start their car, charge my phone, return all keys and walk back. Tired? Maybe. I took my key this time. As I said, that was an exercise of trust. People get lucky twice, three times, multiple times but best to be smarter every time.
“When you start the car,” I began to myself, “be prepared to steal it.”
You cannot do these things if you are not prepared to run. As I turned the corner, I met the first stranger of the night.
“Hello,” I said.
He was facing me. I squared but recognized him. He may not have been homeless but he hung around a lot. He was wearing a big black parka, his eyes were wide. He had gloves.
“Do you need anything?” I asked without moving.
I made a quick pact with myself: don’t tell him your name, where you live or invite him inside. He mumbled and kind of rocked and moved towards me but slowly.
“The world is ending.”
His eyes were wide and I could see the white of his teeth and gray of his beard but nothing else.
“Here,” I reached in my back pocket. “I have a flashlight.”
I held it out to him, my hands still ungloved and probably getting frost bit. I would need to take a bath when I got home. No, you need to conserve water.
“You’ll need that mosying on your missions.”
His voice was gruff but weak. He had spoken to me once before. Asked me which way the bus was going and I didn’t know.
“I have an extra. It will help you see.”
I closed the gap between us and handed it to him with my left hand, same hand the knife was taped to and hoped he wouldn’t suddenly grab it. We held gaze. His face was sad and he felt close to succumbing to the weather. I could see his cheeks, dotted with something, maybe ice and for a black man, he was pallid. He smiled and his teeth were a perfect yellow. I get upset over mine but his teeth were ruined. He did grab my finger tips.
“Don’t go on Mckean and 2nd, they are robbing people.”
I nodded. He nodded and walked past me, leaving the flashlight with me. A chill went down my back. McKean is only two blocks away from Mirch. I turned to watch him continue his walk and then I started running the other way.

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