Beep. Beep. Beep.
The steady ringing of the alarm was silenced as a meaty hand slammed down on the sleep button. Dashiell Aldridge opened his eyes slowly, squinting against the light streaming in through his south-facing window. He grunted sourly. He’d never been a fan of Thursdays.
He breathed in deeply, stretching his hands over his head, and decided he’d better get up. If he were late into the office again, his boss would give him hell. He sat up and carefully got out of bed, being sure to place his right foot on the floor first. He stood up and crossed to the bathroom where he took care of his usual morning business.
After a shower, he was feeling almost human again. He dressed quickly, grabbing the first thing he saw when he opened his dresser drawers. He paused in putting on his shoes, making sure to put the right shoe on first, then the left. He reached into the top drawer and grabbed a clean, white handkerchief. He unfolded it, grabbed the opposite corners, and very deliberately tied a knot in the middle. He examined it, nodded to himself, satisfied, then shoved it in his right front pocket. Then he reached for a necklace on the dresser top. It was a simple leather cord with a blue bead hanging off it. He tied the cord around his neck and dropped the bead down the front of his shirt.
He headed out his front door, which was painted a friendly blue, and smelled the fresh scent of rosemary from the planter boxes on either side. Spring was coming early this year. He looked toward the large oak tree in his front yard and spotted a squirrel that was out for a morning snack. He strode quickly toward it, his long stride quickly eating up ground. The squirrel, startled, ran up the trunk of the tree. Dashiell bent and picked up the acorn it had dropped.
“Thanks,” he said, with a nod of his head. The squirrel chittered angrily, deprived of its breakfast, as Dashiell put the acorn in his front left pocket. He headed toward the sidewalk, turned left and started walking down the street.
He came to Braddock and made a left, heading for the Metro Station. He grabbed a copy of the Express from Henry, the guy who passed them out every morning, nodding a hello before pulling out his wallet, passing it over the SmarTrip spot and sliding through the automated gateway. He heard the soft roar of an arriving Metro as he replaced his wallet, and hurried up the escalator, staying to the left to get around the standing passengers.
The Yellow Line train toward
He settled into the seat, trying to ignore the greasy smear on the window where some earlier commuter had rested his or her head. These were the things you got used to using public transportation in and around the District. He turned his attention to his paper. There were the typical stories from around D.C. and the world. They were considering raising Metro fares again to compensate for increased costs, and there was talk of extending a spur off the
He had just finished reading through “This Day in History” as the train pulled into the
It was three short stops to
The cold hit him as the escalator emerged into the winter air. At the top, he turned right, heading up
Dashiell G. Aldridge
He opened the door and let himself in.