den Schreibtisch (The Writing Desk)

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Chapter 2 - Gustav

Gustav and a Cat (c. 1860)

Gustav shuffled his hands in his coat pockets. Bleedin’ cold. The bitter air was much stronger than he’d remembered the night before. As he walked down the side street, a cat drug something into a corner. His day could be summarized in the same way – he was dead prey for a hungry predator. The moon blocked by clouds, only a faint glow, was visible as a blurry orb in the middle of the clouds. Such terrible luck he’d had today.

Why’id it all go so bad, so fast? Wha in God’s name did’di do wron? Beating himself up over the events of the day, he found a corner at the rear of the alley and sat down. Urine and shit smell pierced his concentration. Not like I bloody care anymore. He pulled a flask out of his belt, took a long drink of whiskey, and sighed a heavy relief of anxiety. ’Least I don hav’ta worry no more.

Gustav lost a bet, wagering his writing table as leverage. His son, Otto, was five. The older-looking cheap table was just as good as the one he’d lost, though worth more than he’d ever considered. Who’d want to steal a rickety old table?

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