The taxi pulled up to 394 Rivet St. Outside it was dark and a cold rain came down to mix with the many dirt encrusted piles of old snow. The weather kept everyone off the street and out of the park across from my apartment. Together with my exhaustion from the flight, it felt later than it really was.
I reached for my wallet, glancing up at the meter as I did. I groaned. No doubt come Monday I’d be hearing an unhappy word or two from Steve about the fare. If they didn’t want me taking a cab home they should have picked me up themselves. I wasn’t about to ask a friend to drive a few hours on a Friday night; it’s not like this was a vacation.
“Thanks,” I said to the driver as I paid him. “Drive safe getting back. Sure is nasty out.”
The driver just nodded. He hadn’t said a word since he asked me where I was going over an hour ago.
“Pop the trunk?” I asked as I emerged into the wet night. A moment later it opened with a soft spring. I hefted the black duffel bag, strapping it to my shoulder. I closed the trunk and gave it a few solid thumps to let him know I was all set back here.
The cab pulled away as I came up to the front door of my building. I struggled with the keys for a minute before I could get the door open. The thing was heavy enough without the luggage counterbalancing me on my opposite shoulder. I shoved my way inside, dripping onto a rough faded red carpet. The door closed quickly behind me.
Waiting for me up on the third floor was a neat pile of mail. Mrs. Rosa must have noticed I wasn’t around for the last few days. I’d have to get her a thank you card.
I set the duffel bag down as soon as I came through the door. It could wait until I was less tired. I shook myself out of my wet coat and left it draped across the bag.
Going through the kitchen cabinets, I cursed myself for leaving town with them so empty. I managed to find a bag of microwave popcorn and got it cooking. There was, thankfully, a single beer left in the fridge. I popped the tab on it open and took a long, thankful gulp. It was a nice hoppy IPA.
I was too hungry to care just how long that popcorn was waiting for me to remember it in the cabinet. I dumped the bag into a bowl, grabbed the can of beer, and padded over to the sofa. I emptied my pockets onto the coffee table and put my feet up, turning on the TV.
I needed something familiar. Something I’d seen before and I wouldn’t have to pay too much attention to. Just to lose myself in a movie and relax.
The classic movie station was showing Pulp Fiction. Perfect. I’d seen it a dozen times. I flipped over to AMC. All of the choice language would be edited out, but it was one of those trivia notes showings. Every few minutes a box would pop up on the screen with a factoid about the movie.
Samuel L. Jackson was berating the sorry kids who ripped off his boss, giving them that terrifying stare. A little blue box came up, laying itself right over the Windsor knot on his tie. I could barely read the print I was so tired. It blurred into the rest of the box.
[Director Quentin Tarantino wrote this part with Samuel L. Jackson in mind.]
Reading these might just be enough to keep me awake, but not too much so. It was a balance I was still playing with. Stimulation enough to stop me from falling asleep at 9 but not enough to keep me awake until 1. I needed to get back on schedule; I hadn’t slept properly in weeks.
Another trivia box popped up. I squinted and leaned forward to read it, crunching loudly on popcorn.
[The Key Grip’s wife was cheating on him while this scene was being filmed.]