Chapter 59 of The Empty City

By Andrew Looney

Peter, Paul and Umberto entered their apartment building, Peter reading a copy of the City Paper as they walked. They got onto the elevator, disappointed as always to find it already occupied by Doug. Peter made a point of holding the newspaper in front of him, thus avoiding eye contact with Doug. Paul and Bert had to resort to the traditional elevator stance: arms crossed, head lowered, shoulders slumped against the wall.

Fortunately, Doug said nothing. At last the doors squeaked open. Bert and Paul quickly strolled out, but Peter, realizing he was finished with his paper, closed it, folded it, and suddenly handed it to Doug. Doug was startled. Peter dashed through the doors just as they started to close.

The elevator lurched. Doug stood there looking at the City Paper. Then he opened it, flipping through the pages. He found the comics and read them, but found them rather incomprehensible. He came to the classifieds and glanced through them. One caught his eye: "For Sale, one Atomic Bomb. $100.00 or best offer. Call 555-1449."

Copyright © 1991 by Andrew Looney.

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