He always cashed his paycheck immediately. He'd been screwed over enough to learn his lesson, so every other Friday he went down to the check cashing joint and traded the paper in for green ones. They took a small percentage out but so did the banks and he didn't trust the banks. He had worked a series of jobs in the last few years, always bouncing around. He was intelligent even charming but he was full of rebellious ideas that hadn't quite finished cooking. Afterward he would slide on home open the front door and drink a beer without turning any lights on. Sometimes he would take a shower and meet a girl or go out with a friend but usually he stayed at home and got drunk by himself. He liked to read and would imagine himself as a prolific writer coolin' on the shores of some foreign country, bedded down with a native girl. Then he would look out his window, at the trash across the street, at his incessant neighbors and the unending stream of cars.
Soon enough the work week would arrive like a hangover after a long night out. He worked as a doorman at a hotel in Manhattan and would daydream the forty hours plus overtime away. The pale fat tourists, the businessman in suits and the wealthy men and women who came there to cheat on their spouses, annoyed him but then again most things did. After work he'd go to a pizza spot near by and get a couple of slices. He had a crush on the girl behind the counter and went there everyday. She had bright green eyes and an effortless smile that spoke of nobility. Sometimes he'd catch her looking at him while he sat eating and when she looked away he wished she hadn't. He'd get up pay for his food and shyly smile and say goodbye. After that he would grab the train back home.
He lived alone in a studio apartment in a noisy neighborhood in Brooklyn. His landlady was a middle aged Russian widow. Her name was Maria and she was still pretty. A hard life had etched her face with lines but instead of diminishing, it only added to her beauty. She took a liking to Eddie, said he reminded her of her husband. Sometimes he would go to her apartment and eat. She liked the company and he liked the food. She would tell him about her childhood. She grew up in Russia but came to the States while in high school. She liked rock music and knew all the bands Eddie knew. Eddie would tell her about his hopes and dreams and hopeless frustrations and she would say he was a silly boy and that he shouldn't expect so much from life. They'd drink wine and talk and listen to records then Eddie would go home wondering if he should sleep with her. Maybe it was what she wanted he thought. Soon he'd be asleep.
He liked reading on the train, it was small things like that that made the day bearable. He would get to work five minutes late and listen patiently to his bosses stuttering voice as he spoke about professionalism and tuck in your shirt and look at me when I'm speaking to you, I can smell the alcohol on your breath, it's fine with me if you want to drink all night but get here on ****ing time. He'd walk away with a wheeze and a bowlegged waddle and Eddie would settle in for another day. If he were anyone else Eddie would have socked him one and ran his wallet for the trouble but the job payed well enough and he didn't do much work. He enjoyed it well enough. People were friendly and would sometimes tip. He'd go get a slice of pizza and imagine what he would say to the girl. He recently learned her name was Heidi.
Standing by the counter she noticed his presence without looking at him “Two slices?” she said busy writing receipts or something. “No, I wanted to ask you out.” he said confidently. She looked up at him at first taken slightly aback fighting back her effortless smile. “I come in her everyday, and I hate the pizza, but you that's something about you that I want to learn about.” she laughed and said sure.
That night Eddie slept very well. He got into work the next morning fifteen minutes late and didn't hear his bosses stuttering voice, he only saw the spit spraying from his oversized mouth. The day passed easily by, he didn't even have to smoke a cigarette. Later he went home, gave a bum a few singles took a shower and got dressed and met Heidi. She was interesting. She told him she liked to paint and how she hated her job and the city and how she wanted to find someplace where everything wasn't so demanding. After the night was over he took her home and kissed her goodbye. He didn't even think about trying to sleep with her or get a feel.