Chapter 3: Groundless
Cecile leaned against the half fallen bridge, watching the sparrows peck at the ground, as he waited for his companion to finish his task there. He stuck his hand in the bread bag and tore off another piece, rolled it, and tossed it to the birds. If his companion wanted to keep him waiting, then he would lose that much more bread to amusement.
His companion continued to work under the bridge, pulling the clothes off a homeless fellow who had died there the night before.
“You won’t believe what clothes sell for these days,” his companion said as he wrestled the new shirt over the one he already had on.
Knowing his companion’s intentions, the stranger might have offered his own coat, but he didn’t particularly like the guy or his habits. He had only come to keep a promise to share food.
“Then why don’t you sell them and buy your own food?” Cecile asked, flicking another crumb to the birds.
“I can’t yet. Besides, you don’t know how cold this city feels when you’re hungry.”
With the shirt on, his companion finally looked his way.
“Hey what are you—”
Cecile held up the half-eaten bag of bread. His companion trudged over, swiped it, and sat down heavily beside him.
“I forgot you weren’t so nice,” his companion said pulling out a slice.
In all his layers of clothing, he was the fattest looking beggar Cecile had ever seen. Cecile looked back to the sparrows that were now hopping around in search of food that would not come.
“Somebody told me you met a girl,” his companion said.
If Cecile really thought about it there should have been no sparrows at all.
“So I take it you met her,” his companion continued.
“Who?” Cecile asked, looking at his companion who was greedily eating his bread.
“No, not really.”
“What do you mean by not really?”
“I handed her a grocery bag and told her to go away.”
“Let me clarify. You met a girl and ignored her.”
“Of course I ignored her.”
Well maybe he had not ignored her as completely as he intended, but what was the difference. His companion took out the last piece of bread.
“You’re terrible. Even your bread is terrible.”
“Should I stop bringing it?” Cecile asked.
“Do you really mean that?”
His companion looked away in disgust and continued munching.
“Terrible. For a half-made experiment you should at least be able to pretend you care.”
“I kept the promise to see you, didn’t I?”
“You probably forgot,” his companion said in contempt.
Cecile chose not to say. Instead, he switched to a more helpful subject.
“Did you try reporting me to C.R.A.V.E. again for money?”
His companion crumpled the plastic bag.
“Then walk back yourself. I never did report you,” he said stuffing the plastic bag in his pocket before standing to leave.
“But I told you to,” Cecile said calling after him.
The companion turned around.
“As insensitive and stupid as you are,” he called back. “I won’t hand in my own brother.”
Cecile looked to the sparrows.
“You hear that,” he told them. “I’m not going back.”