Sam sat down on the first step of the stairs leading to his apartment. He reached into the solitary breast pocket on his t-shirt and pulled out a half empty pack of cigarettes. Absentmindedly he slapped the butt of the pack into the palm of his right hand a few times and flipped the lid open. “Better pick up a new pack of smokes” he thought to himself as he stretched out on his perch.
Sam loved the stairs to that apartment, they provided the perfect seat to gaze out at his slice of the world, small as it was. Not much really went on, but you couldn’t tell Sam that. Everything was of interest to him. The neighbors leaving their house to go to work, the ambulance wailing by on its way to the scene of another shooting, the mailman toiling through his repetitive day, Sam thoughtfully focused on each one, his attention only being broken by the next seemingly trivial item passing through his field of view.
The pizza delivery guy was what really got his attention, it was always interesting to Sam to see which of his neighbors was too lazy to cook dinner that night. He could almost tell the day of the week by the amount of pizza his neighbors were purchasing. Monday’s and Fridays always had the most pizza delivery’s, Saturday the least. Sam usually ordered pizza Sunday.
Sam had spent his entire life on the road, on the go, never living in one place longer than a few weeks. Now things were different. He hadn’t left the block on which he lived in two weeks. Sam knew he would die on those stairs, and really he wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Right now though, death was far from Sam’s mind, he slowly drew another cigarette out of the pack, gave it a quick glance, and lit it up.
The crazy neighbor kid from up the street ran by on another one of his afternoon jogs, sweating and puffing as he inhaled the smoke from Sam’s cigarette. “Crazy kid” thought Sam, “What’s he running from?”. As he thought about this, Sam got up from the stairs, and slowly strolled around the corner of the building where he lived. It was now time for another of Sam’s daily rituals, watching his neighbors arrive home from work. He would stand in the parking lot of the building and idly eye each one as they drove up, parked, picked up their mail, and walked up the steps into their respective apartments. Sam knew exactly what time each one would be arriving, remembering things like that was something Sam had always been good at. The neighbors were unnerved by Sam’s constant presence, but they never told him so, and it never occurred to him that people might not like being watched.
After a few minutes of watching, one of the neighbors who Sam knew as “Rog” drove up and parked, arriving exactly 4 minutes earlier than usual Sam noticed. Rog got out of his vehicle and in a surprising variation from his routine, approached Sam. “What’s he doing?” Sam thought to himself as Rog drew near. “Thought you might like these” Rog said as he tossed a pack of Sam’s favorite cigarette brand towards him. “Found them on a park bench downtown”. Sam looked at the pack and pack at Rog, “Thanks” Sam said gruffly, unused to receiving favors. “Hey, glad to do it” Rog said as he turned toward his mailbox. That evening, Sam didn’t have to go out for cigarettes. He stayed home and sat on the stairs. That evening, Rog had pizza delivered.