Stew Bum Salvation

by Thane Thompson

The faded, mustard-yellow playbill pointed me further into the alley and read, "Whisker's: NYC's Sweetest PUSSYcats!!" I strayed deeper into the bowels of the alley until I found the battered, nondescript steel door that was painted black, but had a shiny, well-used handle. I'd never done anything like this before, and my heart was throbbing in time with the bass that banged away at the inside of the door; as terrified as a fresh-fish convict on his first night in the big house. When I stepped in closer to reach for the handle, my foot brushed against a pile of newspapers, and I jumped back as a stringy-haired stew bum sat up, fixed me with his rheumy gaze, and rasped out, "That's right, boy, get in there and get what you can; 'cause the Devil's in the details!" He gave me a coy little smile and then flopped back down into his little nest just as my cell phone rang, and I was startled enough to answer it instead of sending it straight to voice mail. I stood there, suspended between heaven and hell, and babbled, "Yeah, baby... uh-huh... just about done... yeah, the meeting went well... OK, I'm heading home now... love you, too... OK, bye," before I took a last look at the throbbing door, and then started back up the alley towards the subway.


Thane Thompson lives in Ohio with his wife, daughter, and two highly opinionated cats. He freely admits to liking cheap wine, expensive movies, and hand-blown glassware.