OsKar, lowering himself down to the pavement from the last stair, held on tightly to his remaining 7 Food-Baggies. It was now in the wee-hours of the morning and the streets were buzzing with activity. Fortunately, for OsKar, he was well hidden in the shadows so no one noticed him…until he landed on the pavement. ‘Hey there lil’ Buddy! Whacha got there in them baggies?!’
It was one the neighborhood Bums by the looks and smell of him. OsKar, had just settled down on the pavement when this fool came a runnin out of the shadows. Charging him, OsKar’s only thought was ‘No, you can’t have my snacks! How rude!’ Placing himself between his Food-Baggies and the Bum, OsKar moved just fast enough to dodge the Bum’s outstretched hands. Spinning around, he grabbed the intoxicated Bum by the back of his head and slammed him face first into the warm, damp pavement.
The Bum, still in that position, stayed there with blood pouring from under his face. ‘Oh, no!’ thought OsKar. He wasn’t trying to hurt the Bum, but he felt threatened and wasn’t about to give up his food. And he didn’t ask anyway, he was just gonna help himself. OsKar was appalled at the nerve of this guy. This just might be a longer journey than OsKar had originally bargained for. Pulling the Bum’s stiffening body deeper into the shadows, he looked up to see the area he’d come from.
It was a long ways up from where he stood and despite the strange ‘welcome’ he’d just experienced, he couldn’t fathom going back. He was still happy about his decision to escape. Looking out across the street, from around the side of the BCCC Building and decided that maybe he should wait awhile before making an attempt to get out there in the midst of the hustle and bustle.
Most everyone out and about at this hour, had already had a few too many drinks, so he’d be able to easily move down the street without attracting any unwanted attention. But he couldn’t be too confident. The Bum incident was evident that he couldn’t get careless now that he was on ground level. His mistakes would equal Humans getting hurt. He didn’t want that. All of these thoughts combined with the normal anxiety of being free of the apartment made OsKar hungry again.
Gobbling down his 2nd bag of treats, OsKar did a close survey of his new, temporary, surroundings. A few yards, down the street, he noticed an uncovered man-hole that had been left unattended. It was well lit, with flashing orange lights, orange and white barricades and orange caution tape. Now that he’d found his method of escaping into the Sewer-Systems, he noticed a melodic sound coming from a building near the man-hole.
He recognized the sound to be music…Jazz music. It was coming from Yazzie’s Jazzy Spot, a night club located across from the BCCC. He could hear the music coming from inside the club and strangely, it calmed him in a way nothing else had, including eating.
OsKar sat for a while, mesmerized by the melodic sounds. Araya’s Parents loved Jazz and played it frequently in the apartment during the evening once Araya was sound asleep, as not to disturb her. Her Dad had a collection of Vinyl that would make any record enthusiast envious.
Her Dad was a huge Miles Davis fan, while her Mom loved Melody Gardot. OsKar was also a fan of both, but thought Melody Gardot’s story was as remarkable as her gifts to the World of Jazz. As the music continued to pulse from Yazzie’s Jazzy Spot, he thought back to a time when he was totally happy being a part of Araya’s Family. A tear fell as he listened through all of the outside noise and focused on the music. He actually felt the Jazz flow through him.
Finally, he decided that he’d better get moving. In order to successfully make it to the manhole, without being seen by Humans, he’d have to create a disguise. After a brief search, he found a section of newspaper hanging on to one of the BCCC drain pipes. Realizing that it could work, he grabbed it up and placed it over himself. Moving back and forth, he felt that it would be perfect. It would have been better if he didn’t have his 6 Food-Baggies, but he wasn’t about to leave any of them behind. At this point he couldn’t afford to lighten his load, especially not knowing what he’d be eating as time progressed. The thought of that alone gave him anxiety. More than the thought of being caught by a Human.
It was a bit of a challenge to crawl and hold on to his Food-Baggies at the same time, but he didn’t have a choice. After all, he was a natural Multi-Tasker so it would just take some getting use to. His appetite seemed to have increased since he left the apartment, which concerned him. He only had 6 Food-Baggies left and wasn’t sure how far he’d have to travel in order to reach his Final Destination.
With everything ready to go, OsKar gently placed the newspaper over his entire body and slowly moved from within the shadows of the side of the BCCC building. The manhole was quite a distance down the street, but if he kept a slow pace, stopping ever-so-often in order to help blend in with his surroundings, he should make it there without interruptions or being discovered by Humans.
The traffic, which consisted mostly of cab cars, had slowed down, but the streets were still busy with foot traffic. It was becoming more and more evident that this city never slept. Thankfully, the man-hole was surrounded by caution tape and barricades with flashing orange lights. Ironically enough, all of these things were in place to help ensure no one accidently fell in.
OsKar was determined to fall into the dark pit, knowing that he could maneuver quicker underground through the sewer system. Overjoyed that everything was finally happening, he made his way slowly down the sidewalk, staying close to the wall which worked out to be the perfect backdrop. Pedestrians of the night barely noticed the paper as it blew pass them on the ground. Other trash and debris along the city streets helped to camouflage OsKar as he skillfully moved a few feet at a time before stopping.
He had been smart enough to fool Araya’s Parents for a number of years and he was smart enough now to know that a section of newspaper moving continuously down the street might create suspicion. And suspicion wouldn’t be good for him in this setting, so he stayed his course. As he moved closer and closer to the manhole the music continued to penetrate the night air.
Along the way, he encountered several vendors and most of them seemed to be just hanging out since they had no customers. Sales ranged from Cheesesteak Subs to Hot Dogs and magazines. There was even a 24 hour Flower Shop. It had the most beautiful flowers OsKar had ever seen. If he had time, he would grab up 2 or 3 and take them back to the window sill from whence he came.
In his mind, a parting gift and a way of saying ‘Thank You’ to the only Family he’d ever known. But having no idea what time it was, or how much time had passed, he didn’t want to take a chance of coming face to face with Araya. She could be sitting at the window right now calling for him and crying, sad because he’d left.
Another tear fell as OsKar looked up from beneath the paper at the flowers. Surprised that he was feeling so emotional, he shrugged it off and continued for the man-hole. The barriers and caution tape deterred traffic on this section of the street as it was used to protect the integrity of the work being done in this area of the city.
After a bit of a journey, OsKar made it to the edge of the barricades, moving under the caution tape, sliding easily to the opening of the manhole. The lights flashed continually as he surveyed the bar-steps that led down into the deep darkness. He couldn’t see it, but he could hear and smell the water at the bottom of the pit.
By the sound of it, the stream-like water barely moved along beneath this area of the city. Nevertheless, he was thirsty since he didn’t bother to pack any water as it would have only slowed him down. He was also feeling a bit dry, so the sound and smell of it made him quite happy. Reaching down, he grabbed the 1st bar-step as the newspaper settled over the opening creating a perfect camouflage. He continued down the into the darkness grabbing the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th 7th and 8th bar-step as he closed in on the bottom.
Moving quickly, he was near the bottom by the time the newspaper blew away, exposing the opening of the man-hole. Within seconds he splashed down into the shallow water below. For him, this was the best feeling ever! By all accounts the water was warm and yucky, but OsKar didn’t mind it at all. He’d carefully placed his Food-Baggies over to the side, all but 1 of them because, yes, he was hungry again after his trek to this point of his journey.
He splashed around in the water until he was exhausted, but not so much so that he couldn’t eat. Gobbling down his 3rd snack leaving 5. Laying there in the water, OsKar couldn’t fight off taking a short nap before heading on down the tunnel where more darkness awaited him.
The noise of steel-toe boots scraping across the bar-steps and voices woke him up from a deep sleep. It took him a second to recognize where he was and what was happening in relation to his whereabouts. Instinctively he moved to a corner in the sewer as he watched 2 Humans descend the bar-stairs. Looking up at the opening, OsKar could see that the sun had long peered around the buildings of the city. He’d slept a lot longer than he originally planned to… And then it hit him, the Humans must’ve been searching for him!
Laying as still as he could here in the depths, he continued to watch the Humans as the 1st Human stepped off the bar-step and picked up his 5 Food-Baggies. ‘Hey Bro, check this out!’ The 2nd Human, climbing off the bar-step responded, ‘Hey, whacha got there Bud?!’ OsKar could feel himself getting angry at the fact that 1st Human was shaking and inspecting his snacks.
He had carelessly left them sitting on the side of the sewer… Now the 2nd Human was joining in on the activities. The 2nd Human said, ‘Dude, I think we got a hold of some Bum’s stash right here.’ ‘I know right?!’ responded the 1st. ‘I betcha he’s still down here somewhere. Prolly sleeping off a buzz.’ The 2nd one flipped on his helmet headlight and started looking around the immediate area. The 1st one didn’t bother turning on his headlight because he was still checking out the Food-Baggies.
OsKar closed his eyes as the 2nd Human aimed his headlight directly at him. He could feel the brightness of the light pass over him down here in the darkness and remained as still as he possibly could. He even held his breath… Noticing something in the corner that didn’t seem to fit the scene, the 2nd Human took a step or two closer and aimed his headlight back on OsKar.
Hearing the 2nd Human scream, ‘W-W-What the hell is THAT?!!’ was his cue. He opened his eyes and everything, from that point, seemed to go in slow motion. Still screaming, the 2nd Human, still pointing, turned to run. The 1st Human, smart enough to know that a big dude, like his partner, screaming only meant something was bad. Real bad. Dropping the Food-Baggies he scrambled to the bar-steps and began to scream too. It would have been funny, but OsKar felt threatened by these two, so he’d have to take care of them, to protect himself and his journey. He wasn’t about to let these two mess up his plans to continue his escape and make it to his Final Destination.
In movements faster than the human eye could track, OsKar reached and grabbed the 2nd Human’s wrist and one his ankles. This was a big guy and his partner was even larger than him so OsKar had his work cut out for him. With a hefty hoist, OsKar lifted the 2nd and tossed him hard against the damp wall of the sewer. By the time the 1st Human heard his neck snap like a twig, OsKar was racing for the bar-steps to grab him. Screaming so loud that he nearly choked, the 1st Human was now using his massive arms to pull himself up to the opening of the manhole.
He was just a few feet from the top when he felt something grab one of his boots. He had a habit of not tying them, just slipping them on, and that would prove to be helpful in this instant. Instinctively snatching his leg upwards the boot came off freely and he heard a big splash below. Laughing like a crazy man, the 1st Human continued to grab bar-step after bar-step pulling himself upward. At the last moment he reached up and grabbed the edge of the manhole, when something grabbed his bootless leg, crushing it. The strength and weight of whatever had him was too much to lift. Determined to hold onto the edge of the manhole and bar-step he felt his knee when it dislocated.
A final, firm tug pulled him back down into the hole, all the way down to the bottom. He hit the bottom with a loud splash, landing right beside his removed boot. He could also see the twisted body of his former partner laying on the side of the sewer. The rush of adrenaline helped him to block out the pain that flooded his whole body. Screaming, he began to frantically scramble and crawl away from the bottom of the bar-steps. No idea where he was going, he just knew he needed to go.
OsKar studied him for a moment, needing to catch his own breath. This was just too much excitement for him. More than he’d bargained for, but he needed to finish what he’d started. When the 1st Human heard the large splash behind him, he crawled to his feet and began hopping down the sewer tunnel, dragging his broken leg behind him. Not daring to look back, he felt the same grip grab his good leg and his throat at the same time.
Now, unable to scream, he felt himself being lifted, against his will. All of a sudden, his body was flipped mid-air and he closed his eyes. Whatever had him, held him there for a minute or two, dangling him over the water below. He opened his eyes just in time to see his face rushing for the bottom of the sewer with a force that no human could imagine. It was similar to being on a roller coaster that was dropping. Another large splash and it was over.
A little winded from the whole ordeal, OsKar gathered his Food-Baggies. He inspected them to ensure they were all still sealed. He was happy to see that they were. Now he realized he was hungry again. He opened one of them and gobbled down it’s contents as he laid there. Looking at the bodies of the 2 Humans he felt a little sad. He had never been threatened so much in his life. First, the Bum and now these 2. He wondered, how many more encounters he would have to have before he made it to his Final Destination?