“We shouldn’t have just left Bret in the stairwell like that,” said Derek getting up from the stained mattress on the floor and stretching his scrawny body. Derek and Randy had just been up for a few minutes. Randy was already putting on the coffee. Derek and Randy roomed together in a very small bachelor apartment in the north end of the city. Their apartment could best be described as a dump. Randy had to pull dirty dishes out of the sink so that he could fill the carafe full of water. Used dishes, pots, pans and cutlery covered the entire kitchen counter. The floor had not been swept in a month and a layer of dust was easily visible across the floor of the apartment. The ugly green paint was fading and was in places peeling off the wall. The ashtrays in the apartment were overflowing with cigarette butts and cigarette burns were evident on the easy chair and the sofa. Derek went over to open a window. The apartment smelled of dirty socks, body odor, stale beer and stale tobacco. Empty beer bottles were piled up nearly to the ceiling along one wall.
“What were we supposed to do?” said Randy sitting down in the dirty, dusty easy chair. He then reached over to the coffee table to find his cigarettes and lighter.
“I don’t know. He was just laying there bleeding and passed out,” said Derek.
“So, were we supposed to find the security guard and get help?” asked Randy lighting up his cigarette. What do you think the security guard would have done if he saw how wasted we were? I’ll tell you what. He would have phoned the cops and you and I haven’t exactly been on good terms with the justice system lately.”
This got a laugh out of Derek.”Yeah, my parole is hanging by a thread and so is yours.”
“Now you’re starting to think rationally my friend,” said Randy. Randy was actually quite articulate for a criminal. He read a lot was he was in jail and even took some adult ed. courses.
“Do you think we could call The House of Hope to see how he’s doing?” asked Derek.
“Be my guest,” answered Randy. I wrote the number for it on the cover of The White Pages.
Feeling very guilty about the way they had abandoned their friend, Derek dialed the number of The House of Hope with a shaky finger.