For a while this morning, everything was normal. The sandy-haired gentleman sat at his kitchen table with a coffee and a bagel and seven or eight daily newspapers from all over the world. His house was silent; not even the birds outside were quite ready to greet the dawn (either it was too early or they’d forgotten to let the cat in last night). He opened the first paper – New York (didn’t matter which publisher; the news was the same) – to the third page, snapped the folded spine and took a sip of dark, rich coffee. Environmental disasters, crime, panic on Wall Street.
He smoothed the paper out on the table to his left and picked another paper out of the pile. England. The Royals, some scandal, crime, Environmental damage, panic in Bloomsbury. He bit into his bagel, scanned the headlines, skimmed the stories. He lay the London paper on top of the New York paper. Somewhere down the road, a car alarm went off.
Frankfurt. Science news, financial fears surrounding the implementation of the Euro, political debates over social programmes, recycling depot, car accidents. Another gulp of coffee. Frankfurt goes on top of London. Then Tokyo.
Big mergers, traditional performances, new art exhibit, natural disasters, technological advancement. Chew bagel, chew bagel, chew bagel, swallow, sip coffee. Tokyo-Frankfurt-London-New York
As he reaches for the Moscow newspaper, something about the angle of his hand gives him pause. He stares at the webbing between his thumb and index finger. Absently, he drops the bagel on the plate and rubs the skin on the palm of his hand with his other thumb. A hazy memory floats to the front of his consciousness. Thorns. There had been thorns in the palm of his hand. Thick, sharp thorns as long as a butter knife.
He was supposed to remember something. Something important. Something that could…save him. Save his marriage? His job? Damnit, the memory was fading. But it had to do with thorns…roses?