The man sat up, straightened his tie, and rose from his seat. He put on his coat, grabbed his briefcase, and walked down the hallway to meet his friend.
“Ready to go?”
The two walked out of the office and down the steps onto the sidewalk. They said little as they went on their way, pausing only for a moment outside the electronics store. The televisions in the window showed the previous night’s news broadcast.
“Another fire,” the friend said.
“Last night. On the corner of Elisonn and Ginthun Park. It’s a shame.”
“But look at it this way,” the friend said. “Several of their neighbors have already offered to give them money, meals, clothes, anything they need while they get back on their feet.”
The man and his friend continued along until they got to the friend’s house.
“Well, see you tomorrow,” the man said.
“Bye. Have a good one.”
The man went on his way, giving only a brief thought to the family who had lost their house in the fire. Finally, he reached his block. He turned, walked down Dadswer Street, and went up the steps to his house. He pulled out his key, unlocked the door, and walked inside.
He stopped, dropping his coat and briefcase as he leaned against the doorframe, and surveyed the scene. The place had been ransacked. As he walked through his house, he noticed the foyer lamp was missing, as were several kitchen appliances and the smaller television. Most of the furniture, including a couple of the larger pieces, was gone, and the pictures that had sat on the bookshelf in the living room had been knocked over. The picture frames now lay shattered on the floor. The man picked one up, looked at it, and set it back down in the broken glass.
He walked up the stairs and went into his bedroom. The man sat down on the bed, picked up the phone, and called his friend.
“Someone broke in,” the man said. “All of my most valuable things are gone. Someone took everything.”
“Gosh, I’m sorry,” the friend said. “Let me help. I’ll come over and assess the damage with you, and I’ll do anything else you need me to do. Be there soon.”
The man waited for the friend. As he waited, he lay down, closed his eyes, and fell asleep.
When the friend called back, the phone rang and rang in the silence of the empty house.
“They got the people who ransacked your house,” the friend said to the man’s stone. He paused and took a deep breath. “Not that it matters anyway,” the friend said, but his voice broke.