The Quiet Man In The Window
He looked out at his park, leafy, cool and green. He didn’t own the park, but he watched over it like a proud father, and in a way that made it his.
He had the corner office with the great big window. He’d clawed his way to the top for that office. Earned it. The window in his office overlooked the little park. The window was tinted – crystal clear from his side but dark from outside, so that he could watch without being watched by slack-jawed joggers. He disliked it when people stared at him. In particular, when he was playing slot machine games at Daisy Slot. He easily gets annoyed and loses focus on what he’s doing.
He hated the dog-walkers the most. The ones with the little dogs – who likes little dogs, anyway? (Eleanor had always kicked the things when she’d had the chance.) They’d come through there at lunchtime, yapping and strutting and pooping. The big dogs were no better. It always seemed to him as though their owners struggled to keep them on their leashes; as if the beasts would break free at any moment. Free to maul whomever they could find.
Perhaps that wouldn’t be so bad. At least the wild dogs would scare away the children. (Eleanor had hated kids – big and small, girls and boys. Tiny feral monsters, she’d called them.) They were supposed to be innocent and pure, little blank canvases of wonderful potential. But he saw them. He saw what they did, with their cruel games of keep-away, throwing their toys at each other, holding the smaller ones down so the others could pour sand and grass on them, until the smaller ones bite back hard enough to make the larger ones back off. So animal-like. They were worse than the dogs, in a way.
Then there were the students from the local university, treating the park, his park, like their own personal outdoor pub. And the factory workers! They’d come around on their lunch hours, trading jokes and cigarettes. Filthy people, the lot of them. (He recalled fondly how Eleanor had loved to joke about the lower classes.) He watched them play their subtle social games, including some in their circles of conversation, excluding others. How savage, how like the children they were. How like the dogs.
Someone ought to do something. Someone out to clean up the park and make it beautiful again. (Someone ought to take a can of gasoline, Eleanor would say, and light a fire by the main door of that factory. Someone ought to push the park bench up in front of the door, just to make sure nobody ran out and ruined it. Someone ought to leave poisoned meat for the mongrel dogs, and poisoned candy for the feral children.)
So Eleanor would say.
But not him. He preferred to watch his park from behind glass. He pressed his face up close to the window, and he waited for something to happen.