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There was a sweet spot in Gracen’s knee. He tapped it when nervous. Or when he was excited. Usually they were simultaneous.  It hit a nerve just right and sent a tingling sensation running up the outside of his leg from his knee up into his hip. His grandmother tried to break him of the habit once, but it had turned him into a nail bitter, which she found disgusting as well as annoying so eventually she let the knee tapping go. What his parents would have said about it he didn’t know. He had no memories of either person. Just Grandma and her avocado carpet rife with orange tabby hair and the occasional lost darning needle.

Now there were only five or six hours in the day when he was actually at the house. At 34 he hadn’t really moved out so much as maneuvered his things into his work space. If he could find away to get his 6′ 4″   frame comfortable in the 5 by 5 space he would sleep there too but, as it was he contented himself with 4 or 5 odd hours of sleep on the too short twin bed in his Grandmother’s attic and spent most of his time in the storage room of the Written Galaxies. It was a terrible name for comic book shop. It was a terrible job with terrible pay too. Or so said his employees. He spent all of his time hunched over his desk doing line work for his comics that Written Galaxies published locally, with a moderate amount of regional success in which he took much pride. Pen on paper was simple. You created the world you wanted and it complied to every whim.

He knew he didn’t look capable of being a business owner. No one had ever said it to his face but when he looked in the mirror he saw a man not capable of shaving in a straight line. Eyes sunk a little to far into their sockets, hair always to long and too lank no matter what hair cut he tried. His lips were always chapped from being licked to frequently. Another bad habit. It mattered very little what one looked like so long as the paper work matched up. He was good with paper work. Paper work meant his grandmothers social security checks kept coming a decade after her heart attack. She slept in the deep freezer in the basement now. Paper work meant Written Galaxies belonged to Gracen Keeley, while the previous owner slept soundly next to his grandmother. Some day he would need to write up the papers that granted him the house, but right now it was easier on taxes that it remained in his grandmother’s name.

He tapped the sweet spot on his knee and twirled his fountain pen in the other hand. He was writing up paper work for a new car today. Thankfully this batch of perfectly aligned off white documentation, to be left on a middle managers desk at the dealership across town, would not need to be accompanied with the removal of a body. The freezer was getting crowded and killing people in the real world was messy and time consuming. The bones of his wrist twirled and curved like a swooping bird as he signed his name to the documents with a well practiced flourish. The ink sunk into the paper with a familiar and comforting bleed as he set the pen down in its holder. You could do anything with the right amount of ink on paper.


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