Burch (Part 7)

Alexander Burch III stepped onto the street and breathed deeply. He’d slept only one night in the overpriced hotel room and it was enough. Sometimes the bed was a welcome relief. Others, like last night, he spent tossing and turning, waiting for time to pass.

This was where he liked to be. In the early morning hustle and bustle of the streets. It would take him a day or two to grow back enough stubble to be unrecognizable, but he already sported some growth. His fancy clothes and the rest of his cash he’d left in the room for housekeeping. Burch had a good reputation there. He was always quiet and kept to himself. Left without a fuss and with a big tip. He was welcome.

Out here he had to fend for himself. He wasn’t anyone’s son or grandson, and he didn’t own anything but what his eyes took in. It was all he needed. He made his way down the street at a brisk clip, trying to get away from the moneyed part of the city as quickly as possible.

As soon as he felt the city’s eyes off him, which didn’t take long, Burch again adopted his shuffling gait. Why hurry? He had nowhere to be and all the time in the world to get there. It would be another day or two before he went back to the coffee shop, but no one but Sophie would miss him.

She would be full of news. How Mr. Burch had shown up just as expected and blown them all away with his knowledge of the inner workings of the shop. He had fired the perpetually-late manager and promoted Sophie in her place. She never would have expected it, but it was what Sophie had wanted for so long.

Al would listen and nod and try to keep from smiling. He smiled now thinking about it.

He shuffled along, no longer caring about scuffs on his new shoes, wondering absently where he’d find his next meal.

Al walked past a park, an iron gate and fence surrounding it. A lovely spot. Not the best view in the city, but he already owned that. Al walked past again. When there was a break in the crowd, he donned his beanie and then untucked his shirt. Eventually, he sat. This would do for a day or two.

Al could sit with the best of them.

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