The first storm of the summer rolled in as Karen walked home from her day job, waiting tables at the corner bar for two bucks an hour plus tips. From her right hand dangled a plastic grocery bag containing a jar of peanut butter, a partially smashed loaf of bread, two packs of smokes, and a pint of Jack Daniels. She was still two blocks from her door when the rain started in earnest.
With her dress clinging to her wet skin like an unwanted lover, she splashed down the sidewalk. She jammed the key into the lock and stepped into the tiny apartment where she lived alone, with her son. The smell of stale cigarettes and tired dust greeted her at the door. Slipping off her shoes, she kicked them across the kitchen and proceeded to pour two fingers of Jack into a dirty glass. She stared out the window at the rain slanting across the parking lot, and poured two more.
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