By Obed Kainos
Got back from work at seven. The shower is still a novelty, hehe. Very luxurious and relaxing. I couldn’t sleep yesterday. The bed was too big and empty. Tried sleeping on the floor. That worked better, but not good enough, so I went out to buy canvas to paint wall-hangings for the lounge room/bedroom, which is really two rooms divided by a bar and a step up into the bedroom area. There’s a big TV hidden behind panels in the wall, but I think I’ll just keep the panels closed. The lounge area is where I’ll spend most of my time. The ceiling has a big hole in the top, and there are huge windows looking out onto a patio and, beyond that, the garden, which is just barely starting to come alive. Maybe I’ll have an indoor garden of my own. There’s plenty of light, but I’ll want to be careful not to damage the Xayyachacks’ furniture and oriental rugs.
I love mornings and being up before everyone else. That’s what I like about third shift. Sleep time is wretched, but I haven’t been able to sleep well for a long time, anyway. You get used to it. Anyway, Mrs. Xay was up and about, ready with breakfast on the dining room table. I hung my coat on the hall tree, and she was in the doorway, saying, “Good morning, Mr. Kainos! Mr. Xayyachack won’t be with us this morning. He’s… indisposed.” I thought I heard something above us, a loud clatter and a man crying out, doing everything he could not to curse.“Hey, man, cool. I mean, ma’am,” I said. Always the one for words. Anyway, there weren’t many people sitting at the long dining table, actually. She led me to a chair next to a young woman and across from Mitch.
“Katrina and Mitch are here, though. Your breakfast is waiting for you.” A servant brought in my breakfast platter, and Mrs. Xay smiled with a twinkle in her eye that only a mother could have. She must have kids. Nice lady. “I’ll be in the kitchen if you need anything.”
When Mrs. Xay had introduced me and left for the kitchen, Katrina got up, moved to a chair far away from me, and started pushing food around on her plate again. She glanced once my way, when I stared too long, and our eyes met. Amazingly, I held eye contact for a moment, and then she looked darkly back to her breakfast. I think that perhaps I have not met someone more full of self-loathing, except myself. She seemed, also, to have an air of strict self-discipline. She sat very straight in her chair and wore black, no-nonsense clothes and tightly pinned hair. I should like to talk with her some time, if she will allow it. She could use a friendly word. Perhaps she has not heard the words of life. Maybe I will tell her. All in good time. Her manner is not at all warm, and I do not think she would listen to anything I have to say, to be honest. In fact, this was the first girl I tried to have give my letter to Ms. Talbot. She didn’t hang out long. Got up and left, maybe after a minute of mulling on her food.
Mitch seems friendly enough. We immediately hit it off, talking about writing. He did most of the talking, because I kept asking him questions, mostly about his theories on writing and his impression of the people enrolled in the project so far. He gave me plenty of room to talk myself, too, and asked questions, too, mostly about who I am, so I tried to remain vague without being rude.
For example, I remember him saying, “Obed Kainos? Come on. That can’t be your real name. Who has a name like that? Isn’t kainos a Greek word? I studied a little Greek at a class at church, and the word sounds familiar.” He was very good-natured about it, though, and my “artful” dodges, too. Maybe I should have picked a different alias, like Bob Smith. That’s bland enough. Well, hopefully, I can sleep today better than I did yesterday. I’ll try the bed again, with the floor as a backup plan.