Inspiration Monday – Spendthrift Beggar

Prompt courtesy of BeKindRewrite.  Just sort of banged this out in a sudden flash of inspiration.

Harry the Hat shambled down the street, whistling a tune, half remembered from what could have been three lifetimes ago. His clothes stiff and filthy, the corners of his coat grated at the brick wall he leaned against when his legs forgot how to walk.

He pulled the polished silver flask, the only memento he kept from his previous incarnation, from under the four shirts stuffed into his belt and took a thick drink when memories of that lifetime tried to break the surface.

The tune returned to his wet lips, and his legs steadied and he kept on walking.

The streetlight shining down on the corner was an oasis in the dark city night. Harry the Hat hooked an elbow around it and swung back and forth. The wail of an infant interrupted his sining. He stopped and looked up. A single lighted window on the third storey of the building across the street showed a silhouette of a young mother rocking the baby in her arms.

He drifted across the street and pulled on the building’s door. It swung open on rusty hinges. Harry walked quietly down the bare hallway and up the steps. He stopped and listened at the third floor landing.

The baby’s cries were softer now, but he followed. He leaned his ear against the door and heard the mother’s voice trying to soothe her little one. She started to hum and then sing softly. He recognized it as the tune he had on his lips all night.

Harry smiled and hunkered down. He pulled off his boot and peeled away layers of socks until he got to the plastic bag taped around his ankle. He ripped the tape away slowly. He counted out five twenty-dollar bills and seven fives. He dug into the pockets of one of his jackets and found a crumpled receipt and a bit of pencil. He scrawled a message, and wrapped the note around the twenties.

He laced the fives back against his ankle and pulled his sock and boot back on.

He slid the money and the note under the door and slid back down the hall, happy to have heard the whole song for the first time in a long time.

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