Phil Anderson: A Short Story

Phil Anderson: A Short Story

Length: 400 words (1.1 double-spaced pages)

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The sun was setting. Far to the east, threatening black clouds arose from the fumes of pollution from the several smokestacks towering over the city. The streets were pocks marked and dented with the recent shower of acid rain. Hot boiling steam from the sewers made the temperature of day much hotter than it really was. Just outside the borders of the city is a lake covered with muck and crude oil spills. Death and despair floated aimlessly on the surface of the unhospitable body of water. Corpses of dead fish, seagulls... bobbed just under the rim of the black slime. The black slime sensing fresh prey, extended it's corrupt and revolting tendrils farther...until it caught another unsuspecting victim, choking and engulfing, destroying, leaving just another empty shell behind, devoid of any life. Night set in; thick blankets of smoke obscured the stars. Stores got ready to lock up and streetlights were turned on to aid the breadwinners, so they may travel safely. Few were fortunate enough to own automobiles so they could avoid the cold dangerous streets and dark alleyways. Most shops were already abandoned, finished for the day. Yet few doors were still open, desperate for any last minute customers. Phil Anderson had worked as a pharmacist for most of his life. The pollution that caused the gradual decay of the city had had negative effects on business, as well as the environment. Phil, though by all means not an old man, showed signs of premature aging. His skin was pale and dry, wrinkled by the everyday punishment of the deteriorating surroundings. Few strands of greyish white hair lined his almost bald, dandruff infested scalp, His eyes were red and bloodshot, and the glasses he wore only made these features more obvious. Looking at Phil with his characteristic limp slouched posture and bulging belly one might think him an extremely unathletic person. With shaking skinny hands, Phil slowly put away the last of the items on top of the counter.

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Finally done, he looked one last time to make sure everything was right, a low slanted ceiling hung over head. Years of exposure to acid rain caused the wood to decay. Wood fillings were occasionally used to patch up the holes, the shop was in order, and he flicked off the lights and rummaged through his pockets for his keys. Phil locked up the store and left.





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