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It didn't take long for Teodor to get dressed. He locked up his bedroom, double checking the thick padlock and the two dead bolts. Even though they didn't have much. Some of the transients that came through the house, would steal anything. As they left the house, Chaser started to moan from the couch. He woke early today.
They walked down the street, getting stares from some of the older people in the neighborhood. Teodor was used to it now. They did not like the “hippies” living in the neighborhood. Jerry always got upset when people called him that. “Do you see me dancing around with flowers in my hair.” He would say.
The older neighbors were the problem. In this neighborhood a lot of younger people had moved in over the last few years. Some were frightened of the strange kids, other were concerned. The couple residents that had tried to find out about the strange people at Chaser's house, didn't bother Teodor or Amanda too much.
Jerry stopped at the news stand to get the morning paper. The news stand operator's dog started to wag it's tail as they approached.
“Hey!” The operator said as they approached. “It's my favorite freaky people.”
“Morning Telly,” Amanda said.
Teodor got on his knee to rough house with the mutt that Telly owned. “Brutus,” Teodor said. “Who's glad to see me?”
Brutus barked. Teodor played with him. Telly shook his head, while Jerry paid for his paper.
“You are the only other guy Brutus likes, and he doesn't like me that much,” Telly said.
Brutus gave Teodor a sloppy kiss. Teodor wiped his face off and stood up. “I'm just a dog person,” he said, petting Brutus.
Amanda giggled. She took Teodor's arm. “Should I be jealous?”
“First off, Brutus is a male dog,” Teodor said.
Amanda laughed. Teodor wiped his face again. Brutus wasn't just happy to see him, he had passed on some information. Dogs talked to each other, humans didn't fully understand that they did. Teodor had asked Brutus to watch out for anything strange.
Brutus did a good job. So far he reported nothing. There were two things that Teodor wanted to know about; His family and any military looking for them. Some nights, when the dogs in the neighborhood would start their howling and barking. Teodor would join them. People at the house thought it was a joke. Only Amanda knew why Teodor did it.
The cafe sat on the corner of a building that had been a bank. In the shop space next to it, a record shop had opened a few months before. A poster for Black Sabbath's new album clinged to the window, along side another album called “Horses”. Amanda paused for a moment to look at the posters, but caught up with Teodor and Jerry as they went into the cafe.
The younger crowd hung out in the cafe. This early in the morning, it was hard to tell who had just gotten up, and who needed to sleep. Teodor's favorite waitress was at the register.
He nodded to her. She was called “grandma” by everyone that came in here. Grandma wore her silver hair up in a bun, and had a full, honest face. She looked like the grandmother that would bake cookies for anyone. But she had a mouth on her. It was fun to watch the faces of people that heard her swear for the first time.
They took seats at the counter. Grandma came over and poured the coffee. Teodor and Amanda would drink just a little to be polite, but Teodor hated the taste of it.
Grandma looked at Teodor “Just a ham steak?”
“Sausage and eggs,” Amanda said.
Grandma nodded. She didn't bother writing it down, they always ordered the same. She poked Jerry in the shoulder. “And what about you, sweetass?”
Jerry didn't even bat an eye. “Short stack.”
They had an uneventful breakfast. A few of the people they knew, stopped by and talked to them. Teodor reached under the counter and held Amanda's hand. She looked pretty today. Her blue eyes sparkle when she laughed. Jerry hurried through his stack of pancakes. He glanced up at the clock.
“Damn guys, I gotta go,” He said. He stood up, fishing out his wallet at the same time. He handed Teodor a ten dollar bill. “Pay Grandma, will ya?”
They finished their meal, paid the bill with Jerry's ten, and left. The record shop had just opened. Amanda pulled Teodor went into the store. As they looked through the albums, Teodor pulled the money that Steopa had left them out of his pocket.
“Steopa came over last night,” Teodor said, showing Amanda the cash.
Her eyes went wide for a moment. “How much is that?” She whispered.
“I didn't count it,” he said. “But we almost have enough for that house.”
“Jerry told me to come down the lumberyard today,” Teodor said, picking up Aerosmith's latest album. “There might be a job there.”
Amanda smile widened. “I was thinking of applying at that home health place too. Good, maybe we can finally get out of Chaser's house.”
Teodor nodded. He leaned close and whispered. “It's been four years, You'd think that if we were going to be picked up they would have done it by now.”
“I think they are too busy,” she said. “I mean, we just got out of Vietnam.”
Teodor shrugged. He had spent two decades in one lab or another. Most of the outside world's troubles meant nothing to him. Amanda made her selections; the album by Patti Smith and Queens A Night at the Opera. They had to save up their money, but the albums made Amanda happy, Teodor didn't mind.