The old man sat hunched over in the ragged vinyl chair. His face was soft, worn like the chair, and it's creases blended somehow with the folds of the blankets draped over his shoulders. They had cut off the power a week ago. The heat went with it. Fuck them, the old man thought. He wasn't going into no damn nursing home. He grumbled and fumed for a while, then looked down at the old green carpet between his feet, and sighed. Who was he kidding? Nobody was trying to get him in a nursing home. He had no children, no family, nobody cared if he froze to death in this shitty apartment. Pretending that the power company was trying to drive him out, and thinking that people, the unknown 'they', wanted him in a nursing home, these were just an old man's ways of faking personal relationships. Enemity perhaps isnt the best sort of relationship one could have, but it was still something. For the old man, however, it was really nothing. Nobody cared about his heat, nobody cared about his water, nobody cared about the holes in his slippers. He needed new slippers. He had needed new slippers for the past six years. They were too small, and the fluff which made them warm had all but completely fallen out. The token tread which had once graced the soles was worn to smooth rubber, further in places. The old man frowned. He was cold again. He stood up slowly, and had their been anyone there to observe, they might of sworn that he creaked and cracked as he stood, like an ancient, unused piece of machinery firing up for the first time in decades. The old man shuffled across the living room into his kitchen, one leathery hand clutching the blankets at his chest, fighting to keep them on his body. Sitting on the kitchen countertop was an old propane camping stove, with a teakettle on it. Nearby was a coffe mug with a spoon in it, and two piles. The larger pile consisted of about a dozen bags of instant cocoa mix, the smaller pile of three of the same bags, empty. A fine coating of chocolate dust lay across the counter. The old man used his free hand to slide the chipped and dirty mug closer to the stove. As he opened a pagckage of instant hot cocoa, a cloud of brown dust rose from the silver lined interior of the bag, and settled on the counter. He dumped the contents of the bag uncerimoniusly into the mug, and threw the thing aside. And, for once, he managed to pour the water without burning himself. Stirring the cocoa took a little longer than it had long ago. His hands just wouldn't move as fast as he wanted them to. It had now been at least five minutes since he left his seat. The cold was insidious. It slipped in between the threads of the blankets, through the holes in his slippers, and made his body ache and his joints swell. Nonetheless, he made it back to his rotting vinyl chair, and slumped heavily into it. The hand moved slowly toward the lips, floating almost, bringing the mug with it. The very old man sipped the hot chocolate with dry, cracked lips, and as the warm liquid ran past the receding gums, and over the back of his warped tounge, the old man smiled a little.

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