The Blank Canvas
“I know it’s not much of a view, but one day I’m going to make it better.” I frowned as I flexed Carl’s left leg. The only way that wall could be prettier was to knock the building down. “You never asked me how I broke my back?” Just because I was paid to feed them their drugs and make sure their muscles didn’t give up the ghost completely they thought they could pour their stories into me. He stared out the window as I swapped legs. “It’s my blank canvas, it’s stayed blank.” He turned his gaze towards me. “One day I’ll tag it.” His gaze full of belief froze the frown on my forehead.
We didn’t talk about the wall again, but as his mood darkened as the days got shorter I looked up at the wall relief flooding through me each day it stayed blank.
I smelled acetone before I saw them: three of them, faceless behind their oversized hoods. I could have walked away, but for some reason I kicked the crates out from under them and sprayed one of them with mace before I was grabbed by the shoulder and realised how stupid I’d been. I wondered how badly they’d hurt me when a can of spray paint bounced heavily off a hooded head. The other two were gone before he crumpled to the floor.
As I looked up at Carl clutching his window frame I wondered when I had started to believe again.