The Strange Case of Aaron Faro

Mr. Faro had just finished bottling his beer when the doorbell rang. “Dammit,” he growled, and eased himself down off the high stool he used to bottle. His knees wanted to buckle, but he was braced for that and held onto the counter until he had his cane where he wanted it. The doorbell rang again, longer this time. “All right, all right,” Faro yelled. “I’m coming! Hold your fucking horses.”

Going down the stairs was a trial. Not for the first time, Faro cursed the house and swore he’d move to a one-story condo somewhere. Somewhere warm, hopefully, where the wind didn’t come down the chimney. At the bottom he had to sit down for a second, just until the black spots faded and everything stopped looking metallic. The person on the other side of the door was leaning on the bell by then, one long continuous note that echoed against the walls and clashed with itself. It gave him a headache.

“Son of a bitch,” he spat, and pushed himself up. “What do you want?” He threw the door open as forcefully as he could, but there was no one there, just a yeasty explosion of light that threw him back against the stairs. He felt something give in his back and from upstairs came the clink of bottles knocking together. Bastard was stealing his beer!