#12 A Helping Hand
Alan loved to help people move. If there were folks moving in or out in the neighborhood, he was there bright and early, with a cup of coffee in a battered metal thermos and a helping hand.
It wasn’t that he was a good samaritan or prided himself on helping others.
Fuck all that.
You think he liked helping people move dressers that weighed a ton? Or couches so full of acculmulated sloth that it almost leaked out when they tipped the thing over to get it through the door?
Alan helped people move because he was curious.
You could get a good look at people’s stuff when you help them move. Far more than you could normally, when they invite you over for dinner or to watch the game. By then, they’ve already put away all but what they want you to see.
When they move, though, it all gets lumped into boxes and crates, both the knick-knacks from the living room shelf and the stuff that’s been buried in the closet for years.
You can tell a lot about folks by the things that jut out from a box.
Alan was carrying a desk drawer full of notebooks and old photographs when Mrs. Copeland stopped him.
“Thank you so much for your help,” she said. “The movers we contracted still haven’t shown up.”
“No problem at all,” Alan said. Was that an old Waterman fountain pen poking out from underneath some papers in the drawer?
“Glad to lend a helping hand.”