“A Special Needs Case” by Nathan Leslie
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         “You would have to win the lottery to make that dream come true,” she says. She says he should just be content. Relax. Sunday knows this is true. He has it good, a mother to help him, a good job, a beautiful townhouse. “Many people would kill to have your life, you know.”
         Sunday can’t help but dream. Once, on a slow afternoon, the gate keeper let Sunday take an accompanied drive through the Meadow Haven neighborhood. He gaped at the perfect yards, the beautiful houses, stately, filled with sunlight. Even the grass seemed greener in Meadow Haven. Back at the gate, the security guard asked Sunday if he’d like to see the inside of one of the houses, one of the model homes. Sunday didn’t know how immense the homes were--seven or eight bedrooms (he lost count), four or five bathrooms, and multiple family rooms. A sauna. A huge deck. A pool. A mudroom. A three car garage. Countless gleaming appliances.
         When Sunday closes his eyes at night he imagines the large houses of Meadow Haven. This helps his breathing. He mentally walks through the model home, from room to room. He touches the granite counters, the hardwood floors, the plush carpeting.
         In the morning he wakes up, and after his hash browns and coffee, Sunday decides to add a new element to his routine. From that day forward, Sunday decides he will drive each morning to the convenience store, buy a lottery ticket. Something’s got to give. Maybe, Sunday decides, fate isn’t permanent. Maybe it is something else altogether. A lottery ticket is worth a shot, Sunday thinks. He has nothing to lose.
         He buys a lottery ticket each morning, but never wins more than forty dollars. Usually he loses. The lottery tickets help his mood nevertheless?the chance of future reward. At night he dreams of his mansion on the hill. In his dream Sunday sleeps in a room the size of high school gymnasium. The house is empty except for a white bed--white sheets, white pillows, white bedposts. He is buffered by air, surrounded by currents. He can breathe there. Sunday even wakes up refreshed.
         Sunday realizes he could housesit for a family on vacation. He could earn the trust of the neighborhood, become a fixture of house-sitting. The next morning he drives to the Meadow Haven gate. The security guard at the gate is different--a tall ruddy-skinned man with perceptive eyes. His eyelashes almost look feminine. He blinks while Sunday talks.
         “It’s a possibility. Come up with a flyer. I’ll make sure the pool manager gets it. There is a bulletin board outside of the community center.”
         On his computer Sunday designs a bubble-lettered flyer in red and blue. He figures a patriotic motif might go over with the well-healed. The flyer reads: “Going on vacation? Dependable house-sitter available any time. References available.” He writes his phone number twelve times, cuts a line next to each one. The next morning he hands it to the security guard. The paper tabs tickle his palm as he releases the flyer.
         Sunday doesn’t hear a word for a month. He calls the Meadow Haven pool but they tell him that only three tabs are missing. He almost gives up.
         Then a call comes in. In the background he can hear a woman talking in a foreign language. German? Russian?
         “Hello,” he says.
         “Hi,” Sunday replies. It is a sweltering Saturday in July. Sunday is reclined on the couch sipping ice tea, flipping through the newspaper.
         “You interested in staying in my house for a few months? I’ll pay you.”

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