“Sparse pickings tonight,” Melvin said.

Shari was surprised. She’d never actually heard him string three whole words together before. His conversational skills were usually limited to grunts, nods and the occasional one-word statement.

Morose Melvin, they called him – behind his back of course. They whispered about some kind of terrible past, that he’d once been successful but had lost it all and that was why he was here.

They said the same about everybody else, of course, everybody who came here from Somewhere Else. Only difference was, most people put their rumours to rest eventually, told somebody what had happened to them and how they’d actually ended up here.

Not Melvin. He’d never told anybody. He’d never talked.

In the face of this verbal outburst, Shari was lost for words.

“Here,” she said, holding her hand out. Melvin looked as surprised as she had felt, but he took it. He took it, he nodded and he actually smiled. Two firsts in one night.

She would probably regret being so impulsive later, when she cuddled up beneath her too-thin blanket without any dinner, but in that moment she just felt like Melvin needed a pie more than she did.

© Kari Fay

(Author’s Note: The Three Word Wednesday prompts this week were Impulsive, Morose and Sparse