Being rich is often defined by the assets you surround yourself with, since most people can’t look at your bank account. Leland deGrosse by that definition would be a grey area. He lives in an affordable apartment building at the outskirts of a small suburb right outside the big city. He’s well liked around the block because he makes one hell of a guacamole to bring to everyone’s barbecues in the summer. He doesn’t have a partner or any pets. Most people would call him poor, but they don’t know he works for a well respected company downtown. And his coworkers, though they like him in his well-fitted suits and funky shirts, don’t expect him to live in an area as ill-reputed as Column Hills. Neither of his social networks know of each other, and Leland likes to keep it this way. He has always enjoyed this sort of thing, being well respected at work, by being presentable, and having a good relationship with his neighbours, as is the case in Column Hills. Noone, except his friend Terry who owns a garage, knows about his car.

Leland has been most eager to get away from it all lately. The time off work his boss has been suggesting to him for years, now was the moment to use it. In the Hills they revere Leland, because he told them he’d go and visit a distant aunt to care for her home while she is at the hospital. They can’t know the home already belongs to him after he bought it off said aunt before she died. It was a small estate, north of Olympia. About a day’s drive from the Hills. You had a magnificent view from up there. The outskirts of the mountain cut through the land and fell suddenly and with an expression of age-old rage into the ocean way out.

Upon arriving, Leland left his luggage on the living room floor and headed directly for the master bed room with its light blue walls and Homer’s “Eastern Point Light” as a central piece right across from the bed. It reminded him of his time at Princeton. His aunt had offered to have it copied as a bonus for buying the house. Dropping onto the soft pillows stacked on the covers he felt alone again, finally. In his head formed a plan for the afternoon. A visit to the beachfront town of Geoffrey. It had been his aunt’s favourite little spot in the State. The rough climate and the people who were ever so decently disinterested in any outsider charmed her to build the mountain home. It took him a while, having been lulled in by the allures of the bed, but he eventually managed to break free. After taking a quick leak Leland stepped back into the weary comfort of his car and drove out to the sea.

Not a soul had fancied the beach today, it appeared. Leland stood alone, facing the waves, the wind, backed by the mountains and the mighty shoulders of the entire country behind him. The pebbles below him were wet and cold, from a slight drizzle that had probably started when the town had yet to exist. Suddenly, at the sight of a few gulls in the sky, he remembered the sandwich in his pocket. Having picked it apart Leland offered his hand to the flock and they came onto his hand, eagerly scavenging the crumbs.

For a while this pleased Leland. Rather sudden was it, that the clouds contracted above him and the colony, smiled slighly and dropped their rain and hail onto him. Feeling jumped, he started for the car, leaving the sandwich’s sad remains behind to be turned to mush. In a quiet moment after closing the door he checked his phone, to find that the only notification was from his bank clerk. The subject line: your credit score.


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