Kevin entered the address into his GPS: 1527 Elm St.
“No address found” the screen read.
This wasn’t surprising since Kevin bought the GPS at a store that mainly sold firearms and novelty swizzle sticks. But he knew where Elm St. was, and since it was in a nice part of town he figured there’d be a nice tip. But then he notice an apartment number – 4D – which was strange since he didn’t recall seeing any apartment buildings on that street before. But off he went to deliver a large sausage and pepperoni pizza and a side order of garlic dough intersections (the pizza place where he worked could no longer call them “garlic knots” owing to a lawsuit brought by Dominoes).
The directions on the box said to park on the street and walk down an alley. Kevin did, then headed down the leaning, cracked concrete stairs with spent cans of Natural Light and a doll’s arm laying in a pile at the bottom. Leaves in the hinges prevented the storm door from fully closing, and the black, wooden door was cracked from the time Jake, who was later convicted of selling elephant tranquilizers to a plain clothes cop, forgot his keys and tried to get in with a trash can lid he’d bent into a crowbar. The scuffed white linoleum in the hallway had a large red spatter that Kevin assured himself was just spilled paint. The walls reeked of smoke and Apartment 1A had a bumper sticker that read "Screw Shack" on the door. The mat in front of 2A was so worn it just read "we...ome" and there was an orange knob in the wall next to a handwritten sign that read "don't touch – the management." In the middle of the hall, next to a discarded 1976 Sears Roebuck catalog with pages and pages of brown sweaters in all sizes, there was a gray, steel door, dented from the time Jake rammed his cousin Billy's head into it after Billy said the Vikings suck. Inside was a brown carpeted room with numerous cigarette burn holes and an box of tainted lutefisk all dimly illuminated by a lone 40-watt bulb. As Kevin was about to turn around and go back, he heard a man he hadn’t noticed ask, "Lost?"
He had a Russian accent and was sitting in a vinyl, green chair while stroking a taxidermied falcon with his prosthetic hand.
"Oh...I didn't see you there. Um, I'm looking for Apt. 4D," Kevin said. "I'm delivering a pizza to someone who lives there."
"No one has lived here for so, so long," he said with a bit of a hiss.
Kevin dropped the box and the bag of dough intersections and darted through the dented door, past the catalog, around the rib cage (was that there before? he thought) up the crooked steps, down the alley, and back to his car.
Kevin sped all the way back to the pizza shop, hoping his boss, Andrea, would be cool that he didn’t collect any money.
"Oh, man, I had the strangest experience at 1527 Elm St," Kevin said to Andrea.
"1527 Elm? Can't be, that building burned down 10 years ago," Andrea said. "You must be mistaken, Jake."
"But, my name is Kevin," he replied.