He tried explaining this to his boss.
“What do you want me to say, kid? You can’t wash cars in the rain.”
He punched his time card and hit the alleys. He’d found enough cans and scrap metal to get lunch before, and that was his best hope for a midday meal.
He walked the alleys confused and wet. The uneven cobble stones were lined with abandoned houses. The asbestos siding lying on the ground let him know it was vacant.
He thought about it, waiting for a word.
This alley had been picked clean of cans, no doubt by him. He saw something that may be the glimmer of a beer can in the mud behind one of the houses. The gate was broken, so he entered the yard. There were a number of items littering the back yard. Many of these items appeared to be made of metal, some of them may even be copper and the price for copper could be more than a few offerings from the dollar menu.
He could also see the rear door of the house was hanging loose from a single hinge. He approached it without fear, doubting any intruder was hanging around. When he reached the door, he could see a plethora of items inside. Many of them were made of metal – thick and cast. Some of the items could even be antiques worth a far more valuable sum in their present state, rather than crushed and melted down.
He waited for a word, and it came.
“The owner is dead,” the door said. “Come inside. Take what you need.”
“Isn’t that stealing?”
“What is it they say about possession and the law?” the door answered. “These things aren’t owned. The owner is dead. No heir has come forward. Why shouldn’t you inherit them?”
“That makes sense.”
“And think about this,” the door said. “If you were to live here, you wouldn’t have to worry about rent. No more cleaning cars and looking for cans.”
“That would be nice,” he said and heard a little flurry of applause from the knickknacks and other porcelain things without a name.
The items danced on their tables and shelves, eager to be owned again and to have someone fawn over them. The rain picked up again. He steadied the broken door, having received the word. As the drops pelted his scalp, he forgot about his pay and entered into the treasures. Despite seeing the clocks all over the walls, he knew he was off of all of them.