The Birthday Suit

Mortimer Dowling was three thousand years old when he unbolted the front door and cursed the winter chill that swept through his house, embedding its icy fangs into his porcelain bones.

He stood unwavering with his grey legs apart, knees bent, spine stooped, like a bald monkey embalmed mid-leap between branches, propped against a birch-wood cane. It had taken him so long to shuffle down the ten-foot dusty hallway, that by the time he squinted blindly into the brilliant snow, no one was there. He cursed again, and as the warm puff of profanity dissipated into the crisp cold light, Mortimer wondered whether there had ever been anyone there and whether his dampened ears had heard any knocking at all.

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