It was like stepping into a clown car; the outside, an oddly handsome little backyard shed, while the inside looked more like that of a home. Stanley preferred simplicity and only furnished his house with the basic necessities and also some knickknacks here and there. The Narrator stopped dead before stepping further onto the shag carpet, realizing how that thoughtless walk in the rain now got back at him.
"Don't fuss on it, Mister Narrator," said Stanley. He was already over to the dresser, putting away his dripping umbrella. "Or should I say 'Steven'?"
"I much prefer the prior, thank you," replied the Narrator, still picky about dirtying the carpet and refusing to budge. Surprisingly though, his clothes were, by this time, remarkably dry; the fear of filthy floors had left just as they arose. Some witchcraft, he joked to himself.
Stanley sat on the edge of the blue bed after placing his top hat into the dresser. "It's a small home, I know. But it doesn't trouble me a lot, so I'm not in a rush to pay for the extra expansion fees." He started the string of small talk.
"It's… quaint." The Narrator was clearly not one to carry a normal, shared conversation very far. His focus drifted to the untidy stack of enveloped letters, all of them handwritten in either ink or pencil—written by others.Others… "How many live here, Stanley?"
"You mean people like Rover and Miranda?" Stanley responded.
Stanley, in attempt to answer his colleague's question, counted by his fingers, eventually holding up seven fingers to the Narrator. "About seven villagers," he replied. "Not counting the shop keepers—Main Street too. Oh, and also the mailman and the captain that works for the island place, and Isabelle."
Seven villagers. Greenfield was apparently true to its name. Everything seemed—as described by the Narrator—quaint. Wow. Seven villagers.
"You singled out Isabelle," he said bluntly.
"Isabelle's my secretary." Stanley sounded merry as he went on a bit about Isabelle. "She's pretty dedicated, which is great and all, being the only worker at the Hall—or at least, the only worker I've seen at the Hall. Worried about her nervousness, though…" The Narrator's back stiffened at the word "secretary". "What profession do you even have?" he asked.
"I'm the Mayor." Stanley had been messing with the buckles of his shoes and was in a state of nonchalance. Contradicting Stanley's flippant nature, all the color in the Narrator's face drained to white. His attention somehow derailed and he thought on about the Town Tree, planted near the north side of town to rejoice the arrival of the new mayor: Stanley. That tree looked about young but definitely developed. He knew, according to Stanley's information, they had planted a sapling during that ceremony…
Dropping the subject with haste, he asked if Stanley had the time, to which Stanley replied by pulling out a pocket watch, glimpsing at it, and stating "Quarter to seven." This gave the Narrator another, much more important question to bring up.
"Stanley," he said. "How long have you been here?"
Stanley resorted to counting on his fingers again.
"… A month and a half."
The Narrator failed to emotionally or verbally respond. Rigidly, he took a seat on the white sofa, which looked dark compared to the man's vacant, impassive face. Stanley didn't say anything; too many questions have been asked today. He opened up his dresser again, dragging out an unused doctor's coat from the far back—a good substitute for a blanket. Stanley handed the coat to the Narrator, who took it, absent-minded. In his blazer and basketball shorts, he crawled into his own bed and shut off the bedside lamp—a quiet way to say "Have a goodnight."
The Narrator couldn't bear to sleep.