He walked alone through the deserted streets kicking bits of fallen building out of the path. He carefully made his way around an old rusty Ford, the original color might have been blue or brown or black it was hard to tell. He looked inside the shell of a car to see if anything of interest had been left behind by other scavengers, nothing, it was stripped clean, like everything else in this town. He knew it was time to leave but this was his home, he had grown up here and even though there was nothing left it was hard to leave. He kept walking. Some of the brick or block buildings still stood, none had glass in the windows, none had intact doorways. He stopped at the entry of what once had been a bank on the ground floor with six stories of offices. He looked in seeing what had been left behind. There were thousands of paper bills littering the marble floor. He could pick them up and become a millionaire, at least according to the numbers on the bills, but the paper was worthless, well it had a use but he had no use for it right now. He chose not to enter the bank but continued walking down the street, being watched by no one and seeing no one. The thought occurred to him that he might be the last person in the whole city. This thought reminded him of his hunger. There was a reason the few that had survived were gone. The people left for places that promised clean water and fish, or rabbits and berries, or nuts and birds; places where life existed without pumps, or generators, or factories. When the people left they piled cans and sacks of food on wheelbarrows and skids, taking all they could find to the next place leaving this place void of necessities. He had stashed his home with all he could find; a pile of pork ‘n beans kings would covet, in the before time it would have been called an attractive nuisance. When the time came he had known better than to try and defend it. He had watched from the burned out home next door as a group of leavers had loaded up his forethought and become its new owners. Now he stashed his finds over a wide area, a little here a little there never enough to get killed over. Remembering the pile of pork ‘n’ beans reminded him of a can stored not far from here. He hid himself and watched the street for a full fifteen minutes, watching for any sign of another straggler like himself. When he was assured of his loneliness he started a winding, zigzag course to the can of beans, his hunger demanded a straight line but he still maintained some sense. Away from downtown the damage dispersed. Some of the homes had been damaged only by time and neglect. The once green lawns were dirt. Bushes were piles of brown dry sticks. Paint curled and wood cracked but a few trees, those with deep roots and meager appetites still showed bits of green. He entered a home that had not been overlooked, fire had taken the roof but several walls still marked where the children had slept and where the people had sat in comfort watching the latest television shows. He knew it was the right house but he had to pause before he remembered where his morning meal had been stored. He made his way through the front room, stepping over burned rafters and joists, careful of nails and broken glass. The beans would be in the master bedroom under a pile that was once a queen size bed. There were no other footprints, the footprints he had made before had been carefully removed, he grew more and more intelligent as time continued. It was a small thing, but it caused his eyes to water, next to the beans a can of small sectioned oranges and tube of onion flavored Pringles. He had only remembered the beans. A problem; a meal fit for royalty should be eaten at a proper table with a plate and fork. He had planed to lean against the blackened wall of the bedroom and push the cold beans down into his screaming stomach but, in spite of the danger, the memory of dinners around a proper table with a moment of prayer followed by casual conversation between unhurried bites forced him to gather his find and risk the trip home. He filled the pockets of his jacket and pants with food and made his way home, stopping at every corner, always watching behind, beside and ahead. He listened for any sound in a city without sounds. The trip took time but time lay everywhere and its passing was just another success. Home, an intact roof, walls, from the street it appeared as dead as the rest of the town, the front room covered with debris, the hall and bedrooms left to degrade but the kitchen was swept clean, the dust was not allowed to build here. He wiped the table with a dry rag, poured precious water from a tin can into his favorite cup, opened the cans with a proper opener, scooped the contents of the bean can onto a clean plate and poured the oranges into a clean bowl. He sat at the table, said a short prayer of thanks and then pulled the metallic cover from the Pringles. A proper sucking of air announced a proper seal and the smell of onions filled the kitchen. He dipped a chip into the pile of beans and popped the whole thing into his mouth at once. The chip still had a good crunch; the beans were as fresh as the day they were made. He took a drink of sweet water from the bowl of oranges; it was good to be home.