His left hand reached into his pocket purely out of habit, and his fingers searched in vain for the change that was not there. Consciously pulling the hand back out, unfettered by a watch or rings and still clutching the nonexistent coins, he extended his hand over the small, empty, ceramic bowl on his dresser and spread his fingers.
He smiled to himself at his joke, almost chuckled. "There really were no coins falling from my hand into the bowl, yet I made the noise as if they had fallen into it with a clank nonetheless," he mused to himself. "That really was a funny joke; I should write that down…"
Dropping his jacket onto the bare mattress in the corner of the room, he violently removed his tie and rubbed his sore neck as he walked to the refrigerator in the far corner of the room. Opening the door, he drew out the carton of milk, took a long swig, and was replacing the carton on the empty shelf when his phone rang. Startled, he turned toward the short table next to the sink where the phone sat.
"Who is it?" he called out to the phone. "What do you want?" Boy, was he on one tonight or what? "I should get paid for this stuff," he mumbled.
His questions were answered, which surprised him. The voice didn't come from the phone, though, but from the door.
"It's the police. Open the door now, sir, or we'll be forced to break it down. We have a warrant."
He walked quietly to the still-ringing phone, picked it up, and before he could even say a word, he heard a familiar voice calling to him. "Get out of there! Get out, they know about it all. They know where you are!"
Hanging up the phone without speaking, he walked back to the refrigerator and opened the door.
The voices from the hallway resumed. "We know you're in there. The building is surrounded. Now open the door. "
The milk carton was slippery in his hand from the condensation. He shut the fridge, turned around, and sat down with his back to the cool metal door. He closed his eyes and took another long swig from the carton, this time spitting it all over his pants as he broke into full-blown laughter thinking about the jokes he'd made. But the laugher quickly stopped and his smile disappeared when he remembered how disappointed he had felt when he first walked into the room that night. Disappointed with the egg-salad sandwich he had eaten for lunch.