Just as the streetlights began flooding the roads beneath with a dull, mucky amber, Winston left the foodbank in high spirits as he hauled along a cart of dried food and inhaled a packet of Cheetos, a long-lost treasure from his childhood. With fingers dyed orange and a beaming smile wrapping itself around his head, Winston neared the corner heading to Skid Row with a real giddiness about him. It did not last long. The moment he made the turn, a horrific sight halted him cold and sent a shock lightening across his bones.

In a mounting rage, Winston fought his way through the gawping crowd until he stood eye-to-eye with the beast that was devouring the last of the little he owned and cherished. Turning back to the onlookers, Winston shoved shoulders and screamed in faces in desperation for someone to do something, anything to stop his life from going up in flames. In response, all he got were shrugs and half-hearted condolences. No longer able to fight it anymore, Winston succumbed to anguish and dropped to his knees in tears.  

With nowhere else to go, and without his cart since it was stolen when his back was turned, Winston made a familiar pilgrim to Venice Beach in the hopes that the sound of the ocean could soothe his soul and lull him to sleep. However, with the sun rising as he got there, Winston knew sleep would escape him for another night. In the end, he opted to perch himself against the pier and watch the tide come in and out. Then he saw it.

At first, he thought it was a trick of the light. But when the waves brought the mysterious object closer, Winston was able to make out the outline of a briefcase amongst the white froth. With dollar signs in his eyes, Winston rushed to the water’s edge in hopes of reeling in a fortune. It was only when he got closer, did he notice a severed hand handcuffed to the briefcase, bobbing along.  

Unmoved by the hand, Winston used a rock to smash open the briefcase. But when it came time to looking inside, he received his next big shock of the night. To his disappoint, there was not a single dollar to be seen. Instead, the only thing to be found was a perfectly preserved manuscript titled, ‘The Tiger Kingdom’. But, stranger still, the author’s name was not written anywhere on the draft. After deciding against throwing the manuscript back into the ocean, Winston returned to his perch against the pier and read it – not once, twice or three times, but enough times to miss the setting of the sun.  It was the best thing he had ever read.

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