Thursday, May 25, 2017
The bet was simple. Spend one night on top of Rover Hill by the monstrous tree. If nothing happens, the land was mine. What could happen, I asked, but nobody would answer that. Some said a shadow of a swing would appear by the tree when no swing was there. Some said that children had disappeared by this monstrous tree. An old man said that a very long time ago, human sacrifices were committed by this tree. It was bullshit, and I didn’t mind spending a night outdoors. By tomorrow, this land would belong to me.
"Not For Sale" will only be available through Spreading The Writer's Word.
"Not For Sale" will only be available through Spreading The Writer's Word.
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
A heart monitor was heard in the distance, following by the harsh breaths of a ventilator. A needle drew blood. Fingers checked for a pulse. The face looked rested, and the eyes moved back and forth as if caught in a dream. A white cover was pulled up to the chin, and a woman broke down into tears as she sat beside the bed. “What happened,” drowned out the machines, but the silence wouldn’t answer. And the room pulled back, revealing three bodies in hospital beds, chased by that woman’s crying.
“Marc?” Tina pushed open the office door. “Marc, why are you sleeping on the floor?”
“I’ve slept in worse,” Marc replied as he sat up. He rubbed his eyes, trying to erase that horrible memory from his mind, but he remembered the hospital. He remembered his friends lying in their beds, comatose. “What happened,” was thrown at him like a rock against the window, and his mother said that it was a bad idea for him to be there. But he had to say good-bye, and that poor woman looked at him, blaming him. And she was right to blame him, and she would tell the cops later that he was responsible. And he was, and luckily, his friends would awake a few weeks later without any memory of what happened, which was good for him and his mother. But it was too late like now. It was just too late.
“Marc, why are you here at work? It’s Sunday,” Tina said as she remained standing in the doorway. “Is it because your apartment was robbed?”
“I was worried about you, and I stopped at your apartment. And the police were there. The place was a mess, even though you didn’t have much stuff. I think the robbers took your laptop. I didn’t see it, and I spoke to the police. I spoke to my father,” and Marc remembered that her father was a cop. “You need to talk to the police, Marc. I don’t know what’s going on with you, but you need to talk to them.”
“Scott,” he said.
“What? Who’s Scott?”
“That’s my name. It’s Scott.”
“Marc… Scott, I don’t understand. Why are you hiding out at work?”
“Tina, go home. Just go home.”
“Not until you tell me what is going on, Marc. Scott. Whoever the hell you are,” and she crossed her arms over her chest. “What is going on?”
Tires screeched outside. Two black vans parked in front of the building. The side doors flew open, revealing men in black, holding what looked like guns. They moved quickly toward the building, and Marc pulled himself away from the window. He threw open the bottom desk drawer, reaching all the way into the back and pulling out a large wad of cash.
“Marc, who are they,” Tina asked as she looked out the window.
“No one good,” Marc replied as he pocketed the cash. “They won’t hurt you.”
“But they will hurt you,” and she held his gaze. “They’ll be inside this building in minutes.”
“Seconds. I’m sorry, Tina, but I have to go.” He hurried through the office when he realized that Tina was right behind him. “Go home.”
“You’re not my father, and I know how to get out of here. I know a back way. Do you?”
“So, what was your plan? Throwing them through a wall?”
“I don’t know.”
“Then, shut up, Marc, and follow me. Hurry up,” and she moved toward the copier room. Once inside, she locked the door behind them and moved over to the window. She struggled to open it as Marc turned to look at the door. “Can you help me with this,” and Marc helped her open the window. “We’re right over a dumpster. If we jump down, we can maybe land in it.”
“Take my hand,” Marc said as he held his hand out toward her.
“Just do it, Tina. Trust me.”
“I don’t trust you,” but she still took his hand.
Marc’s other hand folded over the grab orb. He could feel it vibrate, and for a moment, he felt faint. He heard Tina say something, but he focused on the ground below them. He drew in a breath as he pulled Tina closer to him, and they jumped. And as they flew down to the ground, a soft blue surrounded them, and they landed next to the dumpster.
“We made it,” Tina exclaimed.
Marc fell to the ground. The world spun around him. He heard Tina say something, but his mind filled with those same images. A giant sphere with a circular ring. A place, Winslow, Arizona. A face that seemed familiar. A gun. Bang.
“Marc, where’s your car,” Tina yelled into his ear, and Marc realized that she was carrying him, dragging his feet along the ground. “Where did you park your car?”
“I ditched it,” Marc gasped, coming back to reality. “Where are they?”
“He’s out of the building,” he heard someone shout above him. “Outside now!”
“Come on. I’m not too far away. You okay?”
“I’m fine. We have to move,” and Marc’s feet touched the ground. “Come on,” and he moved fast with Tina toward her car. “Hurry. They’re coming. They’re right behind us, Tina.”
“Shut up, and get in the car.” Tina flew into the driver’s seat, revved up the engine, and slammed on the gas. Gunfire erupted against the back, tearing through the trunk, and Tina ducked, cursing under her breath. But that didn’t stop her from flying down the road. “What happened back there,” she asked him. “What’s wrong with you?”
“Just let me out when the coast is clear,” Marc responded as he continued to duck down in the front passenger seat.
“I’m not going anywhere,” and she held his gaze. “So, Scott, where are we going?”
“Winslow. Winslow, Arizona,” and Marc passed out.
“Sir, we lost him,” a man in black said as he watched Tina’s car disappear around the bend.
“I told you not to fire unless you had to. I would rather him alive,” a voice snapped in his ear piece.
“Sir, he’s dangerous. Shouldn’t we follow?”
“Did you put the tracker on the girl’s car?”
“Yes, sir, but we had no idea of knowing if she was going with him or not.”
“She likes him, so it was a safe bet. Get out of there, and start a long range follow. When they stop, we’ll try again, and then Scott and I will have a nice, long talk.”
“And our competition, sir?”
“They’re right behind us. Now, go.”
“Yes, sir. You heard the boss. Move out,” and the man in black walked back toward the vans.
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
The Crimson Dove’s bathroom was small, one stall, which Marc was grateful for. He quickly locked the badly scratched, warped door, ignoring Barry’s shouts from the other side. He grabbed the sink and steadied himself, but he could hear the hum of the gray orb. He could feel its vibrations running down his leg and the blood running down his face. He slammed his hand against the porcelain sink, wincing in pain and silently screaming inside his head. What did he do? He defended himself. He was protecting Tina. He wasn’t the bad guy here, and he looked at himself in the mirror. He wasn’t the bad guy here.
“What,” he screamed, more at the gray orb than at Barry, who pounded on the door. “Stop it! Stop it,” and he held the gray orb in his hand. “Leave me alone,” he whispered as he raised the orb up to his face.
Suddenly, blue light zapped into his forehead. Marc slumped to the ground. His body softly shook. Images filled his mind. He saw a giant sphere with a circular ring. It looked like small, blue stones surrounded it. A place flashed into his mind, and he knew somehow that this place was Winslow, Arizona. A face leaned toward him, but it was blurred, colored by white and blue light. Then, a click from a gun, and the bullet hit home.
“Marc!” Barry stormed into the bathroom and leaned over him. “Marc, can you hear me? We need help in here,” he screamed over his shoulder.
“I’m okay,” Marc gasped as he grabbed the gray orb and pocketed it.
“What is that,” Barry asked
“We’re even,” Marc said as Barry helped him stand up. “Take me home.”
“Marc, the police are on their way. We can wait for them, and they can call an ambulance.”
“I said take me home, Barry! Oh, wait. You can’t because you have a flat,” and Marc stormed past him.
“Where are you going, Marc,” Barry yelled after him.
“I’m getting a fucking cab. Coming,” and he looked over at Tina, who was crying softly near the bathroom. “You okay,” and she nodded. But he could see that she was shaking. “Let’s go,” and he grabbed her by the hand and led her outside.
“Fuck him.” Marc promised his mother that he would never swear, but he was furious. This was Barry’s fault. He wanted something to happen tonight, and it did. And now he would have to make a run for it. Thanks, Barry. “I see a cab,” and Marc let go of Tina’s hand and raced toward the cab.
“Marc, this is insane. Tell the police what happened,” but she climbed into the cab as she said that.
“You can stay and tell them,” and he held her gaze. He nodded and turned toward the cab driver. “Let’s go,” and the cab took off. And Barry stood out in the middle of the street, watching them leave.
Once back at his apartment, Marc walked Tina over to her car. He felt like he was being watched. He glanced over his shoulder and saw a neighbor bringing out their garbage. A dog barked in the distance. The hair on the back of his neck and arms rose upward. He had to get Tina out of here, and when she went to kiss him good-night, he stepped back. He felt bad doing this, but he had to go. And she couldn’t go with him.
“Good-night, Marc,” Tina said as she climbed into her car.
“Good-bye,” and she looked at him when he said that. He raised his hand, and she started the ignition. He stepped back, and she slowly drove away. “Good-bye, Tina,” he said.
Marc turned toward his apartment building. A knot tightened in his stomach. He wasn’t alone, and somehow he knew that if he walked in there, he wasn’t walking out. But he still had time, and he ran to his car. The dvds… They were the only valuable thing in his apartment, and he froze as he now sat behind the wheel of his car. He couldn’t risk it. He had to leave. He had to leave the dvds, but they were the only things that he had of his mother. But she wouldn’t want him to risk it, so he revved up the engine. And he drove away.
Sunday, May 21, 2017
“Scott? Scott. Wake up, Scott. It’s time to wake up.”
The camera moved into a dark bedroom. The blinds were pulled upward, flooding the room with sunlight. The camera paused on a beautiful day outside and then turned toward the large mound under the covers. A hand reached out and shook the body tucked tightly underneath, and a groan was heard. The camera zoomed on brown hair resting on the pillow, and again, a hand reached out to wake him.
“Come on, Scott. Wake up. It’s a special birthday today, so wake up, sleepyhead.”
“Mom, can we skip this please,” he begged from underneath the covers.
“Come on, Scott. You’re eighteen today. We should celebrate that. I let you go to that party last night.”
“That was a mistake,” Scott said and then groaned after that.
“Why was it a mistake, Scott? Did something happen? Scott? Scott, I’m talking to you. What happened last night?”
Scott threw the covers off of his body. He rubbed his eyes and then shook his head. He moved his bare feet onto the carpeted floor. His gray boxers brushed against the sheets, and he nervously pulled at his white undershirt. Then, he slowly looked at his mother and started to cry.
“Scott, what happened last night?”
“I screwed up. I got drunk, and… I didn’t mean to,” and Scott looked toward the window, trying to steady himself.
“Scott, look at me,” and he did. “What did you do?”
A loud knock was heard against the apartment door. Scott quickly turned off the dvd and closed his laptop but not before checking the time. It was two p.m. Barry was four hours early, but was it Barry knocking loudly on his door? No, it was Tina holding a brown bag of food and a dvd in her hands.
“Hey, Marc. I thought you might be hungry, so I got us some bagels. And I brought over The Terminator. It’s a good movie,” and she waved the dvd at him. “Is this a good time?”
“Uh… Yeah. Come in,” and Marc opened the door for her. “I am heading out at six, though.”
“Oh. With who,” and Tina walked into his apartment.
“Barry. My neighbor. We’re going to a bar.”
“Mind if I join,” and she turned to look at Marc. “If that’s okay?”
“Sure,” and Marc rubbed the back of his head. “I guess. Let me get us some plates and napkins. You want orange juice?”
“Just water,” and Tina placed the brown bag of food and dvd on a small coffee table near the tv. She moved over to his laptop and started to open it, but Scott hurried over and took it away from her. “I’m sorry,” Tina said, backing away a little. “What’s so important on your laptop?”
“Nothing,” Marc replied and handed her a bottle of water. “It’s just personal stuff. That’s all.”
“Okay,” but Tina glanced at the laptop. “If you say so. You want to watch the movie?”
“Sure. Can you set it up? I’ll be right back,” and Marc carried the laptop into his bedroom.
It was close to four when the movie ended. Marc always liked the original Terminator. He also loved the second one. The third was not a favorite of his, and he hoped that there would be no more Terminator movies. But he was sure that there probably would be.
“I feel bad for Sarah Connor,” Tina said suddenly. She looked over at Marc, who sat a short distance away from her on the couch. “Don’t you?”
“Why would I feel bad for Sarah Connor?”
“Because she didn’t choose to be a soldier, the mother of the boy that would save the world. She didn’t want that, but it was forced upon her. It’s not right, and on top of that, she lost the love of her life. They had one night together, and then he was gone. Just like that?”
“I guess you’re right,” and Marc thought about his mother. “They had ordinary lives until it happened.”
“They,” Tina asked. “What do you mean by it happened? The Terminator,” and Marc laughed at that. “You lost me, Marc.”
“I’m sorry,” and Marc looked at her. “So, what do you want to do for two hours?”
“Ice cream,” Marc repeated.
“Yeah, let’s go get some ice cream. Then, we’ll come back here and hang out until six.”
“Then, what,” Marc asked.
“Then, we go out with Barry? Remember?”
“Right. Okay. Let’s get some ice cream,” and Marc moved away from the couch as Tina followed him.
Six p.m. Barry was not happy that Tina had tagged along. The deal was that it would be just him and Marc. He was hoping for some excitement tonight, maybe a little bar fight to kick off his adrenaline, but how could he do that with Tina there? He didn’t want to hurt Marc or get him into trouble, but Marc had called the police on him once for making too much noise in the middle of the night. He wanted a little revenge for that. Maybe, he would still go through with it, despite Tina being there, which was why he insisted on driving to the bar.
“Where are we going,” Marc asked as he realized that they were driving out of Chester. “I thought we were going to a local bar?”
“We’re going to Newberry,” Barry replied.
“Newberry,” Tina said as she sat in the backseat. “That could be a rough place. Maybe, we should stay local.”
“It’s fine,” Barry waved her off. “It’s a little bar not too far into Newberry. Trust me,” and he noticed that Marc and Tina exchanged looks. “If it gets too hairy, we can head back. I know Marc doesn’t like to stay out too late either.”
“No, I don’t,” Marc replied as he reached into his pocket. “If things get out of hand, we’re out of there. Okay, Barry?”
“Okay, Marc,” Barry replied with a small smile.
The Crimson Dove was a small bar off the edge of Newberry. For the most part, it wasn’t too bad. There was a round of drinks, which included sodas for Marc. Barry wanted him to drink, but Tina had blocked any chance of that happening. And then there were darts and pool, which was kind of fun. Still, Barry was itching for a little trouble, and just as he started to think that there would be none, the ten o’clock news came on.
“Oh, come on,” a large, Black man exclaimed as he watched the television set above the bar. “Can’t they leave O.J. alone? Now, they’re going to arrest him for kidnapping and armed robbery? What the hell, man?”
“They should have arrested him for murder,” his friend, a smaller, white guy replied.
“Don’t make me beat your ass. The police need to leave O.J. alone. It’s bullshit,” and he turned just as Marc moved past him, and his drink was knocked out of his hand. “Watch it, white boy.”
“I’m sorry,” Marc said. “I didn’t see you there.”
“Well, I see you,” and the large, Black man towered over Marc. “Maybe, you’ll be seeing me in the parking lot outside.”
“I said that I was sorry,” and Marc started to move away from him.
“Is that supposed to mean something coming from you,” and he grabbed Marc by the arm. “I’m not afraid of you.”
Marc was going to say something. Instead, he pulled his arm away and hurried over to Barry and Tina, who were sitting at a table nearby. He could hear the man shouting at him, but he tuned him out. It was definitely time to go home, but when he told Barry and Tina that, Barry disappeared into the bathroom. And he was in there for a long time.
“It’s okay, Marc. He’s gone,” Tina said.
“That man at the bar. He’s not there, or his friend.”
Marc looked over his shoulder and saw that Tina was right. Still, he would feel a lot better once he was in the car, heading away from here. Where the hell was Barry? Why was he taking so long, but then Barry finally reappeared. And he smiled at Marc, but Marc did not return his smile.
“Marc, it’s fine. Let’s go,” and Barry turned around and headed outside. A moment later, he saw that his car had a flat tire. “Shit! I think there was a phone back at the bar. Wait here, and I’ll call a tow. I’m glad it’s not too late. We should be able to get a tow,” and Barry hurried back to the bar.
“Shit,” Marc cursed under his breath as he looked around the dark alleyway. This was a bad spot, and he knew it. “Maybe, we should go inside.”
“It’ll be okay, Marc,” but then Tina screamed.
Marc was suddenly punched in the face. He crumbled to the ground and was kicked in the stomach. He managed to look up to see the smaller, white guy holding Tina in his arms, and then a large foot made contact with his face. Marc spat out blood as he heard cruel laughter from above him.
“I told you that I’ll be seeing you.” Hot breath flooded over his skin. “And your girl will be watching me kick the shit out of you, and then she and I might have some alone time.” And again, Tina screamed.
Marc reached into his pocket. His hand folded over the gray orb. He closed his eyes as another kick landed in his ribs. His mind went blank, and he heard Tina scream. He opened his eyes, and the large, Black man was thrown backward into the brick wall. And his friend took off running.
“Marc.” Tina ran toward him. “Marc, you okay?”
“Not really,” he replied as Tina helped him sit up.
“Marc,” and he looked at her. “How did you do that? I saw a blue glow, and then that man went flying right through the wall. How’s that possible?”
Marc turned to see Barry standing nearby. He could tell by the gaping mouth and wide-eye expression that Barry had witnessed the event too. He closed his eyes and shook his head. Now, he would have to leave because the questions would start coming, and he couldn’t answer them. And as it was, they would know that he was here.
Monday, May 15, 2017
I'm Not My Father's Son (Starman Fan Fiction)
by, Melissa R. Mendelson
by, Melissa R. Mendelson
“Good afternoon. This is Marc calling from Forrester Nursing Care. I am calling about the outstanding bill for your mother… Yes, I understand that she recently left our facility and is now with Hospice care. However, our services still have not yet been paid, and the bill is months overdue… Okay. Great. You’ll send the check, and when can we expect that? Next week? Great. Thank you,” and Marc hung up the phone.
“They’re only nice to you on the phone when they’re lying. Watch. We’ll be calling that person again.” Bob adjusted his belt buckle which failed to hold back the bulge underneath his white dress shirt. He then leaned down a bit and wiped some crumbs, probably from his lunch off his black pants and onto the floor of Marc’s office. “So, you’re coming tonight? To Jillians?”
“I don’t know.”
“Marc, we’ve been over this. The staff doesn’t think that you like them. You don’t talk to any of us, and Tina said that you stare at her.”
“I don’t stare at her,” Marc said as he looked down at his hands.
“Well, you should come tonight. We’ll all be there.”
When Bob talked about the staff, he was really talking about himself, Tina and Greg, who resembled an ostrich, and Greg did not like him. And he didn’t hide it, and then there was Jones, who Marc did like. He wasn’t sure as to how Jones broke his leg, but by the time he returns, Marc wouldn’t be there. He decided last night that he had stayed for too long. Maybe, he would go out with them, and then next week or the week after, he would leave. He felt a little guilty at doing that, but as his mother always said, be careful when you get comfortable. And he got comfortable.
“So, are you coming or not,” his boss asked, growing impatient. “It’s almost four.”
“Yeah. What time are we going there?”
“Five. You can hang around the office for an hour, if you want. I’m going to, and I think Tina and Greg are doing that too.”
“Okay. I’ll hang around to five. Are we walking over or driving?”
“We can walk. The bar’s not too far from here, and it finally stopped raining. I’ll be back,” and his boss walked out of his office.
The Village of Chester was an artistic, little hub in upstate New York. It was quiet, which was what drew Marc to it to begin with. Nobody asked him a million questions, and everyone gave him enough space and privacy. Barry was really the only one that wanted answers, but he didn’t push for it, which was a good thing. If they knew the truth about Marc, about who and what he really was, they wouldn’t want him there, and again, he felt bad at the idea of leaving. Where would he go? Northern Wisconsin? He always wanted to visit there, but he was afraid to. Would they be there, waiting for him, if he returned home? It was really his mother’s home, but it felt like his home too. And yes, they would be there, and he wouldn’t have a chance. He would have to find somewhere else to go, but he would worry about that later.
Five p.m. Marc didn’t like Jillians. The owner was a beautiful, funny woman that ran the bar with two other men. He had no problems with them. He had a problem with the patrons for so many different people went there, people from the village and those passing through, and it was Friday night. Luckily, he grabbed a red bar stool next to the wall with the kitchen behind him, and he had a good view of the entrance. This way, he could watch whoever walked in, and if they seemed suspicious, he would make an excuse and take off.
“You waiting for someone,” Tina asked him as she sat on the stool beside him.
“What are you two having,” Jillian asked as she wiped the counter down in front of them with a small, white towel.
“The usual. Midori Sour,” Tina replied.
“Soda,” Marc said, and both women looked at him. “I don’t drink.”
“Okay,” and Jillian walked away from them.
“Did you ever drink,” Tina asked him.
“Once or twice in the past.”
“You ever get drunk?”
“Once, and things didn’t end well.” Marc glanced up at the door and saw a man standing there, wearing a dark suit and looking back at him. A moment later, the man turned and spotted his friends at the other end of the bar. “I can’t stay long,” Marc said to Tina. “Where’s Bob and Greg?”
“Throwing darts. They’ll be there for awhile,” and Jillian brought their drinks over. “So much for the office staff,” and she made quotes in the air as she said that. “Spending time together,” and she sipped her drink. “So, tell me, Marc. Why do you stare at me,” and Marc almost choked on his soda. “You could talk to me, but you don’t. You don’t talk to anyone.”
“I’m sorry,” and Marc picked up a napkin from the counter and wiped his mouth. “I… I shouldn’t stare at you. It’s wrong, and I’m sorry.”
“You seem so alone, Marc. You go to work. You go home. You repeat that process over and over and over again.”
“You watching me?”
“You watch me,” Tina responded.
“At work. I look at you at work. I don’t stalk you.”
“Well, I was curious. Don’t you have any friends?”
“My neighbor, Barry,” and Marc moved his glass around on the counter.
“Oh, the painter. I’ve met him.”
Marc was getting nervous now. Who was Tina? Was she distracting him while they snuck around back, plotting on kidnapping him? How could he be so stupid? He shouldn’t have dropped his guard. He had gotten comfortable, and they were here now. And it was game over.
“Marc, relax,” and Tina placed a hand over his. “I like you, but you don’t let anyone in. So, I tried to find a way in, and I asked around about you. That’s it. Okay,” but Marc found it hard to relax. “It’s okay. Jesus. You would think that you were on the run or something,” and she finished her drink. “Jilly,” and she held up her glass. “You’re not on the run or something, right?”
“No,” Marc forced himself to say as he reached for his soda.
“Good. If you were, I would have to tell my father. He’s a New York City Police Officer,” and Marc almost choked on his drink again. “We really don’t get along, though. I thought coming here would be good for the two of us, and I was right. As long as my father and I have some distance, we’re good.”
“And your mother,” Marc asked as he pushed himself against the wall behind him.
“She died when I was three. Drunk driver, and I was no saint. I was a tough kid,” and Tina fell quiet for a long moment. “So, what about you? What are your parents like?”
“My father was a house painter. He died in an accident before I was born.”
“I’m sorry, Marc.”
“And my mother died five-years-ago. Lung cancer.”
“Jesus. So, you are all alone then,” and she held his gaze for a moment. “Well, Marc, I hate to break it to you, but you got me now. I’m your friend,” and again, she touched his hand. “Hey, Jilly, change my drink to a soda,” she yelled over to Jillian, who was just about to bring over her drink. “Sorry,” and she watched Jillian storm away.
“Thank you,” Marc said.
“For being my friend.”
“You’re welcome. Now, finish your soda, so we can play darts.”
Marc laughed and drank his soda. He glanced up at the front door, almost forgetting that he was supposed to keep an eye out. He spotted an older man wearing a gray suit and checking his watch. The man glanced up at Marc, and Marc could have sworn that he shook his head. But then the man turned and walked out of the bar, leaving Marc looking around nervously. Were they here? Were they waiting for him outside?
At the end of the night, Tina walked with him to his car. She surprised Marc by wrapping her arm around his. She even stood by his car as he started to get inside, and then she leaned down and kissed him on the cheek. She whispered good-night into his ear and then walked away from him, and if he didn’t feel like he had a million eyes on him, he would have sat in his car and watched Tina longer. But he had to get home. He had to hope that he was wrong and that they had not found him, but deep down, he knew that they would never stop looking for him. And the day would come, where they would try to take him away, and no one, not even Tina would be able to save him.
Sunday, May 14, 2017
I’m Not My Father’s Son (Starman Fan Fiction)by, Melissa R. Mendelson
It was nine-thirty a.m. on a Thursday morning. The rain was falling heavier outside. It pounded against the office windows. It stole the sunlight away, casting dark shadows across a wooden desk and desktop computer. The lights overhead were already dim, and the small, black numbers blurred against the white page. The computer screen shined an eerie green across pale skin as brown eyes scanned more numbers before typing them in. It was just another day, another long day, and somewhere in the distance, thunder began to rumble.
Marc looked up from the computer screen, still holding the white pages in his hands. His gaze fell on the thick, manila folder that his boss held. He tried not to frown, knowing what that was, but Jones was still out on sick leave. Today was his day, and he had forgotten about that. He opened his mouth to say something, maybe an excuse. Yes, he would try to weasel out of it, but his boss was already shaking his head.
“It’s your turn, Marc. Stop doing the data entry for now, and make the calls.”
“Can’t someone else do it,” Marc asked.
“It’s got to be done, and Tina’s done it twice this week already. Do it today. I’ll do it tomorrow,” and he noticed that Marc raised an eyebrow at that. “Yes, I can make the calls tomorrow, but you’re doing today.” He held out the thick, manila folder to Marc, who reluctantly took it from him. “Tomorrow, the office staff and I are going out for drinks, if you would like to join us?”
“I don’t drink,” Marc replied.
“You could still join us, Marc. You’ve been here for almost a year now. You should come out with us.”
“Can I think about it?”
“Yeah. Think about it, and start making those calls at ten. Okay?”
“Okay. Thank you, Bob,” and Marc watched him leave the office.
The office was small. The desk was pushed up against the wall with the computer on top of it. There was a bulletin board nailed to the wall next to him with random memos and emails. The window behind him continued to darken, and his door creaked a little from a draft coming off the window. None of that bothered him except for the task that he was given, and a knot now formed in his stomach. At least, there were only eight calls that needed to be made.
“Good morning. This is Marc calling from Forrester Nursing Care. I am calling about the outstanding bill for your father… Yes. Yes, I understand that he recently passed, but our services still have not yet been paid… I understand that, but the bill is months overdue… I understand that. You really don’t have to yell at me. I completely understand, and…”
Marc stared at the black phone in his hand. He could still hear her screaming from the other end. He waited until she was finally done yelling. Two things would then happen. She would hang up, or she would scream at him some more. Then, he heard a slam, and he knew that the conversation was over. At least, for now. One call down. Seven more to go.
Twelve-thirty. Lunch time. Marc opened the bottom desk drawer and pulled out a paper brown bag. Inside was a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich. He leaned against the wall and began to eat his lunch. He glanced outside his office and noticed Tina sitting at her desk and filing her nails. She was a young, Black woman, and he found her attractive. But when she realized that he was staring at her, he looked away.
The rest of the afternoon dragged by, but there was a lot of data entry, debt that continued to grow from patients in the nursing home and their families. He tried not to let that bother him. It was just a job, and somebody had to do it. He couldn’t believe that it was almost a year now, but it was still quiet. And nobody asked him any questions. The moment that something didn’t feel right as his mother would say, it would be time to go, but that wasn’t now. And it was time for him to finally go home.
Marc lived in the Village of Chester, which was barely twenty minutes away from where he worked. His apartment was in the third building on the second floor. The majority of his neighbors didn’t bother him. Sometimes, they waved. Sometimes, they said hello. It was really just Barry, who lived across from him and often visited him. Barry was a painter, and right now, he suffered from painter’s block or as he called it. And for the most part, he didn’t ask Marc too many questions. The moment that he does, Marc would have to move, and again, he wondered if he had stayed here for too long.
Six p.m. Hungry Man Dinner. Marc sat on his couch and flipped through the channels on his television set. For a moment, he watched President Bush at a press conference, but then he quickly changed the station. As usual, nothing was on, so he carried the rest of his dinner over to his desk and opened his laptop. Marc was careful with the social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, but he loved Google. But there was nothing to google today, so instead, he picked up a black cd case and opened it. He placed a dvd into his laptop and then sat back in his desk chair.
“Come on, Scott. Make a wish. It’s your tenth birthday. Make a wish,” the woman behind the camera said.
“No, silly. If you tell me your wish, it won’t come true.”
“I’m sorry, Mom.”
“It’s okay, Scott. Did you make your wish?”
“Okay. Blow out your candles.”
A gray orb lifted up from Scott’s hand and glowed blue. It gently flew over the large, white cake, and the candles blew out. The gray orb then flew back into Scott’s hand, and he closed his fingers over it. “Candles are out,” he said.
“Scott, I told you about that. Now, would you like to try to blow out your candles again?”
“I’m sorry, Mom, and yes, I’ll blow the candles out.”
“Just remember what I said, Scott. Nobody can know about what you can do.”
“I know, Mom. I know.”
Marc reached into his pocket and pulled out the gray orb. It rested in the palm of his hand. It glowed a faint blue, but then its light disappeared. Ever since his mother died, things have not been the same. If he needed to use this, would he be able to? Just then, there was a knock at his door, and Marc quickly pocketed the gray orb and closed his laptop.
“Barry,” he greeted his neighbor. “Come in.”
“You okay, Marc?” Barry patted him on the shoulder before walking in. “You look a little green.”
“I’m okay. Did you paint today?”
Barry was in his early forties with a long, brown beard. He wasn’t fat, but close to it. He was sporting a white, stained top and blue overalls. He smelled of paint, and his hands were multi-colored. Barry looked down at himself and laughed. “I tried to, but it’s crap. At least, according to my agent, it’s crap, but what does she know? I guess you went to work today.”
“How’d you guess,” Marc asked as he closed the apartment door.
“The blue dress pants and black dress top. It kind of gives it away. Did you eat? I was thinking about ordering pizza,” but then Barry saw the hungry man left at the desk. “I guess you ate. How about a movie tonight? I’ll bring one of my dvds over.”
“Not tonight, Barry. I’m kind of tired.” Marc remained standing by the apartment door. “It’s been a long day.”
“Okay, but you owe me.”
“I know,” Marc laughed.
“Okay, so this weekend, we’re actually going out to a bar. Right? I need some inspiration. Badly.”
“As long as we don’t get into a bar fight, Barry.”
“No. I won’t. You sure you’re okay?”
“I’m fine. Just a long day” and Marc opened the apartment door for him. “Does Saturday work?”
“Yes, and I am going to hold you to it.” Barry moved toward the apartment door and stepped outside. “Get some rest, Marc. You look tired,” and he moved over to his apartment.
Marc stepped back into his apartment. He closed the apartment door. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the gray orb. Again, it glowed a faint blue, which then quickly disappeared. He closed his hand over it and looked toward the windows nearby. Maybe, he had stayed here for too long, and maybe, they were closing in right now. Would they let him sleep for one more night before storming the door down and taking him away to God knows where? His grip tightened over the gray orb, and then he turned off the lights.