I knew it was going to be one of those days. I just knew it. To think that a speeding ticket was the catalyst really bites. I was doing only seventy-five mph. So what if it was a school zone? Does that make me a bad person? I was going to be late for work. I tried my best to persuade the officer into letting me off with a warning. I flashed my million-dollar smile and tried to make light of the problem. It was then I had to use my brain.
"Officer," I said. "What method of calibration did you use to calibrate the radar gun?" He just looked at me, eyes starting to glaze, pen frozen on the citation. "By your reaction I will take it that you did not calibrate the radar gun."
"Not this morning."
"Then would you please show me the certificate of calibration for this month."
"What certificate?" I had him. It is a known fact if you are nicked for speeding and a radar gun is employed, the certificate of calibration must accompany the gun at all times and be available for review on demand. If this condition is not satisfied, the citation is void. I clued the officer in on that little fact. I also realized what a nice shade of brown his uniform was as I went on my way, it matched the mud on his face nicely.
I actually arrived on time. For once, I was able to pull into my parking space and ride the elevator up to my desk instead of hauling tail up the stairs to beat the clock. I punched my time card and laughed quietly. Stopping at the coffee machine, I reviewed a memo about some visitors to the office today. I resolved to fly through that school zone more often. It would have embarrassing to arrive and find these people here getting the tour from my clerk. I mean hey, who is in charge of this department anyway.
"What do you want," I demanded. I just cannot seem to get to my desk before someone needs my help. "I have to prepare for our guests."
"I just wanted to say how much I have enjoyed working with you."
"Enjoyed? Using past-tense so early in the morning?" I just love to pick on his speech, English major and all that he is... "Did you not mean 'enjoy' working with me?" I marched on.
"But," he stammered.
"Now, if you will excuse me, I must prepare." I left him standing there slack-jawed.
As I walked to my desk, everyone there seemed to be moody. This was all I needed, an office of depressed employees with guests about to arrive. I tried to make a joke here and there on the way to lighten their mood, but to no avail. I had to give it up to the long weekend. No one likes to work on a Thursday when there is a four-day holiday behind it. Hell, I even had plans to go partying later. I decided to clear my desk, ferret out a good morale speech, and hit the wall.
When I opened my office door, everything was packed into two neat boxes. "What the blazes is this! Doris; come in here!" Behind me, her heels scraped on the floor as she rushed to my aid. I walked over to my chair ready to flop down when I saw the envelope. Ripping it open, I poured over the contents: a letter, another letter, and a check.
Suddenly it was clear. I'd be falling into my chair for the last time. Looking up I saw Doris, standing at the door, close to tears. I knew then the guests were my replacement and the top brass. "Doris," I smiled lightly. "Would you help me take these boxes to me car?"
I made a small speech to my department as I left, telling them how I never could have accomplished a few things without them. I also let then know how much I would miss them, their children at company outings, and to look and the bright side. "Besides, I have the rest of the year off."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Driving home so early in the day is a strange experience. I past a quick-mart and decided to do my shopping. I pulled into the mall and hit the bank. It was not a bad severance package; stocks, bonds, cash settlement. It was a short stop there. I made a beeline for the market next.
There should be a law that prohibits the patrons on line from waiting more than ten minutes on line. Really, how long does it take to scan a carton of eggs? I tried not to read the magazines on the display, play with my cart, or pick out candy. Instead, I watched the lines getting longer and longer. These people brushing past each other while trying to manoeuvre in the choked store, jockeying for position in the aisles, waiting to purchase their stores can be quite amusing. Forty-five minutes latter, I was being served. Forty-five minutes! What nerve. A woman could have a baby in that time. Never mind I was third in the express lane.
"Twenty-three, thirty-two please." said the pimple at the register. It is amazing how child labour can move with the speed of the infirmed. I reached into my pants to discover my wallet missing. I panicked. How was I going to pay for the food? I discovered cash in pocket and used it. I had probably left my bill-fold at the bank. I pay and leave.
A fruitless search at the bank and in my car leads me to report my wallet stolen. Luck would have it that the same officer that pulled me over arrived at the bank to take my report. Two hours latter, I was on my way home again. I could hear the officer's radio broadcasting to every unit it could reach that I was driving without a license. Little did he know I always keep a copy with my registration—just in case. More education for the police department today, I smirk as they 'routinely' pull me over.
I made it home lacking any further confrontations with the boys in brown after they got it. I put away the groceries and things from my desk, picked out my party suit, and started hunting for a new job. I faxed, emailed, chatted, and mailed out my resume like no tomorrow. It was time to get ready for the party.
I did the three S's (shit, shower, shave) and STWW (spectacles, testicles, wallet, watch) at the mirror, and left home hot to trot. In the car I rehearsed my pick-up lines, my smile, and had a breath mint.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
"My you have a tight suit. Or are you just happy to see me?" That was a line no honest man would ignore: I didn't.
"As you know with a body like this, it is hard to get a good suit off the shelf." I drained the rest of my drink.
"Really... Tell me more..."
It was a great party, people everywhere, drinks, food. About midnight we left the party. I volunteered the obligatory lift home. He only wanted to stop off at the library. "I work there and there is a shelf I really want to show you."
It was a nice shelf... Built well, strong and cut nicely. On the way out, we stepped into the bathroom. I unzipped and stepped to the bowl while he splashed water on his face trying to sober up. Washing my hands, I had the urge to look at the floor. Looking back at me from the green tile floor was my wallet. I thought I recognized him from the bank…
I did my do and retrieved my bill-fold. All of my identification and all of my credit, bank, and toll cards were still there. I counted my cash: one-hundred forty-seven dollars and thirty-two cents. Just what it should be, and having the spare cash, I invited him for another late night snack.
At the diner, cheesecake and wine disappeared like the mist. He confessed to the crime. A desperate ploy to meet me... I guess the urban myth is true… Note to self: lay off the wine. Somewhere in there, he went to the bathroom and never returned. I paid the bill and purchased a lotto ticket. I knew it was a bad idea to drive but I did anyway. I stumbled up the stairs and fell into bed.
I awoke with a hangover so intense; I could have sworn I was high. In the kitchen, I turned on the news. "... once again, the winning numbers are two, twelve, five, thirty-six, nineteen, and forty. There is one winner out there holding a four-hundred, ninety- eight-million dollar ticket." I mused at the thought of winning. I had slept the entire morning. Must have had more than I thought. Smiling to myself, I checked the ticket I bought.
* * * * * * * * * * *
"Chris, could you tell us what you are going to do with your millions?" said a reporter trying to get her spot on the news tonight. "Will you quit your job?"
"No." With that, I ended the dog and pony show and went home to think on what I would do exactly, starting with revenge… Going into the bath, I looked in the mirror. "Man; should not have had that bottle of whiskey before the press conference on an empty stomach. Look at me..."
"Who said that?" I spun around expecting to see the paparazzi. "Where are you?"
Right here in the mirror.
Don't be a bore, I want to get a word in too.
Both of you shut up.
"What the hell!" In the mirror there was only my reflection. I could see no one else.
Look, I don't think you understand.
Of course he doesn't.
I was getting to that until the two of you butted in.
And you are no help.
I thought I told you three to wait until he was dressed.
But he took so long to get up.
The boy has all the money in the world and he plots revenge with it!
It's his money.
Now look what you have done.
I searched everywhere in the bathroom. There was no hidden microphone, tape player, or the like. I looked back into the mirror. "Okay, this joke is over." I tried to shake off this feeling of dread fearing the excitement of winning was finally hitting me.
This is not a joke.
See you frightened him.
It's not my fault, I waited.
There you go again.
"What is going on!" I must still be dreaming. Yeah, that's it. I'm still asleep."
No, you are wide awake.
I bolted from the bath and headed to the door. Surely this was some trick of the press. I could hear them huddled outside on my lawn trying to get in… That is when I realized where the voices were coming from. I charged for the door.
Yo! Where do you think you are going? Do you think that those PEOPLE on the other side of your door can help you? No, they can't. Now sit down and listen.
I froze there in the middle of the living room. "This has to be a nightmare I'm drunk and passed out again!"
Trust me che`r: you is awake.
I said sit!
Now, look who's frightening him…
I'm in control here.
The four of you have done enough already.
"I know this might not be the time to ask, but since I'm going insane, would it be a bother for the five of you to introduce yourselves?" I could deal with this dream, me talking to myself, yes that was it-that new age stuff -if only I could get to what my brain was trying to tell me I could wake up. "I mean it would be nice to know who I am speaking with..." Yes that lucid dreaming thing, direct this nightmare...
I'm in control here as I said. I am the Rational Mind. You might want to have a seat before you fall.
Hello again, I'm Guilt. Your legs feel unsteady from here; sit down please.
See what ya'll done: you woke him! The name's Dreams. Sorry, this is not a nightmare; you are quite awake.
You're such the bore, sometimes I wonder... I'm Ego: accept no substitutes.
If you just waited, none of this would have happened. Hi, I'm your Moral Side.
I sank into the sofa as the introductions were made. Looking at the floor, I realized the excitement of the moment was taking advantage of me causing my single inner voice to flip-out. Yes... that's it. I'm just too happy with all the money to think clearly.
As if you ever did the thinking in the first place!
Another voice to add to the cacophony swimming in my head announced its arrival with an erection. I resolved to stop drinking the cheap stuff and handle my business: it always clears my head. I closed my hand feeling its soothing power taking me away from this nightmare.
Let go; you're strangling me!
"No! God! No!" I leapt off the sofa. "No, not that too!"
You are awake I tell you! Keep it up; I promise you a real nightmare...
Though the rational mind may think it's in control, I am. My name is Libido and boy do we have to talk!
You should have listened to me. Damn he'll never stop talking.
As if you could?
What were you thinking last night, just once! Don't you know I need to be used and abused? I could've ploughed away all night in that nice tight hole! I mean really! I was just getting to orgas--
He could but I'm in control.
Too much of a good thing and you'll go blind.
I'm already blind! All I got is skin and man: I'm not handled enough!
Now listen, let's have breakfast and talk...
"Yes food. I think better on a full stomach." A vague murmuring sound replaced the clear distinct voices as I agreed food was in order. It was the hangover and the excitement, my blood sugar was low, had to be. I lumbered into the kitchen and made cornflakes. I remembered the implication that rich people are all insane. Looking out the window, I pondered all this frivolity as the six of us ate breakfast arguing over the spoon.