This will be the first installment of the Needless Things Spotlight, where I will publish fiction from various sources; maybe even myself. Let me know what you think. I know Blogger is shit for comments, so please leave feedback on my El Phantasmas Facebook page or on the Needless Things page. And if you have something you would like to publish but aren't sure how or where just drop me a message.
And now I am proud to present to you "My Own Wreckage" from Beau McKnight. Enjoy.
My Own Wreckage
“The call scared me for some reason I couldn’t put my finger on. All I heard was distant faint voices in the background. Feet shuffling, intercom voices and phones ringing. It sounded like hospital type noises. I looked at the caller ID. 'Unknown,' it said. For weeks now everything has been off. “
“Michael when you say off, what do you mean exactly. Be more specific please.”
“For example, when I pulled up there was a black Mercedes in the parking lot. I noticed because it was one that I thought about buying earlier this year.
I’m looking out of the window and I notice it's gone. There's a different car in its place.”
“Michael it's gone because someone left and someone else took the parking space. The call was probably just someone accidentally dialing you. Happens all the time. You're just having some anxiety issues. These are all things we can fix Michael.”
“Well here's something that needs to be fixed. I have this feeling that my wife isn't really my wife. She says all the normal things and kisses me goodbye before I leave for work each day but, sometimes from the corner of my eye I will catch something that’s not right. A subtle shift or change. Like she will stand there sometimes blankly looking off into space. It's like someone paused a DVD or something.”
“Have you been sleeping at all Michael?”
“I have been doing nothing but sleeping lately. Dreamless deep sleeping, and it's been getting harder to wake up.”
“Michael do you experience a lot of stress in your workplace?”
“My workplace. Let’s see. My workplace is filled with people that I know aren’t my co-workers. I don't know who those people are. They certainly have some of the qualities of my co-workers but they aren't them. There's Sarah in accounting who’s worn the same clothing now for two weeks. In the shipping and receiving department I’ve noticed trucks leaving with no packages and delivering none. Phil in the front office who does invoicing taps at the keyboard all day , but the monitor hasn't even been turned on. I've started trying to get a reaction out of these people lately and they don't seem to notice or react in a way that’s normal. I said to Phil today, 'Monitor’s not on Buddy, been turned off for a week now and yet you keep on typing.' He says, `That’s funny Michael I’ll have to tell my wife that one when I get home.' The whole time he's grinning like an idiot.”
“This sounds like a psychotic break of some type. Has there been a recent death or some traumatic event of any sort?”
“No, nothing like that. There's something else that you need to know though. I’ve been saying and doing things lately on impulse. So far, no repercussions.”
“Michael, when you say impulse, what do you mean exactly? Be more specific please.”
“Odd, you said that earlier or damn close to it.”
“Michael, let's discuss your impulses.”
“Okay, since we started this session I've thought about pinning you down on that desk like a butterfly and tearing open your blouse. I can see the buttons fall to the floor”
“Michael, we’re going to end this. I can't help you”
“What do the fuck do you mean END THIS? I need help!”
“ I’m referring you to another doctor, Michael.”
“Please wait! I need to understand something. Everyone keeps talking about this snowstorm that’s coming. A blizzard with whiteout conditions. It's like everybody wants me to know about it. Have you heard about this?”
“Quite a storm is coming Michael,” she was smiling now, “Better run home and hide.”
I ran out of the office, caught the elevator down and threw the front door open. Cold air and snow blasted my face as I made my way to the car.
Everyone was gone. The only car in the lot was mine and I couldn't even hear the thrum of the nearby freeway. Total dead silence.
The door handle was iced over and took some leverage to break free. The therapist session took 45 minutes and in that time the temperature must have plummeted 50 degrees; it all seemed so impossible.
Sitting in the car feeling some small degree of safety, I started to calm down.
“You're gonna be alright old boy. Just having a psychotic break due to stress. Could happen to anybody. Working 60 hours a week with no vacation or break. Bound to happen at some point.
I'll drive to my favorite bar, have a few drinks and make my way home. Not gonna work tomorrow. Just staying in bed and getting some much needed rest.”
The roads were deserted. Rush hour and not a single car for the past three miles.
“People are probably stocking up for the blizzard. The grocery stores will be packed.”
The sky looked bruised and angry, my car’s wipers lashed back and forth
trying to keep up with the volume of snow being dumped.
“Can't linger at the bar. Stay too long and the roads will be choked with snow and ice.”
Past mile marker four I saw the flashing red lights of an emergency vehicle and several police cars as they blocked two lanes of traffic.
“Wreck most likely, people drive too damn fast in these conditions.”
As I approached, an officer threw up his hand and told me to stop.
I rolled down the window as the cop looked in and cocked his head to the side with a look of confusion.
“Quite a storm, huh? We're having to deal with some asshole who slid down the embankment. Head cracked open like an egg when it hit the dashboard. Blunt force trauma. Goddamn, I love my job!
Would you like to see it? I mean it's not every day you get to see something like that Michael. You would have to be careful though it's slippery out here and I wouldn't want you to fall. I’m Officer Orlando by the way.”
At this the officer grinned as he put his left hand on his baton.
“Listen Michael, I'm done fucking around here.” he said quietly through gritted teeth.
He said this as he glanced over towards the other officers ten feet away.
“Get out of this car or I’ll reach in and pull you right the fuck out. I don't like you or your yuppie BMW. Think you're the center of the fucking universe don't you?”
“You don't even know me so why would you hate me, and how do you know my name?”
Another officer was walking towards the car. Big man, mid-fifties with an air of authority and higher rank.
“Think this is your own horror show here Orlando? Some kind of a joke maybe? Everyone plays their part so I would advise you to play yours without the theatrics.”
Officer Orlando said, “Yes, sir,” and quietly walked towards his patrol car.
“Son I can't give you my name because I don't have one. But I have a few things to say and you need to listen. I've been doing this job for a really long time, and I can see in your face that you are starting to understand what’s going on. You know whose car that is up ahead in that ravine, don't you son?”
“I think so,” I said as I blinked away the tears.
“There was just too much damage done. You have been on complete life support, and in a coma now for a few weeks. As of 4:49 P.M. Friday, December 20th, you were taken off life support. You're on your own now, but fading quick.”
“What do I do?”
“You're going to know what to do Michael, there's no need for me to tell you.
Forget going to the bar though, it's closed now and forever. Go home Michael.
Go home and be with your wife.”
I rolled up the window and drove past my own wreckage. Orlando waved and I flipped him off.
She was waiting; beautiful in her yellow summer dress. The house, filled with a lifetime of memories was as it had always been. A place of comfort, a place of love.
She said nothing as I walked in but kissed my cheek as she had for the past twenty years.
I put my hand to her face, smiling gently, and walked out into the unforgiving storm.