Recently I began an exploration into the dark and unused corners of a flash drive I found deep in the bottom of my computer bag.
What I'd found within were two stories I'd written way back in January of 2012. Or, to be honest, two stories I'd never finished writing.
In fact, the longest of the two turned out to be just 600 or so words before I'd abandoned it completely. But I found myself fascinated as read through each of the two stories because it dawned on me that I couldn't recall where I was going with either one. I'm sure I had some plans, some idea of plot, but I can't, for the life of me, remember anything beyond what I'd just read.
So I figured that it might be fun to share them. Who knows, maybe inspiration will strike and I will come back to them someday, figure out where I was going, and finish them both.
I'll start with the shorter of the two.
I couldn’t move. I wanted to. I tried to. My brain sent the message through that telegraph line that School House Rocks used to always talk about, but my legs were responding with an adamant ‘no thank you, sir’.
There was nothing physically wrong with me. My body was more than capable of walking, or running, or even doing a half dozen cartwheels. The problem was that my body just simply refused to move, and I’m pretty sure it had something to do with the color of the grass.
See, the grass was purple. I’m talking a deep purple, but not like the band. I’d never seen purple grass before and I don’t think my body could handle it. So it froze and left me to do nothing more than take in this bizarre landscape that merely begun with the purple grass.
Let me back up a bit here.
Twenty minutes ago I was in my kitchen brewing up a pot of coffee. The coffee maker hissed, coughed, and gurgled, almost covering the sound of a voice coming from under my kitchen sink.
I think I know where I might have been going there. This hearkens back to one of the first things I ever wrote which involved a man going through the cabinet below his kitchen sink into another world. A world of chocolate milk lakes and hypodermic needle forests. I wonder if I still have that lying about somewhere.
Oh well ... here's the next one.
I was already running late for work when I got word that the boss wanted to see everyone for an emergency meeting. I wasn’t too happy about that. Seeing the boss under normal circumstances isn’t the most pleasant of experiences. The fact that I was going to be late would put me in the hot box for sure.
By the time I had arrived everyone had already assembled in the conference room and I could hear that the boss had already started in with his presentation. I waited a moment outside the door, my hand hovering over the handle. I ran the other hand through my hair, straightened my tie, and entered the room.
Dead center in the conference room was a large rectangular table that seated eighteen. Eight on each of the long ends and one at each of the short ends. All eighteen seats were taken. All eighteen individuals who occupied those seats were looking up at me.
One of those eighteen, the boss, was there at the head of the table, directly opposite to where I had just entered. He put a hand to his tie and smiled at me. My heart turned to ice and my head broke out into a sweat.
“Sorry I’m late boss,” I said, shuffling my feet nervously as there was nowhere to sit. “Traffic on the freeway was a real bear.” I smiled, trying to look confident and relaxed.
“Not a problem, Mr. Freeman. Not a problem at all.” The boss stood and began to circle the table, coming towards me at a deliberate pace. “As a matter of fact, we were all just talking about you.”
“Oh yeah,” I said with a nervous laugh. “What about?”
The others in the room smiled. A few tittered softly. Like they were all in on a joke that I wasn’t aware of.
The boss reached me and held out his hand. Offering it to me. His eyes dancing manically.
I wiped my hand dry on my pant leg before taking the boss’s hand in a firm, yet shaky, grip.
“Congratulations, Freeman,” the boss said, shaking my hand and patting me on the shoulder. “You’ve been promoted.”
“Promoted?” I asked, the words coming out again in a nervous laugh.
“That’s right. You’ve obviously earned it.” Everyone in the room laughed.
The boss let go of my hand, still smiling, looking at me with an air of expectance.
I swallowed and ran a hand through my hair again. “What’s the new job, boss?”
“Well,” the boss began, turning his back on me and walking back to his seat. “As you know, Frank was injured on the job last night.”
I didn’t know, but I didn’t like where this was going. Not at all.
“No, boss,” I said, affecting a look of serious concern. “I didn’t know that. Is he going to be okay?”
The boss sat. “Frank’s going to be fine. The problem is that he can’t be working for a few months while he’s laid up, and that leaves a void in my organization.” He leaned back, his elbows resting on the arms of the chair, his hands coming together at the fingertips to create a tent. “I don’t like voids, Freeman.”
“No sir,” I said. “What can I do?” I already knew the answer. The blood had already begun to drain from my face.
“That’s easy, Freeman. I’m making you Frank’s substitute.”
The room erupted into laughter. I didn’t take much notice of it myself. I was a little too occupied with the process of passing out into a heap on the floor.
Okay ... stay with me here. I believe that I had planned for Frank to be a hitman, or a fixit guy. He did all the dirty work. People in his position didn't last long as they tended to die in violent ways so no one really wanted to do it.
Again, maybe I'll come back to it someday.