Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The chore

"Man I just can't shake this feeling.  I need to do something, but I just don't know what."

"Was it work related?  Was it something for your family?  Does it have to do with your trip?" Mani asked, trying to be helpful.

"I just don't know," was John's muttered reply as he lost himself in thought once more.

He knew there was something he had to do, something he had to create and it felt very important. No time to worry about it though, the truck had arrived and it was time to work.

As they opened the rear doors to start unloading the trailer, there was a thunderous crash as the rear most crate came crashing to the ground.  It was followed by the tinkling of broken glass from inside the crate.

"aww Shit!  Why the hell didn't they stack it right?" roared Mani.

"'who knows.  I'm just glad it didn't hit me!  Hey Dumbshit, who loaded this trailer?"

"Your mama!" yelled George in his pathetic attempt at humor.  No real answer was forthcoming and it really didn't matter.  They would have to clean up the mess created by someone else as usual and face the bosses' wrath for the broken equipment.

"...do it?" asked Mani.  John had missed it lost in his own thoughts.

"Do you think they will do it?" he asked again noticing John hadn't been paying attention.

"Do what?"

"Announce who gets promoted to the next level today," was Mani's exasperated reply.  He sometimes wondered why he tried at all.  Most conversations with John were predominately one sided on his part.

The promotion.  John had successfully blocked it from his mind for the last few minutes, but now it was back.  The idea that he could, somehow move up to the next level filled his every waking moment since it had been announced last week.  His longing to move up, to improve his life was almost too much.  He wanted it so bad it hurt.

Before the announcement he never even dreamed that something like this was possible.  He had been happy with his station.  Now, it wasn't enough.  He had to have more.  More power. More privilege. More money. More of everything.

As they removed and stacked the last box from the truck, Mr. James pulled up in his jeep and was yelling at them before he even got out.

“Why isn’t that put away yet?  I don’t pay you to stand around looking pretty, I pay you to work.  Get those boxes stowed in the locker and get this mess cleaned up.  Who broke this one?  Do you have any idea how much that is worth?  That is a years’ wage smashed on the ground…”

Mr. James went on and on, but having heard it all before, John once again tuned out everything but his own thoughts on the promotion as he went about his work, moving and stacking the crates.

He fantasized how he would buy his new bride everything her heart desired.  New furniture, new clothes, flowers everyday.  He would spend his free time hunting the biggest game and bring her the finest skins.  He could see himself stalking his prey and driving home his blade.

Wait, something had changed.

John came back to the present and noticed everyone had stopped what they were doing and were staring at him.  Looking down he realized he had acted out his fantasy of hunting.  At his feet lay Mr, James with a knife in his throat.

At that moment his life changed.  All hope of advancement was gone.  All he could do was to run. So run he did.

He ran out of the compound and into the wilderness. He could hear the guards raising the alarm, but he was intent on nothing but escape.  He was just about to make the jump into the river when the bullet found him.  I pierced his back, dead center and smashed through his spine, exiting from his breast in a spray of blood.

He crashed to the ground. Aware of the commotion as the guards ran over to him, but unable to move as his lifeblood poured from his chest and soaked into the ground.

His last fleeting thought was regret that he would never see his wife again.