Wake Up Gary.....
A short work of fiction in 4 parts.
Chapter - 1, Pelicans
Chapter - 2, Pirates
Chapter - 3, Sentinals
Chapter - 4, Cubes
Gary had the chills. A storm front had moved in during the night and it had been raining all morning. He was already frustrated from the drive into work. When it rained in this town all the drivers slowed to a crawl, which made his 45 minute commute to the office twice as long. To top it all off, the office air conditioning was on which made the damp air seem even colder.
For a Monday, it was pretty quiet in the ‘cube farm’. Most of his fellow co-workers hadn’t shown up for work yet, even though it was almost 8:30am. Gary had been busying himself with some left over work from Friday. He e-mailed another copy of the spreadsheet to Ralph in accounting and had pulled up his favorite news websites to find out what had been going on for the past two days.
Gary’s co-worker Bob poked his head over the cube wall.
“What’s Up, G-man? Have a productive weekend?”
“Somewhat. Can’t say that it was too enjoyable, but I suppose you could say I got some stuff accomplished. How about yourself, Bobster?” Gary replied.
“Lawn mowing, car shopping, laundry…you know, the usual manly stuff. Aint’ this weather a bitch? Betcha half the staff call in sick just to avoid commuting in this shit.”
“No doubt, should make for a quiet Monday….I hope.”
“Speaking of which, Der Furher won’t be in today either. I guess Rick had something pop up unexpectedly. His secretary said he won’t be in today.” Bob added.
“Really?” Gary responded.
Gary downed the last of his second cup of coffee and stood up from his chair. “Nature calls big guy, back in five.”
“Hope they restocked the toilet paper, they were out on Friday.” Bob responded as he disappeared back into his cube.
As Gary walked down the hall to the men’s room, he wondered why Rick wouldn’t be in. He rarely missed a day of work. Rick broke his arm once playing flag football with his kids and still showed up on Monday with his arm in a cast.
He had returned Fran's call on Sunday but all he got was her voice mail. He wanted to talk to her about a lot of things but hadn't heard back from her.
Gary entered the men’s room and found an empty stall. He closed the door and sat down. This was his second office. This was the place where he could sit in relative isolation and think things through without interruption. He had a lot of things to think about at this point.
Soon after he closed the stall door, he heard two co-workers enter the bathroom. From the sound of their voices it was one of the company vice-presidents and someone else from the finance division.
“So what do you think the scoop is? Was it just an accident or do you think there is something fishy about it?” the voice from finance asked.
“Something sounds funny. From what he knew, she was supposed to be in San Diego visiting her sister, not driving back from Mexico. I am sure there are a lot of questions he'll be asking. At times like this, he'll have to juggle a bunch of things; telling the kids, making arrangements, calling relatives, friends, whatever. I don’t envy him the task. He won’t be back in the office anytime soon.” was the V-P’s response.
Gary sat in silence as he heard the V-P wash his hands.
“Sometimes you never know what’s going on in life until……..” the voice of the finance worker trailed off as both men left the bathroom and the door closed behind them.
Gary got up from the seat, left the stall and headed back to his desk. He sat down and started browsing the internet news stories for his local area. In the archived section, buried in the stories from 2 days ago, it showed a young women killed in a roll over accident south of town.
Gary sat frozen as a wave of doubt, grief, sadness and anger rolled over him like a torrent. He lost track of the time until his cell phone rang and jolted him back to reality.
He looked at the number on his phone’s caller ID. It was an incoming call from Fran!
Gary opened the phone and put the receiver to his ear….”Fran?”
"Hello Gary, this is Rick……we need to talk."