the afterthought

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 6 (v.1)

Submitted: February 02, 2011

Reads: 127

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Submitted: February 02, 2011

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Sharon walked up to the door of Mr. Lamont’s office and knocked on it while asking for him simultaneously, but there was no response. She tried again, this time reminding him of the tea that he had ordered---still, there was nothing. Out of habit, she walked back to her desk and checked her phone, but there were no messages. In denial, she sat down, pushed her hair back, lifted up the receiver and phoned his office from her own desk. She waited an exaggerated amount of time, letting the phone ring and ring, but still, her attempts were to no avail. Lastly, she walked to his door again, and put her ear up next to the door in order to try and hear any kind of sound, suspicious or otherwise. When she did this, she swore that she heard movement in the room, like chairs being moved around the room. She knew Lamont’s office like the back of her hand, and therefore she was aware of the number of chairs sat around his thick and rustic, sort of out-of-place table that bore matching chairs. She remembered when he ordered them from Jessop and Drake’s, a high end furniture store in Chelsea. They were heavy chairs, and she was almost certain that someone inside the room had just moved it a considerable distance, dragging, not lifting it, across the floor. And just as she made a move to open the door with her hand placed on the knob, ready to turn it, the elevator door open on her floor. She turned around quick and before making her way down the corridor, she pawed through her desk for something sharp, a weapon of sorts. All she could come up with was a letter opener, which she gripped in her right hand, dropping it to her side. With the letter opener clenched tightly by her side, she walked nervously down the corridor, careful not to freak out too much, in case there was an actual client coming. Things were too weird at present, she felt, to assume that that would be the case. 
As she edged around the corner she saw a man with his back turned to her. He was looking out the window that she had been earlier in the day, when Gerald Smith had come in. When thinking of Smith, and now unable to locate her boss, she felt that she had known when she first saw him that he was trouble. When she got closer to the man in the corridor, he turned around and she immediately recognized him. It was the man from the deli who had been responsible for her dropping of the chili---the same one that had followed her all the way to the building---and in his hand he was holding a bag. It was just about the right size for the same size bowl of chili that she had lost earlier in the day. She held the knife in a stabbing-like grip, next to her thigh and moved closer. “You followed me all the way here from the deli. Who the fuck are you? You are in my place of work now asshole!” she told him, as adrenaline filled her body. The man held up the bag and replied, “My name is Todd Rundgren.” Sharon, overwhelmed by the mystery of what was or wasn’t happening in her boss’s office, and the presence of a man who had been stalking her for the whole afternoon, stepped back and held the letter opener up with both hands grip around its handle. She wanted to sound tough so she asked him why he had been following her---certainly it wasn’t because of the chili. In an afterthought, she belied that if it had been, well, she should stab him right then and there because this sad son-of-a-bitch was so moronic that he probably wouldn’t survive another night in the city anyway. 
“State your purpose, Mr. Todd. Tell me why you have been stalking me for the past afternoon, and please don’t waste my time trying to convince me that its because you wanted to bring me a refill of the chili I spilled earlier.” Todd tilted his head a bit, as if he was giving a physical cue to the switching of mental gears. He looked around for a place that he could set the chili on, and fount a deep windowsill to one of the corresponding windows in the corridor. He placed the bag holding the chili on the windowsill and turned back around toward the tense woman brandishing a letter opener. She grew impatient with him, as he stood there with his hands clasped together in some kind of politician negotiating sort of stance. “Well? What are you doing here? I want some sort of idea before I stab you or call security.” She spoke with a bit of agitation.
Rundgren ran his hand through his hair, a bit frustrated himself, but not scared---not acting the least bit frightened, the way that Sharon thought that he should have, given the circumstance. She had worked it all out in her head, quickly, when she had picked up that letter opener, however, there were no absolutes in this life. How hard it was for her to come back to that reality. She remembered her father always telling her that the only sure things in life, the only two things that one could count on were death and taxes. These thoughts only made her madder, and it frustrated her even more when she thought about what may or may not be happening in her boss’s room. She shook the letter opener at him in the air, panicking. “Look man, are you a mute or what? What the fuck are you doing here!!”
Rundgren could see that there would be no simple way of presenting his case to this woman. “Look, you don’t know me, but I have been sent by a man, a very powerful man, to warn you. Certainly you are going to ask me why I have been sent here to warn you. That would be a most appropriate question. Another appropriate question would pertain to who it was that sent me. Finally, another question, however of less priority in the pyramid of inquiry, might be one dealing with why I met you at a particular deli on this particular day, seemingly all revolving around this bag of chili.” And when he finished that first statement, he moved towards the windowsill and picked the bag up and opened it, setting the actual bag down and removing the cup of chili itself. Holding the cup of chili in one hand, he remarked “a bit cold now, basically lukewarm,” and he pulled with his free hand from the bag on the sill a plastic spoon that one would find at any deli. He took the top off the chili and placed it in the bag. With the spoon he stirred the chili and then took a rather robust first taste.
All the while that Todd was trying the chili that he had brought Sharon, Miss Cake seemed less and less threatened by the man, and dropped her hand to her side, then worrying less about the purpose of Todd and more about what may or may not be happening in her boss’s office. Todd however, was only trying the chili. He put it back down on the windowsill, with the spoon sticking out of it. “You seem preoccupied, Miss Cake.” Todd remarked, and she clenched the letter opener again. She decided quickly that Todd was not much of a threat, and that whatever it was that he needed to tell her, was less important at the moment, than where her boss was, and what was happening in the office where he should have been. “Look, if you are here to warn me, then you must be here to protect me, not harm me. Can I assume that?” Sharon said. “I would have to say so,” Todd replied. “Alright then, what I need from you right now is to help me kick in my boss’s door, if it is indeed locked. Can you do that?” Sharon asked him and moved towards the door. Todd nodded agreeably and moved towards the door with her. 
As the two approached the door, the sounds that Sharon had heard earlier had ended. Now the room was more silent than she had ever known it to be. Even when Mr. Lamont had no clients in the room, he would have the radio going, playing those talk radio programs he liked. But this time, there was no sound whatsoever. Sharon got right up close to the door and placing her hand on the knob, simultaneously she called out “Mr. Lamont? Mr. Lamont? Are you in here?” And as she turned the knob near the end of the statement, she found it to open and so she plunged inside. With Todd following behind her, the two walked into the room and did not see Mr. Lamont, or any clients. Sharon knew that she shouldn’t feel uneasy, because if they weren’t there, they simply had left. It was getting later in the day, and Mr. Lamont did in fact leave sometimes in the early afternoon. Still, she felt uneasy. Worse, she felt panic creeping up her spine. She knew that she had heard sounds in the room when she came in. And as far as she knew, no one had left. 
As she made her way around the room and behind Lamont’s desk, she dropped to her knees next to the bound and gagged body of her boss. His body was bound with a heavy cord, nearly 17 times, and there was a red ball gag in his mouth. She exclaimed “Jesus Christ, Mr. Lamont!” Todd did not fall to his knees with her. Instead he stood next to the door and looked outside to keep watch. Sharon got up close to his head and pulled on the gag which was clamped tightly. She did her best to try and unlock it so that the gag would be loosened, however she was having no luck. During the ordeal, Todd came over to help her, juggling the lock on the gag and opening it. They he gently pulled it off Lamont’s head, but Lamont didn’t awaken. Sharon looked up at Todd and then back at her boss, shouting his name at him in close proximity. When that didn’t work, she patted the sides of his face, careful not to slap him, thinking that this would awake him. Still, there was no reaction. Finally, Todd, after watching her struggle again, mentioned to her that he had probably been knocked out by a tranquilizer of some kind. “He might be out for a while, Miss Cake, and if that is the case, I suggest we do our best to get him some attention.”
S.C: “It was that Gerald Smith guy! I knew he was a scumbag the moment that I laid eyes on him.
T.R: “Was he the last person to see Mr. Lamont?
S.C: “He was just in a meeting with him, less than an hour ago. I went out to get some lunch and tea for Sven, and when I came back it was all silent here.
T.R: “Well, regardless of who it was that did this to Mr. Lamont, we have got to get him some attention, and quickly. Does he have a personal doctor, or should we have him taken to the hospital?”
S.C: “Dr. Etalio is his physician. He will probably come to the office, as he has before.”
The two of them promptly picked up Mr. Lamont, after cutting him free from the chair he’d been tied in and placed him in a new chair to wait for the doctor. Sharon sat down in one of the chairs set there around the table for clients. She looked across at Todd whom at this point was snapping his fingers in front of Mr. Lamont’s face. He clearly was out cold. Todd sat in the chair next to him and swiveled in Sharon’s direction. She was breathing in, taking a break for a moment. “Miss Cake, would you like to call the doctor, or would you like me to?” Todd asked, and Sharon shot back a quick snappy reply. “I’ll get to it, Jesus, I will get to it. I’m just taking five seconds here.”


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