Curious Gifts

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
A young adult girl working in a diner gets a surprise visit from an angel, of sorts, and remembers a repressed memory.

Submitted: July 20, 2012

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Submitted: July 20, 2012

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Curious Gifts

 

I stood apron clad against the aging red and black checkered counter, checking my wrist watch. 11:25. While sighing, drumming my fingers and pushing my auburn hair out of my pale white face, a man entered the dilapidated diner. I pushed my glasses closer to my face for a better look as I approached the gentleman.

He stood there as he carefully removed his top hat and pea coat, hanging them gingerly on the coat rack. Revealing his chestnut hair and pale blue eyes, he looked up at me and spoke.

“Hello,” He said as he looked for my nametag, “Elizabeth.” I immediately blushed.

“Is it just you tonight?” I asked as I nervously wiped any possible crumb from my fuchsia apron that I LOATHED.

“Ah, yes.” The man replied as he nodded; his hair hitting his light cream roundish head.

I sat him in a corner booth by the window. My favorite spot. It was the only one that didn’t have any tears in the upholstery.

“Lucien!” I shouted to the cook in back, “We’ve got someone!”

“How may I help you tonight?” I nervously asked while compulsively clicking my pen.

“I would like a cup of coffee, black with caramel and whipped cream topping.”

I nodded, and hastily wrote it down. I then made eye contact with this furtive man as I noticed his clothing. A purple tee shirt and black slacks. ‘fancy.’ I thought.

“You have neglected to get me a menu.” Snapping back to reality, I blushed and replied:

“Oh, silly me…” I muttered as I took off in the other direction on my quest for a menu.

As I made my return trip, I noticed the stranger nosing around in his briefcase.

‘I didn’t see him come in with one…’ I thought to myself as I set the small menu on the corner of the table.

“I’ll get right on your coffee, sir.” I cheerfully said as I sauntered to the kitchen after almost tripping over an untied shoelace. As I grabbed the lukewarm pot and boring cream colored mug, I noticed that I was significantly more distracted than usual. Watching him carefully, I noticed him still fishing around in his “strange” briefcase still. The things he removed are as follows:

An old alarm clock (bells and all)

A stapler

A pudding cup

And a giant pencil

Abashed by the complete randomness in front of me, I had overfilled the mug pouring –thankfully- warm coffee on my hand. My eyes widened as I saw him look over to me, and I darted into the kitchen to search for whipped cream.

After a couple of long boorish minutes, I finally found a can of it behind a pitcher of lemonade. Staring intently at the beautiful container of liquid gold; I could feel my throat get extremely dry. Shaking it off, I got back on task and sprayed a hearty amount of delicious looking cream onto the top of this man’s repugnant black, lukewarm coffee.

I carefully roll stepped out of the kitchen and to the stranger’s table. After carefully setting it down, I had noticed more… interesting… Items on the checkered table.

A cookbook

A packet of what looked like cookies

And thankfully, a wallet.

Using a fork, he spooned? Forked? The whipped topping into his mouth.

“Can I get you anything else, sir?”

“My name is John.” He said as he looked up at me with whipped cream lips.

“Nice to meet you, John.” I said with a cooked up ‘I’m working’ smile.

John took a careful sip of his gross looking coffee and spoke.

“I’m here to help you.” He said and I might add, very seriously.

I had an overwhelming fear of him. My mind jumped to the thought of him getting up and touching me. Harming me. ‘Help…’ I thought ‘what does that even mean?’

“Oh my. That’s… stellar.” I was still very confused at his random mutterings as I wiped my still coffee dripping hands on my hideous pink apron.

He slurped up another slow sip and dug around in his pockets.

“Here.” He said with a smile as he held out a closed fist.

‘He can’t be serious…’ I thought.

I cupped my hands in order to receive the ‘gift’ Letting go, he dropped into my hands:

A silver key labeled with the number 4

A black marker

And a folded piece of paper.

I began to inspect the note, a blue piece of stationary it looked like. I began to unfold its mystery when I felt a hand tug on my coffee stained apron.

“No. It’s for later. All of it is.” He said sternly as he looked upon his odd clock still on the table. “For… 1:30.”

Taking a peak at the clock, I noted the time. 11:45

“Well, missy, I’m done here.” John said to me as he arose, chugged the rest of his coffee and handed me a crisp twenty dollar bill.

“But… Change?” I said, flabbergasted.

“Keep it. Even though you forgot the caramel… well played.” With a wink, he shoved past me and ventured to the hat rack.

“You’re not from here, are you?” I asked, bridging my collective thoughts of the curious items in his case, his odd demeanor… let alone the “gifts”. I rubbed my stupid ugly apron’s pockets in search for those items as he replied.

“You could say that.” He suddenly turned and walked out the door, his coat catching the wind and making it flutter like a cape..

After John left, I went back to my previous job of leaning on the counter as I brought my attention once again to the time. How could it be only 11:50?

The waiting started. For the next hour, I drummed my fingers on the counter, hummed to myself –or Lucien if he was listening- and then my thoughts were brought to my father. My father. My overly critical father. I remember when he kicked me out for back talking over something SO stupid that I even forgot what it was about in the first place.

‘Males in general, just piss me off.’ I thought loudly, protruding over my storm of random synapses.

I began to meander towards the idea of my most recent ex boyfriend Scott. A tear began to roll down my cheek as I thought about how he –attempted- to serenade me with his saxophone while I was in my room on the second floor –stereotypical, I know-. How his deep brown eyes sparkled as he laughed whenever the usual uncoordinated me spilled something.

An alarm sounded. Thankfully, before I was too lost in somber Scott filled memories.

“Ah, yes. Quittin’ time!” I said out loud as I wiped a sole tear from my face.

I was overjoyed to rip the hideous apron from my body, almost forgetting the random, curious gifts out of the pocket. I gingerly took the three items out and transferred then to my hoodie pocket.

After undoing my ponytail, I “fluffed” my hair and waltzed out to my car. My 1973 blue pinto with a scratch down the left side and rust lining the doors and the hood.

‘I can’t WAIT to get a new car!’ I thought loudly.

I sighed, then took a hold of the somewhat shiny door handle –that likes to stick- and gave it a few hearty tugs. After numerous times, I had finally jimmied it open. I almost immediately started the car and began the journey home. Finding nothing on the radio but static and random political yammering, I spent my trip in silence. Except for thoughts of my cat, Blue and of course those seemingly random items in my pocket,

I turned off into the apartment complex I call home –ever since college, who hires theater majors anyways?- rounded the corner to my humble abode and marched right in.

As I kicked off my hightops, Blue almost immediately ran up to rub against my calves, purring as he circled.

My attention directed to the television that my ditsy unorganized roommate had left on. I found her asleep on the couch, bowl of chips in hand snoring to David Letterman.

After turning it off, I noiselessly walked into my bedroom and flopped on top of the covers. Looking at the projection of my clock on my ceiling, I got anxious. 1:15. As I layed there, I naturally began thinking of Scott. Specifically, why he had to leave me.

My father. Just because Scott was five years older than me, Dad thought he was going to take advantage of me or something…

‘I don’t care, I miss him!’ I screamed in my head.

Tears began to swell as I buried my face into my silk sheathed pillow.

‘It must be ‘cry over Scott day’’ I thought. As I brought my sleeve up to wipe my sopping face, I checked the time after my good cry. 1:30 on the dot! I dug deep into my pockets to read the blue note. I unfolded it hastily, opening the four folds, almost ripping it from excitement. I only found the word “help”

Help… Help?

I remember. All of it.

I was eight and skipping down the dandelion filled cracked sidewalk when I heard my name being called. It was my adult neighbor Mitch. His glasses reflected the sun as he spoke to me.

“Hello. I have something to show you, Elizabeth.”

Not knowing the inevitable danger, I agreed to come in.

In a back room of his slightly sloppy house there was a tea set, a toy box and a large stuffed bear. The walls were such a loud pink that they practically screamed –much like my apron-. I took a seat on a white small stool and the “fun” had begun. Mitch had delicately pretended to pour me a cup of tea, so I played along and took gentle sips.

“You know, Elizabeth, you’re very pretty.” He had said to me creepily as he stroked my arm.

I squirmed a bit, but his adult grip on my arm had tightened.

“What’s wrong, don’t you like me?” he asked before letting out a low creepy disgusting laugh.

“No.” I whined as I took one final look at him. His greasy black hair sticking to his forehead, his wide opened eyes eerily staring at me through rounded glasses.

He picked me up as I began to cry, and he held me tight in his arms.

“It’s ok,” he attempted to reassure me; “I won’t hurt you.”

I nodded, assuming he was telling the truth.

I felt his weight shift as he slowly walked over to the toy chest and placed me inside. Looking up at him, he gave me a disgusting smile and shut the lid. I heard a click from a lock. Trapped.

After crying to no avail, I sat there for a while. From the small amount of light coming through a crack in the top, I had found a marker. Accepting that no one could hear my screams, I began to write on the chest’s walls.

Help. Help. HELP!

It all came back to me. I remembered why I’ve been in so much pain. How certain men terrify me. How to be cautious. John helped me. Help… I now know the meaning of the word.


© Copyright 2017 Blaise Dennig. All rights reserved.

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