Tick of the Clock

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short story about a man being pursued by danger after committing to years of organized crime. He has come to the end of the road and is about to face this danger: the men he works for.

Submitted: February 26, 2016

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Submitted: February 26, 2016

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I sat there in that office with my 1911 loaded, a round chambered, resting in my right hand tilted on its side on top of my right knee where it sat below the wooden desk in front of me. There were certainly more important things for me to think about, but I sat there and admired the office for a moment. The comfortable black leather chair I sat in. The hard wood of the desk, no dust, with a shine. Nothing on top. No paperwork, no photographs, nothing. Its various compartments with gold plated handles. The modern look of the lamps, two in each corner of the wall where the door sat hinged in between. They had dome porcelain-like bulb covers. Simple but elegant. The ones, looking from a distance, you aren't exactly sure how to turn on. The walls were oil black. All that hung was a chrome encompassed clock teasing me with the time of my approaching deadline. One soft click after another. I wondered if it was off a second or two. Maybe even a minute or two. The floor was marble. It resembled glass at certain angles with the light. Waxed, surely. On my left, facing the door, the wall was embedded with a state-of-the-art stereo system. There was no television, no flat screen in the room, which felt unusual considering the rest of the office. I thought one would go nicely above the stereo. Other than that, there was nothing left in the room but a fake plant. Just one to the right of the desk. An Areca Palm. I always hated the idea of fake plants. They were always placed in inconvenient areas of the room just so you could constantly bump into them. Probably because no one ever gave a fuck about anything fake. Leaves and stems always tore off eventually, until it looked like it had gotten fucked by the bigger fake plant next to it, the one that looked equally as shitty and even more annoying. You get close to one and even before they get roughed up, they look pathetic. But hey, this office was just as fake as that plant. It was part of my cover-up story. I hadn't even stepped foot in here until tonight. So maybe for the first time in history I can say this fucking fake-ass plant really tied the damned room together.

 

I got up to get a closer look at the stereo system on the wall. A Bose. Nice. I turned it on. The interface lit up blue and bright. It had a rotating knob to navigate through the collection of music stored in its internal hard drive. I must have hit something prematurely because I just about sent a round through the floor, or my foot, after God Forbid's "Chains of Humanity" started playing at an incredible volume. Like a natural reflex, I smacked the interface. When that didn't do anything, I found the fucking pause button. Once I got my nuts back downstairs and out of my stomach, I resumed searching through the library of music. I thought maybe something classical like Beethoven would suit the evening well, but then to my surprise, I came across "Thank You" by Dido. Bingo. I figure when you are in your final moments, death knocking on your door, literally, with a stereo system as nice as this one in your presence, you might as well put on a tune to go out to. They already knew where I was, anyways. They always knew, all along. I wasn't hiding after all. Just waiting. Patient is all I could be.

 

After I was satisfied with the volume, I turned to my left looking out at the beautiful view that was allotted to me. The great big windows that made up the invisible wall behind the chair and desk presented a red and yellow sunset sky among a few soft clouds. The buildings off in the distance started to appear as black silhouettes. After each passing minute, the city below fell darker and darker. I watched as cars drove around like ants. I could barely see the people walking around. I watched as I thought about how the world would continue on after today. Even after I was gone, as if it were impossible, there would still be all these moments of time to occur. Events yet to unfold. Memorable birthday parties and weddings. All the holiday celebrations, repeating like a broken record, year after year. Retirements. Funerals. The new beginnings and the long awaited endings, all continuous in time. Minus me. Minus one man among billions of men. One speck of dust gone from a mountain of dust. No one would ever notice. A sad thought, but more of a reality of how big this place is. Only my immediate family would feel any remorse. Sadness that would stop only them in their lives long enough to call them statues after receiving the news. Everyone else would have a computer-like moment. A glitch. An unexpected error of time and space, the reason unknown to them. And then they'd resume life. I'd be the glitch. I'd miss work one day, tomorrow, and then Megan would have to come in early. And she would. "No problem" She'd say. I'd miss a phone call from the boys in Peru and they'd just grab another beer and turn up the party. My bank would call me for another credit card offer. They would definitely call again. They'd call a hundred and one times, even if they got no answer from me the first one-hundred times. In fact, they'd call if I was dead. My landlord would call when rent came past due. Eventually, he'd assume I vacated, move all my shit to the garbage or to sell, and find new tenants. Everyone would just fill in the gaps. Time and money. That's all anyone is willing to give and get. It's a fast-paced world out there and if you can't keep up, you're going to get burned. So you keep up. So you move fast. You have to. And in today's world, no one would blame you. Not me, not the next guy, not anyone who knows what's good for them. Anyone who knows where this world has gone knows they don't even have time to kiss their God damned kid in the morning before work and school anymore. But these mother fuckers have time to hunt me down. They're taking time out of their busy day to drop by and pay me a visit. And these fellas are most certainly the busy type. What the fuck am I thinking? I should be thankful and appreciative.

 

I guessed I had fallen victim to this ever fast paced world. I was too slow. And now I get burned. That could mean a few things and there could be several reasons why. Was I too slow? Or did I fall into a trap? Or maybe I did this all to myself when I made the conscious decision to take up work in a field like this. A field where everything you want is only a fingertip away, but at the same time, the risk of losing it all at any moment is even closer. I'll admit, it's a bit hard to think about why my life turned out the way it did. Death momentarily waiting for me. Trying to conclude where I fucked up was not really the last thing I wanted to sort out before dying. I'd probably only get halfway through the thought before a bullet would enter my skull leaving me dead without any promising resolutions for my situation anyway. Bright and happy memories seemed to be more of an appropriate thought for the occasion. But who's to say what anyone should think at a time like this. It takes good breathing exercises and mental clearing, like yoga. I wasn't doing any fucking yoga though. And I wasn't concerned with my breathing. But I was calm, somehow-hold on. Someone is knocking, banging rather, on the door as if I had failed to answer it the first twenty knocks. I hoped it was either my partner or the pizza man mistaking my room for someone else's. Kidding myself, I knew the floor I was on, all the floors above me, and the floor just below me have all been vacant and unused for some time. And the pizza man would surely have had an oven-fresh pie that I would have smelt before he even got to the door. Instead, I knew not much of a pizza man stood at the door. And judging by the brutal knocking, I had a gut feeling it wasn't my partner either.

 

A cold silence after the banging. Then, bullets ripped through the door turning it into bits of plywood flying across the room every which way. The noise was deafening. I saw maybe three men, two had sub machine guns and the other had a pistol. I immediately threw the desk forward onto its front side, table top facing the direction of the door now instead of the ceiling. I used it for a barricade, kneeling behind it with my head down. Only it didn't stop the bullets from hitting me. Almost simultaneously, I felt a bullet pierce through my right thigh, then my left shoulder, and then one skimmed my right bicep. I felt sheer pain. If I yelled, I couldn't hear myself. I managed to, blindly over the table, unload a full magazine. I didn't try to look to see if I had hit any of them. Then, as I went Winchester, I went for another full magazine to load into my 1911. As soon as my hand touched the fresh magazine at my side, my body was met with three more bullets. One hit me in the left side of the neck, the other two went into my left calf. I dropped the full magazine onto the floor. The 1911 stayed with the slide locked to the rear, barely still in my hand as it titled down, one finger still inside the trigger guard balancing the weight. Without any thought, my reaction was to roll back onto my ass. I pushed my legs out in front of me to move backwards toward the shattered glass where the windows used to be. I got right up to the edge and just sat there. I tried to get a breath in. Finally, the shooting had stopped. All the pain I was in, I wasn't able to think anymore. I was just reacting. Like a snake with its head cut off, still moving on nerve impulses. I sat their hunched over. Blood running from my mouth and the holes in my body. I was exhausted. I was tired. I didn't bother to look up. I picked a spot on the ground to focus on until it was all over.

NARRATOR:

The men all opened fire again, a long last stream of bullets, now more accurate than ever. Bullets ripped into his body all over, too many to count or keep track of. As he lay back, he gently rested the 1911 on the floor between his outstretched legs and then went into a free fall. Several hundred feet to the ground, he would have been comforted to know he'd be dead before he got there.

You seem to spend your entire life trying to solve your greatest problems. You are haunted by these problems, suffering, trying to feel fulfilled and happy. Even when you have it all, you are still left with that underlying situation that leaves you ultimately doomed. Even if no one else knows it, you do. Some might always fear they'll die before they can solve these problems. Or do you spend your life trying to conquer your troubles just to be consumed by them? Or is all of this the definition of life? Some might say the only way to rest in peace is when you finally die. I'd rather think it differently than something grim like that. I'd say everyone finds the answer to this sort of question, but everyone with different answers.


© Copyright 2020 Daniel Eva. All rights reserved.

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