The Trip

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A 22 year old file clerk leaves his day job to pursue something more meaningful in his life.

Still has not been proofread, but I am looking for critique. This is the first story I have ever written. Enjoy.

Submitted: May 14, 2013

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Submitted: May 14, 2013

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The Trip 

Kilgore Trout

It has been 13 days since I turned in my 2 weeks. I don’t think I have ever been this excited to go to work. For the last year, I had been a file clerk at a doctor’s office in Memphis. A year ago, I was the stereotypical college graduate, ready for his new life in the “real world”. I didn’t realize I would be making 10.50/hour to file medical charts. The job was more monotonous than I could have ever imagined. For each patient that comes in to the office, I have to look up their chart number on the computer database. Last name, first name. Date of birth. The computer would spit back a number, sending me into the rows of shelves in the back of the office. This office had over 4000 patients, which meant there were over 4000 charts. I would scour through these files until I found the number I was looking for. After retrieving the thin, manila file, I would hand it to the office secretary, who would pass it on to the doctor. Search the computer, find the chart, hand the chart to the secretary, repeat. That was my responsibility.

There was one benefit of this job: connections. Each day, representatives of large drug companies would come in to the office and talk to the doctors, advertising the new cholesterol medicine or whatever was new at the time. These drug reps were great businessmen, always looking to kiss ass to sell their product. Sometimes they would even strike up conversation with the 22 year old file clerk to pass time. Most were pretty boring humans, but I soon really hit it off with Claudio Romero, a Spanish-American who had somehow found his way into the Drug Rep business. Turns out, this guy Claudio was very interesting. As the conversation turned to music, we had very similar tastes. Pink Floyd, King Crimson, the Zombies. In the 60’s, his father had owned a record store in Chicago, and Claudio had received a large inheritance of records and memorabilia when the store closed down in the early 90’s. I became really intrigued as I was a novice record collector myself. He invited me to his apartment to see his collection, and I happily obliged. After clocking out, I headed over to his small apartment in mid-town Memphis.

I could hear the sound of door chains being unlocked. He opened the door and the living room walls were lined with shelves of records, thousands of them. This was not the modest collection Claudio had described to me. “This, is amazing”, I said.  Claudio put on L.A. Woman and we talked a bit more. The apartment wasn’t very big: one bedroom, one bathroom, a kitchen, and this living room. The living room smelled like weed, but at first I didn’t say anything. After Claudio flipped the record to side 2, I flat out asked him if he still smoked with his job. I had been drug tested for my new job the week before, and I hadn’t smoked in 2 months. Claudio turned out to be a big smoker, and offered to light up once I told him about my job situation and how my new job had already tested me. My new job was at an insurance firm. I still really wasn’t sure what I would be doing there. The only reason they hired me is because my uncle is friendly with the branch manager. I wasn’t too thrilled, but it paid well, so I couldn’t complain.

Claudio’s bud had gotten me really high. He put on Pink Floyd’s 1971 album Meddle and I was transported to what felt like a different planet. The combination of the music and the weed shot me off so far that I didn’t think I would ever return back to this apartment. Claudio and I talked more about my life and my job; I had told him about how I never really had any free time in my life. My parents would never let me go to any concerts or vacation anywhere far away. I could never go on any teen retreats or travel to any other countries. It was a shame. Claudio told me about his 6 months in India. He traveled alone to “find himself” or whatever bullshit everyone uses as an excuse to get away. In India, he learned the art of transcendental meditation and upon returning to the states mixed this meditation with recreational hallucinogens. I had tried LSD once before in my life and really wasn’t a big fan of it, but Claudio had me convinced. I couldn’t tell if I was speaking or if the weed was, but I was set on listening to everything Claudio had to say. He could tell I was a bit disappointed with my life right now, and he suggested I take a break from it all.

I had always thought about vacationing somewhere, but was the type of person to never really take a day off, let alone a long break. But Claudio had convinced me. I was going to take out my savings and rent a house for 6 months on a lake. Live off the land for a little and see where it takes me. I left Claudio’s and went back to my apartment to finally get some sleep. When I went to work the next day, I packed up my stuff, talked to my boss one last time and left the office, hopefully never to return. In the car, I called up my new boss at the insurance office and told him that I can’t take the job. I decided that the job wasn’t for me. I couldn’t control myself, but my car was directing me back to Claudio’s house. After knocking, Claudio let me in. I told him that I didn’t take the job and he congratulated me. I told him my plans for the next 6 months and that I was leaving tomorrow. He told me to wait before I left because he had a gift for me. He went back into his bedroom and shuffled around his drawers for a minute. He came back with a manila envelope stuffed pretty tightly. He told me not to open it until I reached my destination. He called it my “itinerary” for the next few months. I was very confused, but I couldn’t stop listening to his “wisdom.”

I drove back to my apartment and began to box up the few necessary possessions I needed for this trip. I called up Horsehead Lake, about 45 minutes from Memphis and told them I wanted to rent the "Rust Shack" tomorrow. They were shocked that someone was so prepared to buy such an old house, but I had always heard about that small house from my good friends who would always go for the weekend. Their aunt had owned it and would live there for a few months each year. She had to sell it though, because the Lake became popular again once the fishing business picked up at the lake.

The next morning, I was on my way to the lake, talking to the realtor when we finished the deal. I met him at the lake and signed all the necessary papers. For the next 6 months, the house was mine. I unpacked a few things and remembered the envelope Claudio had given me. Inside was an 8cm by 8cm sheet of blotters, a half ounce of grass, and a note. The note said “When you finish that bud, call me and I will come and visit. Its not the destination that matters, but the trip you take. –Claudio.” I placed a tab under my tongue, smoked a little grass to calm my stomach, and took one of the fishing poles to the rickety dock, casting the hook into the murky waters below.


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