The Unusual Day of Mr. Rift

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is the short story of an average man who is about to lead a very above-average life
(and also acquire a rather fine set of napkins).

Submitted: March 07, 2019

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Submitted: March 07, 2019

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A A A


This is the story of an average man who is about to lead a very above-average life (and also acquire a rather fine set of napkins).

 Thomas Evergarden was your average white-collar, middle-class man. He owned short brown hair, equally brown eyes, a brown suit, and some turquoise socks that he wore on more adventurous occasions to compliment the look. He ate breakfast in the morning, lunch around noon – a sandwich from that one nice deli down the block, and then occasionally ate breakfast again at night. No reason to let all those cereals go to waste; there’s no need for fancy meals when living alone. The day had started like any other average day for an average man. A well-poured bowl of cold cereal, a good teeth brushing, and then clothes on. In that order. He arrived at his office only three minutes later than usual and began his daily routine of phone tech support for his company’s voice-activated lamps (Shady Business Inc. did not seem a very fetching career path to most, but to Thomas, it was a rather fulfilling job indeed). To many people at work, he was merely “that one meek guy in customer services who always wears brown.” His friends, however, called him, “Tom.”

 “Tom!” Said a man from behind him – one with shaggy blonde hair, a scruffy attempt at a goatee, and a body-shape much like a pear, but one in which Mother Nature had committed a terrible mistake, resulting in the top of the fruit having a horrific, cancerous-looking tumor more-or-less resembling a head. While she recognized her error, it was also late on a Sunday evening, and the game was on. “No matter,” she thought. “It’s his problem now.”

 “Ah, Blumford…” Thomas said, taking off his telephone headset with the husk of a grin on his face. “What can I do for you?” Unbeknownst to Gerald Blumford, Thomas did not consider him a “friend” in the literal sense of the word, nor in the figurative sense either. However, Thomas did consider him to be the son of the Shady Business Inc. president. This is because he was, so Thomas often played along with the tumor-headed buffoon’s advancements.

 “I’m sure you’ve heard the talk of the office by now, eh?” Blumford casually leaned against the side of Thomas’s cubicle but quickly stood back up again as the flimsy material began to collapse beneath his mystifying girth. “The annual party at my place will be bigger than ever thanks to my bi-yearly bonus coming in six months early.” He patted his pocket upon the large bulge from his wallet. Or at least, this is what Thomas hoped was creating it. Blumford looked down at his phone and continued, “So, what will you be bringing? At the moment, I have you down as ‘napkins.’ Seems to be a lot of salad bringers again this year – ah well, more food for my horses if you know what I’m saying!” He laughed at his own joke a bit too energetically for it to be considered tasteful.

 “I dunno…” Thomas replied tiredly, with a marked effort to emphasize the “tiredness.” “It’s been a pretty crazy day for me already and I’m rather spent as it is.” Blumford’s laugh faded away and his face dropped. “Not that I don’t really want to come! Your parties are always…er…a bash.”

 “It’s ok, you don’t have to lie to your old friend Gerald.” He patted Thomas on the shoulder. “I know these drinking socials aren’t really your bag, but listen, this year I’ve gone out of my way to invite someone new. Maybe you know her? Her name is Lydia.”

 Perhaps Gerald wasn’t as annoying, brash, idiotic, obstructive, ugly, and pretentious as Thomas had initial thought.

 “Lydia, you say?” Thomas attempted to keep a straight face. “Can’t say I’ve heard of her.”

"Oh, please! You're talking to Gerald now! I know for certain you’ve seen her if not heard! Everyone’s caught you staring at her from across the office.” At this, Thomas could feel heat rising in his face. “My other mates reckon it’s a bit creepy, but I know love when I see it and who am I to judge another man’s heart? Pity she’s always wrapped up in her work. I suspect she’s the only person in the office unaware of it. But that’s engineers for you – not always too keen in regards to the human condition.”

 “Okay, you caught me.” Thomas’s blushing began to subside. “So she’ll be at your party? Tonight?”

 “Seven post meridiem on the dot!” Gerald smiled.

 “I…I suppose could come.” Thomas stroked his bare chin in what he assumed to be a thoughtful manner. “Wouldn’t want all those dirty hands to be without napkins, what with all your expensive collectibles nearby.”

 “I knew you’d come around!” Gerald smiled. Again. But this time there was a certain deviousness about it. “Now, let’s just say you owe me one, eh, Tom?” He punched Thomas roughly on the arm and sauntered off before Thomas could get a word in edgewise.

 Thomas knew that he’d been had. But, if Gerald’s words were true, it would be worth it. He peeked over the top of his cubicle towards the water cooler. Lydia was looking as good as ever today. Her strawberry blonde hair (cut at the shoulders – his weakness), thin-framed pink glasses, and slender frame were hard at work typing furiously at her computer. If only he were that keyboard.

 Shaking his head to clear the steam and rubbing his tender arm, he put his headset back on and pressed a button on the side.

 “Yes, thank you for holding. So sorry, but I’m going to have to transfer you to another department. Have a nice day.”

 

* * *

 

 “Fifteen minutes… should be just enough to get there… exactly late.” Thomas sighed regretfully and looked away from his watch as the cashier handed him his bag. The cloth napkins had put him back a decent amount, but he would spare no expense for Lydia. He hurriedly thanked the man, grabbed his contribution to the party, and strode out the door into the warm summer night. Going home to grab his turquoise socks had cost him an hour of riding back-and-forth on the subway, but he had to make sure that tonight he would be operating at full confidence. The city streets buzzed with the undying nightlife that he had come to be familiar with over the past nine years of living here. The twenty before that had been in a much more rural setting, but he knew that his future was always meant to be in the city, and lamps were the perfect way to begin embracing a life full of big buildings and bigger lights. He quickened his pace as the sound of thunder in the distance began to rumble over the skyline. Was it supposed to rain today? Checking the news was not a part of his average day. He made a mental note to consider adding it to his already cramped morning schedule.

 He quickened his pace (yet again) towards the block of high-rise apartments where the Blumfords resided, glancing at his watch as he went. Thomas was not an especially superstitious or paranoid fellow, but he did have a good head on his shoulders and a pretty logical way of thinking. He often stayed on the main roads at night and did little to find potentially more efficient routes. Safety is efficiency, as far as he was concerned. As the first few drops of rain began to fall from the sky and tap against his plastic grocery bag, he happened upon a narrow alleyway. This, he knew, would take him directly behind Gerald’s place, but he often neglected such paths due to the lack of lights, people, and general sanitation. However, tonight he had on his turquoise socks. No longer would he be that one meek guy in customer services who always wears brown.

 “Change starts with you.” He muttered to himself, and, taking a breath, he stepped off the sidewalk and into the alley. Tonight was the night that he would face his fears, including asking Lydia out. If all went well, his routine tomorrow morning might be… less-than-average. A shy grin wrapped around his face as he felt it redden.

 Thomas whistled his theme song to bolster his spirits as he nervously made his way down the musty passage. He did not, in fact, have a theme song. He was also bad at whistling. However, these things were of little importance to him as his confidence began to swell to match the tightness in his pants. Oh, Lydia – he would do anything to show her how to put those fingers to better –

 He stopped in his tracks. The rain started to come down harder and rattled against the bins crowding the sides of the path. Looking around, he noticed that there were napkins scattered among the puddles. His napkins. It was this, coupled with the sudden, searing pain in his left side, that told him something was off. It was his arm, which was alarmingly on the ground next to him, turning the puddles red. He could tell it was his arm right away because where there had been a perfectly good limb attached to his shoulder only moments before, there was now a bloodied stump – certainly no coincidence. This was decidedly not an average evening for Thomas.

 He began to yell but his head was promptly lopped off at the neck, which rather muffled the noise. Two cuts to kill…the assassin felt his face flush with embarrassment as his companion looked on with a smirk under his mask. It wasn’t until Thomas’s head, mouth half open, rolled on the ground and looked up blankly at the killer that the mistake was realized.

 “Say, ain’t this bloke supposed ta have a fresh cut on ‘is cheek?” The first assassin said, prodding the head with his sword.

 “Mmm…” The second assassin nodded in assurance.

 “Well I ain’t seeing no cut. Other than the ones I just made, yeah?”

 “Mmm…”

 “I reckon we got the wrong guy.”

 “Mmm….”

 “Where do ya think we went wrong?”

 “Mmm…” The second assassin finally swallowed his mint with a gulp. “Well, how should I know? You’re the one with the damn map on your phone!”

 “Just ta make sure, ‘s the amulet in ‘is pocket?” The second assassin rustled about in Thomas’s soaking, brown pants. “Just some change. And a business card. Shady Business Inc.”

 “Huh,” said the first assassin.

 “Huh.” The second one agreed.

 “I could use a new lamp, now that I think ‘bout it.” Said number one, as they disappeared into the rain. The plastic bag of the few remaining napkins blew away into the cloudy sky, gently illuminated by the lights of life in the city.

 

 Meanwhile, in the alleyway adjacent to the one now housing the slumped body of the late Mr. Evergarden, stood another man, who could have sworn he had just heard some sort of commotion nearby. It was probably just the rain, yeah that’s it. Rain often sounds like murder noises. He quickened his pace from what had already been rather swift before. This man, as it turns out, was very distinctly not having an average day. Finding that amulet on the ground had been the start of his troubles. First he got attacked by some insane bearded homeless man, leaving a cut on his face that would surely get infected, and soon after that he saw some strange men following him before he ducked into his office. To be frank – which he often was as this was his name – he just wanted to get to the crazy “annual party” that one smug guy at work always threw every month. Rather, he had wanted to go. Now, however, Frank was feeling a little bit absolutely terrified for his life. These dark alleys could play tricks on the mind, to be sure, but the day’s events had made him a bit more attuned to these sorts of feelings than he had been previously.

 The wet wind whistled past him and a more imaginative mind than his might have heard the hint of a theme song – quite befitting the main character of an adventure story. For a moment, he wondered if that attractive blonde woman – the one with the pink glasses – would be there. Nah, not worth getting caught up in more trouble, he thought, turning around to head home. Besides, everyone knew that one meek guy in customer services who always wears brown was pining for her.

 He turned the corner and glanced into the next alley as he passed. This marked the point at which his day went from not average to very unusual indeed. This was the point where he learned what the amulet did, how many assassins he could apparently defeat in twenty seconds, and that Lydia was now fair game. All much to his surprise. He would also come into the ownership of some of the finest napkins he had ever laid eyes on. Or at least, the finest napkins he had ever laid eyes on in a puddle. No point in those going to waste, despite them being a tad damp.

 

 You may be wondering why we followed Thomas around all day. Well, I always find the macabre to be the most attention grabbing. And besides, I never claimed to be Thomas’s friend. He was merely an average man having an average day who simply happened to be near our protagonist for most of it. Anyhow, this is the story of an average man about to lead a very above-average life.

 

 And his name is Franklin Rift.


© Copyright 2019 Tetrue. All rights reserved.

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