A Dream Almost Come True

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
On the edge of insanity, beaten down by the world and pushed toward a precarious action....even if only in your dreams...maybe.

Submitted: June 30, 2008

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Submitted: June 30, 2008

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With its folding stock and the streamlined design of its barrel, the Heckler and Koch MP5 sub-machinegun fits nicely into the recessed compartment of the specially designed briefcase.
Mark Kowalski can feel the weight of the briefcase, a cold, dead, desperate and insistent weight, tugging on his right arm as he carries the briefcase into work in the morning.
He places the steel briefcase on the ground next to the small metal folding table that has the ancient computer on top of it, and he pulls out a large ring of keys from his pocket.
“Shit,” he mutters under his breath as he yawns and fingers the key ring like he’s flipping through index cards on a Rolodex. Another day as the head shipping and receiving clerk for New Millennium Department Stores has begun.
Mark takes a key, a small short key, and walks over to the receiving doors. He places the key inside the keyhole of the Master-lock, turns it and then pulls on a chain, hand over hand, to hoist open the door leading out onto the loading dock.
Bright sunlight floods the concrete floor of the warehouse once the door is open. Mark yawns again, stretches his arms like a man just waking up from a long night’s sleep, and walks out onto the concrete ledge of the loading dock.
He takes his cell phone out of his pocket and looks at the time—8:45. It’ll be at least another hour before any of the truckers get there.
It’s supposed to be a big day today. Over four-thousand three-hundred pieces, on a dozen pallets, the store’s entire Fall fashion line, are set to arrive sometime today. Mark is unconcerned. He doesn’t expect the day to get that far.
Outside, standing on the loading dock, Mark lights up a cigarette. He takes a long pull and stands in the sunlight thinking about nothing in particular. He lets his thoughts drift along with the clouds of smoke he exhales from his mouth. He rubs his eyes with his hand. First, he rubs his right eye and then he rubs the left eye. He does the rubbing with his right hand while he holds his cigarette in his left.
Mark looks down, and he watches his cigarette burn slowly. He watches it burning itself down, burning itself out, before he lifts it back up to his lips and inhales again.
“I should be hungover,” he says aloud to the sun as he looks up, squinting at the sky.
He thinks about how many beers he had last night and comes up with the tentative number of eight. Eight should be enough. It should have been enough to give him a hangover this morning, but it wasn’t. And if eight beers wasn’t enough to give him a hangover this morning, than that means that eight beers hadn’t been enough to get him really buzzed last night.
“It doesn’t work anymore,” Mark says aloud as he forcefully flicks his cigarette butt from between his thumb and middle finger and out onto the asphalt. Then he turns around and walks inside the warehouse.
Mark sighs. Oh well, it’s all for the better that it doesn’t work anymore, Mark figures, because he assumes that after today he won’t have to worry about it working at all ever again.
As Mark is standing on the concrete floor, looking at the dusty ancient computer that’s perched atop the folding metal table, he hears a voice.
“Hey, what’s this?” The voice says.
The voice is Isaiah, the eighteen year old black kid that Mark’s training for New Millennium Department Stores. He’s fresh out of high school having graduated just last month. Isaiah’s a good kid even if he is, as Mark suspects, a little slow. A high school diploma isn’t worth what it used to be.
“Hey Mark, what’s this?” Isaiah asks again as he grabs onto the briefcase that’s sitting next to the folding metal table.
“Oh no, no man,” Mark says as he rushes over to the briefcase where Isaiah is standing. “That’s nothing. Just something I brought with me for work.”
Mark snatches the heavy briefcase out of Isaiah’s long fingers. Man, this kid is tall, Mark thinks as he’s standing next to him. Mark always thinks that.
“What’s in that? Like a laptop or something?” Isaiah asks.
“Yeah, yeah,” Mark says, “you know, to help me with the paperwork, like invoices and stuff.”
“It’s fuckin’ heavy.”
“Yeah, it is. Cost’s a lot,” Mark says as he places the briefcase back down on the floor. This time he stows it away, far back under the table, where he hopes that neither Isaiah, nor anyone else for that matter, will bother to kneel down and get it.
“So I heard we supposed to get a lot of pieces in today, or something,” Isaiah says with an incredulous look already beginning to creep across his face.
“Yeah, forty-three hundred,” Mark says.
Isaiah’s eyes grow wide with disbelief. “That’s like five-thousand pieces!” he shouts. His loud voice echoes and reverberates off the cinderblock walls of the warehouse.
Isaiah walks around and outside onto the loading dock. Then he walks back inside, shaking his head in disbelief over the number of pieces that he and Mark are going to have to unload, while he paces around. Mark pities him a little for his lack of knowledge about what’s going to happen.
A part of Mark wishes that he could let Isaiah stick around to see what he’s about to do, but Mark knows that Isaiah is a good kid, and that he shouldn’t be involved at all in what’s about to happen. 
“Hey, Isaiah,” Mark says.
Isaiah stops pacing and looks at Mark.
“Isaiah, why don’t you go to Dunkin Donuts and get me a cup of coffee,” he says as he hands the kid a ten dollar bill.
Isaiah takes the bill in his hand, but for a second, he stands completely still and looks down at his feet. Isaiah doesn’t have a car and he’s wondering how his boss expects him to get out of the parking lot, down and across the highway, to the Dunkin Donuts and back again, without having a car to drive. Mark knows that Isaiah doesn’t have a car.
“Don’t worry,” he says as he pulls his key-ring back out of his pocket, “you can take my car.”
Isaiah looks up at his boss and this time he’s in an even greater state of disbelief than he was before about the four-thousand three-hundred pieces of merchandise that are supposed to arrive today.
“Yeah, don’t worry,” Mark says with a smile, “if the thing stalls out on you, just pop it into neutral and then turn the key in the ignition over and over until it starts again.”
Isaiah looks up at his boss. “Alright, cream and no sugar, right?”
“Yeah that’s right.”
Isaiah hops down off the loading dock with a spring in his step and Mark’s car keys in his hand.
As he leaves, Mark can’t help but chuckle to himself as he thinks—that kid won’t get far in that shit-kicker of an old Ford even if wants to!
But Isaiah can have the damned old car for all that Mark cares at this point. He’s a good kid. He deserves a car, and Mark is a little sorry that a battered, fifteen year old Ford subcompact is the best he can give to Isaiah as a final parting gift.
At least the kid is gone.
Mark walks over to the metal table and lets out a long sigh. He bends over, picks up the briefcase he’s stashed under the table, and waits.
It doesn’t take long, only a minute or two after Isaiah leaves, for Mark to hear the sound that he’s waiting for.
An obnoxious, insistent clap…clap…clap—the sound of wooden soled dress shoes striding across the concrete floor of the warehouse is the sound that Mark’s waiting for. The sound approaches closer.
“Hey Kowalski!” Mark hears the voice of his boss, Ted, before he even sees his corpulent frame come around the corner.
Mark lights a cigarette and leans back against the edge of the metal table.
“Kowalski, how many times do I gotta tell you? You can only smoke outside!” Ted bellows as his chins flap in the breeze that’s created by the sound of his own voice.
“Sorry windbag,” Mark whispers as he takes a long drag on his Marlboro Medium.
“What’d you say to me Kowalski?” His boss demands to know. Now, Ted is standing right in front of Mark, and he’s blotting out the sun with the fat shadow that he casts.
There are sweat stains on Ted’s dress shirt around his armpits and his chin’s look as if they’re about to burst and ooze out putrid puss as they strain against his collar.
“I said sorry boss,” Mark says.
“It’s company policy. No smoking inside!”
Mark takes another drag on his cigarette. Ted and Mark stand looking at one another. Ted wheezes like an asthmatic even when he’s standing still or sitting down. He drools from the corners of his mouth when he gets angry.
“Well, you gonna put that fucking thing out or what, Kowalski?” Little droplets of saliva are dripping from the corners of Ted’s mouth.
“Yeah, sorry,” Mark says as he bends down to rub out his cigarette on the concrete floor. “Don’t want to waste it, you know? These things are expensive.”
“That’s your problem, not mine,” Ted says as he paces around and wheezes. “We don’t have any time for your shit today Kowalski.”
Mark continues to lean against the edge of the metal table while he stares into the distance and holds the briefcase in his hand.
“You know how many pieces you guys got coming in today?” Ted asks as he looks up and down the loading dock like a drill sergeant inspecting the barracks.
“We’ve got forty-three hundred pieces coming in today,” Mark says.
“No, not forty-three hundred pieces,” Ted says as he stops pacing and turns around to face Mark.
“Yeah Ted,” Mark says as he holds up a crumpled piece of paper. “I’ve got the shipping manifest right here, and it says forty-three hundred pieces are coming in.”
Ted lets out a deep sigh, shakes his head, and rubs his sweaty forehead with the palm of his hand. “Kowalski, you dumb Pollock,” he says, “we don’t have forty-three HUNDRED pieces coming in, we’ve got four THOUSAND three HUNDRED pieces coming in!” Rivers of drool flow from Ted’s mouth.
“Oh,” Mark says as he attempts to ignore the situation and not say anymore. Unconsciously, Mark reaches into his pocket and pulls out a cigarette. He brings it up to his lips.
“Kowalski! What did I just say?” Ted yells.
“You said we’ve got four-thousand three-hundred pieces coming in today.”
“No!” In his rage, Ted is sweating like a prizefight who’s just gone 12 hard rounds in the ring. “I said WE DON’T HAVE TIME FOR YOUR SHIT TODAY!”
“Oh, you meant before you said what you said before, I guess,” Mark says.
“We don’t have time for your shit today Kowalski! And put out that cigarette! It’s filthy and disgusting!” Ted yells as he uses the back of hand to wipe the slobber off of his slimy lips.
“Sorry, I know. It’s a bad habit,” Mark says as he bends down again to rub his cigarette out on the concrete floor.
“You got a lot of work to do today Kowalski! That means you don’t have any time for your smoking, or your coffee breaks, or those damned books you’re always reading. You understand?” Ted points a chubby finger at Mark’s face.
“Yeah,” Mark mutters, “we’ve got four-thousand three-hundred pieces coming in.”
“That’s right!” Ted declares triumphantly. “Four-thousand and three-hundred pieces! That means there’s no time for that faggot poetry bullshit you got in that briefcase.”
“I don’t have any poetry in this briefcase,” Mark says defensively.
“Well, there’s no time for your books or whatever today, Kowalski.”
“Honest,” Mark says with a smile, “there are no books in this briefcase. Look Ted, I’ll show you.”
All in one motion, Mark turns, places the heavy briefcase on top of the folding metal table, unfastens the two clasps that hold the briefcase shut, pulls out the Heckler and Koch MP5 sub-machinegun, presses the stock of the gun against his shoulder, wraps his index finger around the trigger, turns back around to face Ted and…
 
And the sound of Mark Kowalski’s cell phone alarm starts out soft and then it grows louder until it becomes a cacophony that keeps rolling around inside Mark’s brain as he wakes up.
Mark sits up straight in his bed, sweating, and breathing heavily. He tries to regain his breath and slow his rapidly beating heart. He’s had the dream again, but as with all dreams in Mark’s life, he woke up before the climax.
“Damn, I had that dream again,” Mark says aloud as he rubs his eyes. “A machinegun in a briefcase! Fucking crazy!” Mark laughs to himself at the thought of a machinegun in a briefcase as he lays back down in bed for a minute.
Ten minutes later, Mark gets back up, throws his legs over the side of his bed and sits on the edge. He lights a cigarette and thinks about nothing in particular. Mark just lets his thoughts drift along, carried away by the clouds of smoke that he exhales. His mouth feels dry. He tries to remember how many beers he had at the bar the night before, and he comes up with the tentative number of eight.
He should have a hangover, but he doesn’t, not really, anyway. Even eight isn’t enough anymore.
“It doesn’t work anymore,” Mark mutters to himself as he bends down to rummage through the pile of dirty clothes that are on his bedroom floor. He’s trying to find his work clothes.
Mark finds the clothes, and he checks his pants to make sure that his wallet is still in the pocket. It would suck to have left it on top of the bar by mistake last night.
He finds his wallet and opens it to see what’s left in there. Inside he finds two soggy one dollar bills and an ATM receipt that tells him he withdrew sixty dollars from his checking account and 11:38 last night.
Mark sighs and puts his cigarette out in an empty Budweiser bottle that’s been resting on top of his dresser for several days now.
As he gets dressed in the early morning light, Mark catches a glimpse of the specially designed briefcase that’s resting in a corner of his bedroom behind a stack of paperback books.
 


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