This week’s prompts are at the bottom. Practice makes perfect. Let me know what you think.
It was pretty surreal and I was having a hard time getting my mind around it. The room seemed like a waiting room, like in a dentist’s office or something. There were four people, besides me there and, like me, they were all seated on uncomfortable chairs pushed up against the walls. The chairs had chrome legs and black leatherette seats. The backs matched the seats. There might have been six more of them in the room; unoccupied. A low table was positioned in front of the longest bank of chairs with a stack of Popular Mechanics at one end and Better Homes and Gardens at the other. There was a large ashtray in the centre. A cigarette butt had been crushed out and now lay cold, lending a distinctive aroma to the room.
The dominant feature on the wall across from me was a large sliding window. A woman I would put in her early thirties sat behind the window. She might have been a receptionist, but she seemed occupied with her manicure and cracking her gum. A large dog lay on a rag rug in front of the window. One of those breeds with wild wiry hair that stood up in uneven lengths all over his body.
I was rubbing my head and wondering where I was. How I had gotten here. The last thing I could remember was leaving the Poet to make my way back to the dorm. It was the final day of mid-terms and I had finished my Organic Chemistry exam. Feeling pretty good about the test I found my way over to The Poet and Patriot, not far off campus. I’d had a few drinks to celebrate the end of mid-terms. The last thing I could remember was crossing the Boulevard that ran along the east end of the Campus.
I spotted a Highlights Magazine on the table and thought about picking it up when the receptionist slid the window open on the far wall.
“Mr Collins,” she said and she was looking at me. My name isn’t Collins so I didn’t answer.
“Mr Collins!” she barked it this time, but no one replied. She pointed directly at me and then turned her hand over to crook her finger in the international signal for beckoning.
I pointed at my own chest and raised my eyebrows questioningly.
She nodded her head, so I stood and made my way to her window.
“Mr Collins,” she repeated, “He can see you now.”
“There must be some mistake,” I said, “my name’s not Collins. It’s Fields, Jim Fields. Where am I anyway?” I added as an afterthought.
“Nice try, sir.” she smiled at me like I was trying to get away with something. “We know that your name is Fredrick William Collins and that you are twenty-three years old. We know about what you did to Sheila Lampey in high school. We know what really happened to your grandmothers silver service; and we know about the lies you told in your admissions interview for school. Please don’t pretend that you don’t know where you are. This is Hell, Mr Collins and you earned your way in here. It won’t do you any good to deny it.”
“What?” I was incredulous, “My name is Jim Fields. I didn’t lie in my admissions interview. I don’t know anyone named Sheila Lampey. I don’t know why I would be in Hell and I don’t know why this dog would be here either.”
Smug, “We know you’re Fredrick William Collins because we saw your driver’s license. You died when you drunkenly stepped in front of a UPS truck that was northbound on Edgemere Boulevard. You’re here for the reasons I already told you and a host of others. The dog’s here because he was a bad dog, not that it’s any of your business, Mr Collins. And, you really shouldn’t keep ‘Him’ waiting any longer.”
I dug my hand into my front trouser pocket and pulled out the fake ID that I had been using to drink since I was eighteen years old. I had planned to keep using it until I turned twenty-one. I looked at the name printed there.
Fredrick William Collins
This week’s prompts are:
- outside, he raised his arm and hailed a cab
- A little white lie
- woken by the silence
Go ahead and dive in, set your imagination free!
Ready, Set, Go – you have 25 minutes, but if that is not possible, take as long as you need and, have fun!