Reginald

spotless floor

Joe worried he’d find the house on fire. Instead, it was immaculate.

“Fantastic for your first day alone,” he told Reginald.

“Pleasing being satisfy you,” the robot said.

“…We’ll work on your English.”

 

The Hotel Job

hotel at night

“Come on,” Zox whispered and pounded his forehead with his fist. Forty stories below, the city went about its celebrated nightlife unaware of the man pacing around the rooftop of the hotel.

“You can do it. You can. Yes, you can. Don’t say you can’t do it because you can.”

Zox double checked and triple checked that the repel line anchor was secure and then he fiddled with his harness straps. They were still caked with dried blood.

“You’re unlucky funk ends tonight,” he told himself. “No more botched jobs.” He didn’t have much of a choice. One more botched job and the Guild would chop him up and feed him to the pigs.

He dangled off the ledge and lowered himself until he was perpendicular with the building. A faint wailing froze him. A police cruiser sped through the street below. Only after it disappeared around a corner did he exhale.

“Thirty-seven floors down,” he said. “She’s just a woman. You will do it. You will do it because you’re the Goddamn best.”

Zox exhaled and plunged into the darkness. He sped past room after room, but in the darkness no one would see him. The clicker on his harness counted the floors until it reached thirty-seven and then it yanked him to a stop. His momentum thumped him against the window. He worried someone might investigate the noise, but no one came.

He quickly and silently cut through the glass and touched down on the hotel room’s plush carpet. He could hear the mark singing in the bathroom. Zox fixed the silencer onto his weapon. Sweat poured down its handle and onto the floor. He worried his exhales sounded like hurricane force winds.

“One shot. Send her to glory.”

He crept closer to the bathroom and saw her reflection in the mirror bending over the bathtub.

“I can. Nothing will stop me.”

The woman stopped singing. “All done,” she said.

“Is it story time now, mommy?” a little voice said.

photo by: Derrick Coetzee

Sixty Years Ago

warehouse

Paul put the truck into park and killed the engine. Aside from the rust taking over and the broken windows, the warehouse looked the same as it had sixty years ago.

The walls of the inside were marred with graffiti, most of which was illegible, and the floors were covered with rocks and a thick layer of dust. Paul put down his cooler and set up his lawn chair.

He sunk into the chair and pulled a sandwich from the cooler. He looked at his watch and set the timer. “Two more hours,” he said.

The time flew as the memories the warehouse forced upon him flooded his mind. The polished floors, the heaps of lab equipment – all of it gone. There were successes, but there were failures. Too many failures. Unforgivable failures.

Paul stood and folded his hands as the timer drew down to zero. There was a crackling at first and then a flash of light that filled the warehouse.

And then she appeared. A ghostly figure trapped in a metal apparatus. She still looked the same as she did sixty years ago. He didn’t, but she didn’t seem to mind.

“I’m sorry, Kelly,” he said. “I still haven’t figured out a way to get you out of the loop, but I haven’t given up.”

She smiled, but it was a smile she always gave over the years no matter what he had to tell her. It was the smile she gave him right before she got into the machine, right after he told her that everything would be fine.

“I love you. See you next time,” he said right before she disappeared.

photo by: mjtmail (tiggy)