Unit 87 - Forgotten Family (WIP)
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Posted by DT_Weakmeak on: 06:27 PM, 12/ 8/17
    I walked down the rows of identical doors, searching for the unit marked eighty-seven. The pale, sweaty officer had told me that the unit would be on the right side of the aisle. Sure enough, there it was, smack-dab between eighty-eight and eighty-six. I stooped down and fished the tiny, silverish key from my pants pocket. I inspected the lock, a blue-banded  Master Lock, and found the keyhole. Taking a deep breath, I inserted the key, removed the lock, and slid open the door of unit number eighty-seven.

    When my wife, Jessica, and I first moved to Havre, we didn’t know anyone. We were just a couple of newlyweds with their entire lives ahead of them. The first thing we set out to do in our new environment was to become acquainted with as many people in the neighborhood as possible. Armed with enough cookies to kill someone without diabetes, we went door to door introducing ourselves.

    We got to the last house on the block, a white house with peeling paint and an unkempt lawn, having started on good terms with just about everyone in a three-block radius. Needless to say, we were pretty full of ourselves. Bouncing on the balls of my feet, I gave the door an obnoxious “shave-and-a-haircut” and waited for an answer. After about thirty seconds, I again rapped on the door, opting for a more run-of-the-mill three-knock set.

    “Hold your damn horses!” snapped a crackling voice.

    I recoiled, not looking at Jess for fear of being stabbed to death by the daggers she was shooting me. Luckily, the door’s opening saved me from death that day.

    “Whaddaya want?” barked the voice, which was attached to a wizened, hunched man.

    “Hey!” I started, just like the last thirty times, “I’m James and this is my wife, Jessica. We just–“

    “Moved in down the street?” he asked, rhetorically, “Yeah, I noticed.”

    “Well, we brought you cookies!” Jess piped, trying her hardest to salvage the situation.

    The old man scoffed. “I doubt I could chew ‘em.” He took a knobbly finger and pulled his lip to reveal empty gums.

    “Would you like to take them anyway?” she offered.

    “Nope,” he promptly answered.

    “Are you sure?” she insisted, “We worked pretty hard making sure we had enough for everyone.”

    “Nope,” he repeated, drawing out his N.

    I could see that the encounter was only going to devolve from there, so I gave her an unsubtle jab down the weed-infested walkway toward the sidewalk.

    “Well, better get to unpacking,” she said, plastering a fake smile on her face.

    “You do that,” he concluded.

    The man slammed the door, leaving me and Jess to make the walk home. I tried to convince her that the whole thing wasn’t my fault, but she would have none of it. She was adamant that I had somehow done something to ruin our last first impression. By the time we got to our front steps, I had decided to let her be angry and that I’d figure something out to make up.

    We spent the next few days unpacking, but my mind was rarely on the task at hand. More often than not, I was thinking about the plate of cookies sitting on the box marked “DISHES”  and what I was going to do about the man in the white house. Luckily, I found my answer at the back of the moving trailer in the form of two red gas cans, a weed-whacker, and a stubborn lawnmower.

    After a hasty explanation and farewell to Jess, I set to work lugging everything down the street to the old, white house. Nothing was especially heavy, save maybe the mower, but the load as a whole was quite cumbersome. I frequently stopped to adjust my grip on the gas cans to ensure that I wouldn’t unexpectedly douse myself with my choice of gasoline or forty-to-one gas-oil mixture.

    Eventually, I made it to my destination sweaty, but not having turned myself into a walking Molotov cocktail. Immediately, I set to work coaxing the mower into functioning, which devolved into me cursing and futilely flailing my arms.