Henry looked in the mirror and adjusted his tie, just as he did every morning.  He sighed. It just isn’t fair he thought to himself. He was in his 40s with brown hair and an average body.  He really couldn’t pick out one distinctive trait about himself.  

Henry went downstairs where his wife had made breakfast.  It felt as though he’d lived that moment thousands of times, as he walked into the kitchen and saw her standing there.  Her red hair was completely in place and her makeup was already done. She was wearing a light blue dress that fell slightly above her knee and in a few moments she would force herself to smile at him when she realized he was in the room.

He noticed the longing in her eyes as she stared out the window.  The poor woman had never been outside a day in her life. She stayed at home and woke up to find new groceries in the refrigerator each morning and made breakfast as was her role in their little world.  Once she heard his steps moving closer to her she turned from the window and gave him the smile he’d seen countless times.

Henry finished breakfast, and gave his wife a hug.  If only things were different maybe they could actually be in love.  

“What is your name,” he asked her.

“You know I was never given one,” she replied somberly.

“Then maybe we should pick one for you.” 

“That is not how things are done,” she moved to the sink and started washing the dishes.  “You of all people should know that they are the ones who make the rules. We simply play our role.”

“You look like a Hellen to me,” he said as he brushed her hair back.

“I feel more like a Kate,” she looked at him with an expression of mixed emotions.

“Well thank you for breakfast Kate.”  Henry kissed her and then backed away.  “Good bye.”

Henry got in his car and drove to work the way he usually did, but today the scenery caught his eye much more.  He glanced over at a local school, where children were playing a game he knew nothing about on the playground. He wondered what it would have been like to experience being a child, to have ever been something other than Henry, the accountant.

He got to the office, and paused as he approached the door.  What if he simply ran away? Could he change his story? No, that was ridiculous.  His future was already decided and he would step into that room as he always did.

He stepped through the door, greeting the receptionist as he always did.  She greeted him back, and with that the last workday of Henry’s life began.  In fact it was the last day of his life. Henry lived in the suburbs with his wife, and had a fairly comfortable routine there.  He was fairly well liked at the accounting firm, and quite good at his job. He was the kind of many who planned for the future, but his future was about to take a drastic turn.  By the end of the day Henry would be dead.

Within the next several hours his life would take an unexpected turn, except it wasn’t unexpected at all. Henry knew from the moment he woke up how his day would go, and yet he continued with his day anyway.  Mondain activities took up his time until lunch, at which time he went to the diner across the street. He wanted to try something new, but of course ordered the same turkey sandwich he always did. What a blande last meal, he thought to himself. 

He sat there and cried slightly.  Henry knew he was not what one would call a real man.  He was merely a character in a book, but he didn’t even get to be a main character.  He was just the man who got murdered in the beginning, setting off a chain of events for the protagonist of the story to begin his journey. 

It just didn’t seem fair.  Each time someone began to read the story Henry was once again forced to live out his tragic story.  The accountant who simply went across the street and was brutally murdered while eating a turkey sandwich.  With no known enemies his murder sparked suspicion and caused Detective Williams to pay extra attention to the case.

 Why did Detective Williams get all the glory in the story?  Henry was the one who was repeatedly murdered. With that thought he got up from the table.  He wasn’t going to sit through another turkey sandwich. He stood up, ready to run out of the restaurant.  He could go home to Kate and actually enjoy the day for once. However, as he attempted to run his feet wouldn’t move.  

It was then that he realized he really couldn’t do anything that wasn’t written in the book.  He tried harder. He attempted once again to run for the door, but nothing happened. Then he tried to shout for help, but nothing came out of his mouth.  He began to cry, but it seemed no one around him even noticed.

Henry gave up.  The book had won.  He sat down and somberly attempted to enjoy his turkey sandwich, knowing that in moments he would be murdered once again.  He focused instead on the sandwich. It was not a horrible sandwich. He’d simply had it so many times before. He wished it could be something else, something exciting.

With a mouth full of the turkey sandwich failing to satisfy him, Henry looked toward the door as the man who would murder him entered.  It had become so routine he barely feared it. With his last breaths he thought of Detective Williams and the exciting life he would get to live.  He wondered what it must be like to get to be the main character. Then with one gunshot his part in the story was reduced to that of a corpse on a restaurant floor.

*        *        *

Henry looked in the mirror and straightened his tie.  He sighed. Why did it always have to be a turkey sandwich?

March 13, 2020 22:27

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

Yes, you! Write. Format. Export for ebook and print. 100% free, always.