Bryon wiped the sleep out of his eyes and looked around the room that he had no idea how he got there. He yawned and rubbed his hands together. Before he could gather his thoughts someone came into the room he didn’t recognize. A tall thin man with wavy black hair accented with gray and horn-rimmed glasses was standing in front of him. Byron dangled his legs over the floor as he sat up on the bed. His eyes met the strange man’s eyes and before he could say a word the man spoke.
“How are you feeling?” The man asked.
Bryon paused and scooted to the end of the bed until his feet touched the blue carpeted rug. He pushed back the matching comforter from his back and he answered.
“I’m good. I think. But, where am I?” Bryon asked.
“Ahh you don’t remember anything?” The man asked.
Bryon did not. He didn’t even remember how he was dressed in clothes that weren’t his. He remembered getting dressed the night before and he had on gray slacks, a blue dress shirt and a matching blue tie. He woke up in a gray flannel suit with gold socks and no shoes. Where were his clothes and how did he get into this room? He hoped the man standing in front of him had the answers.
“Well, Tin man. It was quite the party you threw last night. Do you remember that?” The man asked.
“No, and who is the Tin man? My name is Bryon.” Bryon said.
“Well, last night you sent the enforcer out to invite us to the party. You brought a new property on the docks and wanted to celebrate. I don’t understand why you don’t remember. “ The man said.
“I think you have me mixed up with someone else. I am not the Tin man and nor did I buy any property or throw any party. I remember going to work and walking home and waking up here and now you are calling me the Tin man. I feel like I am in a bad episode of the Twilight Zone.” Bryon said.
“And whose clothes are these? Where are my clothes?” Byron continued.
“Okay Tin man, I guess you are having one of your “episodes” again. But, nonetheless we have business to take care of. Put your shoes on, splash some water on your face and let’s go. We have a meeting to go to on the docks at your office in an hour.” The man said.
“I am not the Tin man. Why do you keep calling me that? My name is Bryon.” Bryon insisted.
“I know what your name is and if you aren’t the Tin man why are you wearing his clothes? Why are you in his house? In his bed? I was instructed to come and get the Tin man and they said that you were here in bed and had passed out in a gray flannel suit and when I came here there you were, the Tin man. “
“Who are you?” Bryon asked.
“My name is not important but you can call me Duke. Are you going to get ready or what? I have to get you to the meeting on time. That’s my job.” Duke said.
“The only place I am going is home. I don’t know who this Tin man is and why I am dressed in his clothes or in his house but I am not him once and for all. My name is Bryon Right and I am an accountant who works at Right, Randers and Williams firm on 5th Avenue. So, if you don’t mind please get out of my way so I can go home.” Bryon said.
“The only place you are going is to the meeting. I have my orders. Now, you can make this easy or we can do it the hard way.” Duke said as he grabbed Byron’s shoulder and pulled him up from the bed.
As soon as they went outside Bryon shielded his eyes from the bright sun and Duke handed him a pair of sunglasses. Bryon didn’t hesitate to put them on. Duke signaled for a car and a long black limo pulled up to the curb in front of the men. Bryon knew he could not get in that car. He did the only thing he could do. He turned to the left and ran as fast as he could.
He didn’t know how he out ran Duke who although looked like the typical tough guy but seemed very agile and fast but he did. What seemed like an eternity he was home. He ran up the three steps to his house, got the spare key from under the rubber tree plant in the garden and quickly opened the front door. He took a deep breath and closed and locked the door before he plopped down on the nearby brown leather couch.
“Who is the Tin man and why did they think that was me?” He said to his cat, Winnie, who had jumped on his lap.
Byron patted Winnie on the head before the black and white cat jumped down to the floor. Bryon went into his bedroom and took off the strangers clothes he had managed to dress in last night. He had no memory of doing that. He threw them on the floor and went to take a long hot shower.
Bryon’s phone vibrated on the bed scaring Winnie. He looked at the phone. He noticed that it was not his phone. He must have picked up the wrong phone when he left the Tin Man’s house by mistake. This was the Tin Man’s phone. The caller ID said “Duke Calling.” He didn’t bother to answer or decline the call. He powered the phone off.
The next few days were normal. Bryon went to work, came home, ate dinner, watched the news at 7 pm and his favorite reality show at 8 pm. He snacked on garlic popcorn and soda before he went to bed. On day four something changed.
“Hey Tin Man.” A voice said over Bryon’s shoulder.
Bryon was walking to work and engrossed in his play list on his phone and almost didn’t hear the words coming out of the stranger’s mouth. He turned slowly. Bryon was face to face again with Duke.
“I told you that I am not the Tin Man.” Bryon said.
“I know what you said.” Duke answered, “But, that doesn’t change anything. You got away from me once and almost cost me my life and my job but this time you aren’t going anywhere except in this car with me, Tin Man. I would advise you to cooperate this time because you may not get a second chance.” Duke said as he pushed Bryon into the awaiting car running at the curb.
Bryon didn’t know where they were going or who this Tin Man was but he knew that he was in trouble. The ride was short. Bryon looked out of the window to a familiar site. They were on the docks. Pier 37 to be exact. Duke got out of the car first and opened the door for Bryon. Bryon stepped out of the car and looked around. He had been on this dock a few times with meetings with clients and he knew his way around. Duke led him into a back office which said “Private.”
Inside the office was a desk and chair, both brown and on top of the desk was a small vase with daisies. Near the vase was a pencil holder with about ten number two sharpened number two pencils. On the other side of the desk was a small folding chair and Duke sat there and motioned for Bryon to sit behind the desk. Bryon followed instructions. He sat.
A few minutes later the door opened again. Bryon could not believe his eyes and neither could Duke. They both did a double take. A man wearing a gray flannel suit identical to the one Bryon woke up in that fateful morning was coming towards them. The man looked directly at Duke and then turned his glance to Bryon. Bryon thought he was looking in a mirror. The man looked exactly like him. Bryon knew he was staring at the Tin Man who ran the city's notorious mob.
The next thing Bryon remembered was waking up in his own bed and dressed in his own clothes with Winnie purring beside him.
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Neat story! Duke's persistence was unsettling. I wonder if it made Byron question his own sanity. Certainly I was. I liked the twist at the end, and I didn't see it coming. I had initially assumed Byron had blacked out on a bender, but that didn't really work since he had a good idea of his own identity. It's just nobody believed him. There are a couple lines that knocked me out of the story though. Maybe it could have used an extra read through. "You brought a new property on the docks and wanted to celebrate" Seems like it should be "...
I like your story. The ending is great.
Thank you. I am glad you enjoyed it.