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The cool autumn wind flirted with James’ hair as he walked towards the post office. He only needed to drop off a quick package but he soon realized that wouldn’t be an option as he drew nearer. 

The line for the post office extended like the tail of a snake and stretched far beyond the actual entrance. James sighed. He had already walked all the way over here, but did he really want to wait? His eyes flitted back and forth between the line and the path he had just come from. Ah to hell with it, he decided and became an additional scale to the snake’s tail. 

Advertisements, Groupon deals, Message from the boss...it was ridiculous how overrun James’ inbox was with advertisements. You’d think companies could give it a break. 

After emails, James moved to reducing his text notifications. It was tedious and partly why his notifications were never clear in the first place, but it helped pass the time until he got to the front of the line. 

“Hello Sir, what do you need help with today?” 

James slid the package over with an easy grin. 

“Just dropping off a package.” 

He rattled off some more details on the shipment as the post office worker printed out a label and receipt. 

They exchanged pleasantries once more and then James left. 

Glancing down at his watch, James cursed under his breath. He had spent far too much time at the post office. It was well past four and he needed to type up the company stats before five. 

So, James decided to take a shortcut home. 

The route dipped into some back alley ways and small little streets but James didn’t mind. The ambience coupled with James’ quick pace made him feel as if he was the titular character in a noir film. A noir film would be a good movie to celebrate finishing his stats report though, James mused. It was one of his favorites that he’d watch with his mom when she still lived in the city. 

But the skip of a small pebble caused a skip in James’ heartbeat as his musings were cut short.

He wasn’t alone. 

Trying to act cooly, James’ quickened his pace to get out of the alleyway street and into a main street area. He was so close, he could see the rushing businesswomen and speeding cars on the main road. Just ten more long strides and he’d make it…

Rough hands grabbed his biceps and harshly pulled him backwards. They used such force that James couldn’t even move to fight back before he was handcuffed. He twisted his neck around to see two burly men in grey suits. 

“Let me go!” James demanded. He attempted his best to sound fierce, but it was difficult when he was in his weak handcuffed position. 

“Hush. You’re going to come with us.” The men said gruffly in unison. “You know what you did.” 

But James had no idea. 

And in his brief stunned shock, one of the men grabbed James as the other pushed a button and all three went tumbling downwards as the pavement underneath them opened up. 

The group slid down a series of chutes and slides before landing in the middle of a 

bustling underground floor. The best way James could describe it would be as some sort of tech hub. 

Large screens filled with blueprints decorated the area. People in work and business ensemble marched around giving orders and taking notes on hand held tablets. But the most peculiar thing was that his face was pasted on the largest and most central screen in the middle of the entire hub. 

Gold-flecked eyes stared back at his own.

And while he was staring, he felt it. 

The man that was currently holding him had let his grip slacken just a bit, and James took advantage. 

He squatted down low to the floor in one quick motion and then stood up slightly to donkey kick his leg back. It worked and the man was caught off guard enough to let go of James. James then ran to the floor to try to find an exit but by then blaring alarms had started sounding. Panic and chaos ensued as James searched wildly for an exit. 

But his thoughts were thwarted as the workers on the floor began to form a circle and close in on him. 

“Just let me leave! I don’t know what you people want but I’m sure this is all a misunderstanding!” 

James tried to ease the animosity of the ever-increasing crowd by flashing a charming grin.

But one of the people closest to him only frowned. “You know what you did! You upset the boss! The boss is unhappy because of you!” The worker seethed and a constricting feeling settled around James. 

“What did I do? I’m sure this is just all one big mistake. Now okay maybe sometimes I ate food off the floor or drove above the speed limit or accidentally killed some ants but I’m sure we can all work this out together in a-” James turned his head around to look at everyone, “-in a preferably peaceful manner.” James took one more attempt at a suave demeanor to try to assuage the crowd.  

But the worker that spoke to James earlier only shook their head. “You’ve done everything wrong, James. Maybe the boss can tell you them self.” 

And with that the workers parted to let the two burly men from earlier make their way through the crowd towards James. Like deja vu, the men grabbed James roughly and started to lead him across the floor and to an obscure door off the side of the hub. 

The men knocked on the door simultaneously and after a breath, the door flung open and a dainty female voice said, “Only one person in, please.” 

The two men shoved James in so hard inwards that he stumbled before they promptly shut the door. 

“Look, I don’t know who you are, but I’m sure we can mutually resolve this. Please just let me go, I-” 

James was cut off as the chair spun around to reveal the boss.

“MOM??!” 

The grey-haired woman in the chair laughed. 

“Oh dear it’s been so long hasn’t it?” 

“WHAT THE HELL MOM?” 

James’ mom only cocked one perfectly tweezed eyebrow teasingly. 

“You shouldn’t swear, dear.”

James took a deep breath before continuing.

“Well, it’s not every day that two men KIDNAP you and then you find some underground crime gang and then you find out that your own mother is behind all of this crazy shit.”

James’ mom only quirked a corner of her lips. 

“Dear, again with the swearing, it’s such an awful habit. Especially when you’re already thirty, I mean your father was like that...”

“Don’t avoid the subject, Mother.”

James’ mom sighed theatrically before staring dead on at him.

“Well, you know what you did.”

James exasperatedly ran his hand through his hair. 

What did I possibly do?” 

James’ mom put on a dramatic pout before she spoke again. 

“You forgot to send me a card on Mother’s Day yesterday.”

James wanted to stab his eyes out. 

So this was what it was all about?

His mother was truly ridiculous.

“Mom, you have, what looks like, the best equipped, not to mention, high tech team to stalk me, and yet, you still send two men to kidnap me when I had JUST LEFT THE POST OFFICE TO DELIVER YOUR GIFT.”

For once, James’ mom had the decency to look bashful. 

“Oh.”

“Oh?? I just got kidnapped, handcuffed, and had to run for my goddamn LIFE because you hadn’t reacted like a normal person and just texted me first?” 

Bloated silence sat in the empty space between the two of them. 

The roles were reversed as James was now the peeved one. 

After more seconds slithered by, James’ mom tapped a few manicured fingers on her desk before opening her mouth to speak.

But an abrupt knock on the door interrupted her.  

“Yes?” James’ mom called out.

The person at the door paused a second before responding. 

“There’s a delivery for you, Ma’am.”

July 27, 2020 00:46

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2 comments

Masha Kurbatova
21:05 Aug 05, 2020

i love the descriptions around him going to the post office, felt very realistic. love the plot twist and how you built up to it!

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Jessalin Lee
20:13 Aug 07, 2020

Thanks! I'm still working on making things feel realistic whilst not dragging...but anyway followed you and can't wait to read some of your stories!

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