Adventure Fiction Funny

Tired, Tommy sat in his living room, finally home after the daily grind. Spending it either in his cubicle, or floating around addressing computer related issues, he is an IT guy, and all the glamour that comes with it.

As he sorted through his mail, he found a postcard with a picture of his old school mixed in with the envelopes.

Studying it, he felt many memories come flooding back. He and his friends hanging out in the parking lot, playing baseball, and then the days he would spend talking with Lorelei in the library.

Lorelei. Wow, he hadn't thought about her in years! Thinking back, he could recall her brown eyes, that never failed to draw him in, and keep him captivated. Everyday, he had really just sat there, hanging on to her every word. Hours would seem like minutes.

It had not been just her beauty; accentuated by dark hair and dark brown eyes. No, it would also be about her beautiful personality that remained humble despite being just about the smartest person he had ever met. Even to date.

Then, in their junior year, she and her family had moved. They tried to stay in touch, of course, but at that age, anything, or anyone that didn't follow you into tomorrow would simply be left in yesterday.

Ending his trip down memory lane, Tommy read the card. Apparently, the library had announced a “Day of Forgiveness” for all overdue library books. On Saturday, they would open the library from 8 am until 8 pm, offering to take all books back with no fees applied!

Book? What book?

Looking at the card again, he could see his name; Thomas Sanchez, and then the name of the book. Seeing the title brought a smile, it had been years since he had read that book. When he did read it, he laughed often.

Unable to find it in his apartment, he knew that it had to be in his storage unit, miles away. He decided to wait and go there after work the next day.

Checking the freezer, to see what Monica, his current girlfriend, had prepped for him, he opted for one particularly interesting looking container. Taking it out and opening it, he thought, chicken it is as he popped it in the microwave.

As he ate, he considered driving to Atlanta, see the old school and neighborhood. Could be a nice weekend getaway, return the book and then spend the rest of the weekend showing Monica his Atlanta. With every bite, he added to his plans. By meal's end, it still sounded like a great idea.

Calling Monica afterward, she sounded excited about the trip as well. This could be just the thing to get me through these 30th birthday blues, he thought. He had been dreading his upcoming birthday for a long time.

Countdown to 30: 99:00:00 hours.

At lunch the next day, he told his coworkers about the postcard, and the upcoming trip. Kevin, a younger guy from sales jumped into the conversation.

“So looking for some company on this road trip, or are you planning on taking Monica?” he asked. Other ears nearby perked up.

“Road trip? Who's talking road trip?” Ken asked. Ken, Tommy's supervisor in the IT department had a true flair for asserting himself into every situation.

“Oh, I'm going to Atlanta, with Monica, actually.” Tommy shared. Kevin looked at Jeff, another guy from sales. Tommy had always felt like Kevin and Jeff were really cool. He appreciated their extroverted ways, and how they made it look so easy.

Not once had he ever felt like they might be mocking him, or treating him any differently than anyone else.

Until today.

Their look went from grin to sad quickly.

“What?” Tommy asked them, wondering what that might be all about.

Kevin looked at Jeff, both of them obviously debating on whether or not to share something.

“Dude.” Kevin finally said. “Listen, we weren't gonna say anything in case we were wrong, but we saw Monica with her ex last night around seven.” He confessed, not having a clue what to say next.

Tommy laughed.

“Ha! Man, you almost got me with that one. Seriously, I spoke to her last night at around nine. She was home, and alone, I can assure you.” he said, confident that his friends were joking him.

“Okay, Tommy. Hey, maybe we just saw someone who looked like her, it's cool. You got nothing to worry about.” he said, hoping that his words would offer some later consolation for Tommy. He knew better, though.

Ken, who had been eavesdropping, chimed in again.

“Hey, Tommy, just in case these guys are right, you don't have to make the trip alone. I will gladly be your travel buddy this weekend. Hey, I know some awesome party places around Atlanta!” Ken said, his sensitivity meter broken. Again.

Tommy rolled his eyes, then thanked them all for their concern and offer. Lunch over, he left the break room. Kevin and Jeff just looked at each other and sighed.

“Road trip.” they said at the same time, then went back to work.

Ken went back to his office and made a few calls to Atlanta. This would be a weekend to remember, if he had anything to do with it.

Leaving work that evening, Tommy decided to drive straight to Monica's apartment. I'm sure it wasn't her, it just couldn't be.

Standing outside of her apartment, he couldn't ring the bell. He thought about knocking, but felt that might be too bold. After another ten minutes, he resolved to ring the bell. Soon.

Pacing up and down the hallway, several residents rushed past him, in a hurry. He never saw them, as he began to rehearse the coming conversation aloud.

“Aha! You're lying! Kevin and Jeff saw you last night with your ex Dominic! I know you were with him, tell me the truth!” he said firmly, as an elderly man walked by with a cane. The old man stopped to watch Tommy.

“No, that's too strong. Maybe another approach. Something like Monica dear, are you a cheating whore?” Tommy asked her, from the hallway. She couldn't hear him of course.

His frustration only grew.

The old man laughed and applauded Tommy.

Tommy looked up, acknowledging his audience, and decided to draw him into the conversation.

“Do you think I'm coming on too strong?” Tommy asked, looking for a pearl of wisdom.

The old guy shrugged.

“TV's busted.” he said.

Tommy just stared at him, feeling a pressure building up inside him, which he would finally release with just a few words.

“Changing channels!” he yelled and walked back to Monica's door ringing the bell. The old man walked away.

Trying to calm himself, he waited for a full minute before ringing the bell again. Then, a third time. Nothing.

Now, he knocked. So hard in fact, the door cracked on the outside.

No response.

The old man stopped and looked back.

Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out the key that he had forgotten until just that second. Walking inside, Tommy yelled out Monica's name. He would only hear an echo.

Stopping after the first step into the apartment, Tommy's heart sank.

The apartment had been emptied. A few champagne bottles lay at his feet. In the middle of the room, a box of his things sat, like a waiting puppy. Leaning against the box, a 32-inch television. His brain completely shut down.

After another ten minutes of standing still, a beep on his wrist reminded him that his life had just been shoved into the next hour of his life, like it or not.

Countdown: 78:00:00 hours. 77:59:50. 77:59:40...

His internal countdown stopped as he heard someone clear their throat. Looking back, Tommy saw the old man looking at him, his head bowed in apparent apathy.

“She left you, huh? I am so sorry young man. I understand what you are going through, been there myself.” he said, his voice consoling Tommy in the moment.

“Yes, she did. I don't know what to do, now. I feel like I can barely hold my head up, much less try to take this stuff downstairs.” he said, wishing that the old man could help.

“Well I think I can help you, son” the old man replied. Tommy looked up, ready to politely refuse, when the old man approached, leaning on the cane.

“Thank you, sir, but no, I wouldn't want to...” Tommy began, as the older guy stood near him.

“Well I don't mind, really. Here, let me take this off your hands.” he said, dropping the cane and picking the TV up without so much as a grunt. Once up, he began walking toward the door, like a man half his age.

Tommy stared at the cane, his mouth wide open.

The old man stopped at the door and then turned.

“Like I said, TV's busted. Found that cane in the hall.” he said as he started to turn, then he asked, “Say, you know anything about hooking up cable?” he asked hopefully. Tommy wasn't there, at least not mentally. He had disappeared into a surreal place in his mind.

The phone call that came at just after nine pm that night for Kevin and Jeff would not be a surprise. They offered their condolences, letting him know how much they hated being right.

Tommy's world would go into reboot mode.

The next morning Ken met Tommy at his desk, to let him know that he would probably need to nap on the drive to Atlanta.

“You know, to be rested for what's coming Saturday night.” he explained. Tommy knew better than to ask.

Looking at his watch, he calculated the countdown: 59:14:35

For just a moment, he imagined that this had become the countdown of his actual life. He imagined a random game show announcer shoving a microphone at him.

“You have fifty-nine hours left to live! What will you do next?” Mr. Big Smile would ask him. Without missing a beat, Tommy would bite off the top of the microphone, and begin chewing it. Everyone would run away screaming. This pleased Tommy immensely.

That night he made his way to the storage unit. Adding his things from Monica's apartment, he found the book and it's library card still intact. He had considered canceling the trip right then and there, but decided that it would be nice to get away. Maybe regroup.

Countdown: 17:01:30. Almost 7 am on Saturday.

Tommy already had his things loaded into the van he had rented. Looking at his watch again, he remembered saying he would be ready to pull away at seven. At that moment, Kevin and Jeff pulled up in Kevin's old Camaro.

“Hey man, sorry we're late.” Kevin said, grabbing his gear.

“No problem.” Tommy said. Then looking at his watch, he looked up again for any sign of Ken. Nothing. May turn out to be a nice day after all, Tommy thought to himself.

Just then, from nowhere a silver 1995 Rolls Royce Silver Spur slowed to a near stop, as something large rolled from the back door, onto the street, and came to a rest at his feet.

Ken's here.

His faced slightly scraped and bruised, Ken looked up and warned them all.

“Don't ask.” he said, and struggled to get to his feet.

“Wouldn't dream of it, Ken.” Tommy said, as his boss eyed him suspiciously.

Reaching down and picking up the bag that had rolled out with him, Ken took it and made his way to the back seat, where he proceeded to pass out. Using his bag as a pillow, he would be sound asleep and snoring in mere seconds.

Kevin and Jeff looked at each other, then at Tommy. They all three shook their heads and shrugged at the same time, then got in the van.

Starting the van, the radio jumped to life. Jefferson Starship's Miracles slowly came up, asking those that were still awake for the trip to believe in miracles. They all had the same answer, why not?

Breakfast proved fairly uneventful. They decided to go through the drive thru and take it on the road. Each of them ordered a breakfast sandwich, and a regular coffee. They jokingly yelled back at Ken, asking him if he wanted a coffee. He yelled back for them to get him a large one.

The other three watched Ken as he sat up and downed his coffee. They just knew that he would now be wide awake. As he drank the last drop though, he threw the cup on the floor, and lay down again. The snoring resumed almost immediately.

They didn't ask.

Tommy calls that The First Miracle.

Then, came the Second Miracle.

Stopping for lunch on I-20 in South Carolina, Ken jumps up, seemingly refreshed. Having made good time, they decided to go inside the restaurant. Things go smoothly, at first.

His order off a bit, Ken became indignant. Kevin and Jeff were more entertained by his antics than annoyed. Tommy disappeared inside his mind again, as Ken stood up from the table.

“Do you know who I am?” he angrily asked the waitress. She said nothing, did nothing.

“I am the Department Head of IT at a major corporation is who I am Missy!” he announced for all to hear. His chest actually seemed to inflate as he did so.

Thoroughly unimpressed, the other patrons turned to focus on their own food and conversations. The waitress just smiled.

“How about I bring you a fresh order?” she asked in a pacifying tone, watching him as she might an escaped mental patient.

“That's more like it!” he said, then sat down again.

After Ken ate his meal, he said he really needed to lay down again.

“It's FBS. Full Belly Syndrome. Puts me to sleep every time.” he said, as he handed Tommy his check and made his way back to the van.

The waitress approached Tommy, Kevin and Jeff with their checks. As she distributed them, she pulled something from her apron pocket for their eyes only.

Sleeping pills.

They all burst out in laughter, Tommy included. She put her finger to her lips, then laughed herself.

Still chuckling as they got in the van, they tried to lower it to a dull roar, in order not to wake Sleeping Beauty.

An hour later, even with the music, they heard something out of the ordinary that would cause them all to look at one another again. Actually, it would be what they didn't hear. Snoring. They hadn't heard Ken snoring.

All of them looked at each other, then Tommy and Kevin looked at Jeff. Jeff looked back now to the back seat. No Ken.

He shrugged at them as Tommy slowed the van and pulled over to confirm. His bag was there, on the seat. No Ken though, anywhere.

Standing on the side of the road now, they all three shrugged, then burst out laughing once again.

That's when Jeff remembered the van that had been parked next to them at the restaurant. They were the same color, and very similar in make and model.

“You don't suppose...” Jeff asked them, as they all started laughing again.

Getting back in the van, and continuing on to Atlanta, this would be their Second Miracle of the day.

Looking at his watch as they neared the Atlanta metro area, he saw that he still had plenty of time to return the book, and then get settled into the nearby hotel. Then he would be pretty much open to whatever came next.

Countdown: 6:04:10.

Losing Ken like that had actually proven to be a mood lifter for Tommy. A few of the doom and gloom clouds lifted. There may yet be life on the other side of thirty.

As Tommy contemplated the meaning of life, a man roughly the size of a bear rolled over in the back seat of a van that had made it's way to I-95 North. The couple driving had, for personal reasons, opted to turn down their hearing aids. They never heard their passenger, or his snoring.

Arriving at the school, Tommy saw quite a few cars in the parking lot. He wondered if he might run into one of his former classmates. As he parked and looked around, no one looked even the slightest bit familiar.

Grabbing the book, he got out of the van. Kevin and Jeff got out too, stretching. They said it would be cool to see Tommy's school, so he let them tag along. Following the people ahead, he would be hit with a wave of nostalgia.

He could answer any question Kevin and Jeff asked, but the answer would be succinct. He would be in a fog, back in the 80's roaming the halls of school. One step at a time, he advanced in the line toward the counter, the book securely clutched in his left hand.

Suddenly, he had an image of the old librarian that had been there years ago. He had of course since matured enough to understand her frustrations with teenagers. Yet, he still got chills remembering her hawk eyes and ears that could see and hear everything from across the room.

Shuddering, he suddenly had an image of Ken and the old librarian meeting.

Next up to the counter he stepped up and gave his name, and the name of the book. This was not the same librarian. With dark hair, eyes and features, she had to be about his age. As she checked his name and the title off her list, she turned and faced him. As their eyes met, memories rushed in to Tommy's mind like a tsunami, and nearly knocked him backward.

“Lorelei?” he asked.

Smiling, she nodded.

This would be the Third Miracle of the day.

Countdown: irrelevant. 

April 24, 2021 00:20

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