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Backup – Part 3: Heading Home

By September 22, 2014Backup Novel

The phone rang a few times and then the operator picked up, “911 what’s the nature of your emergency?”

Emergency… if it had been an emergency wouldn’t i have called earlier today? In the morning when i discovered my car was missing and found myself sitting among the shattered glass, idly picking through and chucking pieces as i waited for Bob to arrive. Why didn’t I call then?

“I’d like to report a stolen vehical, my car was stolen this morning.”

The lady on the line asked for a few more details and said she would send an officer out to my address to collect some information. I told her I was across town but that I could be there in about 20 minutes or so. She said the officer would be there in an hour.

I said goodbye to the barista, whose name I later found out was Jane. She gave me a hug and said it had been great meeting and chatting with me. I agreed, and brought up that she still needed to teach me how to make that skull. She smiled at me again and said, “we’ll see, can’t just give out my trade secrets to every poor soul that wanders through this place!”

I smiled back, genuinely, no longer having to force it but still fighting myself at every moment not to think about the day before.

I thought more about this interesting barista named Jane as I made my way across the street and into a train back to my apartment. The way she smiled and laughed when I made a sarcastic joke or a bad pun. All of those piercings and how confusingly uplifting and kind she could be to a complete stranger that just wandered into her shop.

As the doors hissed shut and the train lurched forward bringing me towards my home i was jostled by a man in a business suit who was slowly making his way deeper into the car, talking on his phone to a significant other about the lack of seats on public transportation and how he had to go before he lost signal and how he loved, missed, and would see them soon.

It made my heart hurt to remember i would be coming home to an empty apartment. It also made me realize I hadn’t asked for Jane’s number. I suppose it was right that I didn’t. I shouldn’t be looking for a new romance interest this close to losing the one that i thought had meant so much to me.

I realized i was starting to spiral into depression and shock again and resolved to snap myself out of it. I looked around the train for distractions to pull my mind off of her. There was a boy across the isle playing a game on his phone, from the sound of it he was fighting an epic battle.

A young girl was asking her mom about the dark skinned guy with the fuzzy face and if he was one of those scary ones that kills people. Her mom had a shocked look on her face as she hurriedly hushed the little girl and looked appoligetically at the man who shrugged at her. I marveled at his response. I would have been pissed if someone associated me with a terrorist just at a glance.

There was a homeless man snoring in the corner of the train car, his coat was a patchwork of bits of fabric and thread attempting in vain to hold in what appeared to be scraps of newspaper and wool. It always amazed me how much ingenuity the homeless seemed to have when it came to self preservation. I wondered if he would be any better off away from the city, it he would be warmer and more sheltered elsewhere. I wondered why he wasn’t practicing his lifestyle in a warmer environment. I suppose he had no choice. I wondered if i would be in his shoes soon.

As the thought scuttered across my mind i quickly squashed it, i had enough money for several months sitting safely in my savings account. A littlw nest egg i was squirreling away for a ring I had been looking at. I felt sick again, that part of my life had stormed out the door in an angry huff last night and the ring purchase went with it.

I just stood there staring at a poster very similar to the one i had seen earlier and wondered what the hell was wrong with me? Why was this tearing me apart? And why had i thrown it all away? Why didn’t i chase her?

I suppose i thought i didn’t deserve her. Especially after the ways i had hurt her and took her for granted. No one deserves that treatment. The train lights flickered and the car darkened. The poster glowed blue against the wall. That promise of redemption and security, the smallest beacon of hope on my darkest day yet floated in front of me with a tantalizing promise of financial security.

Now when i said i have enough for a ring i wasn’t talking about some exotic priceless diamond encrusted bribe. I was more in the crackerjack budget. My saving would pay the rent for three months or it would cover every utility, food, and a few beers as well as my rent for only one month.

I felt myself sway towards the front of the traincar as the brakes squeeled and brought us to a smooth stop at my home station. It was only a few minutes walk home but i swung by a gas station on the way for a case of beer. I figured I wouldn’t be waking up early tomorrow anyways. Might as well forget who I was for a night.

As I came into view of my apartments I saw a police car sitting near where my car had been, the officer it belonged to could be seen wandering around that area occasionally he would lean forward or crouch down and a flash of light would shatter the dimly lit evening and fade. He was taking pictures of the ground and surrounding area. I walked up to him and introduced myself as the owner of the stolen car.

He gave me a business card with his name and told me what he was working on and that he would submit a request to the owners of the security cameras around the parking lot to see if the footage would shed some light on the car theft.

After taking down some of my information and taking a few more pictures he shook my hand and said he’d be in touch.

I wandered into my apartment and put the case of beer in the fridge while at the same time trying to tear one of the flaps open. The end of he box caught a lip of the shelf and stopped it from sliding back any further, at the same time the flap gave and a beer tumbled out onto the floor with a loud clatter. It rolled to a stop in front of the sink.

I bent over to pick up the slightly dented beer can and, after tapping around the top – something i see people do all the time to settle a dropped can of whatever carbonated beverage happened to fall, i popped open the tab and proceeded to spray my face and shirt with lukewarm beer. I quickly leaned over the sink and tried to drink the beer spraying out to can, a feeble attempt to contain my poorly considered actions. As the contents equalized and the volcano of beer subsided its destruction i peered out the window above the sink. I saw the cop car facing out of the parking lot entrance, its breaklights lit, and as the traffic cleared he pulled away and dissappeared around a corner.

I took another sip of my beer with a grimace and forcefully swallowed it down. I took comfort in knowing soon the case in the fridge would cool and i could comfortably melt into my couch and forget today ever happened.

I grabbed an extra beer from the fridge, you know, to be proactively lazy, and made my way to the couch. Before I got there my phone started buzzing away in my pocket. As i.sat down and took another sip of my beer I checked the phone. It was Bob. He wanted to come hang out and play some games on the tv. I told him to come on over and chill. That’s what we say instead of hangout, chill. I don’t really know why exactly but I’m pretty sure he started it back in high school. It was nice to know the day might actually have a little bit of a positive note to it.

I took another sip of my beer, i was sitting in an unlit room, the last bit of light from the setting sun was fading out and the room went from a dark faded blue to black. I took another sip. My eyes began to adjust to the dark, i could see that something was different with the room but I wasn’t sure what it was. Another sip. My phone buzzed on my lap and the screen lit up, Bob was here. I took another sip. The front door creaked open and the light turned on.

“Hey bud, what are you sitting in the dark for? You forget where the switch is at again?” Bob had a grin on his face, a case of beer under his left arm and a bible in his right hand. I took another sip, well a gulp this time and then wiped my mouth on my sleeve. Bob didn’t wait for a reply, he just wandered to the kitchen and stuffed his case in the fridge and came back with two of my beers. He opened one and set the other down on the table.

“Did your lady move out or something?” Bob was looking around the room, I took a glance around as well and suddenly understood why the room seemed off when i had looked around in the dark. She had come back and got her things while I was out. Her key was sitting on the arm of the couch. I took another sip.

“Yea we got into a really bad fight last night. We’re over.” Bob looked up at me and surveyed my face.

“Fuck man that sucks,” he paused for a moment, seemingly searching for the right words, “well at least we have two cases of beer and video games to get your mind off that shit.”

He held out his beer in front of my and tilted the top towards me, I just stared. I was having trouble thinking, and wondered if he was mimicking pouring one out for those we’ve lost. I looked up at Bob with a strange look on my face. He laughed and tapped his beer to mine, “Cheers bud, lets get fucked up okay?”

I forced a smile and mumbled , “you read my mind bud.” 

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