Monday, February 5, 2007

A Bad Day at Work

A Bad Day at Work
(Part 2)


Rick McQuiston

I had concealed myself in a large mound of gravel near where they work on the tractors. Both Gordy and Topper, called that because he’s always wearing a hat, were in the shop working. Gordy was pulling apart a motor from the loader and Topper was messing with battery cables. Bruce Springsteen was screaming about being born in the U.S.A. as Frodo, Topper’s retriever, sprawled out across the ground near the door. Topper was a big Lord of the Rings fan and it took only one comment about his dog’s oversized feet for him to come up with a name for him.

Theresa, our thirty-something and very attractive secretary, sat as usual at her neatly organized desk in the room next to the workshop. She was multi tasking which is why we all thought she was hired, that and her hourglass figure. None of them seemed to be concerned that Mr. Schatt hadn’t shown up that morning especially Theresa which struck me as very odd since I knew very well she had been having an affair with him. In fact, that’s the reason I’m lying under this pile of gravel hiding from my boss. It was my weakness for Theresa that caused my confrontation with Mr. Schatt which led to the bullet hole in his heart, courtesy of yours truly.

And now I watch from my self-imposed and increasingly uncomfortable spot, as my boss, who I murdered only the day before, lumbers awkwardly towards my co-workers who are completely oblivious to his, shall we say…condition.

Frodo lifts his head. He senses something’s wrong. Mr. Schatt is approaching the workshop. His face is several shades of gray and his blank expression alternates between confusion and rage. Frodo leaps up and begins growling viciously. Mr. Schatt lunges forward and tears the poor dog’s head completely off. Topper drops the battery he’s holding onto his foot causing him to scream out in pain and collapse to the ground. Mr. Schatt lifts Frodo’s head to his mouth and sloppily rips off a huge chunk. The look on the poor thing’s face will stay with me forever.
Gordy stares in disbelief as his boss, the same man he had asked for a raise from only a week earlier and from whom he one day hoped to buy the business from, ate part of his co-worker’s dog.

In a matter of seconds Mr. Schatt falls upon Gordy and plunges his arm clear through his chest leaving a bloody heap on the ground next to the partly disassembled engine he had been working on.

Topper jumps up and trips backward against a tractor. Blood is literally pouring from his foot and his eyes are as big as dinner plates. Mr. Schatt whirls around and faces his loyal and hard working employee with blank and decayed eyes. The look on Topper’s face speaks volumes.
I watch in horror as Mr. Schatt leaps on him and quickly and messily ends his life.
By this time Theresa is screaming so loud I thought her head would pop. I can see her frantically trying to dial the telephone but she’s so hysterical she can’t quite seem to punch in any correct numbers. Mr. Schatt rapidly stumbles out of the
workshop and into the office where his girlfriend is still trying to call for help.

The sheer helplessness that I feel as I watch Mr. Schatt dismember the only woman I ever really loved is overwhelming. I briefly entertain the notion of attacking him but my cowardice suppresses the thought immediately, mostly due to the fact that he seemed to possess superhuman strength. And since he smashed the phone along with Theresa’s head I couldn’t even try to call for help.

The ease with which he dispatched two men, a woman and a dog was frightening to say the least and I was not quite stupid enough to think that I could be anything even close to a match for him. I also know that it would be foolish to attempt to escape. He moved surprisingly quick for someone who I know very well is already dead. My only recourse is to wait.
The temperature must be ninety degrees by now and I feel my body bathing in sweat and gravel. Mr. Schatt finished with the bodies hours ago and is now merely staring into the sky as if waiting for commands from some dark and sinister deity.

Despite the heat, I shudder as the horrible memory of the murder enters my mind.
I recall approaching Mr. Schatt and losing control when he admitted his affair with Theresa. Words were exchanged and then the blood flowed. And in a matter of seconds he was reduced to a hollow shell of a human incapable of feeling or thought.

I remember the fifty gallon barrels lying nearby which were leaking some type of green substance. I remember noticing how the stuff was flowing towards Mr. Schatt’s body. I remember seeing him begin to twitch as I drove away from the scene of the crime.
But I realize that understanding what happened will do me no good now. I am a prisoner of my sins.

My eyelids grow heavy as I struggle to remain awake and alert. I’m too tired to sleep although my body demands it. I’m too scared to think although my sanity demands it. I’m too drained to cry although my humanity demands it.

I watch Mr. Schatt walk back to his car. The relief I feel more than compensates for my exhaustion and even overrides the thirst and hunger I am feeling. He makes several attempts to open the car door before finally managing to do it and falls lazily into the front seat. It’s beyond me how but he starts the car and drives off, bumping into my Ford and a couple of handicap poles in the process.

As soon as he is gone I feel the urge to climb out of my horrible sanctuary but caution forces me to wait. Sleep still tries to overtake me but the excitement I feel about still being alive fights to keep me awake. But eventually I slip into a peaceful although uneasy slumber.

The murder replays itself in my dreams over and over again. I try to alter the violent conclusion many times but fail repeatedly. Now I am a slave to my dreams as well, forever haunted by a foolish and immoral moment in time.

When I wake I feel somewhat refreshed despite the terrible ache in my back and an empty stomach and dry throat. My cowardice had saved me from a terrible demise and I mumble an oath to myself to be much more cautious and good hearted the remainder of my life.
The gravel gradually gives way to my fingers as I peer out at the carnage that used to be my job. Blood coats everything in sight in a sickening painting of death and all is as silent as a graveyard. I pry myself out of my self-imposed prison and do my best to dislodge any stray stones and dirt on my body. My stomach convulses and my head feels light. I find myself surveying the grounds as I begin to think about what I’m going to tell the police. I look up to the sky and ask God how my day could possibly get any worse.

And then, almost as if my question was answered, I hear Frodo barking and turn to see what’s left of my co-workers crawling towards me.

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