A Long Shot

The last leaves of windy fall for this year had nearly resigned its preponderance and handed the task over to the virgin winter. The first few cold winds announced themselves and lured the people into their homes.

The gallery service had just delivered the latest purchased canvas portraying a reconnected parent to their child, a young painter in the bloom.

“Please sign here Mr Fletcher,” says the man and takes his leave soon after. Mr Fletcher’s anxiety made him linger longer than he wanted to his new painting. He pushes the volume up to twenty and enjoys his moment. But time reminded him to keep his pace and had a swift breakfast, left his plate for the cleaning lady and took off to work.

A strict and high maintenance character that drove him regarding his work definitely did not fail the rewards on the end of the month. But Karin Maple had her usual complaints of underappreciated in her work, every week at nearly a few minutes past nine, which he, of course, could have used well to read through all his paper and email messages. And every time he was the one who felt the need to calm her down since he knew that her situation at home wasn’t that dandy either.

And as he could check his list off, he knew that she was not the only one her weekly problem to express in whatever passionate manner. The guys at the finance department three doors down the hall had already warned him to keep his distance while they, on the other hand, laughed at his silly deeds. “You know James, one day Karin might definitely leave her husband and end up with you on her doorstep,” Thomas said once to him, but even though James was the toughest in his field, they felt him the be the weakest as it came to this.

As usual, the mail lay next to his phone and as a routine, he always picked out the once with the well-known icons of their biggest clients. But this time, he picked one where only his name was written. He opened it, a single letter and on it was written to him directly, enjoining he should not be making such ghastly sounds, what he would call music at any time of the day. If there was anything he could never use, besides the ladies who came to express, it was to be his neighbour, two houses down the road. His blood shot up to a boiling point almost every time “You” he shouted alone in his office, crushing the envelope in which it lay “You think this is hilarious, do you mister Lane?  Every time you try to make my life a living hell” he said this time “If I only could—“ and quickly stops himself as he darted his gaze to see if anyone had heard his inner rage boiling up.

That evening after dinner alone, and quickly enjoying his new art piece, he decided to relieve himself to the local bar, where he was well-known by now. He drinks strong shots and feeds his humiliation and rage. With the still brisk wind of the last winter came in Mr Lewis, who in his turn has his devotion in life to justify the injustice of almost everything in the complete area. An older fellow, long enjoying his pension years, but still suiting up, unlike his neighbour of two houses down the road who shared nearly the same age as Mr Lewis, but seemed never to have worked in his life but to live off his father’s inventions. Something that had to do with office supply, and now living to make his life more than a living hell. He remembered one year, the officials of justice were called upon his friendly gathering of nearly ten people. His mind could blow up with words of obscenities and be cursing him left.

And with does memories in recounting thoughts, he said “If you only were dead, If you only were dead” he repeated in a low voice and took another strong shot.

Mr Lewis brooding had been broad that evening as he had joined James at the bar. The topics from football to some of the inhabitants their privet lives, which somehow came to his ear.

Through the heat of their alternating conversation, it suddenly took a strange sinister turn.

“I’ve heard the wind speak strange words James, and words that you too want to hear” Mr Lewis suddenly said.

“Go on,” James said, leaning forward to hear every word he had to say. The smoke in bar hung as a mysterious phantom witnessing everything.

“There is a new badger in town by the name of Mr Holmes, with an eye of glass they say. A patch that covers it, a real smoked rooster. There’s no doubt about that. His clothes always pressed, and a hat completes the image. They say he came to do some work. Another number to check off from his list. He lives a block up the road from you. The blue house.”

In a flash James could see a light in his dark world of his home life, never saying something about his spot with the neighbour, but all gears were suddenly working smoothly.

Later that night, he decided to walk himself home, since Friday night always gave him a great feeling. The sky is turning in a very nauseating fashion as he pauses for a moment and takes up his steps. He replayed Mr Lewis conversation and makes a few turns up the road perhaps to have a peek of this new badger. His nerve was speaking louder than he normally would slowly crouch amongst the bushes of the open yard. Inside he peeked through the corner of the window. Mr Holmes sat reading a book in his clothes just as Mr Lewis described, even his hat to complete the image. He sat next to a small lamp that lit only from his chest down, leaving the rest in silhouette.

James his nerves were blunt at the moment and decided to push even further, with a still raging thoughts of his neighbour and a solution right at hand. This is where his working talent started to kick in as head of sales.

He knocked at the door, and mister Holmes opened the door slowly and just enough to give away half his silhouette, and James poured out all his greatest solutions and raging feeling right there in a whisper while mister Holmes listened in silent.

Fifteen days past and his mind had taken up another pitch ranking nicely beside the other complaints of the usual complaining ladies, but this one took the lead. He gave miss Maple words that he even realises if to have used right, but she left with somehow a little smile on her face.  Many emotions had rushed through him the last two weeks. He had hoped that the deed would have been done as he revelled in the idea, but then his counter sense willed it not to be true at all.

Another week passed by silently and he starts to feel the likelihood of this mission to be a failure. He was wrong and Mr Holmes had probably ignored or declined his malcontent and mongering, which would work out for the best since he opened another envelope and didn’t find any letter to him, but a special deal for clients to a tropical place of their dreams. He could use one right now, but his work had piled up over the last weeks and decided to pick it up and rest in the warm sun.

One day James took half a day and decided to work at night when everybody was gone, just to work in silent. His precious hours some had called it. He had eagerly left the wild thoughts of the last week behind him and began to plough through his work. The last spit of thoughts he uttered out loud just as he turned on his stereo with the volume nearly up “You can have it all Mr Lane, I’m soon out” and took a seat behind his desk. Only the light on his desk lit up his work, only the soft classic music filled the room. The curtain of his corner window suddenly shifted slightly as a breeze, but no windows were open on the twenty-first floor. In full concentration of his work he suddenly stopped as he felt a cold metal against the back of his neck. His eyes widened, his pen fell, his thoughts pitched beyond levels.

“You thought the mission would not be fulfilled did you, Mr Fletcher? You were wrong” the voice said, and James’ eyes narrowed slightly.

“You might guess that Mr Lane has it all, as he was the one who hired me in the first place.”


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