Work was the pits as usual. I sulk back to my desk after another stupid useless meeting and sit in my chair. I put my pen back in my coffee cup I use for pens. My sister got it for me as a joke last Christmas because I’m a coffeeaholic. It says “No Coffee, No Workie.” We got a good laugh out of it. It, of course, prompted a lecture about good work ethic from our Dad. He never did understand humor.
I pull up the program with my forms my boss insisted I fill out, you know, those useless ones nobody actually looks at or ever needs that are a massive waste of time. But, oh well, I get paid right? Maybe I need to do something about my life, I think as I begin my report. By about box 15 my phone rings and I jump though the roof! Box 15 takes a lot of thought.
“Hi Page!” It’s my best friend Maggie. “Let’s grab a drink at Jake’s Bar tonight.” I’m thrilled, the thought of going home to that empty apartment sounds more dreary than my job tonight. I definitely need to examine my life and do something about the dreary bore that it has become. “Absolutely! 8:00 sound good?” She agrees and I feel less bleak. Hitting send on my report I slam down the lid of my work laptop, tidy up my desk, grab my purse, and wave goodbye to my one of my co-workers and head for the bus.
The rain is coming down in droves and as I finally make it to the protection of the overhead awning across from the bus stop. I realize I’m soaked from head to toe. I begin to shiver and the state of my misery becomes all the more apparent. Maybe I should begin a new life in Arizona I think as the bus makes a screeching stop at the curb. I wait for the bus to unload. Three men step out with brief cases and fedoras and long rain coats. Their banter and laughing seems to fill up all the usable noise space in the area despite being outside. I step onto the bus and sit shivering in my seat.
As the bus jerks and starts us on our journey I notice the man across from me reading the paper. The front page has a big picture of the President and he doesn’t look very happy. I roll my eyes and think how much I just don’t want to know what is going on now. It’s never good news. The lady across and to my left is trying to keep her 4 year old boy from driving everyone else crazy. The kid is everywhere and looks like he must have eaten an entire bag of cotton candy for how wired he is. I smile at the lady who looks at me apologetically. Out the window the rain continues to fall washing away all the street grime down the storm drains. At least Seattle will smell better tomorrow.
Aurora Ave and Galer, the bus driver informs us. I watch my fellow Seattalies disembark with me or walk past me to embark, going about their evening. I wonder what their lives are like and if they can give me some ideas on what to do with my own. I climb the stairs lost in this thought, walk past a set of apartments, through the parking lot, turn the key in my lock and enter my apartment.
Well, it smells great in here! The cleaning lady had been and gone and it lifts me spirts a bit to find everything spic and span and so tidy. I take a shower and take my time picking out something fun to wear to the bar. I examine all five feet three inches of myself to make sure my outfit still fits alright. It better for all the time I spend down at the apartment gym. I style my brown hair straight, careful not to let any of my natural curl keep it’s shape. When I straighten it it falls a bit past my shoulders. I contemplate cutting it into a shorter bob or leaving it as is. Maybe I’ll let it grow and get long. I can’t decide so I decide to do nothing for now. I pop in a pot pie and eat in front of an old re-run of Seinfeld, clean up and head for Jakes. This time I take my rain coat so I can stay dry.
I find Maggie at our usual place at the bar. She greets me with a warm hug and big smile. We each order a martini and begin our usual chat about how much we hate our jobs. I tell her my thoughts on Arizona and thinking about how I need to make some drastic changes in my life. All the thoughts that have been running through my head since that mind numbing meeting come flowing in a long run on sentence. I sound like that kid on the bus, I think as I go on and on and on. “Maybe you should, Page, you know? You’ve been in a rut for far too long sweetie. I have to admit, I’ve been worried about you.” “There is just nothing for me Maggie, nothing. I feel like I have just nothing to live for.” I spew forth. Maggie nods her head and gives me a big hug. She looks at the bar tender, whom I’m suddenly aware has been watching us, and starts to order another round as her phone starts to ring. “Oh drat Page, it’s Kevin, If I don’t answer he’ll get all worried.” She says as she rolls her eyes and walks away with her finger pointing up at the ceiling and mouths, “just a minute.” Oh to have someone call me up and worry about me, I think and turn my attention to the bar tender.
“I’ll have whatever you suggest. I’m kind of sick of martinis. Surprise me will ya.” I say feeling pouty but unable to help myself. He comes back with something, I don’t ask and take a few sips wondering how much longer Maggie is going to be. I wonder if she’ll have to go or if maybe we can see a movie and get a hot dog. I must need some food because I start to feel a bit dizzy. I guess my pot pie wasn’t enough. The bar fades, becomes blurry, I see the bartender, he’s watching me, through the haze I see he’s smiling at me. I begin to tell him something is terribly wrong when my vision clears.
While it’s the bartender standing in front of me the room looks completely different. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before, the people around us don’t seem to notice this extreme change of scenery they keep on talking like everything is as it was. Only as I look at them I notice they don’t look right either. I blink my eyes and push my drink away. The bartender leans forward and tells me his name is Carter and asks me my name. He’s tall and blonde and quite fit. He has a look about him that I find comforting like he’s an old friend. I feel myself relax and listen as Carter explains what has happened.
“What you see right now, this is the real world. Where you’ve been living, where they are now, he jesters to the people in the room, is what they want you to see.” Carter looks at me for a sign of understanding then continues. “The Government puts a drug in our immunizations from the time we are babies, the drug keeps us complacent, keeps us where they want us, I just gave you the antidote.” He stops and scans me again. “I am part of a resistance movement we are trying to stop the government. We want to fight back and take back the world and the lives we are meant to live. Life isn’t supposed to be like it is. Will you join us Page? The antidote won’t last much longer and you will return to their world. Think about what I said, here’s my card. If you want in come back when you are ready and I’ll tell you some more.” He slides a card into my hand as the room fades out, the dizziness returns, then the old bar fades back in.
I’m shaking off the last of the blur when Maggie walks back over. “Well, you won’t BELIEVE what he’s done now Page!” Maggie goes on about Kevin and his antics but I don’t hear a word as I wonder what just happened. Or did it happen. I see the bartender and he looks at me and winks. In my hand is a card.
To be continued…..