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Out of Time #3
Ben's Food Lotz
© 2013 James LaFond
Flat Out
A flat out run, five miles, uphill, with a resting heart rate—I’m a freak. I should be in sports—champion of this, that, and the other thing. Being a sports star sure would beat stocking shelves at Food Lotz. Think of the women dude—the babes!
What about Linona and Ruby?
Oh yeah—a dude can dream right.
He was jogging downhill now toward the river. A Mexican mamma pushing her baby, with a little girl holding her hand, was taking up the whole sidewalk on the bridge, so he just took the railing, sprinting by above their heads as they stood and gawked. He had to grin—could not wait to run around on the ring ropes and impress the fans after he chopped down Swan Jones.
You know The Man in the Gray Suit would admonish you—with his big important words like admonish thrown in to make you pay attention. He never liked it when you went running along fence tops and climbing telephone poles.
Where’s he now? Just a wannabe dad in my dreams is all he is. To heck with him.
Pozer hit the parking lot and just knew he had posted a good time. He pulled out his Wal-Mart phone to check the time, and it was clogged with a missed call. He cleared it to pull up the time: 7:18.
Ten miles in forty-eight minutes Poze—you should be returning kick offs, or at least learning how to do that gay bicycle stuff and crush that Iron Man thing.
This ain’t right though. My heart rate should be up. I feel like I’ve been sleeping. I might have an enlarged heart or something. I ought to find one of those doctor people. Everybody else has doctors.
Yeah but they get sick. You have never been sick and have no health insurance—here we are, good old Ben’s Food Lotz!
Ben’s Food Lotz
He came in and punched his number. The finger scan had never worked on him, so they let him just punch his number. Mister Ben and his manager Jerry were cool old dudes and treated Pozer well. Considering he had only been on the job for two months, he felt lucky to be so highly regarded—there’s Mary Ann; what a cute little butt she has…
He momentarily forget his number, plugged it back in, and then followed Mary Ann to the deli—really, what else was a dude to do? “Hey Mary Ann, what’s up?”
She turned on him with a hurt look, “You’re a married bastard is what’s up!”
“Oh, don’t play like you dumb! She’s in here right now, showing everyone pictures of you and her on your honeymoon. I can’t believe I even went out with you!”
She just walked away in a huff, reaching the estrogen zone behind the deli counter, where all of the other women comforted her and looked at him with daggers in their eyes.
Did I wake up on the right planet?
He headed to the back. He didn’t have a locker. But he did not want the bosses or security to be suspicious, so he stowed his web bag on top of the lockers. He was taking out his blue Food Lotz vest and cap when Harvey slid up next to him, “Dude! What’s up!”
“Hey Harve.”
“Hey shit! You’re a god! I thought you were the shit for hooking up with Mary Ann the other week—but your wife; good God!”
“Harve, what’s goin’ on? I have never been married—ever. Shoot there is probably a law against it anyhow.”
Harvey quipped, “Try telling your wife that Romeo! But first, before she slaps the wage garnishment shit on you: need any movies Poze?”
“Yeah, absolutely. Get me the whole Bourne set.”
“I’ll put them in your bag. You just got paged before you walked in.”
“No, to the back office, upstairs dude.”
“What for?”
“Could be your wife—or maybe the layoff.”
“What, layoff?”
“Look dude, they are cutting one of us: either me or you since we got hired on the same pay period, or that retard out front—fat chance they’ll fire his dumbass; they don’t pay him shit. I kind of wanted to talk to you about it. I mean, if they let me go I’m fucked; me and the old lady and the brats on the street. But you, shit dude: bouncer, boxer—this is probably just change to you.”
“Look, if it comes to that, let the casings fall where they may. If you get the axe, I’ll get you a job at the club, and as my corner man. You’ll be good.”
He was already heading to the back office to see what this joke about him being married was about, Harvey fading into the background, “Here’s lookin’ out dude.”
Miss Ellen’s Office
Pozer Senski leaped up the staircase to the back office and knocked on the door. When the door to Miss Ellen’s office—where Mister Ben did his paper work, or rather ate doughnuts while Miss Ellen did it—opened as if on its own, he caught a shockingly seductive scent which he could never forget. Straight ahead sat Miss Ellen; with Mister Ben standing behind her. To his right lounged Tina—somehow making the folding metal chair elegant, draped as it was with her.
Tina was six foot and one-thirty-five. She was Han Chinese, but had a dark golden tan. Her hair was lustrous and black to the point of looking like liquid night, as if her hair were a living thing; some evil beguiling serpent. He had always thought her hair was the best thing about her appearance and the creepiest thing about her personality. Her eyes were almond-shaped and deep black on pearl. They almost looked unreal. Her face was something more than pretty, something less then beautiful, her lips threatening in a luscious way. Tina’s figure was athletic in a serpentine way; everything curved too nicely to be as hard as she was. He had bumped into her a couple of times and was surprised at her muscular density. She always dressed like a female villain in a cartoon, with black tights beneath slinky dresses. The only thing that was outright odd about her though, was her hands. Her fingers were too long. She used those hands hypnotically when she talked. As a teenager he often remembered her just walking up to strange men and ordering them about like they were servants, and them complying like fawning robots.
'I never let my servants just walk away.'
What? Did I think that?
Tina rose like a picture of grace, before the food market managers who were stone still, seemingly hypnotized. She took one long slinky stride over to him, looked him right in the eyes, as they were the same height, and wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him—'Do not leave me again.'
She’s in my brain!
She then pulled back from the most delightful kiss he had ever experienced and smiled, “I’ve missed you so Husband. Please forgive me for flying off to Tai Pei on such short notice.”
She then turned, holding him in his arms, and addressed Miss Ellen and Mister Ben, “My husband is independently wealthy—but a born working man he is; feels the need to flex his muscles traditionally sometimes and just disappears. It’s a little game we play really. I handle his finances, and shall gladly cover his salary until he grows bored with his minimalistic working-man fantasy.”
They both regarded them vacantly, like two zombies of stone, and she pressed her hand to his chest. All of the times he had fantasized about her—even while she was present—he had always dreamed that she would touch him like this, tenderly, with her elegant long-fingered hand pressed to his heart. He suddenly felt a panic that he would not be found by her the next time he went missing. She then turned and smiled radiantly to the store owner and his administrative assistant, then hooked his arm and walked him out of the office. As they were stepping onto the top of the staircase she hissed, “If you ever leave me again…I’ll…I’ll… cry. You wouldn’t want me to cry would you Darling?”
“No, never.”
She was then hugging and kissing him, pressing her perfect lithe body up against him—and she was just as suddenly walking away, strutting down the stairs in her ridiculous black men’s loafers, as if he did not exist.
Just like that she was gone.
He felt disoriented, as if his grip on reality was unhinged. He looked above into the ceiling for the condor, and it was not there.
He stepped down to the stockroom floor, and, out of curiosity, checked his cell. There was a missed call from Tina, her number being one he could never forget, a number that had always made him uneasy: 121-666-6969.
The Cut
As he read the number over and over again, meaning to erase it, but having lost the necessary defiance, the voice of Mister Jerry, the Store Manager, came over the intercom: “Harvey, Pozer, Jimmy please come to the lunchroom.”
The three of them gathered in the lunchroom. They were too nervous to sit, and just stood with their backs to the side wall. Soon Mister Jerry, a tall squishy white dude who could not make eye-contact easily, and Eshem, his African security man, entered the room. Eshem had Pozer’s web pack and placed it on the table. Then Jerry started, “You know the work that you men do is satisfactory. But the dollar store and the drugstore and the farm store have been killing our business, so we have to let one of you go. If I’m going to keep a man—even if he does more work than the rest—I need to be certain he is honest, and not a thief.”
Then Eshem opened Pozer’s web pack and shook it out on the lunch table as Jerry narrated, “This is you backpack Pozer. We had an anonymous tip about a theft which led us to search your bag. Harvey—I would have let your lazy ass go if not for this. And Jimmy, even though Pozer works circles around you, do you see how far honesty goes in securing your employment?”
Jimmy was looking like he felt pain for Pozer, and stammered, “Yes Misser Zerry.”
The contents of the bag included the Bourne bootleg DVD’s, Pozer’s water bottle, tooth brush, paste and floss, and cream for shining up his naturally bald head. Being bald since birth had been a strange thing for Posie to get used to. He dealt with it positively by shining up his head instead of covering it with a cap. There was also a 12 pack of Magnum Extra-Strong Condoms. Jerry pointed at this article, “Do you have a receipt for this Mister Senski?”
Oh this is some cruddy business here.
He then turned and looked at Harvey, who was only a shoulder away, “What-the-hell bro?”
Harvey gave him a guilty shrug and whispered, “At least their magnums bro—I need this job bad man.”
Just then Eshem’s big hand came to Pozer’s shoulder and his thick Ghana-boy accent came sliding into Pozer’s ear, “Do not intimidate my informant Pozer. I will have you arres—”
Just then Eshem squealed like a girl as Pozer clamped his hand around the big man’s wrist and squeezed until the wrist bones ground together, “Boss, Bosss, Bossss!” the Ghana-boy whined, until he started to hyperventilate.
Pozer let go and the man went to his knees in some kind of asthma attack and began to convulse. Harvey was all compassion, “Yer fuckin; kiddin’ me right man. Look at that fat bastard gag—en he’ s’posed to tackle shoplifters?”
Pozer just stood numbly over the convulsing man. Jimmy cried and covered his eyes. Harvey continued to say “Breathe fat-fuck, breathe”, and Mister Jerry fumbled with his smart phone, nervously trying to call 911.
I cannot believe this!
Eshem was now paralyzed in some kind of convulsion and was not breathing at all, sucking in nothing. Harvey was all heart, and chuckled, “I guess one of us idiots should of read that CPR poster in the hallway!”
Eshem was now clearly dying and Pozer did not care; was not flustered; had seen death at his feet before. For some reason Eshem’s eyes were pleading with him, for help, for mercy, for redemption at the hands of the alpha male. Pozer did know CPR. But Pozer found him undeserving. Pozer had never stolen, and was still feeling the sting of accusation by the man dying at his feet.
He does not even die well. That tiny Indian lawyer died better.
He then noticed that Jerry was finally punching in the three digits for the police, although his hands were shaking so bad he kept on missing and had to start over again, and again. Jimmy was now in a full-blown hysterical crying fit. Harvey was saying, “Eat another Twinkie you fat-fuck”, and Jerry was mumbling something inaudible.
This is all the way gone. I don’t want Mary Ann to see me go out like this, dragged out by the cops, or running like a punk.
He reached out and snatched the smart phone and crushed it. The plastic pieces were crumbling from his hand when Jerry screamed “Murder!”
Rage lit Pozer up like a torch. He sunk a right hand deeply into the tall man’s squishy chest and heard the breastbone crack like a fried chicken breast. The wimp was dead before he hit the floor. Jimmy was now curled up in a fetal position blubbering, and Harvey was standing there wide-eyed, hands still in his pockets, “Fuckin’ right bro! Cash that bonus check now Jerry!”
Pozer was now consumed by a strange burning rage. There was no place above to look for the condor, and there was no space left within his mind’s eye to look for it there; no place to find his totem; the ancient bird that soothed his ragged emotions and quelled his unspoken questions, most particularly the one concerning his sanity. He felt like he would never know peace again; that he was stepping aboard the last crazy train he would ride in this short violent life of his.
A chill—a chill down his spine, a chill that fanned out from his shoulders and hips to all the muscles of his over-conditioned body and made him feel like a man of ice, caused him to look right, to the immediate destination of this crazy train; the bearded speed-bump that had set him up to look like a petty thieving punk! The rage was now icy cold as he shifted forward and glared down into Harvey’s wide bearded face; the suddenly not smiling face of his betrayer. As Jimmy whimpered on the floor at their feet, Harvey staggered back toward the wall as if hit, “Dude, dude, dude—no!”
To be continued in Kiss the World Good Bye: Out of Time #4
First Contact #11
Out of Time #4
logic of force
let the world fend for itself
on the overton railroad
son of a lesser god
orphan nation
into leviathan’s maw
time & cosmos
advent america
the lesser angels of our nature
fiction anthology one
thriving in bad places
z-pill forever
under the god of things
the first boxers
the gods of boxing
the greatest boxer
the fighting edge
the combat space
menthol rampage
taboo you
on combat
masculine axis
when you're food
the year the world took the z-pill
winter of a fighting life
by the wine dark sea
broken dance
within leviathan’s craw
honor among men
america the brutal
logic of steel
barbarism versus civilization
solo boxing
songs of aryas
blue eyed daughter of zeus
the greatest lie ever sold
dark, distant futures
song of the secret gardener
the sunset saga complete
night city
your trojan whorse
book of nightmares
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