Here’s the thing…
Every time I close my eyes, I see something different.
I’d like to think the cinema of my dreams is playing a double feature but it’s a bit like a comedy cartoon night on Fox.
But these dreams are nothing to laugh about.
Once again there’s a new installment of an old feature, and we’re back on the treasure hunt.
The afternoon and evening passed quickly, once again I found myself having to sift through a pile of outstanding orders that had finished up in the too hard basket for my morning shift counterpart.
There was no use complaining because it would fall on deaf ears and going over Alex’s head would only bring a pile of unwanted scorn on my head. At least it kept me busy, so the time passed quickly.
And in the midst of rummaging around at the back of the shelving in an older part of the warehouse, I’d unearthed an old laptop computer that was probably running a very old version of Windows, or perhaps not even that. It would keep until my next shift, so I buried it where no one else would accidentally find it, and clocked off.
Once again, I wasn’t going straight home. I rang my mother earlier when I knew she would be home before dinner to tell her I would not be home until late. In the end, I had decided to tell her a version of the truth, that I’d met a girl and was in the throes of trying to get to know her. I gave her the name Bethany, not one she would know, and said as much when she asked if she might know her.
I promised I’d bring her home if I thought things were moving in the right direction. She knew my track record with girls so didn’t proverbially hold her breath.
This time, leaving the warehouse I was on full alert, looking for the check shirt man, though I was not expecting him to be wearing the same clothes. I did assume that he knew I worked for the Benderby’s, and where, so he had that advantage.
So began a game of cat and mouse.
It took about an hour to cover the same distance it usually took fifteen minutes, but when I reached the straight stretch of road into the town from the factory site, he had to show himself, and once he did, it was a simple but lengthy task timewise, to lose him. In fact, my route was so convoluted, I nearly got lost myself.
Nadia was waiting, opening the door to the room that was shrouded in darkness. Both of us were dressed in black, I had changed into dark clothes when I came home at lunchtime. Once inside she only used a small light beside the bed, and we looked rather like shadows casting even more sinister shadows.
“I assume we’re going to the mall for something other than just a guided tour?”
I’d been thinking about it off and on, and I wasn’t really interested in looking at stuff she had found poking around in the wreckage as an alternative to being bored.
“I told you, I reckon there’s a torture chamber down there somewhere. The archaeologist is not the only chap the Benderby’s have shaken down.”
“A Cossatino or two?”
“There is a rumor, but that uncle won’t say for sure, otherwise he might find himself in hot water spilling his guts to the Benderby’s. We know someone did.”
“You do realize that it makes me think there’s a morbid side to you.”
“There’s more than that if you want to find out.”
There was something about her, in those close-fitting black clothes she was wearing, accentuating curves in places where they were normally lost in some mindless creation called Haute couture. I wondered, if only for a minute or so, whether she was deliberately trying to catch my attention.
“Perhaps later. I’m not sure whether getting too close to you might be bad for my health.”
Vince was always uppermost in my mind when I was with her. Even though I was a lot older and not the skinny weakling I had been in school, I didn’t think I could take him in a fight and win. Besides, Vince was the sort who always traveled with friends. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d seen him alone. He, like Alex, was the typical bully.
She took a step closer and I could feel the warmth emanating from her.
“You’re close to me now.”
We were standing eye to eye, and it was hard to divert my eyes.
“You can’t tell me we don’t have a little chemistry going here,” she said, smiling.
A cat who ate the canary sort of smile.
“Don’t forget you’re a Cossatino, and a bad, bad girl. I could never take you home to my mother.”
“It‘s not your mother I would be trying to impress.”
Alright, enough. My heart had skipped a beat just thinking about what I could never have. It was wrong on so many levels.
“Are we going to talk, or are we going to get moving?” A tone that broke the moment. She could also have used the name Smidge to have exactly the same effect.
“Let’s go then before I change my mind.”
Interesting. The room had a back door. I wondered if she knew I was being followed.
© Charles Heath 2020-2021