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 back on the treasure hunt.
I lasted the week in the warehouse, and, surprising myself, I actually liked it.
And, had I been like all the other workers employed there, keeping their heads down and getting on with the job, everything would have remained the same.
My problem, it seemed, was Alex Benderby. He had been a bully at school, and he was a bully in the workplace, hiding behind his father’s name and reputation, not that his father was much better, just a little more discreet.
Day 2, Alex discovered I was working in the warehouse, his domain. For some reason it amused him that I should be there, working for the Benderby’s, something I’d been very vocal about it not working for them, even if, he reminded me, they were the last people on earth.
He confronted me with two of his bully friends. Alex was not someone to walk around alone. He knew what would happen if he did.
“What changed, Smidge.”
The nickname he gave me, though I never quite understood why. English and language had never been his strong point.
“The poverty line. Sometimes people have to swallow their pride. It’s not a big deal, Alex.”
“Is to me, to see how the mighty have fallen. I’ve got my eye on you Smidge. One wrong foot, and, well, we shall see.”
The salacious grin, as he walked away, was the key. He could and no doubt would hold my job over me like he did with countless others. At that moment I think I made a promise to myself, to help Boggs find the treasure, and bury Alex in a hoe so deep not even he, or his father’s money and influence could save him.
Hours later, still rankling over the confrontation, I nearly ran into Alex again, just managing to avoid him by slipping behind the shelving to wait until he passed by.
When he didn’t, I decided to wait till he walked past, and then head in the other direction. But, after a few minutes and he hadn’t appeared, I peered around the corner of the shelving and saw him sitting on a half-emptied pallet of boxes.
Waiting for what, or more to the point, whom?
Five minutes later I found out. A long, cool woman in a tall black dress, a woman I’d seen before but couldn’t quite place.
“Alex. What do you want?” Her tone was far from conciliatory, and if she was not happy about being there, why was she?
“You’ve run out of favors Alex.”
“Then how about I tell your father exactly what you were doing when you were doing something else?”
A moment’s silence before the fury. “We had an agreement.”
“I need a favor. You’re the only one I can trust. After this, I promise, we’re done.”
Another quick look around the corner of the shelves. One person looking smug, the other looking very, very angry.
But, it appeared, Alex had the leverage.
“What is it?”
“Rico has a map. I want it. You bring it to me, you’re off the hook.”
She gave him a long hard stare. “I deliver the map, and I see you again, you’re a dead man. Your father might think he runs this part of town, but I can assure you there are far scarier people than him and his henchmen. Remember that Alex.”
If she had a gun I think she might have shot him, but instead left him with a latent threat. It was good to see that he was, for once, the one with the worried look.
© Charles Heath 2019-2021
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