Aug. 25, 2017
“It was a dream, wasn’t it?” he wondered aloud, “It had to be.”
An hour passed of Francis sitting on the couch in a trance, sipping at his coffee and staring at the gun, thinking. When the coffee finally ran low and he stood for a refill he was struck with inspiration. He set the mug down and ran from room to room trying all of the other windows and doors. None would budge, he was completely sealed in. He returned to the living room, breathing heavily and feeling lightheaded. His mind was racing and he was starting to panic. He grabbed the gun from the table and pointed it at the window across the room, hesitating for only a second before pulling the trigger. The gun made a loud pop and a shower of brightly colored pieces of paper shot from the barrel, dancing to the floor in a colorful and showy display. Francis was stunned. He sat on the couch, jaw dropped, and let the gun hang down beside him. As he stood there the last bit of confetti ran down the barrel and onto the couch. He watched as the last of it settled on the floor and the room was quiet and still again, save for the constant repetitive chirping from outside his window.
He heard the door click shut softly but he waited a few more minutes, listening for the clicking of heels down the hall. Once he was satisfied and sure he was alone he opened his eyes slowly to look around. The floor felt cold against the side of his face and he could feel the corn syrup pooling underneath his suit. The red dye would stain but it didn’t matter, the boss would replace it. James let out a sigh and grunt as he hauled himself off the floor, shaking his right arm to try to dry it slightly. Corn syrup flung off his sleeve and left blood spatter patterns on the white walls. He glared at the deep-red door filling with rage as he thought about the turn of events from the past few minutes.
“Fool,” he muttered as a chuckle broke out behind him.
“A fool indeed,” Bill Wyatt beamed at him and slapped him on the shoulder. “Dumbass really thinks he got you, how’s the arm?”
James shrugged his shoulder and swung his arm in a windmill, checking the muscles. “Worst part was pretending it hurt and that I was stuck. Hell, I thought I was going to have to hand him the stupid gun myself.”
Bill smiled again and chuckled. “I’m just impressed that he went for it. Kid’s got balls.”
“Had balls” James corrected as they shared a laugh. “Anyway, shall we?”
Bill snapped his fingers and a man in a gray jumpsuit came out of the blood-red door across the hall carrying a mop and pail. Bill motioned for James to follow him into the next door. They entered the unit adjacent to the one that Francis had entered. Bill helped James off with his jacket and tossed it back into the hall. “Don’t touch anything.” They walked around the corner into a dim living area. “There’s a clean suit in the back room.” James headed to the back to change while Bill moved a frame on the far wall and flipped the switch under it. A larger mirror on the wall behind him lifted into the ceiling revealing a window into the room next-door where Francis was staring, perplexed, at a TV. James walked back into the room straightening his tie.
“What’s good ol’ Frank up to?”
“I think he’s drooling.” The two men laughed again and settled in to watch the show in the large comfy chairs that had been set in front of the window.
“So how long you think it’ll take him?”
“Please, you know Harvey started a pool, I’m not giving you any tips. Kicking all of your butts will buy my kids’ christmas presents this year.”
“Like you need the money.”
“It’s never been about needing it.”
The two men quieted down as their boss entered the room silently. James pulled out a notebook and a pen while Bill grabbed his phone and activated the room’s cameras and set them to record, their work had only begun.