Saturday, October 10, 2015

Short Story - One for the Gipper

One for the Gipper
words: 977


Reggie squeezed his thumb, hoping to expel the pain and prevent swelling. He kicked the hammer in frustration. It went skidding across the floor. “I don’t need baseboard anyway!”
Reggie let go of his thumb to turn the antiquated porcelain knob of the sink. The stream of water sputtered and strengthened. Reggie put his thumb under the water. “OWW!” He jerked his thumb out of the scalding water. “Does nothing in this house work?” He kicked the cabinet door beneath the sink. “Who connects the water line backwards?” He kicked the cabinet door again. Time to start the kitchen demo.

Reggie took a deep breath and walked past the stack of cardboard boxes to the dining room, sitting in the lone piece of furniture he had, a tattered lawn chair in his least favorite color. DIY television is a liar. You CANNOT renovate a room in one weekend. Reggie reached on the floor for a cup of water which he proceeded to knock over. He fumbled to pick up the cup, resisting the urge to hurl it across the room. He had reached his limit before even smashing his thumb. There’s only so much I can take. Why couldn’t I have stuck to a hobby like watching television?

Reggie gently set the cup down and opened the front door.
“Hi mister, I’m Limal Rikki. I live next door.”

“Yeah, great to meet you.” Reggie eyed the kid.

“I’m glad this house finally sold. Do you have any kids? There aren’t many on this street. I wish there were more so we could play basketball. Do you play basketball? Your driveway is perfect for a goal…”

Reggie interjected, “Where do you live again?”

“Right next door. I just wanted to say hi and see if you had any kids. You don’t have a brother or sister do you?”

“No, I don’t. I’ve got to go, I’ve got a lot of work.”

“Are you fixing the place up? My dad always said that if the Burnettes ever moved out it would be better to tear the place down. My dad didn’t like them much. Mr. Burnette borrowed his weed eater and gave it back with no gas. My dad didn’t like that. Mr. Burnette was kind of weird? Does this house have a basement? I’ve never been inside…”

Reggie sidestepped to block the Limal who was trying to peer inside. “Alright champ. If you want a tour, why don’t you ask.”

“You fixing it up, huh?” Limal asked. “You should put up a basketball goal. Maybe we could play. I’ve got to go.”

Reggie watched Limal Rikki scurry off the stoop and out of site. Bet I’ll see him again. Reggie looked at his thumb, deciding spackling would be less detrimental.

Something caught his eye through the window. Reggie lowered the spackling knife. He peered from each side of the window, searching for moment. A woman and small dog crossed the window. The woman was wearing her pajamas which consisted of a long shirt and no bottoms. This was not the kind of woman that should wear that anywhere, much less outside. She just took her stupid little dog to pee in my yard.

Something scurried under the floor. Reggie walked down the hall, trying to track it. This place doesn’t have a basement… does it? He heard a bump in the kitchen he thought, and went back. It almost sounded like fingernails scratching. It couldn’t be that. It had to be an animal in the crawlspace. It was probably mice, and they heard the dog.

The sound stopped underneath the bathroom floor. He listened for a minute, but heard nothing. When he turned to leave, the mirror shattered. Reggie saw a hole in the wall, but it was a hole that seemed to have limitless depth. He took a step closer, his shoe crunching glass. He reached towards the hole, through the broken mirror. He took another step and lost his footing…

Reggie’s eyes fluttered. He groaned and rolled over to his back. The glass crunch instantly recalled his last memory. He sat up and searing pain ran across his forehead. He rubbed his head, his fingers coming back sticky. Reggie got up and looked in the mirror. He had a bruise and laceration at the baseline of his hair. Must have slipped and hit the sink, but what about that mirror?
The mirror appeared to be perfectly fine.

Reggie switched on the radio to drown out the silence, but switched it back off. I hate that song.

The scurrying sound in the wall caused him to pick up a hammer. He knocked a hole in the wall, looking for the source of the sound. He knew he shouldn’t enlarge the hole, but couldn’t help it. He had knocked out a whole sheet of drywall before he realized it. Then he saw it, a shimmering dark… hole. He picked up a piece of drywall from the floor and threw it at the hole. He threw another scrap, and then a third. Each one never hit the ground.

Reggie went back to the bathroom. In the floor of the bathroom he saw himself, passed out on the floor. Did I die when I hit my head? Am I in hell?

Beep…. beep… beep… the steady rhythm of the heart monitor kept time with Reggie’s breathing. The doctor walked into the room. “What are the readings?”
The intern, startled, looked up from a monitor and at the doctor. “It’s amazing. This new test show us so much. He’s writing and experiencing the dream at the same time, and we’re getting to see it in real time.”

“Glad to hear it, let’s kick it up another notch.” The doctor stated.

While it was barely a murmur to the scientists, in his dream Reggie screamed, “No... not Reagen!”
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