Author: Jane Schuman PM
Tony is a man waking up to the startling realization that he is trapped. He no longer loves his wife. His dreams of making it big are never going to come true. His job loss has left him so deeply in debt that he's had to borrow from a load shark who will be expecting payment soon. His thoughts of suicide seen to offer the only way out, until fate offers him a way to DISAPPEAR...Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Sci-Fi - Chapters: 12 - Words: 22,720 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 1 - Updated: 11-24-12 - Published: 10-27-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3069156
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"Hit me again, Mike."
The bartender places the glass he's drying on the counter and saunters over to
where Tony sits on a barstool. Tipping a bottle of Old Crow, he fills the small glass then
steps back curiously eyes the man.
"Say, Tony what's going on? You've always been a one-beer man, now you're hitting the hard sauce."
Tony realizes as a bartender, Mike takes on the role as friend, waiter, and psychiatrist. "Mike, did you ever wish you could disappear and leave everything behind and start all over again?" Tony asks, while he studies the golden liquid in the glass.
"Yes, I believe everyone has thought that at sometime in their life. What's got you so down today? Lose your powers your voodoo?"
Tony starts to correct Mike and say it's not voodoo but mind over matter, telekinesis, but drops the subject. He's tired of people kidding him about his strange talent.
"I figured you lost your job selling insurance."
"How did you know?" Tony asks.
"I've seen the signs before. I call it the "all dressed up and no place to go" look. You've come in here the past two weeks a little earlier each day. Today it's not even two o'clock. Also you've gotten a little tanner each day, which means you've been killing time at the park."
"Glad my wife isn't as observant as you are." Tony says, half smiling.
"Didn't you tell her?"
"She wouldn't understand, she's too old country. We're both from a small village in Italy and after we came to America I went to night school and learned English. She thought her job was to take care of the house and have children. Only the children never came. Even after fifteen years, all she can talk about is going back home."
Tony shifts his weight on the barstool. He can't tell Mike why he doesn't want to return to the old country, not even for a visit. It's because he's a failure.
At that moment a group of women enter the bar and Mike watches as they take a booth.
"They look like a picky bunch. I'd rather serve ten men than three gals," Mike says, as he starts toward them.
"Good luck on finding a job." Tony thanks him.
He knew he'd have to find a way to get the bill collectors off his back. They were hounding him by phone and mail. He knew part of losing his job had been the bill collectors calling him at work. They'd called his home. His wife not speaking English gave them little satisfaction. And he's tired of hiding his car on different streets so it wouldn't get repossessed. If he finds another job selling insurance, he'd have to have a car. He lives in a ratty apartment and has little to show for all his hard work. Minneapolis is a hard place to live. The weather is warm now, but winter was coming, which brings out the worst in his wife. She can't take the cold and he knows without a job, he wouldn't be able to pay the high heating bills to keep her warm this coming winter. Also, the electric company is turning off the power in three days. Then she'll really be on my back to return to the old country. But I can't go back to Italy. I'd never be able to stand the look on the faces of my friends and family. He'd based his whole life on dreams that his grandma taught him. Back home he'd been special, someone important that everyone loved and praised, but he's no one of importance here in America.
Tony starts to ask for another drink, but stops. He has money in his back pocket, but he must not spend it, he has to save every penny of it for a lawyer. An idea flash's like lightening, filling his mind and soul. If I gamble some of it, I can make more and maybe I won't have to claim bankruptcy. Quickly a storm cloud takes its place. That's how I got into this trouble. If I hadn't gambled the money away I could have given Angelina more. As my wife, she deserves more. Have I turned her into the nagging wife she has become? Why do we fight so much and do I still love her?
He gazes at the small drops of whiskey left in the glass. Swirling the light golden liquid around, he focuses on it. His mind goes back to his childhood and he thinks of a hill he and grandma sat on. On their special hill they look down on a beautiful green meadow. Grapevines cover the surrounding hills and large ripe grapes are waiting to be picked. Large buzzards, their wings stretch five feet across, circle in the clear blue sky. "Close your eyes," he hears Grandma say. "Make yourself that bird. You can fly. Feel yourself floating on the wind currents." She says this over and over until he feels the air currents. "Now open your eyes," she whispers softly in his ear. He opens his eyes and he is that bird. He looks down at the animals grazing in the meadow and then a current of warm air lift him higher in the sky.
The sound of laughter brings Tony back from his daydream. He is surprise and delighted his daydream is so real. Can he do it again? The bar room returns to quiet after the women leave. Tony focuses on the glass and thinks back to his life in the old country. Again he is at the side of grandma and he becomes the buzzard floating in the air. He let the current lift him and everything in his life feels right. Slowly he opens his eyes and looks down on the earth. He can see Grandma jumping up and down and clapping her hands in joy. She is shouting something to him, but he can't hear what she says. He circles the air toward her so he can hear.
"Tony, are you all right?" Mike's voice vibrates through the air. The wonderful feeling leaves him instantly. Why can't he leave me alone?
"You've been staring at that glass for over an hour." Mike says, his face only inches from Tony. Tony is startle back to reality. "What time is it?" he asks.
"It's almost four o'clock. Do you have someplace to go?"
Tony didn't answer Mike, but jumps off the barstool. He will have to hurry. He has an appointment with a lawyer in half an hour and the appointment is in St. Paul. He also has a long walk to his car. He hopes the repo-man hasn't found it.
He gives a sigh of relief when he sees his 2004 Chev where he'd left it. Checking the tires for "a boot," he removes his suit jacket, drapes it over the back seat, and fits his stout body behind the steering wheel. If I claim I'm bankrupt will I still keep the car and not have to pay the overdue payments? Is it the way out of this mess? They can't expect me to give up my car when I need it for making a living. I sure hope the lawyer has the answers. I borrowed a thousand to claim bankruptcy, but if I don't pay the loan shark Big Al back in six months I'm a goner.
Tony points the car toward Interstate 35 W. He hates crossing that damn bridge. He also knows with all the heavy traffic he'll be late for his four-thirty appointment. For a thousand dollars he figures the lawyer will wait. He circles the building for a parking space then decides he'll have to park in the parking garage, more of his precious money he'll have to spend. Cursing the heat, traffic, and being late he rushes to the lawyer's building. The office is locked. He looks for his watch then remembers he hocked it two weeks ago. Pacing up and down in front of the building, he curses his bad luck. It isn't until he sees a security man approaching, he calms himself. In the morning he'll call and make another appointment. This is Wednesday surely he can get another appointment before the weekend. He sure doesn't want a thousand dollars burning a hole in his pocket any longer than needed. And what if Angelina finds it? What will he tell her?
Damn it, they shut off my phone service and now I'll have to go down to the corner store. I don't like making private calls on a public phone, he thinks while unlocking his car door. Now he'd hit the rush hour traffic. He won't have that hour jump on it that he'd planned. Passing the Minneapolis Bank, he read the time and temperature on the neon sign 98 degrees and 6:00 pm. No wonder the lawyer left. I'd been over an hour late. He rolls up the windows and turns on the A/C. He's sweating like a pig. Even though he had put his jacket on the back seat he looks at it again in the rear view mirror. A thousand dollars is in an envelope in that jacket. That's a lot of money, but not enough to pay off my debts. A large cracking noise brings him back from his thoughts.
He glances up to see he's on the bridge. Startled at first, he calms down quickly as he remembered they're doing bridge repair. There has been construction on it all summer. "Damn it I swear they don't start working on any streets or bridges until rush hour," he says out loud. The traffic comes to a halt and he sees a little red Ferrari in front of him. The top is down and a middle-aged man sets behind the wheel. Some people have all the luck, he thinks, looking at the sports car.
His thoughts turn to terror as he sees the ground under the Ferrari begin to crumble. Clouds of dust fly around him. A sound as loud as thunder comes from below his car and through the dust he sees the little red sports car being suck towards the river. "What in the hell is going on?" he yells. Then it's his turn as he follows the sports car. He gripes the steering wheel as the car falls, hitting a chunk of something. His car lands on a large piece of cement long enough for him to see the sports car. A beam of steel is sticking out of the driver's seat and the driver. Tony's air bag explodes. He screamed out intending to say Holly Mother but it comes out holly shit as the cement give away, and he falls again. Down, down, down.
Everything inside the car fly's around. This is it –this is his time! He hears a splash and fells a jolt when his car hits the water. For a moment he thinks the car will float on the rapid current, now is the time to get out! But the airbag is in his way and he struggles with his seatbelt, it wouldn't open! The cold Mississippi river starts to engulf the car. Water rushes in through the A/C vents and the car pitches forward. It's taking a nosedive to the bottom of the river.