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Tick Tock Tick Tock

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message 1: by D.K. (new)

D.K. (dkgaston) | 10 comments 1

Virgil Dyson bowed his head, his gaze and concentration lost in his barely touched beer. He had been sitting at his bar stool for nearly four hours nursing the same drink pondering on how screwed up his life had become in the past six months. In one week his entire life changed--he lost his job at Corbett’s International, his dignity and worst of all, his wife.
Virgil was a broken man with only five dollars left to his name. The only thing that kept him from taking his own life was his daughter Tasha. He’d used her mother’s life insurance money to pay off Tasha’s college tuition, dorm fees and to provide her spending cash for the remainder of the seminar. He kept none of the money for himself.
After paying for the funeral costs and then his daughter’s education, he had nothing left and stopped paying his mortgage. He’d been living in a car he hasn’t been able to afford putting gas into for nearly three weeks. Not quite half a gallon of fuel remained in its tank and he decided weeks ago, he would only drive the car for emergencies. The nine year old Ford Taurus sat in an abandon lot blocks away from the bar. Looking up from his mug, he reached over and grabbed a handful of pretzels. He hated eating them. Virgil kept thinking about all the unwashed hands that constantly sifted through them.
That thought made him hesitate for only a brief moment, before he jammed the pretzels in his mouth. Beggars couldn’t be choosy. He had to eat after all. The salt tasted good on his tongue. Virgil washed his dinner down with his beer. As he lowered his glass a stranger approached the bar and bumped heavily into his right side.
“Hey be careful, man,” Virgil said trying hard not to raise his voice.
The man, Virgil noticed was relatively the same age as him, mid to late thirties. “Sorry, my bad,” the man said. “Let me make it up to ya.” He waved for the bartender.
Virgil raised his palm. “Hey man, no harm done. Don’t worry about it.”
The stranger smiled with the whitest teeth Virgil had ever seen. “I insist.” When the bartender stood in front of the men the stranger said, “Two of whatever he’s drinking.”
The bartender stared down at Virgil’s drink with a blank expression. It’s been so long since he brought him a beer he’d forgotten the brand.
“Hurricane Ice,” Virgil said.
The stranger frowned. “Hurricane Ice. That crap will mess with your brain. Besides, that stuff is for school kids that can’t afford better.” He smiled holding up a pair of fingers and told the bartender, “Bring us two Samuel Adams.”
Virgil gave the stranger his full attention. He had on a nice two-piece suit that did nothing to hide the powerful body underneath. The man’s dark brown eyes carried the alertness of someone whose business it was to be aware of his surroundings. On the left side of his thick neck a tattoo of green flames led out from his collar all the way up to the back of his ear. Virgil wondered just how much of the green flames covered his body. “You really don’t need to buy me a drink. It’s not like you bumped me on purpose.”
“My mama always told me not nothing happens by mistake. So in a way, maybe I bumped you on purpose. Which means, I do in fact, owe you a beer for the trouble,” the stranger said grinning. “My friends call me Grizzly.”
“Like the bear?” Virgil wasn’t in the mood to talk, but since Grizzly was nice enough to buy him a drink it was the least he could do.
“I’m Earl,” Virgil lied, he may have to talk, but he didn’t have to give the man his real name.
Grizzly looked confused, like he expected something different. He quickly recovered and offered Earl his hand. “Like the bear, yeah. Well it’s nice to make a new friend.”
Virgil had to smile. Detroit residents weren’t exactly known for their good nature to strangers. On top of that, Grizzly looked as big and mean as his namesake. The way he’s been feeling of late, perhaps it wasn’t so bad to talk for a little while. He took the offered hand and shook. “Yeah, it is, isn’t it?”
The beers arrived in front of them. Grizzly picked up his bottle. “I have some friends at the table waiting for me, but it was nice meeting you Earl.”
“Same here, Grizzly.” Virgil was almost sorry to see him leave. For a brief moment, the big man provided a well-needed distraction from his desolate thoughts. Alone once more he grabbed more pretzels from the basket. Then something strange happened. He felt something vibrating inside his shirt breast pocket. “What the hell?” he said dropping the pretzels back into the basket.
He dug the offending device out of his pocket and saw that it was his cell phone. Which should have been impossible for several reasons; first of which was because he threw it into the back of his car trunk more than a week ago; secondly, the battery had been completely drained; and finally because the two year contract had expired three weeks ago. Yet, here he was, his cell phone in hand with a call ready to be received.
The caller-ID displayed showed--private. Reluctantly, he answered. “Hello?”
“Virgil Dyson,” a deep and menacing voice said, “I have a proposition for you.”
“Who is this?”
“The man who is about to offer you a great deal of money.”
At the mention of cash, Virgil gripped the cell phone tighter. Though his financial situation made him desperate, it hadn’t made him stupid. “Listen, if this is some kind of joke, I don’t have—”
“This is no joke Virgil Dyson.”
“Why would you want to give me free money?”
“Who said anything about free? You must earn it.”
A job. This was about a job. Virgil had sent out countless resumes in the past six months without a single bite and now out of the blue, someone was possibly offering him work. He sat up straighter on his stool as if the caller could see his poor posture through the phone. “Does the job involve working directly for a company or are you looking to hire me as a freelancer?”
“Definitely as a freelancer. The job should not take more than eight hours of your time at the max,” the caller explained.
Deflated, Virgil’s posture went slack. For nearly six years he’d been employed as a computer network engineer at Corbett’s International. He’d worked hard and nearly made it to a management position when he was called in the Human Resources department and handed his pink slip. What he needed was long term work to get back on his feet. A short eight hour commission was a far cry from what he expected from the caller after he bragged about giving Virgil a great deal of money.
Still, it was something and something was better than nothing. He decided not to mince words and get right down to the numbers. If the job didn’t pay well, he would hang up on the caller. “So how much of a commission are you talking about?”
“One hundred thousand dollars,” the caller said.
Virgil wasn’t sure he heard him right. It had to be some kind of mean joke being pulled on him. “Excuse me?”
“You heard correctly, I assure you.”
What kind of job pays that much for eight hours of work? “Who is this?” Virgil asked more insistent, “Because I’m hanging up if this is a sick joke.”
“Aren’t you wondering how your dead cell phone ended up in your pocket?”
“Excuse me?”
“Let’s me be coy Virgil Dyson. I am doing you a favor with this offer. You live in your car and down to mere dollars in your pocket. Is it so important to know my name for the amount I’m offering?”
Virgil got off his stool and nearly stumbled face first to the floor. He had been sitting for so long that his feet had fallen to sleep. After regaining his balance, he looked around the bar for Grizzly. The only way the cell phone could have ended up in his pocket was if the big man put it there when he bumped into Virgil. He couldn’t find the man anywhere. “Is this Grizzly?”
“No, but he does work for me. Will you?”
Virgil walked out of the bar and into the street. Nearly nine o’clock, the sun was well into its decent and bringing in the night. He looked both ways down the street trying to find the big man with no luck. Question after question swelled in his mind. How had these people arranged for his cell phone to be fully charged and working? How did they know where to find him? Without Grizzly being there to question, answers would have to come from the stranger on the phone. “What would I have to do for the money?” Virgil asked already knowing he didn’t really want to hear the reply.
“You have to kill someone for me,” the deep menacing voice said matter-of-factly.

message 2: by Brooklyn (new)

Brooklyn Darkchild (brooklyndarkchild) | 6 comments This is very good Mg; you've got me Wanting More...

message 3: by D.K. (new)

D.K. (dkgaston) | 10 comments Thanks Brooklyn. This story has been locked in my head for a while. Decided to let it out and play. LOL

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