An unexpected dreaming phase happening lately…
The building is now mine. I’m going to need some information before putting it up for sale, so I go to my dad’s old office, bringing the six purple file folders I bought for 59 cents each at a remote kiosk.
When I arrive, Diane is working on several escrow files. I ask to see a particular file; she picks it out of a stack and hands it to me. I check it for something, then put it down.
I go into the other room to look for information on rents. I spot a sheet of paper taped to the front of a small file cabinet. On top of the cabinet is the sheet I’m looking for. About three-quarters down the page is the figure for monthly rents: $536,000. Depending on maintenance costs and property taxes, I may make enough money to not have to work.
I go back to my job. The company was recently bought by a larger firm; the new manager wants to have weekly progress meetings with everyone. Nobody is thrilled about this.
I start to feel sick—somewhere between food poisoning and being really drunk—so I blow off the meeting, go home, and collapse into bed.
When I wake up the next day, I feel much better. I go to work as usual. One of my co-workers tells me the new manager is not happy that I’ve skipped two meetings with him, and that he now wants to make the weekly progress meetings one-on-one.
My turn comes. I apologize for missing the meetings, and explain that I’ve been sick, but that I’m much better now. He speaks with a strong accent (Turkish?), so I don’t understand him when he speaks.
* * * * * * * * * *
As owner of the building, I decide to cater a barbecue for the company. Ribs. The smell wafts in from outside—so good!
I announce the barbecue, and we slowly head out to the parking lot. The above-ground pit is huge, roughly the size of an industrial dumpster. When they open the lid, the contents are huge, and covered in purple shavings, like somebody has cooked Barney. “That’s some Dino-sized shit!” somebody says.
* * * * * * * * * *
One of the employees (I assume) is testing a device inside the facility. If it doesn’t work, it’ll blow the place up, like a bomb. If it does work, nothing will happen—it’ll be like a neutron bomb.
He plunges the handle of the dynamite detonator. There’s no explosion. There is, however, lots of eerie pink, purple, and red light, and everything briefly turns dream-sequence wavy. “Mmmm… Neutrinos.”
* * * * * * * * * *
Something screwy is happening in the data center in the back. The equipment has begun to make loud noises, as though a chain reaction has started. Because there doesn’t seem to be anything we can do to stop it, we decide to evacuate.
“Wait,” I say. “ Have we disconnected it from the network? You know, pulled the cable? That way at least nothing else would be damaged.”
The noise grows louder. It’s too late. We grab what we can from our desks and run outside.
As we turn the corner on the next block, there’s a giant explosion. The buildings between us and the explosion provide some protection, but fragments of glass and debris shoot out from the cross streets for several blocks.
When things settle down, we go back to survey the damage.
The office is still standing, it’s interior brightly lit as though nothing had happened. But through the windows near the ceiling, an unruly mess of wires, like the tops of amber tumbleweeds, can be seen. I open the back door to have a look outside. Around the corner, in the alley, is the charred remains of a fire truck.
Since there’s nothing else to do for the day, my dad leaves the office.
I start thinking about what to do next. I wonder how this incident will affect how much I can sell the building for.
Then it occurs to me: insurance! Even if I can’t sell the building for as much as I was hoping, insurance should make up for some of the difference.
I go to my dad’s place, let myself in, and go upstairs. To my surprise, he is already in bed, though he is still awake.
“Dad? Did you call the insurance company?”
“Oh. Okay, I’ll do that in the morning.”
I look over at the digital clock on the dresser. The big red numbers read 12:43 a.m.
“Sorry—I didn’t realize it was so late already.”
I go down the stairs and leave.
Notes: Diane was my dad’s legal assistant for 18 years. His office was actually in one of the units of the small apartment building he owned; he lived in the unit on the top floor. The dynamite detonator was the old-fashioned type (think Wile E. Coyote).
(10 October 2021)
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