Monday, December 04, 2006

I wake up and everybody's dead

I am in an office. I am on the floor looking at the acoustic-tile ceiling. Somewhere, an alarm clock beeps. I sit up.

There are many desks in the building and at every desk is a dead body.

I try to remember the last thing I did.

I went grocery shopping, I think. I needed to buy milk and ice cream and an apple, I know I needed an apple.

I touch one of the dead bodies. It moves strangely, rollingly, and it makes me step away and look at a different dead body, but all of the dead bodies look very similar, with similar colors and similar clothing made to similar cuts.

I say, "It's not right to wake up surrounded by dead bodies."

I watch the dead bodies like I expect them to say something but they don't say anything and after a while I walk to the elevator. I take the elevator down to the lobby, forty floors below. Music is playing in the elevator, light music with a soothing beat and with no words, but the feeling like there should be words, and really the music is terrible and stupid and I hate it but I can't explain why I hate it so I spend the trip down to the lobby arguing for and against this music, debating the merits of lyrics versus no lyrics and passive versus active listening or something, and all the arguments seem true and perfect just until they are deflected by newer arguments that also seem true and perfect.

I walk through the lobby and outside. Cars drive somewhere with people in them and the people don't say anything or wave.

A boy walks along the sidewalk and stops in front of me. He says, "Can I borrow two dollars? I need to buy some milk."

I tell the boy about the dead people in the office building.

He says, "You should come to the grocery store with me and we can share the milk together, and we can be a team and steal it if we don't have any money. We need milk to survive."

"Okay," I answer.

The grocery store is empty and there is no milk so we steal sodas from the stockroom and hide behind a stack of pallets. The pallets are old and dirty and we construct a fort from them. We use cardboard boxes and old milk boxes and aprons we find hanging in the employee lounge.

I sit cross-legged next to the boy, inside the fort and we drink our sodas and lay back and stare at the roof of our fort and the aprons, which are blue, but not like the sky, and we throw our empty soda bottles as far as we can and listen to them clatter around on the concrete floors, and the boy smiles at me and I smile back at him and we forget about the dead bodies in the office building and take a nap in the fort. Later, I wake up. The boy is still sleeping. I stare at the blue-apron roof for a while, then roll onto my stomach and go back to sleep.

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