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The Waiting Room

~ Chapter Ten

Space Cadets and Skeleton Keys

Example content imageMort became aware that he was at his desk again, staring at the same blank screen, his mind a total abyss. There would be no writing again today.

Right on schedule, Wood emerged from the bathroom. The attire for today included a long sleeve, tight fitting white buttoned sweater topping a Catholic-school girl plaid skirt. His heels were simple black pumps that appeared to be a bit too long for him as he shuffled into the room.

The megaphone came up to his mouth.

“Good morning my good people. I hope we all slept well and woke with some fresh new ideas.”

Odd, Mort thought to himself, he could not recall ever just falling asleep. Or waking up. It was like one minute he was there, next minute gone, another minute there. He wondered, did they just disappear when Depp went to sleep? Would he ever completely forget them?

Sleep. The word made the author think as he watched the Glen kid head into the bedroom. Could he go to sleep himself? Without consequences? Could he just get up and do something spontaneous?
He became aware that more and more of The Idiots were milling around as they too became conscious of their own being. Before it was too late Mort made his move towards the couch, springing forward, twisting and landing on his back. The couch springs bounced and groaned beneath his weight before it finally settled down.

It was then Mort noticed something new. He was wearing a worn and tattered robe.

“S--t,” he cursed aloud, drawing the attention of Gilbert. He watched as the kid got down on his hands and knees, checking beneath the couch.

“What the hell you looking for?” Mort asked,his attention temporarily drawn away from the robe.

“You jumped pretty damn hard on that couch. Just wanted to be sure I didn’t have to send Roux down in the basement and support the floor. You know, he’s good at fixing things. But it looks pretty solid. I think you’ll be okay for today. But I wouldn’t be doing that everyday.”

“How in the hell would you get down there anyway?” Mort asked. He hadn’t even been aware there was a basement.

“I have a key.” Gilbert pulled the item from his pocket to show him. Mort flinched as he saw the ugly skeleton head that adorned the key.

“Where did you get that freaking thing?” Mort reached out to touch it but it was snatched from Grape’s hand before either could make another move.

“From me,” William Blake snapped. “My girl Angee gave it to me before I came here. You were only supposed to look at it, not take it. Next time…” Blake patted the gun beneath his coat, a warning to Gilbert.

“Won’t happen again, I promise.” Grape said softly. Blake narrowed his eyes at him, then turned and walked away, back to the table where he and Raphael had been drinking. Gilbert returned to his own table he shared daily with Axel, Wade and young Jack.

Mort pulled the robe tighter around himself. The small action reminded him that he was wearing it.

“S--t,” he repeated as he stared at the robe. If it was on him now it meant that nothing could be spontaneous. Everything was anticipated in this f--king room. It meant that there could be no element of surprise.

Rainey removed his glasses to rub his eyes. He kept his hand over his eyes trying to make sense of everything. As he lay there he realized:

No element of surprise meant no escape.
Every move was manipulated in here.

Mort felt the presence of a body near him and moved his hand to see.

Spencer Armacost had wondered over towards him, his attention diverted to some unseen forces beyond the boundaries of the room.

“Jesus,” Mort bitched aloud, “will someone get this space cadet away from me before I take a shovel to him!”

Gene made his way to the Commander, leading him to a safer place.

“There you go, Spence,” he said, “Looks like I saved you from Rainey in the nick of time.”

Mort twisted towards the back of the couch, stuffing a pillow over his head. But it didn’t help; for no matter how tight he tried to pull it over his face, he still couldn’t seem to suffocate himself.

“S--t,” the word slipped out again, “I can’t even f--king kill myself. This is never going to end.”

He wondered where in the hell he had left the shovel.


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