This week, in exactly 26 words, your mission is to craft a story or poem using any definition, tense, or part of speech you choose of this word: Moon
“Final words?” the inmate mooned over the rose colored pin in the police officer’s pocket, “Her name was Rose. She deserved it.”
“Please, kill me quickly.”
Harold Marx/ Day One
First Post 05/19/2015
The weirdest thing happened at work today. I mean, weird things happen all the time, but this took the proverbial step up: The world ended. The entire office screamed like they were filming a Romero flick. I’d like to say everything was covered in flames, too. Instead, I missed the whole thing. I was busy working.
Okay, the world didn’t end. I was fired. Then, it started raining. They had to let me stay until it calmed down.
The boss—Jameson—slammed a stack of papers on my desk. “Sort and file. Sort and file,” he said. For those that have been following me, you know I've been working up the courage to tell him off. Today wasn't going to be the day since he already had the upper hand. I picked up the stack, sorted, and filed. I survived with one paper cut.
Around ten o’clock, I got up to get my morning coffee. Three co-workers surrounded the pot, gossiping about the latest episode of “Who Gives a Shit.” The guy leading the chat—I will often refer to as that guy-- asked me if I wanted to join in. He knew I didn't have cable. I told him every week. He said, “Did you see how they killed so and so?” Ignoring him, I respectfully told the group I’d like my coffee and they told me it was only for current employees. HR probably wouldn't care at this point how I responded to that. An awkward silence followed. Having read the books that their show was about, I delighted in revealing some spoilers.
That guy was the first screamer when the bombs hit. It wasn't from fear. He laughed. He said he was clearly going to be the Rick Grimes in the group. A girl from accounting said she would have to be Lori. I knew she didn't watch the show or read the books. She had a thing for that guy. I respectfully held my peace. Wait, did I say bombs? I mean when I was fired and he took my place as project manager for the team. Asshole.
Jameson switched the news on. He told me the rain should end soon. When it did, I wasn't welcome to return. I told him the weather man mentioned tornadoes, but he said things were too tense for me to stay. He then altered his voice, forcing it to be louder as if I didn't understand him the first time, “The dead have been walking in Central Park. Measures have been taken. Also, Harold Marx is fired. He can go now!”
I didn't hear the rest. The building shook. The TV went fuzzy. The Internet still worked. It seems like I might be stuck in the building a little longer after all.
Things just got interesting…
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It took a few hours of intense thunder and lightning, but the staff has accepted their fate. They are stuck with me while the world ends. I mean, this wasn't without serious debate. That guy tried to push me into the elevator. He said, “If the weather is so bad, why does Facebook still work, huh?” That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. My safety is moot unless Facebook signs off.
Jameson heard the lunatic. He decided to ignore him and saw it as an opportunity to get some work done. He probably wanted me to hit the road. If the dead were roaming the streets, he’d delight in my untimely death.
I, on the other hand, was transcribing finance reports. I hope bards of the future will sing my song. Aliens will read the history of my life and find poetry. Here was a man working harder after being fired than he ever did while he was still employed.
The five o’clock go home bell was coming, but the storms were getting worse. I was craving a shower, but I think I’ll make it. As long as the office has the coffee supply cabinets full, I’ll survive. Most of the teams on the floor were planning potlucks when the tornadoes came, so we are good on food.
Well, I don’t have a lot to post right now, but I’m starting to get nervous. Could the world really be ending? I’ll put things to rest for now.
UPDATE: It appears some of the jerks in IT have banded together. There are about five of the bastards. Around lunch time they went in the bathroom, ripped parts of their sleeves, and made headbands. They've formed a circle around the coffee machine. One of them carries a list. I checked it out. Their keeping track of the amount of coffee the staff drinks. It is limited to one cup per person. When I protested, they said I should’ve joined their clan when they predicted this years ago.
Update 2: Scratch everything I said about things going fine. The staff is furious. Clans are being formed. There are talks of throwing people from windows. The nerds are going down.
It took a few hours, but that guy was successful in coordinating a proper attack against the IT department. In the defense of IT, they put up a good fight.
While they did stack the bags of coffee beans like sandbags at war time, it wasn’t enough. Armed with letter openers, four of them stood guard. One, the uber-nerd, accepted a role as king of the coffee grounds. They were plenty proud of themselves. Then, the office staff took charge. Staplers, pens, computer monitors, panties; they all went flying.
Susan from HR fashioned her mouse in to a flail by gluing thumbtacks to its surface. I'm not going to lie. She had three confirmed kills. She probably could have taken their fortress on her own. Most of them died.
It was a great boost for morality overall.
Lunch was a different story. While the office relished in their victory by hiding the bodies in the elevator, I watched the windows. The army-led attacks on Central Park were hardly enough to stave off the approaching zombie invasion. Others are breaking bread; I'm spending the rest of my break trying to find a way out of this mess.
Jameson has reminded me that I am no longer employed. Being as such, I don’t get breaks.
Six members of the staff ran away after lunch.
Five of them had their legitimate reasons for leaving. They had family back home. Their families were scared, frightened. I wouldn't for a second have blamed them for leaving if I didn't already hate them. Actually, now I feel pretty bad for not making heads or tails of their names.
Number six, however, didn't evade me. Gerald. It was hard to say what his job was for the company. He mostly stopped working two years ago. I knew who he was due to his tendency to nap while he was on the toilet. No, I don’t do any stall watching. Gerald just happens to snore while he is doing his business.
No one knows what happened to the other five. We all know what happened to Gerald. His plan’s flaw rose up when it was clear he had no set direction he was heading in and it didn't help that he fell asleep three times on the way.
He also walked straight into the zombies. Right, I should mention that. See, the storms calmed down, but then the dead rose from their graves. Jameson was furious but only because I still couldn't leave.
Gerald’s right arm went first. The skin shredded from his body like a tightly wound blanket. The left arm came off even quicker. It was weak from when he had slept on it earlier in the day. Luckily, he didn't have to suffer for very long. His head went next. The rest was history for Gerald.
I can’t swear by these events because I didn't watch. This is just how that guy told the story. Maybe he’s okay. I don’t know.
Sure, I’m not proud of myself for believing any of that, but it keeps my long day interesting.
I've begun to question the morality of the team when they attacked the IT department for control of the coffee. Their complete disregard for Gerald’s death hammered the nail in the coffin. I imagine it is only a matter of time before we start to lose all hope.
Meanwhile, my work continues.
We got a chance to bond before the office emptied. Everyone, including that guy, had an opportunity to redeem themselves before they made their descent into madness. A small stash of drinks was shared. Stories were told. We got along famously.
It was appropriate, necessary. It was only a matter of time before the agony of unrelenting change would take over. We were a self-entitled bunch that had to overcome that our materials that we clung to so tightly were gone. Being devoured by the hungry undead was the only thing that made sense.
I watched as one by one someone would run out of the building and practically disappear into a cloud of red mist. The zombies finally stopped attacking the building. Their meal was coming to them.
Now, it is only me. Who am I? Does it matter? I’m Harold Marx. This is my attempt to survive.
Okay, fine. None of that really happened. The storm finally stopped, but Jameson hasn’t told me to leave yet. Maybe, I’ll stay here tonight while I begin the job hunt…
And The Cubs Go Down
“Shit, shit, shit,” I shrieked. Four of Chicago’s finest were on my tail. I hurdled over a few baby carriages and dogs that were extended too far from their retractable leashes. The police were not going to get me or my sentimental loot.
Before anyone can judge, I want to clear up a few things. Firstly, I had a good reason for running from the police. I just haven’t rehearsed it enough to recite it confidently in a court of law. Secondly, I did not mean to take her purse. I went in the bank for money. I had this great plan to hold up the customers for all of their valuables. I’ll admit it wasn't an original plan, but even movie remakes make money, am I right?
Things went south immediately. I ordered everyone to empty their wallets and hand me their jewelry. One lady just handed me her purse. I knew it had looked familiar, but I couldn't place it right away. My mind swirled with the licorice tinted, snake skin outer shell. The sharp golden teeth that made up the zipper and the—shit—red lipstick and pen—shit shit—red tinted sunglasses—shit shit shit—and the car keys that likely went to a car that she could no longer drive. It was unmistakable. That wasn't just any purse. It was Grandma’s purse. I looked up. I was staring eye to eye with the only living person who could delineate me perfectly to the police.
“Jimmy?” she asked sweetly.
Gazing into her eyes, I was reminded of the Mickey Mouse waffles and strawberry milkshakes she used to make me for breakfast. This was the lady who raised me when my parents couldn't be bothered. She was the only person I truly ever loved. THWACK. This was the lady who just smacked me over the head with her cane while the police were on their way. THWACK. My vision had gone blurry. Grandma was kicking my ass.
“What are you doing, Jimmy? Give me back my purse,” she exclaimed.
I dodged her third attempt to whack me over the head. Scrambling out of the bank, holding my sweet, cane-swinging grandmother’s purse, I yelled, “I love you!” I refused to be arrested. The police were close behind. One fired a warning gunshot. I leapt into a duck and roll and dropped the purse. Shit.
As the purse fell out of my hands, a guy who looked like I just handed him a Christmas present snatched it and ran. If the police were chasing me, it must be worth something, right? I gaped, dumbfounded, as he sprinted away.
Jail time impending, a new urge flipped a switch in my heart. That man had Grandma’s purse. He wasn't going to get away. I spotted a baseball behind a trashcan on the city sidewalk. Throwing was never my strong suit in little league, but Grandma never missed a game. I couldn't let her down.
I reeled back. The gentleman was still in my range. I threw the pitch. The batter swings and—BAM. The Cubs go down!
The officers cuffed me. The one who fired the warning shot asked me why I did it. I didn't care what he was referring to as I gingerly replied, “I love Grandma.”
Thomas William Shaw is an author and stage actor from Birmingham, AL. He lives with his wife, Lauren, their children, and their cats in a quiet place. Occasionally he will post about it.