Friday, September 4, 2009

#fridayflash--When He Comes Calling


Another Day almost done. Reggie sat in front of the TV with his dinner--a microwave burrito and a handful of cheese twists. How had he survived without Margaret? She'd been gone for almost a year now, and though people said he'd adjust, he hadn't. In their forty-six years together, Margaret had been his everything, his entire life. Without her he was just going through the motions, and he wasn't sure he wanted to do that anymore.

As he took a bite of his bean and cheese burrito, the doorbell rang. "Who's that?" he muttered. No one had come to visit since Margaret's funeral. Reggie pushed himself up and shuffled towards the front door.

The bell rang again. "I'm moving as fast as I'm gonna." When he opened the door, a man, probably in his mid-thirties, stood on the porch. He wore a three-piece suit, carried an attache case, and had salesman written all over him.

"Hello, Reginald," the man said. "How are you feeling today?"

Reggie scrutinized the man a bit more. Nope, didn't recognize him. "Who are you?"

"This visit isn't about me, Reginald. How are you today?"

"I'm tired, I hurt, and I miss the hell out of my wife."

"Which is why I'm here." The man walked past Reggie into the house. Reggie wasn't much for strangers, but for some reason he didn't protest.

"Been hard without Margaret, hasn't it?" The man looked over at Reggie's TV tray. "Dinner certainly was better."

"It was, but I like microwave burritos. You still haven't stated your name or your business."

The man sat down on the couch next to Reggie's dinner and helped himself to a cheese twist. As he ate it, he looked like he would choke, but managed to swallow. "Honestly, I don't know how you people survive on this . . . this junk you consider food. Just the thought of eating here makes me glad I can head home for meals."

"You don't need to bad-mouth my supper," Reggie said. "I never did offer you any."

"I apologize, Reginald. I meant no offense."

"It's okay. You ain't told me your name or your business, so I won't bother askin' where you're from."

"You'll find out in due time, Reginald. Just be patient. Why don't you finish your dinner?"

The stranger stood up to give Reggie room to sit. Reggie hadn't realized how famished he was. He hadn't been this hungry since before Margaret got sick. He took a big bite from his burrito and chewed slowly.

"It may not be Margaret's special meatloaf, but it does have its charm." He placed a cheese twist in his mouth and grimaced. "You're right about these, though. Teach me to save a few cents on a cheap brand."

The stranger chuckled. "Where you're going, they're all name brands."

Reggie sat back in the couch and folded his hands behind his head. "I don't know why you think I'm going with you. I don't understand why I even let you in."

The stranger took a seat in the easy chair next to the couch. "You're lonely."

"And where exactly do you think you're taking me?"

"I can promise you this, Reginald: you'll have so many friends, you'll never be lonely again. And the food." The man licked his lips. "As I've said, it's far better than anything you can get here."

"So it's your hometown, eh? And when did you think you'd get me to leave?"

The stranger stood up. "Why, Reginald, we've already left."

"What?" Reggie leapt to his feet--far faster than he had in the past fifteen years--and knocked his TV tray over. He didn't watch his dinner splat on the carpet; he'd already turned his attention to the stranger.

"See for yourself." The man made a motion with his arm towards the couch, and when Reggie's eyes followed, he saw himself lying rigid. The TV tray indeed lay toppled over, and his burrito and chips scattered across the rug. Boy, Margaret would've reamed him good for that. He glanced over to the hallway, but in its place was a wall of bright light.

"Step in, Reginald. They're all waiting for you. Especially Margaret. You're all she can talk about."

"Margaret." Reggie didn't look back as he passed through the light. In seconds, the stranger heard terrified scrams, and he chuckled. "They always think I'm offering heaven." With a puff of smoke, he vanished.


I hope you enjoyed my second foray into #fridayflash. I'd be thrilled if you took the time to leave comments on this story. Thanks for reading!