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Saturday, August 13, 2022

Terror Dome: A Short Story (Part 4)

    Jake had been going over some notes for a deposition that he had scheduled at 9:30 am Monday morning, but he had fallen asleep on the living room couch with notepad still in hand late that afternoon. He awakened to use the bathroom and realized that nightfall had set in, and he subsequently relieved his bladder and washed his hands before he went to the kitchen to fix himself something to eat. The clock on his microwave read 11:44 pm as he placed a plate of leftover lasagna inside of it. Once he finished warming his food, he sat back on the living room sofa and turned on the television before he began to eat. The movie that was showing didn’t pique his interest, so he just focused on satisfying his hunger because he had only drunk a beer the entire day.

    He then finished eating and pondered about calling Rachel. Her words about calling her anytime of the day echoed in his brain, so he grabbed his cell phone and dialed her number.

    “Hello?” she asked.

    He hesitated for a second and answered, “Hi, it’s Jake. I didn’t catch you at a bad time, did I?”

    “No, it’s fine. How are you doing?”

    “Okay, I guess.”

    “What’s on your mind?”

    He sighed and answered, “I know that we don’t know each other, but I still feel some sort of connection to you that I can’t wrap my mind around.”

    “I know…I feel the same strange connection. It’s as if we knew each other in another life or something. I felt so comfortable talking to you earlier today.”

    “Me, too.”

    “So, do you want to talk about your ex?”

    “Yeah, but it’s not just about her. I realized this afternoon that once my mother died of COVID four years ago, I was truly on my own. I don’t have any siblings, and I never really knew my father. My ex and my best friend of twenty years flipped the switch on me this weekend, and I’m still trying to process everything.”

    “I’m so sorry, Jake. You seem like a good person who didn’t deserve what happened to you.”

    “Thank you for the kind words, Rachel. It’s comforting to know that I can talk to you about this.”

    “You’re welcome, and I meant what I said…you can call me whenever you need to vent about something.”

    “Enough about me because I refuse to feel sorry for myself. Tell me something about you.”

    “What do you want to know?”

    “Well, for starters, are you in a relationship?”

    “No, I’m not. Like you, I was supposed to get married a year ago, but my ex left me for another woman. I didn’t find out about it until he came clean about getting her pregnant a month before the wedding.”

    “Wow, that’s terrible. I’m sorry he put you through that.”

    “Thanks, but I’m over it. He wanted to keep his newfound family together as if the five years that we spent together didn’t mean shit.”

    “Damn, I’m sorry to hear that, Rachel.”

West Loop Chicago

    “It was for the best, you know…it’s good that it happened before we got married.”

    “I agree…my ex did me a favor by breaking up with me before I proposed to her. It would’ve been a total disaster if I had found out about her cheating on me after the fact.”

    “Yeah, I suppose we both dodged a bullet.”

    She then sighed and asked, “What do you do for a living, Jake?”

    “I’m an attorney at a law firm in Chicago's West Loop.”

    “Wow, that’s great. Do you like it?”

    “It pays the bills, you know. I figure it’s too late to do something else…I’ll be thirty at the end of the year.”

    “Yeah, I know. I’ll be thirty this year, too, and I still haven’t figured out what I want to do with my life.”

    “Yeah, and the way things are going in this world, it may be too late for the both of us to do something else with our lives.”

    “What makes you say that?” she asked curiously.

    “I mean, look around you. The powers that be subtly have stripped everybody of their basic human rights…they’re trying to force people to be juiced with an unproven vaccine and tracked with the RFID chip. And if you don’t comply, you’ll be ostracized from society.”

    “I’ve told my friends the same thing countless times, but they don’t want to listen to me. I just got into a heated debate with one of them tonight at the bar, and needless to say, I don’t think that we’re going to be friends anymore.”

    “Damn, the same thing happened to me right before I met you…I got into an argument with my best friend over a debate about getting chipped. He came at me like I think I’m better than everybody just because I don’t follow the herd.”

    “I know exactly how you feel, Jake.”

    “So, what are we supposed to do, Rachel?”

    “We stick to our guns no matter what. I lost my job as an accounts payable clerk three years ago because I refused the shot, so I’ve been running my own business doing taxes ever since.”

    “Wow, that’s dope.”

    “Yeah, I do what I have to do to survive in this rat race.”

    He paused and said, “I need someone to do my taxes before the deadline. Can you squeeze me in somewhere?”

    “Of course, Jake. When do you want to come by?”

    “I don’t know…may be Tuesday or Wednesday of this week. Tomorrow is too busy for me, and I don’t know when my day will be finished.”

    “No worries. I can pencil you in for Tuesday at seven o’clock. Does that work for you?”

    “Sure, seven o’clock is fine.”

    “Great. I live in Oak Forest, and I’ll text you the address.”

    “Okay, that sounds good. See you on Tuesday.”

    “Yep, see you Tuesday. Goodnight, Jake.”

    “Goodnight, Rachel.”

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