South Desert Storage 4

“Hamburgers or hotdogs tonight, ma’am?”

“Jesus, you scared the crap out of me, Joe! I didn’t even hear you pull up!”

“Oh, I’m sorry. Lucky it’s just me and not some maniac out here though!” Joe was my boss. If you could call him that. If a “boss” is a person who often disregards things you have to say (I don’t know if it’s intentional or not), brings you food every other week so you don’t starve, and ignores almost all of your calls until they pop up out of no where behind you.

“Ha, yeah. That’s right,” I said while thinking why the hell would you say that? 

“2A, huh? Well now, I thought that unit was empty. None of this stuff should be in here,” he said.

“What stuff? Do you know what’s in here?” I asked. I could tell the unit was filled to the brim with stuff, but it was all covered over with ugly brown tarps.

“Oh, what’s in any of these units? Crap, probably. Don’t bother yourself with it, though. I’ll have this space cleared out this afternoon.”

“Why? What do you mean? You can’t just leave it here?” I was trying not to sound suspicious. Maybe he was too, though.

“Well,” he chuckled, “If something’s not supposed to be here, it shouldn’t be here!” His tone then changed. He sounded sad, desperate almost. “You should know that by now.”

Joe left right after dropping my groceries off. He didn’t say another word to me until he left. When he did, he perked up just for one “Well, see ya in two weeks!” and then regained his sad demeanor.

I had to know what was in the unit.

When I ran outside, a moving truck with two men was already at work removing the contents. How did they get here so fast? Why have I not heard anyone enter the facility all day? The men were working quickly, like they were on a tight schedule. When they saw me approaching they didn’t look at me, but made conscious efforts not to. They began working even faster, silently. I stood watching as one was loading in the last of the items: in one hand a stained-glass lamp, and in the other its shade. In his hurry the man dropped the glass lamp. He tossed the shade into the truck and bent down to pick up the broken lamp. His partner ran over and slapped him on the back and then made a let’s-get-the-hell-out-of-here gesture towards the front of the truck. The two then scurried off.

I quickly ran inside and grabbed a broom and dustpan once I could no longer see the truck. I scooped up the lamp and headed inside.

I waited until business hours were closed, even though I knew no one else would be showing up today.

I readied myself with a baseball bat, I was wearing a football helmet that I was borrowing from some rich family that was into sports and had to come around every season to switch out their crap. I was sitting at the table, with the broken lamp in the middle. It was glass, painted blue. It didn’t look like it was from a chain store, but rather customized by its owner. I placed a chair opposite me from the table, hoping that when I touched the glass, its owner would show up in the chair I had provided for it, or would at least be happy that I had provided it a place to sit. “I am an extremely old demon, who was all too prepared to eat your soul, but upon finding this chair, I think we’ll get along just fine,” the owner would say. “Have you any tea?”

I just hoped I’d be right. Or close. I just didn’t want to die or get knocked unconscious again.

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