INTERESTING TIMES 3
Waking up, Margot found herself wrapped in yesterday’s clothes, yesterday’s filth, yesterday’s mysteries. She immediately searched the nightstand drawers for the pack of cigarettes she swore she would never touch.
The cigarettes were stale and made her queasy as she took a deep drag. It was something else to think about. She stared at her hands. She was still wearing the burgundy gloves. They felt natural and didn’t obstruct the movement of her hands.
She put it al lout of her mind and prepared for another day in her boring office, doing her boring job. The job with the numbers and the stamping and the paper. Margot showered and tried her best to follow her usual morning routine. She wanted things to be normal. She wanted to be dull and happy and she planned to dress accordingly.
It was a bright and paisley day as Margot approached her closet. The paisley faded as she opened her closet and found it filled with suits. Blue, brown, black, pin striped and innocuous, they taunted her. Her blouses had disappeared and were replaced by lightly starched button down shirts in white, light blue, and tan. She was confused, but on the verge of being late for work.
She dressed in the black suit and found a wonderfully ugly neck tie in the jacket pocket. She put on the only pair of shoes she could readily find in the apartment. It was a pair of black loafers made my that company that makes all the shoes for the cops in London. She couldn’t remember the name.
She put on her burgundy gloves and the trenchcoat that had replaced all her outer wear. When did all this happen? Was her apartment invaded while she slept or did she miss it all while she was being questioned by the police? Irrelevant questions, it had happened and she had to deal with it or freak out.
Margot stared in the full length mirror and noticed how much she looked like Gerald Munk had in the Municipal Plaza. She grabbed the revolver and placed it into the pocket of the trench. The strange little lead soldier, she wrapped in a velvet bag and placed inside the other pocket.
The Orangutan on the mantle stared at her with an almost supernatural approval as she closed the door and headed to work.
None of the events of the the morning had been usual, but Margot didn’t even flinch. Some of it had been surprising, but none of it shocking. It was all normal compared to her exchange with Mr. Munk by the wishing well. She walked confidently across Municipal Plaza. She stopped at her lunch bench, checked her watch, and decided there was enough time for a cigarette.
The Plaza was oddly devoid of people. The corrugated wishing well stood alone surrounded by police tape. The giant metal thing that was supposed to be art was still slick with the morning dew. All the details seemed sharper. The air beyond her cigarette smoke was sweet and musky. She could hear the soft sounds of distant traffic, the hum of the streetlights blinking out as they welcomed the new day.
From her place on the bench, the only sacred space she had ever really known, Margot’s mind peeled away each scent, sight and sound. It was the process of her organized brain touching the Universe. It felt easy and natural.
Why wasn’t she freaking out? She had no urge to panic, no urge for urgency. She was aware of her existence, of her own breathing...and footsteps. Soft and slow footsteps getting closer.
Margot opened her eyes. There was a man standing in front of her. He wore white sneakers and brand new, fresh from the store blue jeans, a pair of street vendor sunglasses and a baseball hat that hadn’t had the bill bent yet.
“Hello Ms. Bensen.” He said, spending a little too much time on the “S” in Ms. “I’m a friend of Mr. Munk’s, He has asked me to retrieve the object from you.”
Margot looked at him again as she stood up and threw her cigarette to the ground. This was a terrible disguise. She recognized her supervisor from the office, and the fact that he thought she could be fooled by such a disguise was insulting.
She recalled the note she received from Gerald Munk. ‘ Please remain armed more often than not. Always introduce yourself to clients via the provided calling cards and always wear your gloves while on duty.’
The stranger was not wearing burgundy gloves.
Margot kicked, and the comfortable shoes that the company she couldn’t remember the name of made for the London police force, landed squarely on the family jewels of the supposed friend of Mr. Munk.
Margot ran. She was pretty sure that if she lived through the next 24 hours, she would be fired anyway. She looked over her shoulder and saw the poorly disguised figure of her boss on his knees and hunched over.
She decided that the sooner she made the delivery the better. The address was burned into her brain along with all the other instructions. Margot didn’t know if she was going to enjoy these interesting times, but she was sure that Mr. Munk was proud of her. Somehow, that was the most important thing to her. She didn’t know why.
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