Sunday, October 12, 2014

Interesting Times (part 1) you may have to nag me for further installments

Margot Bensen lived an ordinary life, in an ordinary apartment.   She had a particularly dull job as the third assistant in charge of paperwork at the sales office of WXST FM radio.  She had no idea that she hated her job,  She was oblivious to how bored she was for 8 tedious hours a day.  
“Ms. Bensen,”  Her boss hissed, always accenting the s in Ms. a little too long, like a snake eating peanut butter.  “I need you to verify the numbers on the third quarter profits.  Yo need to liaise with the sales dept. and make sure the figures are finalized for the fiscal….”
In Margot’s head it was all Blabbity, blabbity, blab.  She was busy signing and stamping and adding numbers.  Margot was exceptionally average at everything.
That day during lunch, Margot took her usual walk across the Municipal Plaza where the disfigured steel thing sat.  It was supposed to be art, but Margot always thought it was the physical representation of a really painful sneeze.  She sat on her usual bench in the shadow of “the Metallic Sneeze” and proceeded to eat the sandwich she brought from home.  Ham and Cheese on White Bread with Mayo and crustless, it was the same every day.  The only thing that ever changed was the title of the Mystery Novel she was reading.
Marathons, parades, and street performers could not distract Margot from the exciting world that existed in the pages of the latest mystery novel.  It wasn’t until she saw the man standing at the cardboard wishing well.  It was one of those pre-fab double corrugated wishing wells that charities put out to collect donations.  The Man stood there checking his pockets for spare change.
Margot was intrigued by the man.  His gray suit and shiny black shoes were mundanely attractive.  In her head she knew it, was never a good idea talk to strangers,  Against her better judgement she found herself walking towards him.
“Looking to make a wish?” she said shyly.
Mr. Gray Suit smiled at her.  “I never wish for myself.  There’s nothing I need.”  He looked at her with his crystal blue eyes and smiled.
Margot handed him a quarter.  “Then,” she said. “Make a wish for me.”
“You don’t want that.”  He said.  “Wishes are a reflection of Karma.  My wishes are special.  I never know where they’ll lead.”
“I don’t believe in Karma.”  Margot said.  “Life is life, you play the hand you're dealt.”
The blue eyed man tsked at her.  “You should always believe in Karma.  It’s those who don’t that get bitten in the ass when the worm turns.”
“I don’t usually get into philosophical conversations with strangers.”  Margot said as she pushed her oversized glasses a little higher on her nose.
“My apologies,”  The blue eyed man said as he produced a business card.
The card was thick, like it would take effort to rip it in half.  Margot ran a fingertip over the raised letters.  It was a very impressive business card.  She studied it carefully.  “Hello Mr. Gerald Munk of the Mystic Trading Emporium.  I’m Margot Bensen.  She extended her hand.
Mr. Munk, wearing his burgundy leather driving gloves, took her hand and kissed it in a courtly fashion.  “Well Ms. Bensen, tell me, What do you want me to wish for you.”
She rolled the question around in her mind.  Margot did not really want anything.  She had a secure job, a nice(ish) apartment, a collection of really good books, and a series of gentleman callers who escorted her about town to proper events and such.  She thought about the heroines in her novels, and reviewed her life.  She found it, for the first time, dull and uneventful.
Margot wanted passion and adventure and romance, but those are not the things that you tell a complete stranger,  She didn’t want to sound like a tramp.  She remembered a quote from al old movie or something.  “May you live in interesting times.” she finally responded.
“Really?”  Mr. Munk responded, “You do realize that in some cultures, that very phrase is considered a curse.”
“I don’t believe in curses either.” Margot said.
Mr. Gerald Munk took Margot’s quarter and tossed it into the cardboard charity wishing well, he closed his eyes and made her wish.
This was the last thing that Gerald Munk of the Mystic Trading Emporium ever did.  There was a gunshot, and a panic,  The gathered crowds in Municipal Plaza ran in whatever direction they determined the shot had not originated.
Margot did not move as Mr. Munk collapsed in front of her.  His perfect gray suit stained with blood.  His crystal blue eyes now glassy and white.  Eyes the same pallor as Margot’s skin.  She tries to support his collapsing body.  She tries not to scream as the police sirens punctuate the air.
She suddenly wanted to unwish her wish.  If this was the beginning of interesting times, Margot wanted to return to being boring.

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