MONDAY THE THIRTEENTH – It hates you, too.
“Do I have to?” Tommy stood at the employee entrance, rubbing his head. Monday had just begun, and it couldn’t end soon enough. He had overslept. His shoelace broke. He arrived late, and with a hangover from Hennessy.
Thankfully, his job at the undersized overstock warehouse didn’t require many, if any at all, of his synapses to be firing. It was a mindless and mind-numbing job, but, as they all liked to joke, the atmosphere and the pay more than made up for it. The guys didn’t really joke as much as they made crude or sarcastic remarks at the expense of the others. To a man they kept the rancor flowing all day long, except when gobbling down doughnuts, coffee, Big Macs and fries. Even then, having mouths stuffed with food barely slowed down the steady output of insults and dirty jokes.
Tommy waved his badge at the lock and heard the buzz. The sound reminded him of being at the dentist, only the pain was worse. The back door clicked open. Now the fun really would begin. He could hear it already, the requisite Monday-hating remarks and sarcasm. Craig stood with his hand on the door, knowing exactly what was coming. Dreading it.
First, Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dumber would practically jump him at the timeclock, shooting their finger-guns at him. “Look who finally decided to join us!” More finger guns. “Welcome back, Kotter!” (They were old guys.)
Before he could take another step, Fox would hit him with a loud blast of surliness. “Happy stinkin’ Monday!” Fox’s misery loved company, and he had a knack for inflicting it upon others.
“Oh boy! Another day in paradise!” That would be Ralph, and heavy layers of snark and sarcasm.
And then would come Ali’s mock jocularity. “Livin’ the dream! I’m just livin’ the dream!” Ali would screech it so loudly there was absolutely no need for the repetition. There was no need to say it the first time, either.
It was, Tommy thought, like being forced to watch a horrible television show. Repeatedly. The same stupid episode week after week. Everybody Hates Monday.
If (and it was a big if, an impossible hypothetical scenario, actually) Tommy for some unknown reason did like Mondays (he really, really didn’t), these clowns and their asinine greetings would surely change his mind in a hurry.
Tommy groaned and the throbbing in his head increased. He made a mental note to double up on the lottery tickets this week. For now, there was no hope. “Might as well get this over with.” He pushed open the warehouse door and braced himself for the onslaught. He was immediately struck by overwhelming… silence.
And then he was standing back up and rubbing his head, which now really hurt badly. He remembered how he had always fainted at the sight of blood. There was plenty of it in front of him. The horrible sight, blood and gore of Tarantino proportion was etching itself into his brain.
The “meat room” at the grocery store he once worked at was pristine compared to the walls and floor in front of him. Those clowns in the frozen foods department had ordered him to clean it once at the end of a busy day, and then mocked him for passing out. That was his last day at that job.
This day was decidedly worse. Everyone was there, as expected, but everyone was dead three times over. At least three times. He fought to stifle a scream and to keep himself from retching and failed at both.
Ned and Ted, aka Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dumber were the first two bodies he saw. Both had been shot at close range, and the way they lay made it appear as if they had killed one another. The thought of either of the two idiots possessing firearms made this particular outcome practically inevitable. How on earth, though, had they shot each other so many times? And with what?
Tommy bit his knuckles and looked beyond the bullet-ridden duo.
And wished he had not. The utility garbage receptacle was tipped over, enough to see Fox. Parts of him, at least, amongst the putrefied trash that should have been taken out the previous week. The stench took Tommy’s breath away and the sight took his breakfast. Fox’s family was going to get the death and dismemberment bonus from his life insurance policy, that much was certain.
Tommy should have dialed 911, should have got out of there fast. In fact, his rubbery legs wanted to carry him out the door. They were all dead, he knew, but he felt the need to verify. Some small part of him thought he might see a sign of life, or unlikely as it might be, some hint that this was some grotesque practical joke. He took a few more wobbly steps across the concrete floor.
There he found Ralph. A Hawaiian lei was wrapped around his throat tightly enough that there was no need to check for a pulse. His eyes bulged out of head, and the leafy top of a pineapple protruding from his mouth was quite literally overkill. His cheeks puffed out, like they did when he demonstrated how many Twinkies from the snack machine he could fit into his yapper at the same time. Eleven was his record, if memory served. But this? An entire pineapple? It hurt Tommy to think about it.
There was only one coworker left to learn the fate of. It didn’t take too many steps forward or a second look to see that Ali was as dead as the others. Maybe a little bit more. He lay prone just a few steps into the first supply aisle. His arms were folded across his chest, his head atop a jacket neatly folded into a pillow. He looked all for the world as if Ali were simply taking a nap. If only his gently resting head had been still attached to the resting body.
This was truly terrible. None of it made sense. It was all so… gruesome. And down went Tommy once again.
When he got up off the floor this time, it all made sense.
Ned and Ted, looking as if they’d both gone down in a hail of bullets. Shot up by … Finger guns!
Fox, dumped in with the ripe garbage. “Happy stinking Monday.”
The Hawaiaan tableu, Ralph’s death by pineapple. “Another day in paradise.”
And finally, the eternally snoozing Ali. “Living the dream.”
Tommy began to shudder uncontrollably. And then, he began to laugh. He stopped after a long while, drew a ragged breath, and started roaring again. Finally, he looked around., tears streaming from his eyes. “You know,” he commented to no one, “I could really start to like Mondays.”
He wasn’t fooling Monday, though. Or escaping it, either. On the good side, his day would soon be over, as he had wished from the beginning.