Interlude6 mins 1.1K 6 mins 1.1K
Evan Carmichael closed his eyes in relief as the clock on the office wall read six o'clock. "God! It was a long day," he thought. Grabbing his laptop, he carefully tucked it away in its case and headed for the elevator. These long hours were killing him, he thought, as he rubbed the knotted muscles in the back of his neck.
On hitting the down button, the doors of the elevator opened right away revealing another person inside - an elderly gentleman with a classic derby hat sitting precariously on a head of snow white hair. Evan hit the ground floor button and stood waiting as it glided down slowly. The man next to him had an interesting cane adorned with a bejeweled lion's head. "Very unique," Evan thought. It looked hand-carved and ancient.
Finally, the elevator landed on the ground floor and they both stepped out at the same time. Suddenly, the elderly man stumbled, his cane caught in the crack of the floor where the doors of the elevator slid shut. Evan caught him quite conveniently, helping the man loosen his cane from where it was lodged. As he bent over to pull it out, the elderly man leaned in near his ear and whispered, "Today will be different."
"Excuse me?" Evan questioned, puzzled. Cane extracted, the man walked away, glancing over his shoulder to give a slight nod of acknowledgment. Evan shrugged.
"Crazy old man!" he thought. He wondered how many old farts were out there falling all over the place and driving cars through plate glass windows of Walmart.
As he left his office building, he felt the stifling heat of the Texas sun blast him in the face, reflected from the blistering asphalt. It was a smoldering 102 degrees Fahrenheit outside and he dreaded getting into the car, not two blocks away. He couldn't wait to get home and just put his feet up, have Marie make him a nice, cold ice tea, and just relax.
His wife of twenty-five years, Marie, had gained a little weight, let her hair go, and basically shopped her life away - his life away, if truth be told - on the shopping networks online. Once a beautiful, sexy young woman, after their daughter was born, she seemed to think that it was no longer necessary to look good. Their sixteen-year-old daughter, Jennifer, was no better - a new boyfriend every week. Evan was sure she'd be announcing that she was knocked up by the time summer was over. Her attitude was such that he wanted to smack her at times.
The drive home was ridiculously slow and steaming as he watched the heat waves rising in squiggly lines off the hoods of cars traveling along I-88. He could feel the beads of sweat running down the middle of his back, soaking his white dress shirt as he drove the last few miles to his small, Tudor-style home on Oak St.
Pulling onto his street, he felt a tinge of annoyance when he spied two strange vehicles in the circular driveway, forcing him to park his own car on the street in front.
"Damn it!" he exclaimed, slamming his hand on the steering wheel for emphasis, "She knows I hate to come home to a company!"
Angrily slamming his car door, he strode up the house ready to give her a piece of his mind. He pulled at the outer screen door, opening it, but the inner door was still firmly locked.
"Locked? Since when?" he wondered. He knocked on the door angrily, surprised to see Jennifer, eyes wide and questioning.
"Dad? What are you doing here?" she asked, looking back over her shoulder.
"Don't get smart, Jennifer, open the goddamned door!" Evan said, his patience at an end as he felt the cool blast of the air-conditioned interior of the house. Not the time for her to be a smart ass, Evan thought.
"Moooom! You better come here, now!" Jennifer yelled loudly.
"Jennifer! I said open the door before I kick it in!" Evan shouted, unable to believe she was still standing there.
Evan stopped in disbelief as one of their friends from down the street, Corey Langsford, stood in the doorway, guiding Jennifer behind him.
"Corey? What the hell are you doing here? Does someone want to tell me what the hell is going on here?" Evan yelled.
"Evan, just calm down. You are obviously in a state, and we don't want any trouble," Corey said in a soft, relaxed manner.
"State? Calm? I'll show you calm, you bastard," Evan said, raising his fist, "Why the hell are you in my house?"
"Evan!" Marie stood in the doorway, her face a mask of horror at her ex's appearance. "You are violating your stay away order, Evan! Why are you here?" Marie reminded.
"What the fuck are you people talking about? I live here! Why is Corey Langsford here? Why am I locked out?" he felt a niggling of fear start in the pit of his stomach, "What the hell is going on?"
"Evan, we're divorced now, I divorced you last year, remember? You haven't lived here in over a year!" she said softly, "Are you okay?"
Evan was speechless. Divorced? Was this some kind of cruel joke?
"If what you tell me is the truth, how can I have forgotten it?" he asked, "How can I go to work one day and just forget something so unforgettable? You want to explain that to me, Marie? This is a joke, right? Ok, hahaha, very funny, the joke is over, now open the goddamned door, Marie, it's freaking hot out here!"
He saw his wife's, or so-called ex-wife's helplessness as she reached for Corey's hand. He also saw pity in his daughter's eyes that infuriated him. This was preposterous! How could he have no memory of a divorce?
Confused, and more than a little scared, he then grew angry again as he looked at Corey. Corey Langford? In his house?
"Soo, what is it then, you two are a hot item now, is that it?" Evan sneered, "How long after this so called divorce did you wait, asshole, before you decided to fuck my wife?"
"Evan! It wasn't like that and you know it!" she exclaimed hotly, pushing Jennifer and Corey behind her in her anger, "Let's get the facts straight, shall we? You left me. Remember? The whole Brandi thing? Oh, that's right, look confused, asshole! You got what you wanted, didn't you? Or did she leave you for a younger man? Is that it, Evan?"
Just then, a car pulled up and the window rolled down revealing a woman who may have been beautiful once upon a time but was now a bloated, bleached blonde. Evan saw two very heavy children in the back seat fighting and screaming in the air-conditionless car.
"There you are! Forget where you live, Evan?" she yelled, "You get home right now or I'm gonna beat you within an inch of your life, you scumbag!"
Evan collapsed on the stoop of his house, remembering the old man's words, "Today will be different!" From far away he heard his real family asking if he was okay, and his nightmarish family screaming at him from the street. The words of the man in the elevator echoed in his head over and over. From far away, he heard the voice of his wife, "Call 911!" then, blessed darkness.