You Are A Death Risk
By BD Scott
The morning breeze caressed his hand like a welcoming handshake. And with it, the sun warmed his face, reminding him that a good life excludes no one.
“Maybe attitudes won’t be in the shitter today, ” Dremond muttered, pulling his hand back inside his Ford Truck. As he drove in and negotiated a parking spot, he glanced at all around his worksite.
“Fuck. Same BS, different day.”
Entering the worksite meant dealing with more crap to wade through than a field of exploding toilets.
“Nuthing changes round here,” He mumbled, re-arranging his heavy reflective gear, while workers around him swore with faces down, fists clenching and complaining about lousy work conditions and awful pay for the millionth time.
Why no one grew a pair and up and left town boggled the brain. But after quickly understanding the way of life in this small town of twenty-five thousand, and the limited industries within it, no one dared become destitute on purpose. Instead, being “just shy of poor status and with a pithy paycheck ” seemed to be a better choice.
“So what if the president brought jobs back, quality of life didn’t come with it. Such a shit for brains, ” Dremond quipped at the shoulder strap adjustment buckle that wouldn’t budge without a healthy amount of wrestling.
“Hey, big D, why you twisting around like you have a tail to chase?” Art, Dremond’s best friend chided.
“Art! Throw me a bone, will ya?”
“Hell no, you have more twists and turns than the autobahn. I’m just gonna watch you squirm.”
“Art, I oughtta…”
“But you won’t.”
A moment passed and they both broke out in laughter, grasping one another’s hand and bumping chests.
“C’mon, you know how uppity the bossman gets when we stand around talkin’. Let’s get to the line.”
“Just a sec.”
“Hey, you’re gonna have to adjust your uniform on the lift. We’re on the tenth story today and due there in about, oh shit. We’re gonna miss the lift. C’mon!”
Both ran off and managed a last second jump onto the platform which shook violently before hoisting them up within the tall steel frame. Rampant expletives exploded around them demanding they apologize. No one apologized and the gruff nature of everyone resumed, and with an ample amount of disdain. Dremond and Art looked at one another and shrugged it all off.
“No one died, ” Dremond mouthed to Art, who nodded with a one of those “can you believe these guys” looks on his face. Both grasped the side rails as the rickety lift bumped and screeched upwards, giving everyone aboard a grand view of their slowly developing town.
While the jostling hoist rose against the blue of the morning sky, Dremond hung on to the sidebars and closed his eyes for a few seconds, absorbing the warmth of the rising sun before having to heave and sweat for the next ten hours. This moment would be the only rest he’d enjoy until sundown. His eyes relaxed and opened, taking in the sight in the previous building they constructed over a year ago. Its appearance had taken on a dull grey look despite every attempt to make it look like this town’s first noticeable landmark. Just inside a window on the topmost floor, a young lady sipped what seemed to be morning coffee while still adorned in her bathrobe. She pointed outward at something with long fingers.
To Dreymond, it looked like she pointed straight at him.
Inside his mind, he froze for a moment.
Women just don’t notice me. She’s admiring the sun.
He shook his head like one shakes an etch a sketch board to clear it before writing or drawing again.
You’re a married man. Just get to work.
He looked up again and he swore he saw the same woman tear her robe off and take her hand with elongated nails and slice herself from her face down her stomach.
“Hey, HEY Art, did you see that?” Dremond exclaimed, throwing up a thick finger, pointing across the way.
Art turned in the same direction as Dremond. At that very second, sunlight caught the windows opposite them and blinded them, making their hands block their eyes.
“What’s there? Can’t see!”
“Must’ve been nothin, Art.”
“Hey, don’t get into another one of your spazmodic moments again. You said you kicked the habit,” Art chastised, mimicking the drinking motion, “Am I right?”
Dremond mumbled something unintelligible as the lift shuddered to a rest, clanking its massive frame against the metal shell endpoint.
The day wore on as expected and ended without incident, along with Art and Dremond ready for a weeklong sleep each. The foreman worked them hard today, allowing zero rest, an abbreviated lunch break and limited time in the high-rise piss box.
Both sloughed toward their trucks and drove home after parting grunts of mutual acknowledgement and weariness.
Dremond quietly opened his front door, being careful not to disturb his wife, who typically spent her evenings studying for her new degree in digital marketing. His brain couldn’t wrap itself around the technical subject matter she enjoyed so much.
“She’s da brains, I’m da muscled dunce,” he playfully mumbled to himself, losing his clothing and drenching himself in a hot shower.
He held the walls with his palms, welcoming the near-boiling water he expected to wash the day away. He hoped to make love to his wife tonight. However, his fatigue deepened and he nearly collapsed.
C’mon old boy. Just get cleaned up and get some shut eye. You’re no-good to her tonight, anyway.
His brain relaxed along with his tired body, dried himself off and collapsed into bed.
He never heard his wife greet him and wish him good night.
All his consciousness allowed him to envision when sleeping off was a naked woman slicing herself up and bleeding from head to toe. The dream repeated itself with flashes of her attacking him and puncturing his entire body with footlong fingernails.
But that wasn’t the worst part.
Her voice repeated itself in his mind.
You should die. She wants you to.
And he couldn’t wake himself up from the sight of his decaying wife’s face screaming at him.
Ten Minutes Later
“Honey, wake up! Wake up!”
Dremond thrashed in his bed, his mind swirling with the image of being stabbed by elongated fingernails and a shrieking demand to die slowly. His arms and fists pounded the empty air around him, settled and shuddered at his sides as if being electrocuted.
“Babe!, C’mon! Wake-up!”
Allison, Dremond’s five foot three, eighty-nine pound, blonde haired wife, shook him by the shoulders several times in a vain attempt to wake him from his violent dream. Her efforts failed for close to ten full minutes before she decided to something she had never done during their entire marriage.
“Ow, what the?” Dremond protested upon awakening, holding his jaw, cleaning up a dribble of blood from his upper lip.
“You’re hitting me as I sleep?”
“Oh my God, babe. I’m sorry. You were…you were, ” Allison retreated, folding her arms close to her chest.
“I was what? Get me a bandage or something, I’m bleeding. What were you doing?”
Allison ran off and a few minutes later, emerged with a cold cloth, bandages and enough guilt and remorse for a Catholic confession.
“What’s next, a bat? Crap, woman. What did I do to you to deserve that?”
“I’m sorry, it’s just that you were thrashing and nearly falling off the bed. Shaking you didn’t help in-between your body flailing. I, “she mumbled between tears of apology, ” I couldn’t…”
“What, what couldn’t you do?”