Monday, August 16, 2010

Garage Door Help-Line -or- Sunny's Revenge; a cautionary tale.

**Editor's Note**This is a tale I penned some time ago that I rather like. It is a tale of new beginnings, deceit, violence, sex and murder. I give you Garage Door Help-Line!
"You dirty cunt," Ron mutters under his stinking breath. He repeats it as he finds that the aspirin bottle is empty.

Sunny sits quietly and lets him finish his morning routine.

"You better call those garage door people today or so help me God, I will belt you a good one," Ron slurs as he fumbles for his second cup of coffee. He takes a swig and brushes his hand down his face, then pulls open the junk drawer in the kitchen.

"Where the fuck are my cigars?" he demands as he turns to her.

She sits at the kitchen table and clinches her coffee cup tight and tries not to look him in the eye, "You said you were going to pick them up on your way home when you got gas and I didn't have to. Maybe you left them in the car," she says quietly.

The sting of the slap isn't as painful as the coldness of his hand. His hands are always cold. Not cold like ice or snow, but cold like a corpse. As she recovers from the blow, she picks up the cup and reaches for the paper towels. She just keeps watching her hands as she wipes up the spilled coffee off the floor.

He picks up last night's bottle and up-ends it into his oversized mug with a grunt of satisfaction. He puts on his coat and pats the pockets. He pulls a brand new cheap cigar out and bites off the end. He spits it on the floor and it lands wetly next to her hand before he goes out the back door into the garage to his SUV.

Sunny picks up the cigar end and says to herself, "This is it."


Dave sits down to his morning Mountain Dew and a Snickers and signs on for the next call. He munches loudly as he finishes his breakfast, much to the consternation of his cube mate, Phil.

Phil responds to a call and is frustrated by the noise that Dave can generate consuming one candy bar and a pop. He refers the caller to the help desk and hopes that Dave will be the one to take it so he can finish his tea in peace.

Dave gets a call over his head-set and tries to comprehend the woman on the other end of the line as his sugar rush peaks. "I will be glad to do whatever I can," he reassures her as he shakes the last few drops of his soda into his mouth. "What's your name Miss? How do you spell that? Do you know what model you have? On the side there should be a foil sticker, it will have the model number on it." Dave rattles the keys to his computer in time to the cadence of her speech.

"Yes, I'm still here. Yes, that's the model number, just let me pull it up." Dave checks the candy wrapper to see if there is one more bite left. There isn't. He jiggles his knee and raps his thumb on the desk knowing full well this irritates Phil to no end.

"Yes, I've got it now. This is one of our older models. So what seems to be the trouble?" Dave sits back in his chair and jiggles his knee a little slower as he tries to understand the lady's problem. She isn't like most of the boneheads that call in. She has genuinely checked it over and eliminated a couple of his easy trouble shooting suggestions. Might be a Midwesterner by the sound of her accent and she is trying to fix it herself.

"It sounds like one of the safety sensors might be acting up. Are they installed properly? How long ago did you purchase this unit? Oh, it came with the house." Dave scratches his nose as he flips through a couple of pages of expanded diagrams. "Check to see if the wires are making a good connection. Yeah, yeah, there is one more small screw at the front behind the light bulb and then the cover will come off. The wires should be red and white. You'll need a Philips."

Dave leans over in his chair and rests all of his weight on one leg and tries to quietly let one slip. It isn't as quiet as he'd hoped, but he is fairly sure the lady on the other end of the didn't hear. Phil gives him a dirty look and begins to fan the air away with a file folder as he swears under his breath.

"Well there you have it. The door should work properly now. Try it. Good. Well if you have anymore trouble, give us a call. My name? David. Thank you, always glad to help. Oh, we're based in Toronto. Yes, it does get a little chilly at times. Really? How soon are you leaving? Have you ever been here? Well, I should show you around. What hotel? That's just down the street. I have to pull the late shift that night but I think I can skate out of here by seven-thirty. Cool, cool. I'll meet you in the bar. No, I have a car. How will you know me? Um, I'll wear a red sweater. Oh, and something else. If the door has been jerking up and down like that for a while, you might want to check the connection on the manual release handle. Sometimes that can get worn and the whole door could come crashing down unexpectedly, and that is a very, very big door. You know, just for safety's sake. Well hey, I've got to take another call because the boss is giving me the hairy eyeball, but I'll see you Saturday, and remember to grease the track and oil the rollers." Dave smiles as she giggles at this.

"What the hell," thinks Dave, "this might be fun" and jiggles his knee.

Sunny stretches her back and then wipes her hands on a rag. She gathers up the tools and returns them to the tool box. She likes the sound they make as they drop in and clank against the other tools, especially the sound the file makes. To her, it just sounds like a job well done.

She heads into the house and goes to pour another cup of coffee when she notices her hand is shaking. "No more coffee for me," she thinks and pulls open the fridge instead. Hidden behind an assortment of left overs is a light beer. She carries it to the bathroom and turns on the small electric heater. The can of beer makes a sharp crack as she tips the tab in. She takes a large swallow and tries to remember when she last drank a beer. She and Ron were dating and they went to the roadhouse. He was so charming then. He put ten dollars in the jukebox and insisted they stayed until it was up. They sat and drank beer as the juke box played nothing but oldies. That was the night he proposed.

"Oh to have one night to live over again," she thinks. "I would have done things differently."

As she begins to crouch into the tub, she tries not to notice the bruises, but the purple and yellow are distracting. After the warm water washes over her and she settles in, she reaches for a bath bomb. She got a set of them for Christmas last year from her sister and this seems like an ideal time to try them. The water feels good and she feels clean for the first time in a long time. The bomb fizzes and stains the water red and she thinks about how this would loosen up the grease stains on her fingers. Sunny props her feet on the warm nozzle and thinks a bit.

Everything she needs is packed. Everything on her list is arranged. All the calls had been made, even the insurance company. Her sister is going to put her up, the neighbor is going to take her cat, and Ron will be a thing of the past. She is going to move on and embrace life and count her years with Ron as a tough lesson to be learned. "That part of my life is closed now," she thinks, "I am all about new beginnings from here on out."

She splashes at a few random bubbles and looks down her frame to her toes and lets the drain empty her hot bath. She lays very still, feeling the water ebb away leaving a ring of suds around her. "I still got it," she reassures herself.

She stands and turns on the shower to wash off the bomb, but she turns it as cold as it goes.

Sunny endures it for as long as she can, then bolts from the shower. The cold water was necessary, she reasons, as it makes her feel brisk and motivated. Her new clothes fit better than they did in the store, and in a few minutes, only the rubber marks on the drive way mark her passing.
Ron awakens to the feeling that his mouth has been recarpeted. He stumbles blindly for the bathroom. He clears his throat and spits as the empties his bladder. His head hurts like a Saturday and today is only Wednesday. He rubs his eyes and tries to think of why he got so drunk the night before. As he gives it a little shake he remembers the note. That was what got him started. That ungrateful bitch had walked out on him and left him some stupid note saying she was going to visit her sister and she would send for her stuff later.

Ron went to the kitchen for breakfast and gulped down three shots of rye to chase the aspirin. The coffee wasn't quite done yet, but he pours some anyway and the fresh drips sizzle as they strike the warmer plate below. The coffee is too hot to drink but some more rye cools it off nicely. Ron curses the bitch for her shortsightedness for not seeing his obvious good qualities so she could go slutting around. In Ron's book, if a woman wasn't at home, she was out slutting around. His dad had been very clear about this.

Ron climbed into the shower and noticed a red ring around the tub. He didn't think of it again until he climbed into his SUV and saw the pack of Big Red chewing gum on the passenger seat next to his new cigars. Ron gets his morning cigar going so it will cover the smell of his breath and he notices that the SUV is sitting crooked. He gets out to see that his front passenger side tire is flat. There is a roofing nail planted firmly in the tread.

"Fuck, of all days," he mutters and hits the button for the large garage door. "I gotta fix a flat on a day like today," he moans.

Ron heads for the rear of the vehicle to pull the spare tire from its rack as the three car garage door pulls itself up to a familiar whirring sound. A split second after his foot breaks the plain of the safety lasers, the door comes to an abrupt halt and puts an incredible strain on the manual release catch. The door groans a little as the catch slips and the door falls.

The door strikes Ron on the top of the head with the force of a train gathering speed and drops him. He is already sprawled upon the floor when it strikes him again with the full force of it's weight, and the sound of his ribs snapping echoes down the cul-de-sac. Ron lives just long enough to piss himself.
Dave gets a call from Detective So-And-So that Phil transfers directly to him. No, he can't remember a call from a Sunny somebody. Dave takes thirty-five calls a day and he can't remember every one. Dave hangs up with a reassurance that he will call Detective So-And-So if he remembers anything. Dave checks the clock that reads seven thirty-four. Quiting time was four minutes ago.

Dave takes his gym bag into the Men's room and changes his clothes. He has a hot date tonight with a foxy older woman who has just inherited a million dollars. "I still got it," he says as he runs his fingers through his hair in the mirror.
"Are you sure you don't want something else?" the bartender offers. Sunny brightens up and says, "Yes, I'll have a tall draft beer please." The bartender takes her tea cup and pours as she directed, then busies himself with the dirty glasses. The radio is tuned to an oldies station and it is the only noise in the room. The door swishes open and admits a chilly breeze and a skinny young man in a red sweater two sizes to big for him.

"Sunny?" he asks.

"Oh and you wore your red sweater! Good! Have a drink and talk to me a while." They chat for a few minutes until Sunny pauses and turns to the bartender, "Could you turn this up please? I love this song. Do you know the name of this song?" she asks with a smile.

"Cruel To Be Kind?" Dave offers.



  1. I see the delightful influences of Bukowski in your character. This is gran' stuff, you know, a helluva lot better than anything *I* could write you know, you bastard.


    Is this why YOUR garage door opener doesn't work??

  2. Well, the above is what *I* would say if I was logged in as MYSELF isntead of YOU, Doc.


  3. Outstanding tale, worthy of a made for TV movie! I see Julia Roberts as the hero, what do you say?

  4. Ooooh, "garage noir," I likes!

    Say, someone in your neck of the woods is looking for stories for his online mag Eastern Standard Crime. You might want run this past him.

  5. Cap'n- Yes, this is why my arae door doesn't work.

    Skyler's Dad- Julia Roberts would be fine, and Nick Nolte as the husband.

    Cormac Brown- Thanks for droppin by and I'll check out the mag.

    Err- Thanks. I worked on it for two weeks.


  6. I feel obliged to say a few things about this story, as it is a far cry from what I normally write.

    I apologize for the course language that the story begins with. This is not a term I use, and I only use it here so as to make the reader immediately aware who the villian is.

    It was only after finishing this tale and spending many, many hours tinkering with it and tweaking it, that I realized that it shares a plot with the classic film noir movie "Double Indemnity", but then most film noir travels in well-worn and familiar pathes.

    I spent two weeks finishing this and it is something that I am very proud of. Seldom do I pen something that turns out the way I intended, and this is a perfect as I could make it. Thank you all for your kind praise.


  7. I used to live on Snickers and Mtn. Dew in college.

  8. Creepy, but very well done, Doc. I hope it didn't freak Flannery out too much. Now I have to sleep with the light on.


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