Cathy tiptoed backwards and sideways over to the large doorway, not daring take her eyes off of the other woman. As she got to the edge of the doorway, she took her gun out again, cigarette hanging from her mouth, polluting the air in front of her and burning her eyes. She peeked around the corner – and saw a young man passed out on the floor, underneath the dolly of sodas she saw fall, and surrounded by cans of mushroom and cream of chicken soups. She watched, horrified at what she’d most definitely done, as the young man’s jaw loosened and he lost consciousness all the way. There was a dark, dark red, almost black, gooey fluid seeping from his side as he lay there. Stupid! She told herself. Stupid, stupid stupid!
And as she berated herself inwardly, unwilling tears creeping into her eyes as she realized how her son may never have the chance to grow up to be as old as this young man, and feeling sorry for herself that she’d done everything wrong in her life that she could, the bathroom door opened up. She hadn’t even realized the water had stopped running.
All the worry on Bob’s mind was noisy, and with the difficult door and locking mechanism, it had filtered out some of the noise of the gun that had just gone off. He’d not been sure he’d heard what he thought he did, but he did heard the stuff falling and the cans of soup rolling around. He jumped with the noise as he locked his door, knocking over a couple cans of unknown fluids from the utility shelf that was a bit too close to the door. Not up to Code, probably, but it’s not his business. So whoever it was out there wasn’t the only clumsy clod on the planet, so what? He turned on the water, nice and hot, and began to warm himself before doing his duty.
With the water still running, he bent over to pick up one of the fallen objects, now that he could move his fingers again. There were several shelves in this tiny room with it’s metal door, and on them all were cans of paint, thinner, WD-40, tools, grimy bottles of floor cleaners and bleaches- in other words, a death trap waiting for a fire in this little room. He shook his head, clumsily put the can up on an empty space and unzipped his trousers with hands that were no longer icy.
After he relieved himself, he turned around immediately to the hot water, well-warmed by now and just begging him to warm up one last time. That was it. He was too cold, and miserable to do this today. And anyone in their right minds would go home, he thought. I’m calling in to work today, telling them I’m sick and don’t want to deal with the weather on the way home- I’ll work from home today!
He felt proud of himself for being able to come to a decision that made him happy, and turned off the water. He dried his hands on the paper towels he grabbed from the dispenser. The paper towel. It was the last one, apparently, and he threw the sopping towel in the overflowing trash can next to the sink before wiping the rest of the moisture off on his slacks- no need to be careful, if he was going home. He felt so smug. He felt good enough that he began to wonder what happened in the aisle outside- it was quite a racket, he remembered as he picked up the last few containers of sloshing fluid off the floor. A little spilled on his coat- his wife wouldn’t be happy about that but again, not going to work today so it can matter some other time. He put them up, nice and neat, in different places, since there seemed to be no order and the way they had crammed in before was probably what caused them to fall on him to begin with. He felt the good samaritin, now. Perhaps they needed help cleaning up the aisle- why, he felt such a load off his mind, that he opened the door with vigor, ready to help.
What he saw, however, as he quickly rushed around the door of the bathroom, stopped him in his tracks. It was not just a mess. It was… strange. He’d never seen anyone in this position before, never seen someone laying under so much heavy stuff and not try to move out, that he had no mind for it. As he began to open his mouth, confused, a shorter figure with a ski hat covering their face head-butted him so hard that he was propelled back towards the bathroom. The smell of burning tobacco and textiles reached his nostrils. There was a moment where he knew something important, but it was knocked out of his mind when something heavy and cold clocked him in his temple. The last thing he thought of as he fell asleep, was that he should have just gone to work this morning. Gotten on the train, and warmed up there…