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Sea of Brick

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Don’t worry about my name. There are only two things you need to know about me. First: I’m about as rich as my dead uncle. Second: I currently live in one of the wealthiest communities in the country. Before any brains burst, I should probably tweak the latter statement a bit; I live on one of the wealthiest communities in the country. But, I’ll get to that later. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I suppose I should start at the beginning.


I’ve never been particularly inclined to dropping everything on a whim. Well, I never really had that much, so it’s not like I would be leaving behind a vintage ’67 Mustang and a pearl-white two-story yacht with hardwood interiors and an infinity pool. But, it’s the principle. In a chaotic world where the unexpected should be expected, sticking to routine was the only way to maintain some semblance of sanity. In fact, sticking to the principle of routine was the only moral compass I needed. Maintain a strong moral compass and you’ll make it to the next day--that was my motto.


I lived in the same brick townhouse for fifteen years. Monday morning, just like every other morning, I groped around in the dark for the snooze button when my alarm sounded at seven, eventually dragged myself out of bed around seven thirty, and slogged my way into the shower. Thankfully, I was victorious that morning in battling to keep my drooping eyelids open despite the warm water pouring over me. I assure you, it is entirely possible to fall asleep while standing in the shower. But, back to my Monday morning. I went to the bathroom, put on my bathrobe, and shuffled downstairs in my blue slippers for two cups of coffee. With my coffee mug in my left hand, I munched on granola and leafed through the newspaper to find the latest grim outlook on the stock market.


I’ll spare the monotonous details about the rest of my breakfast. After all, it’s the same tune every day. No one is suddenly going to jump through the kitchen window one day and yell, “Boogabooga!” and then run off down the street. That would be much too exciting. Besides, a shattered window would make quite a mess.


After breakfast, I went upstairs to discover what I would be wearing to work that day. Don’t get me wrong, I do like to have a little excitement in my life. I leave five things to chance every day: my socks, my shoes, my pants, my shirt, and my tie. Each pair of socks is assigned its own number, as well as each pair of shoes, each pair of pants, each shirt…you get the picture. As per usual, I used a random number generator on my computer to learn what my outfit would be for the day. 25. I went into the closet, flipped the overhead light switch on, and took the red socks with navy blue diamonds out of the sock drawer. I sat on the stool and slid them onto my feet. Next up, pants. 12. I went to the pants rack and found pants number 12, the blue gabardine slacks. I delicately put them on, careful not to make any wrinkles--I had just had them pressed. I took a black belt from the belt rack and threaded the belt through the belt loops. I couldn’t risk not having a matching belt and socks. 31. I trekked back into the closet and pulled shirt number 31 off the hanger. No, that wouldn’t do, I’d look like a fool wearing a yellow shirt with grey pants. I took number thirty--classic white--off the hanger and methodically buttoned it up. Now for a tie. 52. Red and blue stripes, lucky me, my alma mater’s colors. I turned towards the mirror and unbuttoned the wings of my stiff collar. I slid the tie through the crease and adjusted the length. Right over left, up through the loop, into the knot. And, pull.


Finally, the pièce de résistance, the cherry on top--I’m partial to maraschino, personally--the shoes. 13. Curses, an unlucky number could bode badly with my outfit. I went to the shoe rack and searched for number 13: horsebit brown leather loafers. Could be worse. I placed the shoes on my feet--one by one, of course. I walked to the mirror to make sure everything was in order. Perfect. Well, not quite, my tie was a bit crooked. I twisted the knot ever so slightly. My light brown hair was parted neatly to the side, not a single strand out of place. My hair just does that naturally. Something shiny in the waves of maple caught my eye. A grey hair? My heart skipped a beat. My heart skipped two beats, actually. I reached up and nervously plucked out the perpetrator. False alarm, it was just the lighting. Phew. No grey hairs, not yet. I was ready for them, though. Maybe I was ready for just one or two. Actually, on second thought, lets hold the grey hairs altogether. But, just in case, I had a box of hair dye in the bathroom closet awaiting the arrival of that fateful day.


I spritzed a bit too much cologne on the nape of my neck and picked up my briefcase. After taking a brief moment to compose myself, I headed for the landing. I descended the staircase, walked briskly through the front hallway, and exited my house through the front door.


If it sounds like I had more energy at this point, it’s because I did. I was pretty impressed with my level of energy that morning. While I was walking down the front steps, I even managed to muster up the energy to mumble a good-morning to the neighbor. I don’t think she heard me, though. At the other end of a thin black leash was her little white ball of fluff, yapping noisily away. I can’t, for the life of me, remember her name, though--or the dog’s, for that matter. I think it starts with a J. Jessica. No, that doesn’t sound right. Jillian. No. Jennifer? That’s not right, either. I’ll think of it eventually.


My driver was supposed to be right at the curb to pick me up at nine o’clock sharp. It was five minutes past nine. And yes, I do have a driver. When the owner of the investment firm died of old age, I inherited the company. He had a driver, so I inherited a perk of the position, simple as that.


Quite frankly, however, this chauffeur was coming dangerously close to losing his job. The longer he kept me tap-tap-tapping my toe impatiently, the more tempted I was to file a complaint over his tardiness. I didn’t care if it was just a few minutes past nine. Make haste, make haste, there’s no time to waste--that was my other motto. Plus, he was making me look like a fool in front of my neighbors. Standing on my front doorstep with my briefcase in hand, I must have looked like one of those people who waits for the bus to get to a nine to five.


I had nearly worn a hole in the toe of my shoe by the time the black town car pulled up to the curb. Correction: it bumped onto the curb. Being a driver, it’s only natural to think that the man could navigate a car properly. But, apparently that was too much to ask. To make matters even worse, guess what he did after that? Absolutely nothing. There were no signs of movement inside the black tinted windows. With my arms crossed and my toe tapping rapidly away like a machine gun, I stood there on the front steps waiting for the door to just magically open for me.


I’d about had enough. I was right on the verge of marching inside and calling his supervisor when his door swung open and he scurried over to me. He finally opened my door.


“I’m really sorry, sir. My kid was sick this morning and there was an accident on the way over here.”


I slid into my seat, not bothering to waste a word. He paused for a second, like he was expecting something from me. I stared straight ahead. He shut the door and hurried back to the driver’s seat. As soon as he was in his seat, he turned around and addressed me again.


“I’m sorry, but I’m only a few minutes late. A few minutes can’t hurt. Besides, there really wasn’t much I could do. I went as fast as I could, but there were cars backed up for miles. Even the side roads were busy. ”


Little beads of sweat were dripping down the sides of his face. Why was he still looking at me? Was he expecting that I would dismiss his tardiness with a smile and a wave and then we would both laugh and chat merrily for the rest of the ride? I wasn’t going to do anything of the sort.


“A few minutes late? You’re ten minutes late. My morning was going just fine--in fact, it was going quite well--until you kept me waiting on my front door step for ten minutes. And when you do finally arrive, after keeping me waiting for another two minutes because you forgot to open the door for me, which, by the way, is your job, you try to tell me that it’s not a big deal? Well, I never. I have never felt so disrespected, so humiliated, in my entire life. My schedule is completely ruined. And you’re still just sitting there, wasting my time.”


His face went so pale it was as if his heart had stopped beating altogether. He turned around and fumbled to put the car in gear. Before I even had time to put my seatbelt on, the car lurched forward. The right wheels thumped down onto the pavement, tossing me around the back seat like champagne bottles at a New Year’s Eve party. And he didn’t even apologize. The nerve. He just kept his eyes fixed forward as I sped head-on into a meltdown.


I was overheating. My face felt flush. My armpits felt like waterfalls. I yanked at my tie and pulled it off. I folded my tie and placed it on top of my briefcase, desperate for some relief.


“Does this thing even have air conditioning? I’m getting really hot, there’s absolutely no cold air coming back here.”


“I’ll turn the AC up,” he replied coolly.

Apparently the air-conditioning up front was working just fine. I closed my eyes, waiting for the nice cold air to rush back and cool my nerves. Nothing happened.


“I asked you to turn up the air conditioning. I don’t feel a single thing. I’m all sweaty, my shirt is matted to my back, and my hair is practically soaked. If I don’t feel some cool air within the next thirty seconds, I am calling your supervisor and you will be out of a job before you can blink. This is absolutely ridiculous.”


“I’m sorry, sir. I did turn up the air conditioning, but it will take a second or two to circulate back there. Just hang on a second, please, I’m doing the best I can.”


“Worst driver I’ve ever had,” I muttered, “I ought to call your supervisor right now and get you fired for being an absolute moron.”


The car suddenly lurched to a halt. I jerked forward violently in my seat, whiplash stinging my neck and chest. He was going to have quite a hefty lawsuit on his hands. He threw the car in park and whipped around in his seat. His face was bright red. His pupils were dilated to the size of golf balls.


“Excuse me?” He fumed.


“You heard me,” I retorted, “did I stutter? I said you’re the worst driver I have ever had and you should be fired right now for the way you’ve treated me. I can’t think of a single person who is less qualified to drive a car with me in it. Now, get your eyes back on the road because you had better not make me any later than I already am.”


I crossed my arms firmly and stared straight into his eyes, challenging him to test me. He stared at me for a second, then turned around in his seat and put his seat belt back on. The conversation was over. I was going to have to get my secretary to move my tee time back an hour.


“Let’s go,” I barked, “I haven’t got all day.”


His hand hovered over the gear, then dropped away.


“You know what? No.”


“Did you just say no?”


He didn’t answer. He unbuckled his seat belt and threw open his door. He got out and slammed the door shut behind him. I was probably going to miss golf altogether.


My door swung open. He leaned in, his face right in front of mine. I got a whiff of his cheap cologne.


“I’m not taking you anywhere. You can walk the rest of the way. I don’t care if you get me fired, be my guest. Sure, I may be dead out of a job. Sure, my family might starve. But, it’s about time someone stood up to you. Since I doubt anyone else will, I am, right now. Call my supervisor if you want, this is well worth it.”


“I don’t think you heard me. I am less than a second away from getting you fired. If you want to keep your stupid little job, stop with all of your dramatics and just take me to work.”


I wasn’t budging. But, neither was he.


“No, I don’t think you heard me. I’m not taking you anywhere. Now, get out of my car before I completely lose it. I’ll even hold the door open for you.”


Remember how I said that I’m not particularly inclined to just dropping everything on a whim? I’m still not. But, something about a man practically frothing at the mouth is quite unnerving, so I decided it would be against my better judgment to remain in the car. Besides, I could just call the company and have them send another driver to pick me up.


I climbed out of my seat and through the open door. I stepped onto the curb and turned around to get my briefcase. But, in the half a second or two it took me to turn around, he had already closed the door behind me and gotten into the driver’s seat.


“Wait, wait,” I protested, “let me get my briefcase!”


I lunged at the door, but the car sped away right as my fingertips brushed the handle. I swear I could see the faint outline of a finger sticking up as he drove off down the street, leaving me stranded on the side of the road.


It quickly occurred to me that I had no idea where I was. Of the hundreds of times I had been driven to work, not once had I actually paid attention to how to get there. After all, that had been the driver’s job. I felt like a little kid lost in the supermarket. Except, there weren’t any nice old ladies who were going to come up to me and ask me where my mother was and then take my hand and lead me to her while I sucked gleefully on the lollypop she gave me. Inside my briefcase were my wallet and phone, among many important business papers, of course, so I had no money and no means of contacting my secretary for help. I couldn’t even call to complain about that imbecile of a driver.


I’ll be honest--I panicked. I hyperventilated so much I thought my heart was going to burst out of my chest and ruin my shirt. I clutched at my chest and fought to calm myself down. Miraculously, my heartbeat finally slowed to a steady bump-bump, bump-bump--it was going bump-bump-bump-bump-bump for a while there.


I hadn’t really looked around much yet, so I guess I had just automatically assumed the worst. Imagine my surprise when a sea of fancy brick townhouses waved delightfully back at me. Stretched down the street as far as I could see were townhouses packed together. Actually, I guess “packed” isn’t the right word. They were all monstrously large houses; nothing about them seemed “packed together” except for the three or four shiny cars crowded into each driveway. Money oozed from every little inch of this place. I just had to wait a few minutes and someone would surely notice me and rush to my aid. Everything was going to be alright. I was probably even going to be able to squeeze in nine holes in the afternoon. I sat down on the edge of the curb and waited to be rescued. I was safe.


I’m not safe. I was just plain wrong. Remember how I said I’m as rich as my dead uncle but I live on one of the wealthiest communities in the country? Well, I’m still sitting on the curb in front of one of these gigantic houses and I still have no money, just like my dead uncle. At least I’m not dead--not yet. I’ve been rotting here for god knows how long. I’m almost positive it’s been at least four hours because my stomach is grumbling--I usually go out to lunch around twelve. Not to mention, my shoes are all scuffed up and my pants are all dirty and wet because I accidentally stepped in a puddle and nearly broke my ankle.


I could swear that I’ve died and gone to h*ll, except the people around me are much too cold for that to be possible. H*ll might be a nice upgrade, in fact, from wherever I am. I’ll have to call upstairs and see if I can make a reservation.


If it seems odd that I haven’t mentioned anyone walking by me, it’s because absolutely no one has walked by me. Every once in a while, a few of these people speed right by me in a swanky foreign car with designer sunglasses shading their innocent little eyes from the sight of me. I’m a blemish on the face of their perfect little community. I refuse to even refer to this place as a community. Calling this place a community would imply a genuine sense of togetherness, and that’s more artificial than all of the women’s…smiles. While I’m clearly suffering and in my time of great need, no one has spared me a single thing. Not a single person has even stopped to give me a measly scrap of prime roast beef left over from the poodle’s dinner last night.



There’s no chance that any of these people even work. They all probably spend the day driving back and forth between parties and an exclusive only-for-good-golfers-but-if-you-pay-enough-you-can-be-a-member country club. Mark my words, take away all of Tiger Wood’s money and I bet he would be declined membership to that country club faster than you can say Civil Rights Act of 1964.



Oh, silly me, how could I forget? They must have a harbor club, too. Otherwise, where would they sail their boats and park their yachts? I bet that harbor club has an ultra-exclusive, blatantly bigoted membership board, too. No, actually, I’m sure the harbor club doesn’t have an exclusive membership board. I bet you just aren’t allowed in the entire town unless you own property, and the town membership committee is even more “selective” than the country club. But, there are laws against that kind of thing, clearly, so the board must not be too conspicuous in maintaining this place’s “positive image.”


I’m going to die on the side of the road in this sea of brick. How long can a human being go without food or water? Is it a week or two weeks? Because if it is a week, I don’t think I’m going to make it much longer. I can already feel my heart starting to give out. I’m too young to die. Why won’t anyone help me? Oh, I’m too young to die. I have so much left to do, so much left to see. Someone, please help me already. Is no one paying attention to the poor man rocking back and forth on the side of the road? Does anyone even care enough to see me? Am I already dead?


“Mr. Smith?” a voice called out--a vaguely familiar voice. I unfurled myself from the fetal position and opened my eyes.


“Mr. Smith, is that you?”


A white ball of fur composed itself in the distance. Holding the other end of a thin black leash was the neighbor girl.


“Mr. Smith, it is you! What are you doing sitting on the side of the road?”


“What are you doing all the way out here?” I asked, dumbfounded.


“Mr. Smith, we’re just a few blocks from home. I’m on my way back with Sally here on our walk. You saw me leave earlier this morning, remember?”


“A few blocks from home? There’s no way. You must be crazy. You must think I’m crazy. I’m not crazy. I’ve never seen this place in my life.”


“Oh, Mr. Smith, I guess you just never noticed. Nevermind, you can start little by little. Come on, Sally and I will walk you home.”


She took my hand and I slowly stood up.


Jenny. Her name is Jenny.




Join the Discussion


This article has 96 comments. Post your own!

The.Beirded.Turkey said...
Jun. 29, 2012 at 11:19 pm:
This Is Amazing! Keep Up The Good Work Sir!
 
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Guinn said...
Jun. 29, 2012 at 11:10 pm:
Really good i liked lt. Amusing way to  pick out an outfit :). keep writing.
 
SethP replied...
Jun. 29, 2012 at 11:30 pm :
I'm glad you liked it. Thanks!
 
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NyghtNinjaThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jun. 29, 2012 at 11:05 pm:
Wow, good detail! It shows what being snobby can do to a person...
 
SethP replied...
Jun. 29, 2012 at 11:29 pm :
That's what I was trying to show. Thanks for reading!
 
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Acastillo said...
Jun. 29, 2012 at 10:55 pm:
This is really good :D you are a very descriptive writer, I Enjoyed reading this. Keep on writing (:
 
SethP replied...
Jun. 29, 2012 at 11:29 pm :
Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it.
 
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Alixchica66 said...
Jun. 29, 2012 at 10:34 pm:
Hey seth! You have a very good plot and descriptive skills. As a peice of feedback, try not to focus too much on little details...but don't ever stop writing :)
 
SethP replied...
Jun. 29, 2012 at 11:27 pm :
I'll definitely work on not overloading on the details. Thanks for your feedback!
 
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ACreativeMess said...
Jun. 29, 2012 at 10:29 pm:
This is amazing. I love it, there needs to be  moreeee
 
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TearsofJasmine said...
Jun. 29, 2012 at 10:14 pm:
I. LOVED. THIS. SO. MUCH. KEEP WRITING!!! <3 :)
 
SethP replied...
Jun. 29, 2012 at 11:27 pm :
Thank you again!
 
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TearsofJasmine said...
Jun. 29, 2012 at 10:14 pm:
I. LOVED. THIS. SO. MUCH. KEEP WRITING!!! <3 :)
 
SethP replied...
Jun. 29, 2012 at 11:24 pm :
Thanks, I'm glad you liked it!
 
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MadelynHope said...
Jun. 29, 2012 at 10:04 pm:

Well written and attention-grabbing. I enjoyed the interactions between the man and the driver.

Keep writing.

 
SethP replied...
Jun. 29, 2012 at 11:24 pm :
Thank you!
 
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MountEverestThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jun. 29, 2012 at 9:27 pm:
Really Great Story ! I Felt Like I Was Actually In The Story.. & I Loved The Ending xD
 
SethP replied...
Jun. 29, 2012 at 11:23 pm :
I'm glad you liked it, thanks for reading.
 
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hippiechick99 said...
Jun. 29, 2012 at 4:25 pm:
I looooooooved the ending. Not expected at all! In my opinion the beginning was kinda slow, but overall, I think you did a great job! Keep writing :)))))))
 
SethP replied...
Jun. 29, 2012 at 4:38 pm :
I'm glad you enjoyed it, thanks.
 
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