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Ted - Flash Fiction
The smell of toast drifts into the room as I open my eyes, seconds before my alarm goes off. I stretch and turn it off, swinging my feet out of bed to land perfectly in my slippers. The water is ice cold as I brush my teeth and the shower starts up on my favorite temperature, a nice middle between boiling and lukewarm. My uniform looks immaculate and I even stare a little longer in the mirror than usual, sure there must be some stain somewhere. None. I almost skip down the stairs, knowing that today has already started better than most, and I’m greeted by my wife and son. They both turn and smile, wishing me good morning and I tip my hat in return. I pick up my toast, give my wife a kiss and ruffle my son’s hair, wish them both a good day and I’m on my way. The toast is heaven, not too burnt nor underdone with just the right amount of butter. I’m humming as I get in my van, joined moments later by Ted. Another great convenience in my life, Ted is my neighbour and colleague, not to mention a good friend.
“Morning Cap’n. Looking rather sharp today aren’t we?” I didn’t think he’d notice but I shrug.
“Don’t I always? Where’s our first stop then?”
“Valley Springs, big package too.”
Valley Springs was the nicest part of the city, hidden from the noise in the outskirts, and it cost a bomb for any house anywhere near there. We set off, picking up breakfast from the local cafe as we did every morning. Ted always sent me in, his excuse being he’d had a thing with both the girls who’d worked there and last time he went in alone he’d been chased out and had hot coffee thrown over him. We tucked into bacon sandwiches as the houses began to loom over us, welcoming us in no subtle way to Valley Springs. We found the address easily enough as it’s hard to miss a three-storey mansion with a Bentley parked on the driveway.
“Need a hand taking it in?” Ted never gave me hand. I didn’t mind but this box was huge, yet still I declined.
“I’ll walk up with you, for moral support.” He sniggered as I shifted the box, trying to get a good handle while still holding the clipboard. Ted never held the papers either, his job description was navigator and that’s exactly what he did, not a thing more. I awkwardly knocked on the door and was met by a man in his early twenties, dressed casually in just shorts.
“Package for Mr.Bennington?”
“Thanks, man.” He said, practically snatching the box from my hands.
“Just need your signature and you’re good to go.”
“Really? This guy owns this place? S***, where was my mansion when I was 21?”
Ted had a way with words, which is why I prefered it when he stayed in the car.
“Ted, shut up.” I whispered, only glancing in his direction for a second.
The guy gave me back the papers, holding them for a second when I took hold. He had a weird look in his eye but he thanked me and we were off. I’m used to the looks I get by now, the scar on my face is hard to avoid really. About a year ago I was alone in the house when someone broke in. I fought him off but he slashed me with a knife as he tried to escape, leaving a memento 4 inches long, narrowly missing my eye. It never healed so well and I was shuck up for a while afterwards but now I get these looks everyday, you just get used to it. But I still had therapy sessions every now and then that everyone who has a situation like mine has to go, apparently. I didn’t believe them, I knew people who’d been burgled and fought off attackers and they never had to go to one. It was the end of the shift and I had to go to one straight from work, Ted always said it was stupid.
“Let me come with you, we’ll tell it like it is.”
“I’m only supposed to take family really, I don’t know.”
“I’m the navigator, I say head straight there and we’ll have a nice chat with Dr.Holmes. I want a word with this woman seeing as she spends more time with you than I do nowadays. Anyway, you imagination isn’t good enough to invent a smooth character like myself.”