In The Company of Death
Author's note: An experiment into writing war horror, I first came up with the idea shortly after watching "Good... Show full author's note »
ArbeitenJanuary 23, 1982
Lower East Side, New York City
I woke up to my alarm clock buzzing. Grumbling, I hit the snooze button, determined for my body to rest. Only after I laid there for a few seconds did I remember I had work at 9. S***.
After taking a shower and breakfast, I set out from my tiny apartment in the dilapidated building in the East Side of Manhattan, to the jewelry store on Nerman Avenue, where I worked. It was a nice little shop, owned by a Nathaniel Kravoski. Kravoski wasn’t a bad guy, he was just socially awkward, often letting his employees do the talking. I’ve been working there for about 7 years now. I started working right after my discharge from the Army, being alone since my wife died.
Kravoski greeted me from the door as usual, but he had a look of sadness on his face, well, more than usual anyway. The rest of the staff was the same. The usually popular store was empty, with crates and boxes everywhere.
He ushered me into the back office, closing the door behind us. As we sat down, I noticed the office was blanker than usual. His family pictures and his Jimi Hendrix-signed guitar were off his wall and lying on the floor behind his bare desk.
He cleared his throat, and stated the obvious. “Steve, we’re closing.”
I knew this was coming. Ever since one of the former-employees embezzled almost $25,000 from the store, and due to recent robberies by street-corner gangs, things have gone seriously downhill. Kravoski has been unable to pay the taxes and loans, and the Feds must have finally had enough.
“I’m sorry, Nathan.”
He waved his hand. “It is what it is. We’re vacating the store by 4 o’ clock. I’d appreciate it if you helped Walton move the cases out.” Handing me an envelope, Nathan looked down and said quietly “This is your final paycheck. I threw in a little bonus in there, for putting up with me for seven years.”
He chuckled a bit, but not for long.