Tuesday, August 9, 2011
My Response to Writing Prompt Number Five
I knew it wasn't going to be a particularly good day when I opened the paper and noticed something a little off-kilter. There in the morning crossword, plain as anything, was the phrase "ROGER PETERSON HAS TWO WEEKS TO LIVE." Now, I'm not particularly good at adapting to abnormal situations, or even leaving my apartment and being a part of the rather terrifying outside world, but I knew my neighbor would want a look at this. Hell, it was probably given to me instead of her on accident. She works for the government, and I am an agoraphobic tech support specialist. I braced myself and opened my front door a crack to see if anyone was lurking in the hallway before scuttling to my neighbor's door and giving it a tentative knock. Nothing. I knocked a little more firmly. No answer. I began to panic. I took a marker out of my jacket pocket and wrote her a quick note to inform her that the crossword puzzle needed some attention, jammed the accursed paper under her door as well as I could, and quickly walked back into my safe haven and locked the door. My head swam. My breathing was too quick, too heavy. I needed my pills. I staggered to the medicine cabinet, opened the bottle, and shook out what should have been a mild relaxant but instead turned out to be a neatly folded note on crisp, lily-white paper. I opened it, and lo and behold, it was a ransom note for the same Roger Peterson from the crossword puzzle. Now things were getting ridiculous. I didn't even know a Roger Peterson! My mental state wasn't equipped for such drastic changes in routine! I desperately grasped for a bottle of sedatives, but again there was a note instead of a capsule of blessed relief. This time it was a map. I dropped it like it was going to bite me and backed into the familiar, spotless living room. I heard someone clearing his throat behind me. I spun around, panic rising, and squeaked, "How did you get in here? Who the hell are you? And how did you get in?"
The man calmly stood up, advanced on me in what I construed as a threatening manner, handed me a thick sheaf of paper, and said, "We have no time for pleasantries. You need to be briefed for the mission and I have a plane to catch. Sit down, Agent Mills."
My immediate response was to vomit on his pristine black shoes and pass out.
When I regained consciousness, my ears were ringing and I was tied to my office chair with what I assumed to be a sock in my mouth.