Printed from https://shop.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2314900-Chapter-2--Take-Five
Rated: 18+ · Chapter · LGBTQ+ · #2314900
The Subway
Take Five

Sunlight seeped through the grime-smeared windows of Dante's bedroom, and his eyes fluttered open.  The place still reeked, and daylight just made the filth more obvious.  Boris stood in the doorway, and his meow managed to demand food. 

         The clock read 9:21.

         Dante grimaced, climbed out of bed and headed to the bathroom. Boris wove between his footsteps, tail aloft and still voicing displeasure.  "Hold your horses, Boris.  I'll get to you."  After relieving himself, he used a piece of toilet paper to swipe at the mirror.  No wonder Jesse dumped him.  Any sane person would run away screaming from that skeletal face, frizzy hair, and wraith-like bod.  It never made sense that a hunk like Jesse would choose someone like Dante.  He could have anyone he wanted.

         A tight, grim expression twisted his reflected features in the mirror.  Jesse would never want anyone or anything ever again. 

         He used more toilet paper to smear at the reddish-brown stains from yesterday still clinging to his torso. The stains, like the memories, persisted. It would take more than toilet paper to erase those blotches.  He really should take a shower.  Later.  First things first.

         Still dressed just in boxers, he headed to the kitchen.  It took three tries, but he found the box where he'd packed the cat food and Boris's bowl.  While the cat snarfed down his chow, he dug further, and eventually found his coffee maker. 

         He sat at the kitchen table while the machine brewed a cup and looked over the room.  The locked door still beckoned, so he returned to the bedroom and his mobile phone.  After three rings, the nasal voice of Vinnie, the real estate agent, answered.  "Dreamland Properties, Vinnie speaking."

         "Hey, Vinnie.  This is Dante Jones.  You rented me the house on Sandusky yesterday."

         "Yeah.  What about it?"

         "There's a locked door in the kitchen.  Do you have a key?"

         "I gave ya the only keys I got for that place.  Try one of them."

         "There was only one key, and it's not the right size."

         "So what ya expect me to do?  Get some magic unicorn to shit out a key for ya?"

         Dante clenched his jaws, then kept his voice even.  "I paid you a month's rent.  I have a right to open that door."

         "So sue me.  Ya got anything else?  I'm busy here."

         "How about a locksmith?"

         That got him a snort. "I don't give a rat's ass what you do, but don't expect me to spring for no locksmith.  Figure it out yourself.  Don't you go screwin' up the door, though.  If ya do, that'll come outta your damage deposit."

         This was getting nowhere.  "Thanks for nothing."  What an asshole.  "Speaking of the damage deposit, this dump's a mess. Holes in the wall.  Filthy.  And it reeks of weed. I'm not paying for exisiting damage."

         "You'll pay what I say you'll pay.  That's what the deposit's for."

         Dante remembered what Jesse had done when they'd rented a place together. That was when they were in the Dreamer's world, but it made sense here, too.  "Tell you what.  I'll text you with all the stuff that's screwed up, along with pictures.  That way, we'll both have a record. "

         Vinnie snorted.  "Whatever, dude.  Just don't expect me to do nothin' about it.  You rented the place, you're stuck with it." 

         The phone went dead.  Vinnie  had hung up on him.  No key, and now he had to waste a couple hours documenting how screwed up this place was. Good thing he was off today. 

         He gulped the last of his coffee and started snapping pictures. Forty-five minutes and a couple dozen photos later, his phone rang. The display showed Phillipe, his boss at the Summt Club.  Dante winced.  Phillipe was a tight-assed jerk with a fake French accent who acted like he thought being head waiter made him emperor of the world or something.  "Morning, Phil."  Phillipe hated being called "Phil." Dante let a satisfied smile twist his lips.

         "Bonjour, Monseiur Dante.  How are you this morning?"

         Like the asshole cared.  "Fine.  How's it hangin'?"

         "I fear we have a teeny problem, mon ami.  I had to let Monseiur Richard go, and we have a hole in the dinner shift."  He pronounced Rickie's name "Reeshard." 

         It's not like the meth-head Rickie was much of a waiter.  He usually hung out in the men's room zooming.  Not that Dante hadn't done the same thing.  No wonder Phillipe canned him.  Anyway, now that his boss needed a favor, Dante was suddenly his ami.  No reason to make it easy for le jerk.  "Sounds like the staff will be extra busy, then. Makes me glad I've got the day off."

         "Ah, but that ees zee purpose of my call.  We need you to come in today.  Shall we say, perhaps, quatre cet aprรจs-midi?"

         Dante knew enough French to understand the request.  He sighed.  It's not like he didn't need the money.  May as well give in.  "Four PM.  I'll be there."

         "Excellent."  Phillipe seemed to hesitate, then added, "I caught Monseiur Richard in the restroom. He was, I think the term is, tweaking.  I rely on sober staff, like you, mon ami. Not drug addicts."

         That was clear enough.  "I get it.  I'll be there."

         "Merci."  The phone went dead.

         It wasn't even ten-thirty.  Plenty of time to shower, get scattered, sober up, and still be able to fool Phillipe at four.

         Ten minutes in the shower washed away the remnants of last night.  Dressed in fresh boxers, he rummaged through a box, pulled out his glass pipe and a baggie of blue crystals, and headed back to the kitchen for a toke and more coffee. 

         Later, meth spun whirling webs in his head as he  sipped a fresh cup and eyed the door.  He couldn't afford a locksmith.  His crap job waiting tables barely covered living expenses, and renting this dump had exhausted the pittance he'd managed to save.

         His gaze fell on the screwdriver and hammer he'd left on the counter last night.  He had almost five hours before he needed to head out to Phillipe Hell.  Plenty of time to explore behind the locked door.  He'd just take it off its hinges.  That'd show that asshat agent Vinnie. 

         Twenty minutes and a skinned knuckle later, he finally managed to free the door from its hinges.  Just as he was about to dismount it, music started playing again.  He scowled and muttered, "What the F?" It must the radio in the bedroom gone haywire again, and he thought about unplugging the damned thing, but decided to finish opening the door first.  Besides, the tune was "Take Five," another fifties classic and one that he kind of liked.

         The door stuck, but he was able to wedge the screwdriver between it and the jamb and pry it open.  Once he got his hands around it, he pulled it out of the doorway, leaned it against the wall, and turned to peer on the other side.

         The doorway opened to a staircase that descended into a black hole.  The music was louder now, and obviously coming from the depths, not from the radio.  The five-four beat thrummed away, soft but relentless.  A damp, dank odor seeped into the kitchen from below, as if the door hadn't been opened in decades.

         He frowned. One of the boxes held a flashlight, but the batteries were probably dead.  His phone was still on the kitchen table.  He could use that.

         With his phone lighting the way, he took tentative steps into the depths.

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