Tales of the Storage Space, Part 116

The Storage Space swayed with pleasure.

Amelia was singing.

“Mommy, Mommy, the building’s moving!”

“Hush up, Suzy Q, buildings don’t move.”

“But it is so moving!  It is so!  Look at your Frappucino!  It’s gonna spill, Mommy!  It’s gonna spill!”

“Must be the subway.”

The Storage Space swayed a long, leisurely sway that did indeed spill a little of the “Frappucino.”  Amelia finished up the last heartbreaking verse of a Puccini aria.  The Storage Space couldn’t help but shudder with the thrill of it.

“Mommy!”

“F train!”

Amelia started in on Puccini’s lesser-known La Rondine, with its exquisite aria about a young girl’s dream.  The Storage Space had always preferred Ileana Contrubas’ version over the usual Maria Callas but hadn’t heard it in so terribly long that it managed to convince itself that the best version of all was Amelia’s.  It shivered with delight.

“Mommy!”

“High winds!”

The Storage Space was seeing its own staircases, not as they were now…oh no!…but as they were then.  Gleaming wood balusters so intricately carved they seemed to sway and shiver to the music like fine lace.  Veritable hordes of the haute couture, prancing up and down its stairs like sensitively bred horses with the highest pedigree.

“God fucking damn it!”

The Storage Space was wrenched back through subsequent centuries to Unit 38.  It was the pregnant teenager’s father.

“Mommy, that man said bad words!”

That far-too-talkative, odious child in Unit 37 again.

“Suzy Q!  Hush up and mind your own business, or we’ll never get out of here!”

Said child’s mother.

“God fucking damn it to hell!”

The pregnant teenager’s father again.  He followed up by pounding the metal walls of Unit 38 with both his fists, seemingly forever, sending a cacophony of ricocheted racket throughout the whole building.

“Suzy Q, come back!”

“Mister, that’s not nice.  You’re saying bad words.  And all that pounding hurts my ears.”

An even louder racket, with that odious child screaming.

“Stop!  Stop!  Mommy that bad man’s hitting me!”

Having abandoned both her singing and the unit she was scrubbing clean, Amelia raced toward Unit 38.

Mr. Fists slugged Suzy Q’s mother.

Suzy Q raced into the hall but stopped when she ran into a rather peculiarly dressed man carrying a crowbar who the Storage Space had never seen before.  “What’s your name?”

“Pat,” said the peculiarly dressed man with the crowbar, obviously caught off guard.

Then Suzy Q spotted her mother and Amelia and commenced a wailing, at the top of her lungs, that would have put any Wagnerian opera singer to shame.

Mr. Fists threw an already broken carved elephant against the wall, shattering it into a million pieces, before collapsing to the floor.  “Of all the data sticks, those two had to be missing?”

Tales of the Storage Space, Part 115

Lydia was having what could only be a nightmare.  But then, she’d had so many recently.

“Better check her vitals first.”

Who was that?  Never mind.

First there was the nightmare where her drunken boyfriend, who never drove…always saying, “I don’t drive; I drink,” actually got behind the wheel.  Just because she, Lydia, had had a few.  Then there was the nightmare accident, obviously a nightmare because it was such a tired cliché with them flying off the side of the BQE into thin air, then falling, then her leg being crushed.  And now…

She couldn’t help screaming.  But that bloody stump where her right leg had been couldn’t be real, especially because she could still feel the agony of her crushed leg.

“The hell with her vitals.”

A different nurse, middle-aged.

“Stop her!  Stop that screaming!”

The patient in the other bed, holding her head with just one hand, because the other was handcuffed to the bed.

“Know somethin’, Blondie?  You’re changing!  I’m beginning to like you.”

The middle-aged nurse again, heading toward Lydia with an injection.

“I’m out of here.”

The other nurse, staring at the injection while shaking her head and rushing out of the room.

The remaining nurse prepped Lydia’s IV for the injection.

Recoiling, Lydia saw her right-leg stump move, felt a hideous throb of pain course through it that no nightmare could mimic, watched its bandaging turn bright red with fresh blood, and reached for it…only to discover that one of her hands was handcuffed to the bed too.

“Noooooooooooooo!”

Racing through her scream was the realization that it had all been true, even the part where her boyfriend died.  Even the part where checking her license plate against her ID had resulted in them arresting her for that hit and run with that kid splattered all over her windshield from the week before.

Tales of the Storage Space, Part 114

Karen had never been so mesmerized by such a bright light.  She remembered something about a summer’s day as she rolled toward that bright light, gathering momentum as if rolling down a grassy hillside.

A summer’s day…

Sunlight.

Flowers starting to bloom as she remembered a Shakespearean actor’s elegant voice speaking of “the darling buds of May.”

Faster.

Closer.

Tumbling toward the light now, head over heels.  The light became so bright, and Karen longed for it so.  She strained to reach it, to reach the sun, her feet seeming to leave the earth behind her.  So much more comfortable.  All pain, all anguish gone.  For a moment a chill spread over her.  There was something strange about that light:  it wasn’t warm.  But it was peaceful.  She would never, ever have to feel any pain about anything again.

A jolt like electricity intruded, jittering through her body. Not just warm but hot.

“Phew. Thank you, Lord Jesus Christ, for adrenaline.”

Who was speaking?  Karen felt shooting pains from everywhere.  The light she’d been tumbling toward was gone.

“That was close.”

Again, who was speaking?  Karen’s eyes fluttered open as her head pounded so badly she feared it would fall off.  Her hands fluttered up toward her head, but only one made it.  The other was stopped by something around her wrist that sent more pain shooting through her.  Metal clanged, pounding through her head with an agony so unbearable Karen started to scream.

“You’ll have a teeny little headache.  Nothing to scream about.  Lord Jesus Christ, don’t make me have to inject you again!”

Each word throbbed through Karen’s head like a locomotive.  Next, like thunderclaps, were the footsteps.  Karen’s eyes snapped open to see the middle-aged nurse walking across the room to the door.  Something seemingly gargantuan thundered down the hall and through the door, turning out to be only a gurney with a new roommate on it who was unconscious, but seemed to be missing a leg.

Karen screamed from the pain.

The nurse raised an eyebrow at her and started preparing an injection.

Karen remembered:

Frank!

Dead!

Karen screeched in the face of an agony she simply couldn’t endure.

The nurse headed toward her with the injection.

But just then the seemingly impossible happened:

Her new roommate screamed even louder.

The nurse, still holding the injection, changed direction.

Tales of the Storage Space, Part 113

Martin was playing with a fluffy pink stuffed animal while listening to the soundtrack of a movie his parents must have been watching in another room.

The Music Man.  The part where Marion the Librarian tried to keep the second sleazy salesman from going after the first sleazy salesman, who she’d fallen in love with, by flirting with the second sleazy salesman.  The second sleazy salesman kept calling her a strictly G-rated “girly girl.”

But there was absolutely nothing bloody G-rated about what his parents were calling Marion the Librarian, or their suggestions about what the second sleazy salesman should do to her.  And were those even his parents watching The Music Man in the other room?  There were a whole lot of male voices and no female ones in the audience.

Where was he?

For a moment he saw the bars and the trail of blood leading toward him and realized he was on the floor again, and that he wasn’t alone.  An unbearable despair, far deeper and more painful than the most acute pain, forced an endless moan so unfathomable that it seemed to erupt from his bone marrow.  A consummately cruel and oily voice breathed directly into his ear, “Beginning to like it now, aren’t you…”

Then he was playing with his fluffy pink stuffed animal again, a pudgy-cute T-rex that was winking furiously at him.

“Little boy…”

That consummately cruel and oily voice!  Where did it come from?  Didn’t matter.  Couldn’t matter.  Martin concentrated on the undulating patterns in his little-boy wallpaper, clutching the winking T-rex.  Desperately he tried to calculate how long until the end of The Music Man, knowing all the overly loud movie soundtracks drowned out and concealed…other sounds.