Waking up Brett knew last night was a mistake, today he had to be at work, but hey it was his birthday. Hitting the big 30 demanded that he and his friends pull out the big party guns.
Yes, it could have waited until this weekend. As his head pounded, Brett now wished he would have.
With 2 “must be there” meetings, lunch with his girlfriend and her mom and the Wilson Trust draft due today, he could not call in sick.
With his eyes a little clearer, Brett realized he was not in his own apartment. “Oh man,” he said out loud looking around, “I must have hooked up with someone. Charlene is going to kill me.”
Sitting on the edge of the bed he was running last night over in his head. Try as he may, he could not remember what happened. Getting up Brett called out, “Hello?” But there was no reply.
Brett found his clothes carefully folded and laying on a chair near the doorway along with his wallet and cell phone. The clothes had been washed and his shirt ironed. “Well this has never happened before.” he said as he got dressed. Looking around he noticed that there were no pictures or any décor items in the bedroom. Walking into the hall Brett called out once again with no answer. He found his way to the bathroom.
The bathroom, like the bedroom, was free of any décor. All the walls in this place were stark white and all the fixtures were stainless steel. Even the towels and bath mats were a bright white and all appeared to be brand new. On the counter on top of the towels were soap and shampoo that just happened to be his favorite. “Well that is odd.” he said looking around. He opened the medicine cabinet to see if he could find out anything about the person he came home with. He was hoping for at least a prescription with the woman’s name. To his surprise, the only items there were the type of razors he used, shave cream and even his brand of cologne.
“Did I come home with a guy?” he asked as he closed the cabinet.
Moving down the hall he walked into the living room where there was a large black sectional couch and matching easy chair. A huge 90 inch screen TV hung on the wall.
“Well this is nice. It’s like my dream living room. I must be at a guy’s place, no woman would have this.”
Walking into the kitchen, there was a full coffee pot, a breakfast burrito and a note, “Please make yourself comfortable. Consider this your new home.”
Starting to laugh, “This has got to be a birthday joke. I have to say, it’s a nice if not sterile apartment. ” Thinking to himself that this must be a friend of a friend’s apartment and as a joke they dropped him here. “This is pretty funny. I will get those guys for this.” Brett looked at his watch, 6:45am, he had to get moving. It was too late to go home first, he would just have to shower here. Especially since he didn’t even know where “here” was. Getting to the office early, he could change in the extra suit he kept on hand just in case.
Before Brett headed out he left a note to whoever made the coffee and burrito. He thought he should at least say thank you before running off. Even if this was just a joke.
Grabbing the door handle, it wouldn’t open. He checked the lock, but oddly there was none. “This has got to be a new kind of system.” He said and shrugged his shoulders. “Well I don’t have time to figure it out.” Brett headed for a window, he didn’t have time for a stuck door and didn’t want to damage whoever’s it was. He only than realized, there were no windows. Panic started to kick in. He had to get to work. It would ruin his future if he didn’t show.
“To hell with it, I will buy them a new door.” He started banging on the door, trying to kick it down. It wouldn’t budge. There wasn’t even a dent, it was a fire door like at his office. No way was he going to get through it.
“Who the hell lives in an apartment with no windows?” he yelled.
Grabbing his cell phone his saw that is was dead. Looking around he could not find a charger. Brett then noticed the landline phone, he ran to it only to find it was dead.
Anger fills him, he start pounding on the door and yelling at the top of his lungs, “Help, someone help me!” He starts running around the house and pulling things out of cabinets, off selves, and out of drawers. Looking for a key, a charger, anything to help him get out. The whole time yelling for someone to help him get out.
He headed to the closet hoping to find something to help break down the door. As he is throwing the clothes out of the closet he realizes they look familiar. In a state of shock he slowly starts going through the items. Everything was his, right down to his lucky Steelers jersey. He fell down onto the bed completely stunned. If this is a joke, it was way over the top. He reasoned that this was still asleep or so drunk he was hallucinating.
Just then the landline phone rings. Tripping over the clothes he had tossed out of the closet he rushes to answer it. “Hello, hello.” He yells into the phone.
“Brett, stay calm.” Says the female in a robot like voice. “I am sorry, but you are not going anywhere. You are now mine. There was a car accident last night. You went over a cliff. Everyone believes you are dead.”
“Wait. What?! I don’t understand?” Brett yelled. Then calming himself down he says, “Oh wait, did the boys put you up to this? This is one sick joke. You got me. You got me good. The joke is over, now let me out of here! I am going to lose my job.”
“This is no joke. You are staying right where you are. You can have whatever you want. Your favorite food is in the refrigerator, there is plenty of beer and you have the ultimate sports package on cable. Think of this as a dream come true. You don’t have to work. You can now sit back and relax. You are going to be well taken care of.”
Stunned, Brett still wanting this to be a joke. He is silent for several moments.
“Brett” she says, “It will be ok. I love you and will take care of you like no one else.”
“Please,” he whispered, “Please, let this be a joke.”
“I would say I am sorry,” the woman replied, “but I’m not. Like the movie “Misery”, you are now in my care and I will do whatever I have to keep you here.”
Brett now moved to anger mixed with shear panic, “Look if you think you are going to keep me here against my will you have another thing coming. I will find a way out!”
“Tsk, Tsk” the woman said playfully, “If you want your family, friends and especially that nasty girlfriend of yours to live long lives, you will just be a good boy and do what I say.”
Brett couldn’t hear any more, he slammed the receiver down. A second later the phone rang again.
“When I call you answer. I will decide when we are done talking. Remember, other lives depend on you. Do you understand?”
“Yes” was all he could say, thinking as soon as she hangs up he would call 911.
“Good. Now go watch some TV. I will be watching you. Oh, and as soon as I hang up, I will be turning off the phone, so any plans of calling for help are futile.” And she disconnects.
Brett plays that day over and over again in his head. He has been here 3 years. Today is his 33rd birthday.
When he goes to sleep he often dreams of his 30th birthday, his friends, family and Taran, his girlfriend. He wakes to find that he is still living a nightmare. Sometimes he breaks down and cries, but most of the time he is resolved and just gets through the day.
He doesn’t know how, but while he is asleep the food and beer get stocked along with his toiletries.
Once he started to forgo showering every day, he was threatened that his mom would be hurt. After he had gained a few pounds, he woke one morning to find workout equipment in the living room and note saying he better stay in shape or certain friends were going to pay for his actions.
The “Woman”, what Brett calls her, phones 3 times every day at the exact same times. She talks his ear off for exactly 30 minutes. She goes on about her day, things going on in the news and what she might do tomorrow. She always ends the call by asking if he wanted anything special to eat, a book, magazine, etc. Brett always answers no. At first the calls were annoying, now he can’t wait until the phone rings. He longs to have that connection to someone, anyone, at this point.
Going through his routine today, exercise, shower, breakfast, TV, he soon realizes the “Woman” hasn’t called at her usual time. The calls comes right after his shower. He went to the refrigerator and noticed that he was low on food. That has never happened. Panic set in.
Walking into the living room, what if the “Woman” was done with him. He was going to die. He had to try to escape. Or was this a test? If he tried to leave would she hurt his family?
Suddenly there was pounding at the door. Brett couldn’t move. Someone was shouting. Brett was too scared to say anything. His mind was racing. Suddenly the door broke down. Police and firemen were running into the room.
“Are you ok?” they all seemed to ask.
“How did you find me?” Brett asked, hoping he was not dreaming.
A policeman spoke up, “We received a letter stating that there were men lock inside this building.”
“Men?” Brett asked.
“Men.” The officer replied. “10 to be exact.”
As he was escorted out of the building the sunlight blinded him. As his eyes adjusted he saw the other men. All where about his age, nice looking and in shock.
Brett fell to the ground. This was all too much. Why did someone do this? Who did this?
He looked up at the officer. “Do you know who sent the letter?”
“I’m sorry no. But we will investigate.” He said. “Do you know how long you have been here?”
“3 years today.”
“Wow, you are a short timer. Most of these guys have been here over 5.”
Brett just hung his head and cried.