Last Week’s Memoir #10
Art by Paul Rios
Editor’s Note: The Last Week’s Memoir series is a collaborative story written by Jake Corbin, Bryce McEfee and Paul Rios. View previous LWM Serial No.1 entries to read the story from the beginning.
Andy raced through a yellow light, barely making it through the intersection before the stoplight turned red. There was no flash from the camera perched securely at the top of the traffic lights, so he assumed he was still operating under the rules of the law.
“Where are you, Larry?” Andy said impatiently through gritted teeth.
His eyes scanned the roadways incessantly as he transitioned from one lane to the next, making his way around each car who dared to slow down.
Fortunately for Andy, it wasn’t hard to spot the large delivery van with “Mattress Discounters” emblazoned on every panel. It also didn’t hurt that Larry followed the speed limit like his life depended on it. Once Andy caught up, he felt like he was trapped in a bizarro version of “Speed”—Larry seemed to be doing everything he could to stay under 50 miles per hour.
Andy kept his distance, following at least two cars behind, as Larry made his way down Springfield Avenue and turned right on MacArthur Street. The delivery van crept slowly for a few more blocks, like some kind of ice cream truck with its music off, past the bend before coming to a stop. Andy pulled over and parked roughly one block back.
“Alright, it’s go time,” Andy said, trying to psych himself up.
Andy unlocked his seat belt, turned to his left and reached to grab the car door handle. His fingers were gripping the chrome-plated lever, but something stopped him before he could open the door.
“What the hell am I going to do?”
Andy had been so pre-occupied with tracking down Larry, he hadn’t actually planned anything after that. What was he going to say to him? The conversation he and Larry shared earlier hadn’t worked out too well, and that was without secretly monitoring his whereabouts.
Andy sat frozen in the car, his mind racing back and forth, trying to decide what to do next. He took in his surroundings, hoping some natural force would guide him in the right direction. The longer Andy sat in the driver’s seat, however, the more things didn’t seem right. The sun warmed his face through the windshield as he looked at the trees. The houses were all brightly colored, and several were neatly packaged with white picket fences. He was in the suburbs, not a warehouse district. This wasn’t where Andy went with Larry; not even close.
Andy decided to continue monitoring Larry and Rolu from afar and see if anything started to click. Nothing did. The same went for the next three deliveries. Andy was getting worried, and the day was getting longer. The sun was beginning to droop in the sky, slowly blinking towards the horizon like heavy eyelids before finally going to sleep for the night. Andy had followed Larry for an entire day and managed to dig up nothing but doubt.
“Did I make all of this up? Did none of this really happen?”
Andy was beginning to second-guess every decision he had made. He was still following the large, white delivery van, but his mind had completely drifted. “This must be how schizophrenia starts,” Andy said out loud to no one in particular. “Nah, you’re tripping, Andy,” he said, suddenly realizing he was having a conversation—out loud—with himself.
“That can’t be good.”
Andy was so deep in his self-diagnosis he almost missed the exit Larry took off the highway. None of the other cars took exit 19, so Andy had to pull back.
The atmosphere immediately deadened as Andy twisted down the off-ramp and on to the single lane road. “This is it!” Andy exclaimed, cutting off his imaginary conversation. The lifeless warehouse buildings, just as Andy had remembered, were stacked neatly along the streets like crates at a loading dock. The only difference this time was that it was dark out.
“Oh my gaawww…”
A searing pain flashed across Andy’s forehead that was so intense he couldn’t finish his sentence. It felt like his brain was about to rupture. Lighting bolts of pain shot back and forth from his skull to the front of his brain.
Andy’s eyes clinched shut; the pain was simply too much. He managed to fight through it and focus on the road. He recognized a building he’d seen the previous day… but now it was daylight?
Andy could barely see, but he was able to make the right turn to follow Larry—and notice that it was dark out again.
“What the hell is going on?”
Day and night were bleeding into each other like two radio stations competing for the same signal, flipping back and forth with each turn of the car. Andy was still following Larry, but somehow he kept seeing the buildings as they were yesterday. It was as if he was reliving his memories.
The delivery van came to a stop just as Andy thought he was going to crash the car. He stopped back far enough for nobody to notice and watched Rolu walk into the same desolate warehouse, with the same mattress for Ms. Candle, that he had helped Larry haul in the previous day.
Andy’s body stiffened, and he could no longer see straight. He hung his head to the right, trying to find a focal point to gain his composure. As the blur in his eyes slowly corrected itself, Andy caught his reflection in the window of the abandoned building he was parked in front of—he was staring back at himself in the delivery van.
Andy felt a trickle start from his nose and run down his face. Blood began dripping into his lap like a leaky faucet. Andy looked around his car for something to stop the crimson-colored mess effortlessly pouring from his face, but his eyesight… slowly… faded… to black.