Nothing exciting ever really happens.
I was a tiny part of a big corporate machine and every day was pretty much the same. I became so stuck in my routine that the rest of the world was all but invisible. I couldn’t take it. I felt myself fading away… I’d felt this way for weeks now.
It was just another worthless Friday night, so of course, that meant Chinese takeout and Netflix. My friends… not friends…co-workers were all out without me. I closed my eyes. Sleep comes quickly when you have nothing going on. Nothing to think about.
Knock…Knock…Knock………….Bang…Bang…Bang. I looked at my watch, it was 4AM. What the hell? I grabbed a pair of sweatpants off the floor and stumbled across the room. I felt for the light switch, but it didn’t work.
…..Bang…Bang…Bang… My heart was pounding.
“Hold on I’m coming!”
I made my way through the dark mess of my apartment to the door. My golden retriever Oscar was going nuts. Something had him riled up.
I looked through the peephole to blackness. Whoever was on the other side had their hand over the hole. My breath caught in my throat.
“Who’s there?” I shouted.
The silence was deafening. I could hear my heart pounding in my ears.
I grabbed a flashlight as I looked around for something to protect myself from…I don’t even know. A glass plate on the edge of my coffee table caught my eye. I picked it up.
I took a deep breath and reached for the knob. I could hear Oscar behind me, letting out a slow deep growl of anticipation.
I cracked open the apartment door and looked out. What the hell? I opened the door all the way. There was no one out there. I felt myself gasping for air. I guess I had been holding my breath. There was no one there, but it wasn’t my hallway either.
I shined the flashlight around my apartment. I felt relief to see everything was still the same. Maybe this was all some kind of sick joke.
I put Oscar on his leash and set out cautiously down a hallway I had never seen before. As we rounded a corner, I found the elevator where it should be, but it was different. It definitely wasn’t my elevator. It was much older, a different color and worn down from use. I pressed the button for the lobby.
The doors opened to a room I had never seen before. The woman at the desk smiled and turned to me.
“I’m sorry for the power outage Mr. Jordan. It should be all fixed by morning.”
I had never seen this woman before in my life. I nodded slightly and walked in confusion toward the rotating front doors. As I rounded the door and came outside, the city was all dark. The city was all different. I started to panic. A strange couple walked by but turned to me as they came close.
“Mr. Jordan! Can you believe the power went out again? “
“WHO ARE YOU?” I screamed. “WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?” The couple didn’t respond. They just shrugged and walked away.
“Must be the booze again.” I heard them whisper before they were out of earshot. But I wasn’t a drinker.
I started around the block. Nothing was familiar except the moon and the stars. I felt tears streaming down my face.
I turned around walked Oscar back to the apartment and went out on the balcony to get a better view. Up here on the 38th floor, I could see the dark outline of a city I’ve never known. Off in the distance, a billboard for Levi’s jeans caught my eye. I ran inside and grabbed my binoculars.
As the sign came into focus, my heart sank to the floor and I fell back to my chair. “The Most! White Levi’s available Fall 1965.” I started sobbing as I felt my grasp on reality slip away. It wasn’t 1965 it was 2015…or at least it was last night. I cried until I felt my conscious drift away. I must have fainted. Thank God I was sitting down.
A few minutes later…it could have been a few hours…Oscar barked and woke me up. I looked over. As I walked over to pet him, he sat down and stared directly at me. He didn’t blink.
He looked straight at me and opened his mouth as if he was going to bark again. But he didn’t bark. He said, “Nobody is going to believe you.” and walked away.
The power came back on an instant later. I couldn’t take it. I went the kitchen cabinet where I keep my one bottle of Jim Bean, but was shocked to find a fully stocked liquor collection.
I grabbed a bottle of Jim Bean and looked at the label. It was old…really old. I took it back to my chair on the balcony and drank myself to sleep, watching a city I’d never seen wake up for the first time.