Occupational Hazards


Dan Wolmare awoke at his regular time.  He didn’t know yet it was going to be anything but a regular day.  He crawled out of bed and went through his regular routine--took a piss, read the morning paper, ate a blueberry muffin with margarine, and had one cup of coffee.

After all that was out of the way, he puttered around his bachelor apartment straightening things as he went.  When he came to the TV he flicked it on; CNBC popped up on the big screen.  He glanced at it for a bit, tore himself away and headed back to the bedroom.  He analyzed the unmade bed for a time, turned and walked back to the kitchen.

Dan glanced at the stack of paperwork on the kitchen table that needed attention.  It was business related; he worked on it everyday.  He had to, in his business there was no other way.  But instead of jumping right on it, there was one more little thing he had to do first.  It also was something he did every day, although he didn’t consciously realize it.  He walked to the door that led out of his apartment, craned his head out, and placed his right eye to the small peephole that gave him a fish-eye view of the hallway outside his door.

And today, as always, he saw nothing unusual...at first.  He was peeking directly across from his basement level apartment at the door to the building’s common area laundry room.  He had to blink his eye twice and stretch it open wide because this time he did see something move.  He peered hard.  It was the laundry room door...and it was moving, very slowly, open.

Dan stared, his eye pressed tightly against the peephole, as the laundry door inched open, wider and wider.  He could feel his heart begin to beat more rapidly, and his palms, which were pressed flat against the door at shoulder height, were sweating.

The door continued to move until it was more than a foot ajar, then it stopped.  Dan licked his dry lips and watched in shock as a head slowly emerged from the laundry room and peered out from around the door.  The head was hosting long, black, greasy hair; a wild, full beard and what seemed to Dan a dangerous, paranoid look in its eyes.  Shoulders and then a chest came into view, and by the look of them they belonged to a very large man.  And now that man was looking intently at Dan’s apartment door.  And Dan, of course, knew instinctively who this person was--a cop or a rip-off, that was for sure.  Didn’t matter which.  Both equally bad news.





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