The bitter cup of coffee Greg was drinking was not improving his mood. June, the office complex secretary smiled at him from behind her large desk. He was sitting in the lobby of the complex, waiting for the firemen to put out his car and report the damage. He knew he should contact his insurance company, but all he had the energy to do was sit here, wait, and avoid June’s pitiful glances.
Suddenly, the phone behind June’s desk rang, making her jump. “Yes sir, he’s right here” she said, shooting Greg a nervous look. “Absolutely sir, I’ll send him right up.” She hung up the phone and took a deep breath, as if doing her best not to get riled up or angry. “Mr. Barton?” she said. “Yes?” replied Greg. “Mr. Hague would like to see you in his office.” Greg’s heart skipped a beat and a lump formed in his throat. He rose from his seat and made his way to the elevator.
Greg shuffled his feet across the carpet, slowly making his way towards Mr. Hague’s office. As he opened the door, he saw his boss sitting in his office chair with his arms crossed and a furious expression on his face. As Greg entered, Mr. Hague stood and leaned forward on his desk. Greg sat down across from him but did not meet Mr. Hague’s eyes.
“Explain yourself, Barton” Mr. Hague nearly shouted. “Sir, my car caught fire. There’s nothing to explain.”
“Explain why you were late. Shit happens, that doesn’t mean you can be late like you were. You’ve nearly missed an entire day’s work. That’s unacceptable and after your intern screw up last night, this is your last straw. You’re fired.” Greg looked up into Mr. Hague’s bloodshot eyes and rose slowly from his seat without breaking eye contact. Rather than make the situation worse, he walked out and headed towards his own office.
When he arrived, he was astounded to find the snow globe sitting on his desk. It was hissing and the snow inside was swirling around, obscuring the idyllic village within. Greg wanted to investigate but was abruptly inspired to march right back into Mr. Hague’s office and fight for his job. Greg marched down the hallway with a mad-dog expression on his face, breathing heavily and gritting his teeth. He pushed open the door to Mr. Hague’s office, letting it slam against the wall. “You son of a bitch; how dare you punish me for the mistakes of my interns, how dare you blame me for what happened to my car, and how DARE you speak to me as if I’m less of a human than you are. I’ve given this company 15 years of my life, and you know what that’s gotten me? Nothing! Absolutely nothing. I’m sick of it and I demand you let me keep my job and better yet, give me a substantial raise and pay for the damages done to my car on YOUR property.”
Mr. Hague was speechless; literally. He didn’t seem as if his voice was working with the words he was attempting to form. In some kind of twitchy trance, he nodded his head and reached for Greg’s hand. They shook on it and made a deal. Greg left 20 minutes later with a smile on his face and a blank check for the insurance company.
He arrived back in his office to marvel at the snow globe more closely. He gave little thought as to why it was there due to his exuberance. The details of the wrapped ivy seemed to gleam in the sunlight shining through his office window and the tiny town seemed to be alive with snow covered rooftops and pathways. It looked as if he could jump through the glass and be transported to a scenic town in rural Ireland.
He set the snow globe down on the desk in front of him and stared intently at it. He glanced over at his office door to make sure it was closed, and quietly said “I wish I had fifty dollars.” The snow inside the globe began to swirl and a hissing noise emitted from the base of the snow globe. The letters on the placard glowed gold and flashed as the wish was finalized. Just then, someone knocked on his office door. He quickly threw his jacket over the globe and answered it. It was Paula, a coworker of Greg’s. “Hey man, I just wanted to give you back that fifty I borrowed last month. Sorry it took so long to get back to you.”
“Oh, uh, no worries” he said.
Beaming with excitement, he returned to his desk and uncovered the item. The snow had settled once more upon the tiny town. Greg looked down at the fifty in his hand and pocketed it. He grabbed his coat and headed back to Mr. Hague’s office, he felt excited to have made a new friend while sticking up for himself and wanted to invite Mr. Hague to lunch.
He stopped short right outside of the door. Inside, a booming voice that did not belong to Mr. Hague was shouting something. Greg quietly sidled up to the door and listened. “How can I expect this company to go anywhere when my best salesman, the man I trust with my life, my own son-in-law, has all of a sudden decided to take a vow of silence!?’ the other man said, seemingly pacing around the room. “Hague, this can’t happen. This is ridiculous. Pack your things. I want you out by 4.” Greg heard footsteps approaching the door and frantically scurried a few feet away to make it look as if he was simply walking by. As an older gentleman in a perfectly tailored suit stormed past him, he could see through the opened door. Greg looked into Mr. Hague’s office only to see the strong, sturdy employer he’d known for so long weeping and holding his head in his hands. Silent choking sobs escaped his lips and his face contorted as tears fell from his eyes.
It didn’t take long for the office chatter to begin. Even as Greg was walking back to his office, he could hear the workers and interns placing bets on how long the firm that owned this complex would keep it running. Some were already crying because they knew their jobs were doomed. Greg returned to his office and stared at the snow globe for a moment. Then it suddenly hit him. He was the reason these terrible things were happening. Mr. Harmond had said something about terrible consequences and this was it.
He grabbed the snow globe and rushed home. While he normally drove as the weather got colder, the walking distance was short enough that he made it back to the complex in about ten minutes. Before he approached the steps, he noticed an ambulance and two cop cars sitting outside with their lights flashing. His heart sunk, hoping it wasn’t what he feared. Just then, another paramedic walked backwards through the propped-open door carrying a gurney. The other half came through shortly after. The body was covered in a white sheet. “Who- what happened?” Greg asked. “We’re not permitted to say” one paramedic replied. “At least tell me what apartment. I think I know who this might be.”
“27” she replied.
Greg trudged up the staircase to his apartment and weakly opened the door. Peggy did not jump or bark as he walked in, but simply sat on the carpet, calmly wagging her tail. The house was spotless; somehow even cleaner than he had left it this morning. Greg took the snow globe from his briefcase and set it down on the kitchen table. “I wish I could go back to the time before this mess happened” he mused, and sat down on one of the kitchen chairs. The snow began to swirl and the globe began to hiss. Greg found himself standing in Mr. Harmond’s living room with the man himself sitting in front of him at his dining room table.
“Greg, I’d like to repay you for finding my wallet. The only picture I have of my son is in this wallet and I was a wreck when I found out it was gone. How much seems fair? $50? $100?”
“Mr. Harmond, I couldn’t take your money, really, I just wanted to make sure it made its way home.”
“Oh, I know!” The old man said excitedly before standing and walking over to the mantle of his fireplace. “Here, this is for you.”
Greg had the feeling of déjà vu, but was quickly distracted by the beautiful globe now sitting in his hands. “Wow, this is beautiful. What does this inscription mean?”
“Those are the Irish words for ‘I wish.’ It was said this globe could give you powers and make your deepest desires come true; some say at a terrible price.”
Greg later left Mr. Harmond’s apartment only to find his own terrorized by Peggy. “I wish you would behave” he said as he set the globe down on a bookshelf near the door. He walked in, fed Peggy, grabbed a warm beer, and went to bed, leaving the mess until morning.
Last Week’s Story:Wishful Thinking Part 2
Next Week’s Story: Maid Service: Second Draft
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