Last week, our protagonist, MIKE, had seen the eye staring back at him as he shaved. It wasn’t in the mirror, it was half way up the wall behind him. Now starting to question what’s real and what isn’t, Mike heads to work to see if he can restore some sanity in his life.
On to today’s entry…
Mike’s day had started badly and got progressively worse. He managed to trap his hand under the bonnet of a car; he used some of his more colourful language on that one; he managed to misplace paperwork for one of the cars awaiting collection, wasting a good hour turning the office upside down to find it. Finally, he discovered he had left his packed lunch at home, and he had to ask Hank for a loan, as he’d forgotten his wallet as well.
“You alright, mate?” Hank was sitting across the garage on a stack of used tyres.
“What?” Mike looked up from the engine he had had his head in.
“You don’t look well.” Hank pointed at him. “Did you forget to brush your hair as well this morning?”
Reflexively, Mike ran a hand across his head. His hair wassticking up, and he looked into a wing mirror and tried to smooth it down. The offending pieces of hair sprang back up when his hand moved away. Mike cursed under his breath.
“It’s alright mate, I still love you,” Hank laughed, “don’t let it bother you.”
“That’s good to know.” Mike smiled, although he didn’t feel happy; he felt tired and annoyed.
“You been arguing with Gloria?”
“No, well…no more than usual.”
“What was it about this time? What did you do?” Hank laughed again.
Mike and Hank had been friends since school. When they left college, both men had found themselves apprenticeships as mechanics. They had lost touch for a couple of years, before running in to each other again. They clicked as if they had never been apart, and another year later, they both began working at a local garage. Mr Richards, the owner, suffered a stroke about five years later. He came back to work, but he was never the same, eventually succumbing to a further stroke six months later which finished him. At the funeral, which both men attended, Mrs Richards spoke to the two men, telling them that her husband had wanted ‘both his boys’ as he called them, to take on the business, which they had done and were now making the best fist of it that they could. Despite their closeness, Mike wasn’t sure he was ready to tell Hank about what he had seen that morning and the previous night. He wasn’t sure Hank would look at him in the same light.
“Just tired,” he said, “These long days are getting to me, I guess.” Mike sat down and let his shoulders slump.
“I know what you mean,” said Hank, “I’ve been so tired, I don’t think I’ve passed two sentences with ‘her indoors’ in the last week.”
I don’t think you know how I feel at all, thought Mike. Do you have a disembodied eye on your bathroom wall?He wasn’t truly convinced about the eye himself yet. There’s more of gravy than grave about you. TheDickens’Christmas Carolreference made him smile; not that he was a Charles Dickens kind of guy, but the Muppett’s Christmas Carol was one of his Christmas favourites.
“You’re probably right,” he said, hauling himself back to his feet. “Let’s just crack on and get these sorted, so we can get home tonight.”
The pair toiled for the remainder of the day, until at last, Mike looked up at the clock, hanging just above the calendar with the woman who was showing more skin than Gloria was comfortable with. The sun had set almost an hour ago, and the clock was hard to see in the failing light. He had to walk closer to see the time.
“You ready to call it a day, mate?”
“What time is it?” Hank’s legs protruded from underneath a grey Honda Civic.
“Alright, just give me half an hour to finish this off. If you want to help, we can get it done in half the time.”
“Fine. I’ll clean up over here first.” Mike started to gather the assortment of tools that lay on the floor. As he crossed the garage, his throat locked and his heart jumped; on the far wall, just above a shelf unit, was an eye. At this distance Mike couldn’t tell if it was the same eye or not. He stood in the centre of the garage, looking at the eye. It looked back.