• Jeff South

Blogtober 2021: Ice

WORK FROM HOME, DAY 28


The first night with Sandy gone was uneventful. Two sleeping pills saw to that. This has left me nearly incapacitated. My head weighs one thousand pounds and my mouth is arid. The voices on the video conference sound like a record being played backward. The air in the office feels heavy and closed in, even with the door open so I can look down the hallway. I lay my head down on the desk and close my eyes just for a moment as the world fades to black.



*



"Is someone snoring? I hear snoring."


"Jeff, you should probably turn your webcam off if you're going to nap."


I wake with my heart in my throat and scramble to shut off my webcam. A stream of obscenities flows freely from my mouth.


"Mute your mic, too."




*



Several minutes of shameful silence passes before a call from boss comes over my phone. She expresses for my well-being and hopes that all is well, but my performance the last few weeks has been lackluster.


"You don't seem yourself," she says.


"I can explain."


"Just take a few days, okay? Get some rest. We can revisit this on Monday and figure out what comes next for you."


I say nothing because introducing my boss to the knowledge of a poltergeist tormenting me to the depths of my sanity somehow doesn't strike me as helpful. Panic consumes me and I begin to pace and chew my fingernails like they're the only sustenance keeping me alive. Could something so stupid cost me my job? It was a silly mistake. Happens to people all the time. I've read about stuff like this on the internet. It's not like I pulled a Jeffrey Toobin. That shouldn't be my defense, though.


What a screw up! Holy shit, this is bad. My chest tightens and a dull ache pricks around my heart. My hands tremble and feet feel like I'm sludging through wet cement. A replay of every single stupid thing I've done plays on a loop in my head. How can I make up for this? Why do I always feel like I'm making up for something? Letting someone down?


A knocking booms from the bedroom down the hall like someone is pounding it from the inside. My blood turns to ice as a chill sweeps into the office. I inch into the hallway. My breath forms little puffs of steam. The thermostat on the wall reads 72 degrees. Why does it feel like January in MInnesota? The knocking grows more intense as I arrive at the door.


It stops.


All is silent until a low, guttural growl of a whisper is heard from the other side.


"There. Are. No. Good. Things."

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