Nightmares - Part One

Monique Medwell applied her signature shade of lipstick – Poised Plum – finally finishing off her polished look.

Yes, like Eva Longoria and those others on the Revlon ads, Monique had her own trademark lipstick. The lipstick didn’t have her signature scrawled on the side of it, but it may as well have. Poised Plum was her colour. Seeing her without it, or for that matter, without any makeup at all (eek!) would be like seeing Gwen Stefani without her platinum blonde looks and bright red lips. Like seeing a tortoise without its’ shell, perhaps.

Monique was actually running late to work that morning, very unlike her. She had masterfully applied her ‘face’ while driving her Volkswagen Beetle through the streets of the Melbourne CBD – very silly, very dangerous, yes. Yet she had done it without any trouble. Her ability to do several things at once was quite hard to comprehend for some. It would be harder though to comprehend seeing her walk into the office with a bare ‘au naturel’ face and unkempt hair.

She entered the office, poised as usual – poised like the Poised Plum lip stain.
At least on the surface.
There was a niggling at the back of her mind that things weren’t quite right today. Why was the niggling there? It must just have been that she was running late – her routine was out of whack.

She’d woken up in the middle of the night and had found it hard to fall asleep again. Once she had returned to the land of slumber, she’d found it hard to force her eyes open and spring from the bed as she usually did each morning. Most of the time she was up by five to go for an early morning swim, enjoy a light, healthy breakfast and carefully apply her make up. Choosing an outfit wasn’t an issue – she chose a weeks’ worth of ensembles each Sunday night.

Monique, for the first time in years, felt like she wanted to go home to bed. She didn’t want to be here with this fake smile plastered on.

She sat at her desk and began working. She couldn’t be bothered, really. She didn’t like that feeling; she was usually a very conscientious worker.

She was relieved when her best friend Natalie arrived two hours later, dishevelled and bleary-eyed as usual, a cup of Starbucks in her hand.

‘Nat!’ she greeted. ‘You thought you’d grace us with your presence before lunch time!’
Monique cringed at her own words. She made these kinds of comments every day but for some reason, it all seemed rather pathetic and predictable today.

‘Whatever, Monique! I was up watching DVD’s with Dean and Kel till about four am,’ Natalie mumbled as she rubbed her eyes.

For the first time ever, Monique was jealous of Natalie. She was always in bed by nine thirty on week nights. No times for DVD’s with friends.

‘I’m freaking out, Nat,’ she said shakily.
‘How come? Are you behind with the proposals?’
‘No. I’ve been having these really scary nightmares.’
‘Yeah?’
‘Yeah. Last night, I was in this very office, walking along the corridor. I accidentally tripped so everyone turned on me, as if they were really angry at me for making the mistake of tripping. So they all came towards me, slowly but menacingly, like zombies. They murdered me with office supplies, like letter openers and scissors and… photocopiers.’
Natalie was extremely tempted to laugh.
‘Photocopiers?’
‘John Carman from Finance hit me over the head with one,’ she said, her eyes wide as saucers. ‘I’m scared of him now!’
‘Was I there?’
‘No. Funny that, even in my dreams you’re nice to me.’
‘I’m so nice the way I refrain from murdering you,’ Natalie quipped.
‘Exactly.’
‘I wish I could’ve been there,’ Natalie smiled.

Monique went to the tea room to make some coffee. She knew Natalie thought it was all quite amusing. Perhaps it would have been if she hadn’t had nightmares that always ended with her dying in some fashion or another every night for the past month.
She wondered if she was having a nervous breakdown.

Things continued to get worse for Monique. Soon enough her life was spiralling out of control. She started taking sickies, and when she did turn up to work, she often just wore whatever was on her bedroom floor that morning. It was the day that she got to work five minutes later than Natalie that everyone realised there must be something terribly wrong.

Paul Freeman from House Claims sat her down for a chat one day. Usually she’d run away in fright at the mere sight of Paul, as he was gangly and awkward, and obviously had a huge crush on her. But these days she was too tired and stressed out to bother walking faster than a snail’s pace, let alone running. Her mind vaguely wandered over the previous nights’ dreams of being cut up into little pieces by Barry Manilow.

‘You don’t seem your lovely, sprightly self lately, Monique,’ Paul said quietly, looking her in the eye.
His gentle, concerned manner was too much for Monique. She burst into tears and told Paul everything – the nightmares, the tossing and turning, the fears that she was losing her mind. Her gradual decay into a woman who didn’t give two hoots about her appearance.

Paul was unstoppable after that. He was a man with a mission – that mission being to keep Monique Medwell, the love of his life, the beautiful blonde goddess – safe.
She was sure that one of the nightmares would come true, and Paul, being superstitious and infatuated with Monique, feared that she could be right.
So when she told him that Wednesday about her nightmare of being hit by a car, he began escorting her from the office to the train station, putting up his hand to slow down traffic as if he was a policeman or something.

Thursday she related how her mind had given her dreams of her eyes being gouged out by her own sister, Claudia. Paul bought her some sunglasses ‘to be worn at all times’.

Friday, Natalie wanted to know why Monique was spending so much time in the loos.
‘I dreamt my computer swallowed me up,’ was the absurd explanation. ‘I can’t look it at the same way today.’

Natalie was sick of it. Monique always attracted attention. Even without her make up and fabulous clothes and amazing conversational skills she was attracting attention! She was playing the ‘damsel in distress’ card like a pro.
‘I wish I could have been there’
She remembered saying those words when Monique had told her about the office supplies nightmare. Yes, she wished she could have been there, indeed. It would have been priceless to see the beloved Monique hunted down by an angry mob of insurance officers and Sales personnel. Perhaps Natalie could have assisted with some of the nastiest paper cuts known to woman.

She knew she was thinking evil thoughts, but she just couldn’t help it. Nobody cared that she had won a trip to Fiji. They were too busy fussing over Monique. Especially Paul. Gorgeous Paul. Natalie and Paul had kissed not more than a week ago, during a ciggie break behind the office building. Things were just starting to get interesting, then Monique had to go and be all nightmare-ridden. Bloody Monique Medwell. She wasn’t even that pretty, really. You could see that without all that make up caked on. Yeah, definitely.

That afternoon, Natalie stood behind the office building alone with her cigarette. Paul and Bloody Monique (she was always ‘Bloody Monique’ in Natalie’s mind) sailed past her on their way to the train station. It was only four and they were going home. Natalie started work around ten so couldn’t knock off till six. Bloody Monique and her seven-thirty starts. She felt so betrayed, so pissed off when they whizzed by without so much of a glance, that she decided she’d have to have her revenge.

To be continued…

Nightmares - Part One

Michelle Rogers

Joined April 2007

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