Something To Cut A Cake With

Working in a secure facility does not always make one feel at peace. The machines create white noise. In here, it’s not hard to forget the world outside. This morning began like many others; Deb and I said our farewells to the overnight crew at 8 o’clock. Before getting settled in, Deb went to the refrigerator just beyond the main doors at the entrance to our department to stash her lunch.

I began logging into my terminal so I might get a jump on the backlog of e-mails in my inbox. Just then, Deb came around the corner with her eyes open wide. It was then I noticed, we were not alone.

Toward the back of the room, a foregin man was tapping away on the keyboard of a laptop. He was also holding a conversation on a cell phone. The subject of which could not be determined over the whiring computer fans.

“Holy shit! Did you see the size of the knife in the fridge? It’s the kind they use in all the horror movies,” said Deb as she flopped down in her desk chair.

“No,” I replied with little fanfare.

“Look, I’ve been told by a lot of people that I watch too many of those crime investigator T.V. shows, Deb continued. “That makes me nervous,” she added.

“Someone’s probably having a birthday party, later, they need something to cut a cake with,” I replied.

“You and I are the only ones in here until noontime. Why in hell, would somebody place a large knife in a public fridge, on the door, with the blade facing up?”

I didn’t call attention to the guest seated in the front of the Operations Center. Deb just repeated part of her question: “Did you see that knife? It gives me the freakin’ willies…”

“Deb, if it makes you feel better, I’ll take a walk to go look at it.” I arose from my seat and headed for the door. I took my time walking to the icebox. I thought Deb may be trying to pull a practical joke.

Upon opening the door of the chill chest, I failed to find this large, sharp, weapon that alarmed my co-worker. All I saw, was a bag lunch and assorted soft drink cans.

Returning to the Operations Center, I remembered that I left Deb alone with the dark, mysterious, stranger. In the back of my brain, I hoped that he did not have the aforementioned butchers’ tool in his laptop case. Or worse, against my co-worker’s jugular vein.

As I rounded the corner to my workstation, Deb was on the phone helping a customer. Her back was to the stranger. The stranger was still talking on his cell.
“Deb, I don’t mean to alarm you any further, but I didn’t see any knife.”

“Are you kidding me? You can’t be serious…”

“I’m as serious as a heart atack,” I replied.

“Nice choice of words, Ken,” Deb blurted uneasily. “It was there, I swear to you…”

“I’m not doubting you; I’m sure, at one point, it was there,” I stated; attempting to reassure her.

“Ken, If you’e pulling one of your office pranks, I’ll never speak to you again,” Deb barked as if she were feeling like she needed to fill empty space, quickly.

“Let’s take a walk. Put your phone on work status, so that it won’t ring. I’ll walk with you and protect you from the boogyman, I added.

“No shit…Ken…you sure that knife’s gone…?” Deb questioned.

We walked together quickly to the refrigerator. Deb flung the door wide to discover the knife was missing from its suggested storage place.

“What do ya think we should do next?” Deb asked.

“Well, we can’t stand here. We need to get back on the phones,” I answered.

“To Hell with that!” Deb yelled. “One of us needs to let the security guard know that there’s a psycho loose…with a knife!”

I offered to call security from the wall phone by the door Deb told me to run to the guard station. She was giong back to her desk. She felt safer behind locked doors.
Before she could slde her card key through the reader. I asked her if she was aware of the stranger with the laptop.

“Yeah, he’s just a contractor,” she said. “I can’t wait until his time is done…he’s annoying and he smells bad. You go to the guard station.”

I honored my co-worker’s request. A short time later, I felt like a fool. Standing in front of a blue shirted college kid with a tin foil badge, I explained the story. Careful to divulge only the facts, I asked him to investigate the area and look for the missing weapon.

“We’ll take care of this…sir…Don’t you worry. What area do you work in? What’s your name?

I ran back to the Operations Center. I am not sure what I was expecting. When I sat in my chair, Deb was strangely quiet. The stranger was no longer on his phone. The glow of his monitor obscured his features, and he didn’t move a muscle.

Something To Cut A Cake With

Dwayne Boyd

Worcester, United States

  • Artist
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Artist's Description

Behind locked doors, one’s not always protected…

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