I.W.Y. Part Two

Dumpster Dave could not hear anything through the window. He could see that his wife Carol was singing and knitting an ugly sweater for Christmas. He stared at her, she was so beautiful, she was there. How is this possible? He tried knocking on the crystallized goop glass, nothing. She kept on knitting. He stayed there for hours observing how she put thread and needle carefully together. Her hands were always so eloquent, expressing joy- Carol loved the holidays. He could feel his eyes water but he couldn’t cry. Carol stopped knitting and got up, and turned off the light and left. Come back, he thought. Come back, is this it? The window darkened, there was nothing left to be seen. Dumpster Dave checked periodically throughout the day to see if anything else would show up. But nothing else did that day. He was angsty, restless. He slept on the floor of the workshop unable to clean up after all.

The next day, Dumpster Dave brought two bottles of wine with him and sat on the floor staring at the darkened window. He wished it would open again. He wanted to see her again. He sat there and drank until he finished one bottle. Nothing happened, and his stomach grumbled but he ignored it. There was no greater need than to see her again. He would piss in his pants if he had to. He would not miss it opening again. He opened the other bottle of wine and when he was about halfway done with that one he placed it aside, quickly because the window had opened again. He almost tripped trying to look and he placed his palms against it and saw through. It was the workshop again, and it was empty. And it remained empty for hours and then the window darkened again. Dumpster Dave pummeled at the window. He wanted to scream, but he didn’t. He reached for his half empty bottle and chugged the rest of his wine and flung it across the room. The bottle shattered and he saw it break into a million pieces as his nostrils flared in rage.

The same situation happened again, and again nothing happened. Dumpster Dave grew frustrated and drank every day looking at it. When finally, in a drunker stupor, something did happen. The room wasn’t empty anymore. But it was poorly lit, as if by a candle. And he thought he could see shadows moving. Elongated shadows from something out of view or someone- no- more than one. The shadows swayed and danced, always staying together- so intimately. Then the window darkened again. He didn’t remember ever setting foot in there with Carol. Who was that? He lay down, face down on the window and passed out, wondering, thinking, fuming.

The scenes on the window appeared more frequently. Dumpster Dave guessed the days were nothing happened was when the workshop had not been in use. The “memories” were in real time and were in random order. It had been over a month now, and nothing else had shown up like that night when those shadows appeared. Had he imagined it? There had been one where he saw Carol cleaning. Another where Carol fostered a litter of pups that had been abandoned while they were adopted. There was one where she read the entire day, and every day that he saw her he glued himself to the window and did not even eat. Dumpster Dave had lost a lot of weight, and he had not gone on his dumpster diving trips for a while now. Mail had piled up, nothing could distract him. Except, more drink. He drank more than he should have and would pass out all the time on the floor and one time, he managed to cry.

One day, as Dumpster Dave watched the window open, a strange scene appeared before him. There was a man. A man he didn’t know, and he was putting his shoes on, tying each knot carefully. He was talking, and smiling to someone behind him. Dumpster Dave stopped breathing for a second. A thought, he tried dearly to suppress, started to formulate in his head. Did Carol have an affair?

Death Unlit

“Red, I’m dying, I can feel it. I don’t want to die.”

“Hang in there Wyatt, I’ll drag you out of here if I have to.”

“There’s no way you can survive with me like this.”

“I can, I won’t leave you here.”

“No Red, stop. Just stop.”

“But we’re almost there.”

“No, and you know it. Look all I ask is to let me die here.”

“I can’t.”

“Just let me die here and help me with a smoke. Can you do that for me?”

“You can have as many smokes as you want when we are free.”

“No goddamn it Red, give me a smoke right here and let me die and go.”

There were sirens in the distance and barking.

“They’re close. That smoke Red.”

Red fumbled for a cigarette. He gave Wyatt one and took another.

Wyatt placed the cigarette in his mouth and held it between his lips.

Red’s eyes widened.

“What? Are they here?”

Red stayed quiet.

“What Red?”

“I don’t have a lighter.”

“Red, I can’t move anymore. Forget the smoke and go.”

“No, I have to light it for you.”

Red picked up rocks and sticks and tried friction and tried making sparks.

“Wyatt, I’m trying hold on.”

“Leave it Red.”

Red kept trying desperately to make a spark using two rocks on hastily collected tinder.

Helicopters whirred in the distance.

Minutes passed.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck.” Red’s hands shook and continuously dropped the rocks.

“Aha! Wyatt I got it.”

A tiny spark lit the tinder and Red lit his cigarette.

“Here Wyatt, here!”

Red looked at Wyatt, his cigarette was on his chest and his mouth wide open. He was dead.

Red placed the lit cigarette on Wyatt’s mouth and held his nose closed.

“I’m sorry,” he said.

He ran.

I.W.Y. Part One

Some people know him as Dumpster Dave. He likes to drive in his 85′ Ford F-150 and pick up items from dumpsters he deems still useful. Dumpster Dave lives in an affluent neighborhood brought by his late wife Carol. It used to be a valley, teeming with wildlife and plant life and there were no Jaguars of the car kind or animal kind for that matter. There were no mansions, or electric gates barring anyone from anything. That’s because Dumpster Dave was poor, and had inherited a parcel of land from his father-in-law for his daughter. They moved in together, built a house together, and lived humbly for a while. Eventually, the area attracted rich entrepreneurs, developers, and investors to take over with what they call cookie cutter homes, but mansions- big cookies. Dumpster Dave’s property was an eyesore to everything that had developed around them. Carol grew frustrated with their living situation. She used to be one with nature, but now she couldn’t even see the mountains anymore. Two massive RV’s covered her kitchen window and Dumpster Dave was determined to make his wife happy. First, in order to appease to Carol, Dumpster Dave built her the workshop of her dreams. Here, she could distract herself and sew to her heart’s content, do macrame, try her green thumb with her gardening- whatever she desired. Then, he would go on to catch a big break and invest all their money in a web hosting company that paid off when the internet boomed. Suddenly, they were rich. And Dumpster Dave and Carol were able to buy vacation homes, and travel, and see the world. They could have left their old house but it had been in Carol’s family for generations. They stayed.

Then Carol passed away. She was found dead in her workshop. The investigation to her death was ruled inconclusive but everything led to suicide. Everyone was shocked to hear that such a happy soul had taken her own life. Dumpster Dave had been broken. He had to be hospitalized in a mental institution. He had suffered emotional trauma and psychosis at the death of his wife. They were 40 then, and they could have owned the world.

After five years, Dumpster Dave made progress and was able to take over decisions of his life again. He consulted lawyers and accountants on the best way to handle selling his web hosting company and retiring at 45. Dumpster Dave sold all his vacation properties and his stocks, and everything securing a fortune to live out the rest of his life in recluse at his old home, where he and his wife used to live. Ever since then, he picked up his dumpster diving hobby again from when he was young living with his parents.

At the time of this story, he is 64, shy of 65 and he’s driving in cloudy weather to an outlet mall outside the city. His usual spot in the shopping centers nearby had installed new bins that locked after business hours. He had the idea of going further than he had gone, but now he was regretting it because he was sure it was going to rain. Not just a fleeting rain, but a full blown thunderstorm. There’s no way he would like to get caught and fried by a lightning bolt with two full legs extended in the air inside a trash bin. But he would make the attempt to get there and at least dive into one or two containers before going home.

Dumpster Dave arrived at the outlet mall and parked his truck right next to a container behind a furniture store. He saw flashes in the distance with dark gray cloud looming in the horizon. The storm was approaching fast. Better make it quick, he thought. At his age, it was getting harder to dive right in but he was still able to manage using a bit of help. The bin was too high, so he brought a step ladder from his truck to reach in. He also latched a home-made harness to his truck, so he could prevent falling over, or if he did get stuck manage to climb out using a retractable cable system. This however he had not tried and was not even sure if it would work. He fumbled trash around and found a broken Tiffany styled lamp with it’s head completely broken but the base left intact. He placed it inside of the truck and then felt the first drop of rain hit his forehead. Damn, he thought. One more and I’ll get going. He reached into the dumpster again and saw a gallon of paint, it was heavy but unlabeled. Whatever color it was it didn’t matter, paint was always useful so he took it out and it was heavier than he expected but he managed to place it on the bed of his truck without hurting himself. Then, it started raining.

Dumpster Dave drove home. It took him about 45 minutes to get to his house and by the time he was home it had stopped raining. He immediately thought he should of waited until the storm passed but he had lost all energy already. He would haul in his catch of the day to his workshop, the one that had been his wife’s. The gallon of paint peaked his curiosity the most. He wanted to find out what color of paint it was so he brought out a flathead to pop open the lid. But the lid would not pop and he tried several different tools and yet the lid remained sealed. He grew frustrated and even contemplated dropping the gallon of paint off the roof but it would be a mess he would not be willing to clean so he left it sitting there on the floor of the workshop until the next day.

The next day, he woke up early and walked to the workshop to try again. He tried the flathead again and this time the lid popped open clean. So clean in fact that he didn’t realize it until the gallon of paint spilled all over the floor. It was strange though, because the paint wasn’t really paint. It was this sort of grimy brownish purple goop that sploshed and spread and dried quick. Dumpster Dave tried to clean it up but it wouldn’t come off. Maybe he would have to buy a pressure washer after all. What was it anyway?

After a few days of going to the workshop, seeing the mess on the floor, and leaving not wanting to clean up, he finally bought the pressure washer and was determined to clean his mess. But when he was going to start cleaning, he saw the goop had crystallized. And not only that but it had also become transparent. He rushed in disbelief to see it and being closer now he could see it was like a window. He was apprehensive to look through but when he did, it was a window and it was a window looking down at this same workshop but different. His wife was there. And she was happy.