Friday, 20 May 2016

Fiction Friday: Ritter

Written by Kris Kaila

The light from the flashing neon sign crept through the sheer curtains onto his face.  Lying on the stiff stale bed he could not will himself to get up, and pull down the shades.  The glow from the television, some eighties sitcom, was background noise for his incessant thoughts.  The air conditioning in the small room kicked in with a low rumble, and half an hour later died out. Died out, quickly without any warning.  There was a squeaking noise coming from next door that he drowned out with the high pitch squeals of the laugh track.  Roger turned his head towards the television. Jack Tripper was at it again trying to convince Mr. Roper he was gay, while a leggy blond sat on the coach blinking in confusion. John Ritter was dead, too.  He had died quickly without any warning.  He, Ritter, was only fifty-four. Roger could not remember where he had heard about Ritter’s death, or when. The telephone rang with a shrieking echo in the hollow motel room.

    “Hello,” he said, finally on the seventh ring.

    “Mr. Gill, this is the motel manager.  We just wanted to confirm your eight-am wake up call.”

      “Yes, thank you.”

      “Goodnight, Mr. Gi…” was all the manager could choke out before Roger hung up the phone.

       When he turned the television off only the neon vacancy sign lighted the room.  For the hundredth time that night he looked over at his briefcase sitting on the night table.  He had already opened it several times to feel the weight of the cold hard metal in his hand. Roger tried to get the briefcase and it’s contents out of his mind.  His eyes would not close no matter how hard he tried.  Sleep was no longer an option. He flicked the TV back on. His stomach rumbled, now that the vodka had left his system.  Unfortunately, he was sober and he could feel the day’s weight on him.  He was alone.  Reena was dead.  She died quickly without any warning.

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