Dead Dogs Don't Roll Over
Written by: Alex Sandell

Chapter 41
Do Real Heroes Just Wait Around?

After his dispiriting message, my dead Dalmatian disappears, making me feel slightly used. Why did he put me through the entire locker room Limbo ordeal, if he could just "beam" himself there at any given moment? Now I’m about half a dozen points past being fired, trapped inside an oppressive casino that I never wanted to apply at in the first place, I’ve got Elvis Presley using dead people’s eyes to stare down at me, and two friends that are supposedly going to be dead before the end of my shift. What a day.

And these roundabout death threats are starting to become very disconcerting. Especially when one involves the most beautiful girl in the world, Sue. My dream tree will be so empty without her. Unfortunately, my "guardian angel" left without giving me the first clue on what I can do to save her. I’m worried about Slot Service Specialist, Lisa, too, but she’s kind of ugly, and really annoying, so, oh well.

When I finally arrive back at my bank, I see something tacked onto it. It’s a piece of plain notebook paper, with glowing handwriting sprawled sloppily across it. The message reads: "I heard your question. Go on with your workday, as you usually would. Don’t do anything to save Sue until you receive further information. And, about Lisa, she’s kind of ugly anyway, so you can just ignore her." After I read the words, they fade away, which actually seems sort of pointless, since the paper disappears seconds later. I start wondering if these spirits I’ve got hanging around me are a little retarded.

I have my key inserted halfway into my bank when I hear Richard’s serpentine voice wrap around me, and take hold of my soul. "You’re late," he hisses, "you were gone for thirty-seven minutes." "WHAT?!?" Is the only word he gives me a chance to scream, before carrying on over this false accusation. "You’re late. Seven minutes, to be exact." I begin shaking in anger at what is obviously becoming Richard's personal vendetta. "I am not late. I actually came back quite a bit early. I only took around a ten or fifteen minute break." Richard smiles, without responding.

I open my bank and begin loading up my change belt. Richard remains poised beside me. "Is there anything else?" I ask. "Well, I’d like you to admit to your tardiness," Richard returns. "Listen, Rich," when his face reddens, I realize that calling him "Rich" instead of Richard wasn’t the smartest thing to do, but I continue anyway, "I’m not going to confess to something I didn’t do." Richard’s snaky grin seems to wrap all the way around his face. "Why can’t he be dead before the end of my shift?" I silently ask myself, as I finish loading up my apron.

Richard begins walking away. "Wayne," he turns to face me, "I’m afraid I’m going to have to write you up for being late. I wouldn’t have, if I you would have given me a simple confession, but now I’m going to have to." At this point, the snake-grin seems to encompass his entire head. "Whatever you want, Rich" is the only response I can think of. I've been to Limbo and back, and I'm still playing the name game. Humanity is so trite.

He walks a few more steps before turning around and facing me, once again. "Oh, and another thing, I don’t think there’s much of a chance of my passing away before the end of your shift." I swallow hard, and lock up my bank. I’ve been through a lot today, but nothing has scared me even close to as much as the thought of Richard reading my mind. Just when you think things can’t get any worse . . .

Go to: Chapter 42

1997 Alex Sandell but, if you're a book publisher and, you wanna get this puppy out, please get in touch with me, hand me a nice, big contract and, of course, a 12 pack of Grape Soda and maybe we can do lunch.

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