Marc J. Sheehan, 11/18/2013
Current Occupation: Communications Officer, Ferris State University
Former Occupation: Communications and Publication Officer, Grand Rapids Art Museum
Contact Informtaion: Marc Sheehan is the author of two poetry collections — Greatest Hits from New Issues Press and Vengeful Hymns from Ashland Poetry Press. His short story “Objet du Desir” won the Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Contest sponsored by the public radio program Selected Shorts and was read on stage in New York by David Rakoff. His story “The Dauphin” was broadcast on Weekend All Things Considered as part of its Three-Minute Fiction series. Other poems and stories have been published by Paris Review, Prairie Schooner, Passages North, Michigan Quarterly Review and many others.
La Rueda de la Fortuna
At first, the ceiling light over my desk wouldn’t come on right away. It was motion-activated and sometimes I’d have to walk away and come back again, or stand there waving my arms like a madman to make it work. If my co-workers thought I was actually crazy, they didn’t say so. At least, not to me.
Then one morning the light wouldn’t come on at all. I sat there in the gloom and thought about putting in a work order to have it fixed, but then realized I felt like I was getting the flu. Since I didn’t have any projects on deadline I decided to go home and told the administrative assistant what I was doing as I headed out. She looked at me, or at least in my direction, so I assumed I was all set. Once home I warmed myself up some tomato soup and ate it with oyster crackers while watching a Spanish language version of Wheel of Fortune.
The next day I stayed home and left a voice mail at the office. I got cut-off mid-message when I called in again the third day.
When I returned I pushed the elevator button in the lobby and got nada. I sat down on a bench and was steeling myself to take the stairs when a guy who works down the hall from me strode in. He hit the button with his elbow as he continued tapping away at his i-Phone. The doors opened right up. I couldn’t remember his name and he was still texting anyway, so I just sidled in after him.
If the company issued a memo about re-arranging offices, I never got it. There was now a long corridor of endlessly reconfigurable dividers where my cubicle used to be. Had there been any family photos on my desk I wanted I might have looked into it, but the thought of dealing with HR made me so tired that I was afraid I would fall asleep where I stood. I had to walk seven flights down to the lobby because the elevator still wouldn’t work for me. I went to bed as soon as I got home.
It was dark when I woke up. There must have been a storm or something because my digital alarm clock was dead. I couldn’t tell what clothes I was putting on, but I didn’t think it mattered. Other houses on the block had lights, so I took a walk to see if I was the only one affected.
When I got back my key wouldn’t fit the lock. I didn’t know what else to do so I was going to drive to the police station, but my car wasn’t in the garage. I slumped to the front porch and sat there for a long time. Finally I stood up and the moon appeared from behind a cloud as if it had just been switched on.
Reminds me of a modern day Kafka or Calvino story–nice work, as always, Marc Sheehan. You are hitting your stride, for sure.