Night arrived like a much needed can of black paint to cover the explicit graffiti of the day. Unfortunately, when Marty awoke, he found he was limited to finger painting his way down an unfamiliar hall where lamps glared at him like stage lights.
At least he was wearing pants. Although, he would rather like to know whose pants they were. Marty could not remember being offered a pair of pants, but he didn't doubt that someone would have done so very readily.
Actually, Marty was rather lacking in the memory department. The shelves that would normally hold the past four hours had been robbed. All that remained was a series of frighteningly large price tags.
Marty reached a corner, and looked back to where he had been sleeping. The long bare hallway went from dirty white to red alert at the far end where the exit sign was twitching like a firefly having a seizure. He had a vague recollection of stumbling down to the corner where he’d been sleeping.
Marty turned his back and looked around the corner. A few numbered doors lined the hall to a glass exit to the outside world. He walked hurriedly to the door, scratching the back of his head as he went.
He exited to a parking lot that glittered with broken glass beneath white street lamps. He took a breath of night air, and wondered what he would have done if someone had passed out in his cab.
When he met the road, he gazed back at a brick apartment building. He glared at it, wondering if anyone behind those plain windows had anything to do with his situation. He instinctually moved a hand to the back of his head as if the answer to his questions was about to jump him. Nothing happened. So he brought his hand back down.
And that was when he noticed the ink on his palm. He narrowed his eyes, raised his hand, and turned to allow the light to fall across the words. It was an address. But what truly stunned Marty was the color of ink and style of handwriting. The same hand had penned the number he had first acquired! Marty suddenly felt as if he’d been touched by a hand in a place normally off limits. Let’s call that place his heart.
“She wrote this! On my hand!” Marty spent the next few minutes holding his right hand in his left as if it was the key to happiness.
“Dude,” said a voice.
Marty turned. The voice belonged to a teenager in a muscle shirt who wore a sideways hat made from plastic. The boy squinted at him. “You look rough man.”
Marty smiled brightly. He was ecstatic. “I’ve met someone amazing!”
“Uh...you were shaking your own hand.”
Marty grinned maniacally, as if to an inside joke. He tried to explain by waving his hand wildly.
“Hi,” the boy said. “Nice to meet you. Do you have a light by any chance?”
Marty ignored the boy’s question with a laugh. “I wasn’t waving at you! I was showing you what she wrote on my hand! It’s an address!”
The boy nodded his head back. “Sweet.” He twiddled a cigarette in his hand, looking impatient.
“Do you know where…?” Marty squinted at his hand and read out the address.
The boy furrowed his brow. “You’re standing right in front of it.”
Marty gasped and turned back to the brick building with suspicion. And at this moment, his memory took the opportunity to sheepishly apologize for withholding information. A few details surfaced.
He remembered being carried out of the cab. He remembered red hair dangling over his face. He remembered being helped to a bench. He even remembered the feeling of the pen on his hand!
He gazed at the writing with love, passionately kissed his hand, and then realized what this motion would look like from the boy’s perspective. The two met eye contact. Marty wiped his hand on his pants. “Uh, I was kissing my hand,” he said. Realizing how stupid this sounded, he attempted to elaborate. “And then the kiss stayed on my hand. I didn’t blow it…at you.”
The boy took a step backward. “Yeah…” He seemed less worried about cooties from a metaphorical kiss than he did about Marty’s lack of sanity. But for some reason, Marty’s carelessness gave the teenager a sudden interest, and his eyes began to dart from side to side.
Marty ignored this odd behavior and turned back to the building. He remembered awakening. He remembered following the address. And then he remembered reaching this exact position. Marty took a step forward just as the memory supplied the very same action. He was creating déjà vu with every step, and it continued until he reached the door. And that was when his memory showed the door being opened with a swipe card from the person in front of him.
“There’s no one here,” Marty said, “to open the door for me…” His eyes widened, and he very slowly reached for the door. “Crap, crap, crap,” he began saying before his hand had even reached the handle. And then Marty’s hand froze as his head smacking senses tingled.
His eyes went wide as he ducked, and a stone exploded through the glass of the door. Marty was more shocked that he had dodged the smack to the head than of the actual situation. Apparantly the boy was rather shocked too because his mouth was agape as if Marty actually had eyes in the back of his head.
Marty grinned from his crouch. "Pick on someone normal," he said.
And then an alarm started blaring from within.