March 06, 2013

No. 324

It was cold in the warehouse, and Murphy tried to avoid going in as much as possible. Usually, he was able to leave the onerous task to somebody else, but on weekends he was the only person at the office.

Of course, it wasn’t just the temperature that kept him away. The warehouse scared him. Murphy wasn’t worried about goblins or ghosts, though. He was terrified that something would fall off of one of the shelves and crush his skull.

Tonight, he needed something from bin 17-C. He consulted the numbering chart and discovered that 17-C was the last bin in the last row.  “Awesome,” he said, turning the word into a curse.

Arriving at the warehouse door, he paused a moment, waiting for the lights to come on. One in the back flickered, then stayed off. It was an ominous sign. Murphy took a deep breath and hurried down the aisles to reach his objective. He kept his head down, but cast a wary eye up at the looming racks.

He made it to 17-C without trouble. Still, he felt that the journey had taken too long. He resolved to make the return trip at a much higher rate of speed.

With the desired element in hand, Murphy turned and made a dash back for the glowing safety of the exit door.

At the same moment, the light that had flickered betrayed him, snapping to life to illuminate the entire corner of the building.

The flash and new shadows conspired to dazzle Murphy, and he tripped, launching heavily into a large box on a bottom shelf. The impact destabilized the entire structure, and the carefully stacked inventory began to fall to the floor.

Murphy whimpered, and crawled for cover.

With a loud crash, the last item hit the ground, after which the warehouse became oppressively silent. The only sound Murphy could hear was his own breathing. He was alive! His nightmare had come true, but he’d survived!

Glancing around at the wreckage, he spotted the part from 17-C. Retrieving his prize, he jauntily made his way back to the office.

Murphy completed his work and shut off his computer. He wrote a quick note explaining what had happened in the warehouse and left for home.


On Monday morning, he arrived back at work. Most of the staff had already arrived, and he walked to his desk past a gallery of strange looks. As he sat down, his phone rang. It was his boss, calling Murphy to his office.


Murphy was promptly fired for recklessly damaging company property. He was instructed to clear out his desk and leave the premises.

He did as he was told, and exited the building for the last time. He threw the cardboard box of his belongings onto the passenger seat of his car and drove off angrily.

He didn’t see the red truck passing as he turned out of the parking lot. It struck his car and the force of the collision catapulted Murphy’s vehicle into a tree, killing him instantly.

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