Barking Up the Wrong House
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Creg’s alarm clock was buzzing wildly. With his eyes still closed, he reached out to shut it down. In the process he hit a few other things, even sent his mobile phone falling to the ground, which resulted in its being smashed.
“Shit,” he mumbled and realized how insanely dry his mouth was. He turned to his back and pressed the inner corners of his eyes with his forefinger and thumb. He took a deep breath and tried to sit up. A few minutes passed.
“Damn it.” He massaged his temples. His head was throbbing – outraged Indians were having their ritual drumming session up there. “All her fault,” he grumbled and made an attempt to stand up. Failing to do so three times, he took another moment to compose himself. “Her fault only,” he repeated when he held onto the door frame swaying unsteadily. He thought back of last night’s argument he had had with his girlfriend. But what was he to do? The only reasonable thing seemed to slam the door and get blasted. Well, at least yesterday it seemed a good idea.
It took Creg twice as much time as usually to get showered and dressed and head out to work. His boss’s face wasn’t a pleasant greeting. Fed up, annoyed, disgusted. He threw some sheets of paper at Creg and saw him off with a “Get your arse up there! Now!”
Not even the autumn chill helped to wake him up properly. With the Indians still performing their riots, he covered them with a safety helmet and made his way to one of the smaller cranes with a wrecking ball. Creg climbed into it and checked the pages he had got. He had to blink twice to see clearly. His finger followed the first line and he read “Co-Colonel Ken-ham Street…yeah, yeah.” His co-worker Billy shouted something at him, but he ignored it. Creg knew he should wait for Billy, but he wasn’t quite in the mood to interact with other human beings. He just wanted to get this shit done and be back in his cosy bed. The engine was roaring, and despite the state he was in, he found the street pretty quickly.
The road was lined with detached houses on both sides. Each had a separate garden and a short driveway. “Conrad Kenham…” he mumbled. He rooted among the sheets of paper on the dashboard. “Number, number…68, right.” Reaching his target, he scowled at the house in front of him. “What a beauty. Such a pity,” he thought. Creg checked that nobody was around or inside. No movement, no answer. He secured the area. A standard practice. Then he got back into the crane and set the wrecking ball into action. He aimed, pushed a few buttons, “played” with the joystick and BOOM. Hit number one. BOOM. Hit number two, three… Some curious heads popped out of the windows of the neighbouring houses. Seeing his destruction, Creg shook his head at how much furniture and other stuff the people had left in the house. The houses he razed to the ground were usually completely empty and halfway crumbled away.
“Okay, the rest is up to the boys,” he thought and noticed Billy running down the street toward him. Creg gave Billy the thumbs up to say that it was finished and they could move to another one. Billy’s lips were constantly moving, but Creg couldn’t hear a word over the sound of the roaring engine. Billy looked rather desperate and he wasn’t the one to let emotions show in any situation. He was the kind of guy that would just nod when his wife gave birth to a son after 12 hours of being in labour. Not that he had not been happy, he just wouldn’t show. However, now despair was visible in every feature of his expression. Creg switched the engine off and climbed down the crane.
“What’s up, mate?”
“You’re a goddamn jerk. That’s what’s up!”
“What the hell?”
“We’ve been waiting for you at Colonel Kenham Street…”
“This is the bloody street, man. I’ve done the job all by myself, all right!” Creg blurred out.
“Number 89!” Billy finished through his teeth.
“Wh… are you kidding me or something?!”
Billy held his hands up. “I’m trying to say that you really messed up, buddy…”
Creg kicked a rubbish bin and his swears were drowned by the sound of the bin hitting the pavement. Just then he spotted a nice young jogging woman approaching them. He wanted to cry out to her to take another route for there were some parts of the house lying around. But before he could do so, the woman had stopped. She seemed to be trembling. Her keys dropped out of her hand. Creg began to realize: “They were useless now…” The woman’s body was paralysed with terror, her mouth wide open, unable to utter a word.
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