The offer letter is addressed to the guy who used to live here, before I moved in.
I don’t notice that until I’ve already opened the envelope. It has a glossy brochure, with a logo in flaring red, that makes me think of an unlikeable lipstick.
It says, “Stop by for our introductory meeting!” Since I’m heading
downtown for the film festival, I decide a few minutes won’t be fatal.
The arcade’s community room is the rendezvous spot. A lone lady lets me in.
She starts her spiel. “For just ten dollars, I can enroll you a custom made
Abandonment Insurance Program. We all find ourselves facing that, I’m afraid.”
I ask to see a contract, but instead, she suddenly turns into black and white.
“I’m part of a lost film. It was completed, but never released. The studio said it was too brutal, that audiences wouldn’t take to it. Then, the only copy of the film was destroyed. It was kept in an office, a lot like this building.”
I don’t know if it was a fire, or something else. Maybe she’s lying, but it seems like a good enough connection to the offer.
It’s lousy with potential, so.
I still give her the ten bucks. She hands me a receipt. “All you have to sign this
copy of it, when you want it redeemed.”
I ask her, “What do I get?”
She points to the window behind me, which ordinarily looks over the
hallway. Instead, it’s an avenue from some long forgotten rustbelt town.
I step out and even though the rain is hitting things with jackhammer force,
I don’t get wet. There’s a bus station across the street, and I have a private
bus waiting for me.
An hour later, the bus pulls into a town that thought it had a future, once.
Or maybe it never believed that.