Monday, May 16, 2022

Microstory 1886: Gone Away

I spent years looking for a decent job after high school. I mean, based on my skill set, I had a number of okay ones over the years, but none that would really support me the way I felt I deserved. When I did get that job, I was cheated out of some of what I was owed. It came with two weeks of vacation time, but in order to save money, my supervisor chose to not inform me of this fact. He went even further than that by claiming that I didn’t qualify for time off under this and that policy. When his boss found out, she was livid. By then, I had worked for the company for eleven years, which meant I actually should have started getting four weeks off per year. Normally, they didn’t carry over, but through some maneuvering, they gave them to me all at once. That was a total of nineteen weeks when all added up. The only thing was that I had to take them off by the end of the current year. Which essentially meant I had to leave right away. In fact, she tacked on an extra week to round out the number, and just not have me come back in until January of the next year. What was I going to do with all that time? It was over four and a half months. I wasn’t making a whole lot of money, so it’s not like that freed me up to go on a cross country tour, or a cruise. The best idea I had was to go visit my cousins who lived on the border. I didn’t get a chance to see them very much, so this was a great opportunity for a cheap, but still relaxing, sabbatical. I didn’t sublet my little house, because that wasn’t really a thing in the region. I just locked it up and left. I did ask my neighbor to bring my trash cans back up to the house one last time, which he agreed to do with a smile. I had my mail forwarded, and went on my way.

When I came back, the place was dusty as hell, but everything was otherwise fine. The trash cans were where they were meant to be, and some mail was already waiting for me in my normal box, as planned. I still had that last week of time off, so it was time to clean up. I used a lot of disinfecting wipes. Plus, there was some fruit in the fridge that I forgot to toss. And a loaf of bread in the pantry. And some other food in the fridge. Okay, it was a mess, but that’s not the point. The point is I had to gather all that up, and take it out to my cans. At first when I opened the lid, I didn’t know what I was looking at. I was in such shock, I couldn’t process it. I didn’t scream, or jump back in horror. I just stared at the body, trying to piece together what it was. Only after I realized the truth did the smell hit me. It should have been my first clue, I don’t know why it waited so long to waft up to my nose, but I did have to slam the lid shut, and step back. I still didn’t scream, though. I’m not that kind of girl. Assuming that I would be prime suspect, I contacted the authorities, and let them come out and investigate. To my surprise, they didn’t even consider me as the culprit. Even before they had all this evidence with my mail forwarding, and corroboration from my cousins, and other people, they believed me that I wasn’t the murderer. By the way, the victim was my neighbor, and they said he had been stuffed in there for about four and a half months, which suggested the killer did the deed around the time he was trying to help me out. I had to move, which was fine, because I was fired after three days of missing my return to work due to the trauma. I just couldn’t live in that house anymore, and I had encountered a few originally ignored job opportunities where my cousins lived, so I figured I could just go straight back. That was almost four decades ago. They never found the killer.

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