Dominoes [Part 5]
By - firstname.lastname@example.org
published May 11, 2017
Jevon’s life continues to change…
The next morning, standing naked in front of the mirror in Dante’s bathroom, Jevon gazed at the latest changes to his body. His left eyebrow had a gold bar through it with what looked like little arrow heads at each end of it and a small diamond stud had appeared on the right side of his nose. Like the nipple rings yesterday, all these new piercings were completely healed and there were no signs of bruising or bleeding.
He had a lot more tattoos now, too. The slogan ‘Only God Can Judge Me’ was written in bold, slanting script, right across his chest from shoulder to shoulder, just below his collar bone. Under this, a circular Celtic design swirled around his pierced nipples, covering the whole of the upper part of his chest. The eagle on his right bicep was now surrounded by the same tribal design on his other arm. His forearms were also heavily inked with daggers, flowers, Chinese characters and stars, from elbow to wrist, giving him two full sleeves…
The strange thing was that, the way he felt this morning, none of this either surprised or even disconcerted him. Yesterday, the sight of just one new tattoo on his skin had come as a total shock, but today, his body looked okay to him with all this ink. Like before, all of the ‘new’ tattoos were completely healed up. He realised now that this was because they were not new at all; they had all been there all of the time. For some reason he must have been blanking them out of his mind and refusing to see them. It was as if he had been living in a dream-world and had now woken up. They were his tattoos and they looked fine. In fact, he was beginning to quite like them. They felt like old friends, now. They were a part of him and always would be. He grinned into the mirror and saw his glittering gold teeth again. Those motherfuckers were even starting to look good to him, too…
After showering, he got back into the clothes he had worn the night before and wandered into the kitchen where he found Dante frying bacon and eggs. They kissed and then Jevon lit a cigarette; his first of the day. It really hit the spot.
“I gotta be a work in an hour,” Dante said, turning the eggs with a spatula. "But I can give you a lift back to your apartment; it’s on the way.”
“Cool… Thanks.” Jevon sat down at the kitchen table and took another drag on his cigarette. “There’s something I need to ask you, man…”
“What’s that, baby?”
“Did I have this last night?” Jevon pointed to the diamond stud in his nose.
Dante turned around from the stove and looked. “Oh, I so love that! It’s so sexy; reminds me of Tupac.”
“When did I get it?”
Dante thought for a couple of seconds. “You definitely had it by grade ten. I remember because you got your nose done way before Elaine Demarco did. It was grade eleven before that fat, stuck up bitch got her big nose pierced.” He dished up their breakfast onto warmed plates and placed one of them in front of his friend. “Hope you like it!”
Jevon nodded and smiled, but inwardly, he was sighing. So he had always had a nose stud. Okay…
Dante dropped him off at his block and then drove off to work. Jevon rode up to his floor in the elevator and opened the door to his apartment.
Fuck! He had been burgled!
His framed academic certificates, high school, university and law school; all were missing from their place on the hall wall, near the front door. None of his kitchen furniture was there; the table and all the chairs were gone. The room looked totally bare with only the fitted counters and cupboards remaining. In the living room, although his couch and coffee table were still present, two armchairs were not, and his desk, computer, bookcase and Persian rugs had disappeared. The bedroom and bathroom looked more or less unchanged, but even more clothes had vanished from his closet, including his Armani suit! Fuck! That had been made to measure and had cost him over $1000!
How could this have happened? The front door was undamaged and his apartment was on the tenth floor! He thought about calling 911. Maybe later. First he had to see Dr Beech. All the shit that had been happening to him had started last Friday when he went to get those papers signed. He took out his phone and scrolled to the number.
“Meditations Therapy Centre; how can I help you?” It was that Mexican secretary with the big boobs…
“Hi… It’s Jevon Drakes here from ‘Schroeder and Rose’. I came to see Dr Beech on Friday afternoon.”
“Look… The thing is; I need to see the doctor again today. It’s very urgent. Something about the paperwork…” Jevon thought quickly, “…an irregularity. It’s pretty serious.”
“One moment, please.”
What if the doctor refused to see him? He might never find out what happened on Friday. Nervously, he bit his lip.
“Hello? Mr Drakes?” It was Dr Beech.
“Oh… Hi, Doctor.”
“My secretary informs me that there is some kind of issue with the documents I signed.”
“Err… Yeah… Could I possibly come see you today? It won’t take long to sort out.”
There was a short pause followed by a sigh. “Very well, but I don’t really see what you can do about it. Be here by ten and do not be late; I am an extremely busy man…”
Jevon decided that he really had to wear a suit for his return visit to the clinic. He needed to power-dress. Sadly, there was only one suit left hanging in his closet. It was mid-brown and looked totally cheap and shabby. A couple of dress shirts still remained, but not nearly as good as the ones he had owned before. Partly because he was getting used to all these weird occurrences and partly because he was desperate not to be late for his appointment, he decided not to worry about the disappearance of his clothing right now. He needed to get dressed and get out of here. He showered and then put on the brown suit. It was obviously ‘off-the-peg’ and did not fit him very well, but it would have to do…
When he was shown back into Dr Beech’s office, Jevon felt extremely awkward and nervous, but steeled himself to admit that there was actually nothing wrong with the legal papers.
“So then why are you here, then, Mr Drakes?” The doctor asked. “I hope you are not trying to waste my time…”
Jevon’s confidence wilted even more under the white man’s cold blue stare and irritated tone, but he managed to explain how he had no memory of anything between when they had last met and waking up the following morning. “And there have been a whole load of weird changes,” he continued. “My hair is different, I’ve got a load of tattoos I never had before, a whole lot of piercings and…” He bared his teeth to reveal his golds. “…all these gold teeth.”
Dr Beech smiled pityingly at him. “Mr Drakes, I can see that you are rather agitated and confused, but I feel it is my duty to inform you that your appearance today is much the same as it was when we first met. Your hair and earrings are unchanged and I noticed on Friday that you had gold crowns as soon as you opened your mouth.”
Jevon shook his head. “No Sir, you must be mistaken. I’m an attorney. There’s no way that I could look like this and hang on to my job.” He realised that he was raising his voice.
“Mr Drakes; you really do need to try and relax…”
That mesmerising cyan stare. Try as he might, Jevon simply could not tear his attention away…
“That’s right; breathe deeply and evenly. You already feel more comfortable and relaxed. You just need to close your eyes and drift away…”
Michael turned to the Entity. “How much longer is this going to take?”
“Changes to the time-space-continuum cannot be rushed, child…” It hovered over Jevon, examining him closely. “It will not be long now…”
Jevon came to with a start. He felt as though he had nodded off for a second there. “Yeah, so as I was sayin’, I’m a…” What was the fucking word for his job?
“Attorney?” Dr Beech suggested.
Jevon nodded. “Yeah, dat’s it…” Why the fuck could he not talk properly?
Dr Beech signed. “Mr Drakes, please stop this. You and I both know that you are not an attorney.”
“What? What you say?”
Dr Beech did not reply, but rose from his chair and called his secretary into their presence. “Ms Rodriguez; does Mr Drakes look any different to the way he looked yesterday?”
“How do you mean, Sir?”
“I mean, does his hair appear changed? Or anything else about him?”
Mercedes scrutinised Jevon for a second or two. “No, I don’t think so. He looks the same to me.”
Jevon pointed to his gold teeth. “Did I have dese slugs in my mouth?”
Mercedes nodded. “Uh huh…”
“You’re sure about dat?”
“Of course. What about it? Plenty of black guys in Miami have gold teeth.”
Jevon swore under his breath. This dumb bitch was starting to get on his nerves. “I’m a…” Again the word escaped him. “Folks like me don’t have golds!”
“I think he means that an attorney like him would not look the way he does,” the doctor suggested helpfully.
“Why you laugh?”
“You’re no attorney! You’re just one of the cleaners at the legal office! Mr Roser got you to bring those papers over for Dr Beech to sign because it was so urgent and he and the other lawyers were too busy. He called Friday lunchtime and said you were coming. He told me that you were one of the cleaning staff, but that you could be relied on because he’d tipped you $100 for doing it!”
Jevon paced about in the street outside the clinic in a fury. What the fuck was going on? They were trying to say that he had always looked like this; that he was a fucking cleaner… Had the whole world gone crazy? Was he going crazy? Damn! This was so fucked up! He thought again about calling Ruth or even Samuel Roser, but he did not have their numbers in his phone anymore. Cleaner, indeed! How dare they say that! It was fucking racism! They thought that, because he was black, he had to be a fucking cleaner!
Returning home, when he tried to open the door to his apartment, he found that the key did not fit properly. There must be something wrong with the fucking lock, he thought. He returned to the elevator and pressed the lowest button. Although he had never met the guy, he knew that the building had a janitor down in the basement who would probably have a spare key. The lift only went as far as the lobby on the ground floor, so he got out and walked down the service stairs to the basement. Damn, the smell from those huge garbage and recycling bins was fucking nasty in this hot weather! The only time he ever came down here was to swim in the pool or use the laundry room which had a whole load of washing machines and dryers for the residents to use. He walked down a dim corridor which had two doors at the end of it. One was labelled ‘Maintenance’ and the other ‘Janitor’. He was about to knock on the Janitor’s door when he noticed a printed note pinned to it which read: ‘On Vacation August 1st thru 8th. In case of emergency contact J. Stone.’ Underneath this was a local telephone number. Jevon swore. It would probably take a while for ‘J. Stone’ to get here and let him into his apartment… Then he saw what was written at the bottom of the note and a chill ran right through his body. It read: ‘Jevon Drakes, Janitor’.
His hand shaking, he took out his key and slid it into the lock. It fitted and turned smoothly. He opened the door a little and shouted inside, “Yo! Anyone there?” Silence. Of course there was no one there, he thought; it was his own fucking apartment…
Jevon spent the next hour searching every nook and cranny of his ‘new’ home. It was pretty basic. There were three rooms connected by a narrow hall. Two of these, a bathroom and kitchen-diner, were very small and cramped, but the combined living room and bedroom was a fairly decent size. Buried deep in the basement as it was, there were no windows, so the lights had to be kept on all of the time. The walls were bare brick, but they had been painted white in a failed attempt to make the place a tad less depressing.
Many of the furniture and objects inside he recognised as belonging to him, but a whole lot of things were missing and there was a lot of new stuff he did not remember seeing before. Familiar items included all the things that had been in his apartment following the ‘burglary’: his double bed, side-tables, leather sofa, coffee-table, exercise-bike, dumbbells, toiletries, towels, glassware, china, cooking utensils and the clothes in the fitted closet. The attaché-case containing Dr Beech’s signed papers sat on the floor near the front door.
More things were missing than were present, however. The furniture and rugs he had earlier noticed were absent were still gone. Despite a thorough search, he could not find the box in which he kept all the details of courses he had attended and all his high school qualifications. Various other documents and photographs had also completely disappeared. The only good thing about this crummy apartment was the wide-screen TV fixed to the wall opposite the end of his bed.
Jevon sat down on his couch and lit up a cigarette. So he was the janitor, now… He wasn’t a lawyer at all… He looked at his brown hands with the rings on almost every finger. Yeah; it figured, he guessed. All this lawyer shit had all been a dumb fucking fantasy. At the end of the day, he was just a nigga, after all… Yet, although he could not remember anything at all about his years at university, he still retained some vague memories of working in a courtroom and behind a desk in the legal office… Yeah! He used to do paperwork and shit like that! He fetched the attaché-case from the hall. Opening the case, he took out the papers and spread them out over his coffee table. He picked up one of the documents and scrutinised it carefully…
Nah… He couldn’t read most of the words, let alone make any real sense of the fucking thing… He laughed out loud. There was no way he could ever have been a… A turney? He knew this wasn’t right, but he just could not for the life of him remember the proper fucking word. He picked up another one of the documents. He should take these to the legal office, he guessed; old Mr Roser might want his $100 tip back if he didn’t… Thinking of his boss, he had a sudden flash of memory; he was a fucking lawyer! He remembered now. He could visualise him and old Roser in court. It was last year. Yeah! He had been helping to look after all the papers and shit like dat… He stood up, stuffed the papers back into the case and made for the door. Let those fuckers say he wasn’t a lawyer if they liked! He would prove them wrong!
The office was technically closed at the present time, but it was always busy with security personnel, cleaning staff and, occasionally, a few legal executives working overtime. Jevon nodded to the uniformed guard in the lobby and made straight for the elevator. Reaching the floor used by ‘Schroeder and Roser’, he saw that it was completely deserted. Good. He didn’t really want to run into any of his lawyer colleagues right now with his gold teeth and shit… He walked through to Samuel Roser’s office suite, opened his attaché-case and placed the papers on the clerk’s desk.
“Unusual to see you, Drakes, when it’s not your shift!”
Jevon’ heart skipped a beat. He swung round and saw Craig Baker, the Office Manager, leaning against the doorframe with folded arms. Nearing his fifties, Baker had a grizzled salt and pepper beard and, although still muscular, a very slight beer gut.
“Oh… Hi…” Jake stammered. For some reason he felt very nervous standing there in front of the uniformed white man. The frosty stare Mr Baker was giving him was quite intimidating. “I… I’m just bringing back some signed papers for Mr Rose.”
Baker’s mouth twisted into a smirk. “Oh yeah; the big hundred-dollar legal job,” he said sarcastically.
“Look here, Drakes, security called me as soon as they saw you heading up here. You know as well as I do that cleaning staff are not allowed in the building outside working hours.”
“What are you talking about? Imma lawyer! I can come in here when the fuck I like!”
Baker walked right up to Jevon and prodded him in the chest. “Listen, boy; just because you did a little job for old man Roser, don’t start giving yourself ideas. You’ve had your tip and done as he asked, so get out now and don’t come back until your next shift.” He pulled out his phone and switched it on. “Let’s see now… You’re due here next Monday at five am.”
Jevon shook his head. This was a nightmare. Why did everyone think he was a fucking cleaner? “You got it all wrong, man! I’m a lawyer!” He pushed past Baker and walked towards his own office. “Look! Here’s my name on this door!”
But his name was not printed there. The nameplate clearly said, ‘Jessica Lambert’.
“What da fuck?” Jevon was at the end of his tether; he burst into tears. “They’ve took my fucking name away,” he sobbed.
Baker came up to him. He patted Jevon’ shoulder sympathetically and his tone was a great deal kinder than before. “Boy; what sort of shit you take when you’re off duty is no concern of mine. You need to go home now and sleep off whatever it is. Just don’t be late for your shift next Monday. Come on, now; let’s go…”