Saturday, August 5, 2017

Saturday Shorts: Panic Attack at 1:20 am

The water ran out of the faucet as Rian looked down at his watch. “Fuck, it’s only 1 am.” He said to himself in the back room of the Zip Mart. He had only started working there a week ago. He was already hating the graveyard shift. His mother had told him to get a job, or he would have to find other living arrangements. So he took the first job that was offered to him. Rian just had his 20th birthday a few days ago. He looked down at the dull gray shirt with the Zip Mart logo on it. The H.R. person said that if he did well here, Rian could advance quickly into management. All Rian wanted to do was play his Xbox One, and hang out with his friends.

The door chime went off, which meant that there was a customer that had walked into the store. Rian looked up and saw two men in ski masks. Nothing to get alarmed about, he thought to himself. It’s the middle of January after all. He looked down and double checked he had the Panic Alarm around his neck. As he walked out he check the time on his watch, 1:12 AM. Rian quickly walked out to the cash register. Just as he got his login put into the POS computer, 70220. He looked up at the men who still hadn’t taken off their ski masks.

“How can I help you guys this morning?” Rian asked in what he thought was a friendly tone. “You can give us everything in that cash register.” The first guy said, his mask a red and green square pattern. “Sir, I’m not argueing with you here, but there is only fifty bucks in the drawer.” The second guy, his mask was silver on the lift side and black on the right side, pulled out a gun and pointed it at Rian’s head. “We don’t give a shit!” Rian just nodded and then pushed the no sale button. The cash drawer popped open. The first guy reached in and grabbed the money in the drawer. Rian slowly reached up and held down the panic button for three seconds, which set off the silent alarm. “Do you have access to the safe?” Asked the second guy. Rian just shook his head. The first guy walked around behind the counter at looked at the Tidal safe. “It’s a timed, and bolted to the floor.

Rian glimpsed a cop car out of the corner of his eye. He decided it would be a good time to get on the floor. So he quickly got down. “Shit! The Cops! The Kid must of triggered an alarm!” The second guy pointed the gun at Rian, who at this point decided that he was going to die tonight. He wasn’t happy about the idea, he had things he had wanted to do. He suddenly wanted to go back to school and get that masters in english lit. It could've been the intense fear and adrenaline talking  or the fact he was about to die. But he suddenly wasn’t so content with just working at a Zip Mart.

Just as the man in the sliver and black mask was about to pull the trigger he dropped to the ground. Blood started to pool around his head. Rian hadn’t heard the gun shot. The other guy put his hands up. “I’m unarmed!” he screamed. The cops tackled him quickly and then it was all over. Rian looked at his watch. It was 1:20 am. Rian started to panic and then passed out. He woke up in the back of the ambulance, an EMT applying a bandage to his head. “You’re lucky kid. Those guys have knocked off six different gas stations, and they always killed the person on shift at the time of the robbery. If you hadn’t hit that panic button when you did they would have done the same to you.” Rian laid there in silence. The only thing he wanted to do was scream, and then keep screaming until his lung ran out of air.
Rian woke up in his bed, he didn’t remember how he got there. He just knew he didn’t want to leave it. However his bladder had other plans. Every joint hurt as he sat up in bed, and then got up to go to the bathroom. “Oh thank goodness. It’s been two days Rian, I was wondering if you would ever get out of bed.” His mother ran up to him and hugged him. “I need to use the bathroom, mom” he said quietly. “Oh, right.” She said as she let him go. He got to the bathroom and stood there as he relieved himself. He wasn’t ever going back to the Zip Mart. He could find another job.

He started to think about what had happened, and he started to have problems breathing, his legs got weak and the room began to spin. Rian realized that he was having a panic attack. He made his way out to the living room, and sat down on the couch. His mother came in from the kitchen. “Are you ok Rian?” She asked him. He shook his head, he couldn’t speak. He could barely breath. “Oh. The Doctor said you might have these..these panic attacks. You need to take slow deep breaths.” Rian just nodded, and started to try and control his breathing.

Once the room stopped spinning he said, “Mom, I’m never going back there.” She walked over and sat down next to him. “It’s ok, I don’t want you going back there. The store manager kind of figured you wouldn’t want to go back to work. So he gave me your final check and I put it in your bank account.” Rian gave his mom a small smile. “Thanks, mom.”

The Front door flew open. Rian screamed, and held his chest. “Shut up! Fuck, you’d think you’d been through a war or something.” Rian went from being scared to being angry inside of a breath. “Well Dad, when you have a gun held to your head you’d react the same way.” His father just laughed at him. “No I wouldn’t. I’m not a pussy like you!” fury burned inside of Rian. He went to his room, pulled out the bb gun he’d owned since the fourth grade. Walked back out to the living room and then Held it to his father’s head. “I should murder you right now. This gun might not kill you, but it will have you eating out of straw for the rest of your miserable life. Don’t you ever belittle me again you pathetic piece of shit.” Just as Rian was starting to pull the gun away. His father reached out grabbed the gun and then Rian arm. “I’m going to make you eat this!” Rian responded by ramming his knee into his father's crotch. It made him drop the gun and let go of Rian.

He walked back to his room and started to pack his duffle bag. He walked back out into the living room and his father was just starting to stand back up. Rian walked over without a word spoken and kneed his father in the crotch again and smiled as he fell back to the ground. He turned and walked over to his mother. “I love you, leave him. He doesn’t deserve you.” Rian then walked out of the house and got into his car. He drove the twenty minutes to the Army Recruiting station.  Signed the papers and left for boot camp that night.

5 Years Later:
Rian stood in the rain looking down at the grave marker for his father. “How did it happen?” He asked his mother who was standing next to him. “He was hit by a bus as he walked out of a bar. A freak accident they said. The driver had taken the corner a bit to hard and lost control.” Rian started to giggle. “I’m sorry. I know I shouldn’t. I just keep picturing his face as a bus was hurling toward him as he stepped outside.” His mother gently put her hand on his shoulder. “I laughed for an hour after the cops told me what had happened.” Rian looked over at his mom. “Yeah, I bet you did. He never deserved you. I’m glad he’s dead. He was an asshole.” Rian’s mother nodded.

They both turned away knowing they would never visit this spot again. “Rian, Do you still get those panic attacks?” The question confused him. “No, the army took care of that.” She nodded at his response. Rian thought about that night, every time he woke up. Only after having gone through boot camp, and then two wars. He still had slow down his breathing when he thought about that night. The night that changed everything for him.

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