As soon as Gerald’s head hits the pillow sleep comes to him. One
side of his mind senses someone is in the bedroom staring at him from across the room. One the other side of his mind, dreams float closer to him like ocean waves on a shoreline. Whoever is in his room steps closer to the bed. Gerald can tell that the person is irritated. Gerald isn’t scared. He knows instinctively the person won’t hurt him.
“Damn!” a male voice curses. Gerald instantly recognizes the old man’s gravely voice.
Suddenly, Gerald feels a burst of energy coming from the side of his bed—from the old man. The energy pushes down on Gerald, heavy like a weight. He sinks into the bed until he falls out of the bottom and lands feet first inside a very bright room. He squints and covers his eyes because it’s so bright. There’s a large window completely filled with the sun. It’s as if the room is sitting directly inside a ray of sunshine. The old man is outside the window, his face is glowing, the wrinkles moving, alive with beams of sunlight. His chest also emanates with sunlight. The green suitcase is next to him and the pieces of red and white fabric sticking out of it glow like fireflies at dusk on a summer night.
Gerald asks, “What’s going on?” The old man doesn’t answer. He asks again. There’s still no answer. The old man’s unblinking eyes stare back at him.
Gerald looks at his hands and the rest of his body. He’s infused with the sunshine coming from the old man. The entire room is a piece of sunshine. Gerald isn’t sure what this place is. He looks around the room. There’s a brown sofa with an Oriental rug in front of it. A woman encircled in darkness is on the floor digging through the old man’s green suitcase, oblivious to Gerald standing there. The sunshine doesn’t reach the woman and Gerald can’t see her face, so he leans in to see her better. She throws shirts, underwear, and other items in a big pile onto the floor. The woman gets up and turns toward him. The sunshine begins to penetrate the darkness surrounding her, like a spotlight. It moves up her arm, her chest, and just as it gets to her face, the woman disappears.
Then the room becomes dark as if a switch has been turned off. But, Gerald is still bright with sunlight. He walks carefully across the room to see if the old man is outside the window or if the mystery woman has reappeared in a different part of the room. Once again, Gerald hears the same laughter from when he was awake in his office. It’s not the old man’s voice. It gradually gets louder until it sounds like it’s playing on surround-sound speakers. Then, Tony appears directly in front of him sitting on the brown sofa, sunlight spotlighting him.
Tony laughs, flashing his white teeth in a sarcastic smile as he says, “Bankruptcy is bad, but you’ll be okay. Bankruptcy is bad, but you’ll be okay.” His lips move over and over again repeating the phrase like a skipping CD.
Gerald covers his ears and screams, “Shut up!”
Tony keeps on, “Bankruptcy is bad, but you’ll be okay.”
“Nooo…damn you!” Gerald runs toward him, charging with balled up fists. His fist connects with Tony’s face. He feels the bones in Tony’s cheek beneath his knuckles. The bones crack like walnut shells. The sunlight from Gerald’s fist slices through Tony’s cheek and Tony evaporates into the air.
Gerald screams, “Come back! Come back, you bastard!” Breathing heavily like a wild beast, rage seeps from every pore of Gerald’s body. He walks back and forth hoping Tony will come back so he can beat the crap out of him.
After a few minutes, he calms down and that’s when the room brightens again. A light breeze blows across his face. Gerald looks back at the window. It has disappeared along with the old man. Gerald looks at his hands and body and sees that the sunlight has left his body. He looks to see if the old man will reappear. He doesn’t. He’s by himself.
Dee Doanes is the author of The Man With the Green Suitcase, her first fiction novel.
She has previously published short stories and poetry. She has a deep passion for writing and has been writing since the age of five.
Doanes has a background in copywriting, communications, and social media.
She’s active in several charities and conducts a youth poetry workshop for the Atlanta Writers Club Youth Writing Camp, and is the former co-chair of the Writing in the Schools Program for Georgia Writers.
Doanes lives in Atlanta, Georgia and enjoys spending time with her daughter and parents. Doanes’ mother encouraged her to read and to be creative while growing up. In her spare time she enjoys attending writing events and workshops, fitness training, collecting art, world travel, and gourmet cooking.