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ThomastheRayThomas Ray

Jonathan woke up, crawled out of his bed and across the room to where his phone was plugged in, dismissed the alarm, and went promptly back to his bed.

He dreamed something, several somethings probably, which all blended together in his half-awake mind, before smoothly transitioning into two realizations. The first realization was that he was thinking about Rose again, and the second realization was that he was awake now. Truly and fully.

Sunlight was peeking through his open blinds, illuminating his bookshelf the and half-finished sculpture sitting on his desk. Noises from downstairs could be heard faintly, probably Lincoln playing with baby Caleb, or Mom making breakfast.

If Jonathan had woken up when his alarm went off, he would already be done with his reading and his exercise, already have showered, and most importantly, his brain wouldn't be so sluggish. It was like every thought was his mind trying to decide whether or not it was still dreaming. "Can we fly down the stairs?" wait can we--no, obviously not. "Does Rose like us here?"

Almost definitely not

Why did every morning have to be this same stupid rhythm?

Jonathan selected a black t shirt and one of his two pairs of jeans, padding down the hallway to the bathroom. After brushing his teeth and showering, he headed downstairs to the kitchen, finding that breakfast (cereal) had already started, and now the family was listening as Mom read aloud to them. Jonathan commenced eating, and while he focused on pouring the milk, his brain decided to return to the topic of Rose.

Two mind-numbingly normal hours later, Jonathan stepped out the door, checking his pockets to make sure his phone and earbuds were there. Mask on face, he slid into the passenger seat and tipped his head back on the uncomfortable car seat head rest. Mom said something about his new work shirt, and he said something in return, and suddenly it felt like an exact repeat of yesterday. From the lighting and clouds in the sky, to the way the seat made his butt hurt, everything was so exactly similar.


A road trip would be real nice right about now.

Eleven minutes later the subaru rolled into the library parking lot, Jonathan stepped out, and everything from the morning so far disappeared from his thoughts like the morning dew. As he passed the front desk, Carolyn said hello in her usual cheery voice, and Jonathan chimed back with a generic "good morning" as he headed into the back to clock in.

The bins were empty, the carts were empty, and from the looks of things, so were the next few hours.

It was okay though, audiobooks needed straightening anyway. Heading up the stairs, Jonathan pulled out his phone and earbuds, opening youtube and trying to think of an audiobook to listen to. Neil Gaiman came to mind, so he searched up the first book that came to mind: Anansi Boys. Setting to work straightening the white audio book cases, he lost himself in the unfamiliar story, instantly feeling the characters and tones drown out normal life.

Man, this guy's dad was.... A character.

Oh gosh. Second-hand second-hand embarrassment....

What the heck was this story about?

A figure brushed past Jonathan's aisle, then did a double take and peered around the bookshelf.

"Fancy meeting you here," Kent said enthusiastically. "What are the chances? You haven't quit since... Two days ago?"


Kent why are you here I'm not prepared to talk to you.

"So what do you even do here?"

This question he could answer easily.

"I put away items as they come in, and when there's nothing to put away I organize and straighten the items on the shelves."

"That's all?"



"Do you ever listen to anything?" Kent asked.

"Oh, yeah." Jonathan turned his head and gestured to the earbud in his ear. "Audiobooks, podcasts... Music..."

"Oh--you're listening to something right now! I didn't even notice. What are you listening to?"

Jonathan stood. "Um.." he walked over to the G section, scanning the shelf for Gaiman's books. Pulling out Anansi Boys, he handed it to Kent. "This"

"What is this?" He asked, squinting at the description.

"I don't know, my uncle recommended itLIE and I'm giving it a chance."

"What's it about?"

"I dunno, I'm, like, fifteen minutes in."

"Oh cool. I guess I'll leave you to it. I'm going to go read."

Kent left, and Jonathan rewinded the audio book a minute to listen to what he had just missed.

Half an hour later he had forgotten Kent and was wrapped entirely in the whimsical, absurd, unexpectedly interesting tale of Fat Charlie and Spider.

By lunch, Spider was already screwing up Fat Charlie's life.

Who did this guy think he was? Stealing his brother's fiance? Manipulating her into loving him with his literal god powers? Not giving a crap when his brother told him to leave?

What a piece of crap!

Eating a third sugar cookie, he replaced his mask and returned to work, wiping down books and movie cases as they were returned by patrons.

Six X-Men movies.

Avatar: the Last Airbender book one: water.

Scooby Doo 5 movie collection.

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children.


The Selection

Why You Should Be a Socialist (Oh gosh please no someone PUBLISHED that?why am I surprised of course someone did)

Anansi Boys (What are the chances?)

The items came in at a steady pace. Eventually, an hour from the end of his shift, Jonathan switched from Anansi Boys to a youtube video about schools in New Hampshire teaching stupid things.

Ugh. One more hour.

He switched back to Anansi Boys.


What did giving away a bloodline even mean?


Going to the elevator, Jonathan pushed the button, pulling out his phone while he waited. Half an hour left.

Two girls came out of the elevator, and Jonathan noted carefully how one of the girls' eyes met his, then went to the floor, then smiled a bit, then glanced one last time at Jonathan's face before it left her line of sight. As they walked away, the girl who had looked at him leaned over to her (probably)sister and whispered something.

Ugh. Either she's... You know what, Jonathan didn't need to go there. He didn't wanna think about it. It was probably just another girl whispering about his looks. Either that or he had something on his face. Sugar cookie, perhaps?

Turning in his time, Jonathan clocked out.

Jonathan pocketed his phone and pulled out the mass market paperback of the Lies of Locke Lamora from his coat pocket, opening to his bookmark and resuming the gripping tale.

Eventually his ride came, and he read the entire way home.

After that it was monotony again. A blur of family dinner(rice with nothing else...?) And he read until bedtime.

All things considered, not a bad day.

Still, he promised himself to make tomorrow better.

"Yeah right--"

"Shut up."

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About The Author
Thomas Ray
About This Story
20 Mar, 2021
Read Time
5 mins
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