RJ

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“Ahmphhgmmm,” said RJ, stretching comfortably. He reached over to his nightstand to slap his alarm clock, only to realize that it wasn’t screaming like a tortured soul as per usual. That’s right. I’m self-employed, now. Kind of. Privately employed? By myself? He yawned and swung his legs off the bed, setting his bare feet down onto the cool tile floor. The absolutely freezing tile floor. Tile. Who has tile in the bedroom?! It’s unnatural. The ugliest shade of green in existence, too, he thought, glancing down at the-

“GARFIELDWHEREDIDFLOORGO!?” RJ frantically scrambled back into the middle of his bed, heart pounding against his ribcage like a headhunter at a pagan ritual playing one of those giant drums. The floor is gone. The floor is no longer there. Why is there no floor. There was a floor when I went to sleep. I know there was. Where did the floor go? “Garfield!” he yelled, trying to calm himself.

He heard a clatter from the only other room in the apartment – besides the bathroom – as his roommate dumped his breakfast dishes into the sink. “Morning, RJ,” said Garfield, walking onto the no floor place where the floor used to be. He stood there in his baggy pajama pants, suspended above the apartment below theirs – the exact same apartment, but with better furnishings.

“There’s a floor,” commented RJ, looking at the way his roommate’s feet flattened out at the sides where they pressed down on- on something.

“You got me, Sherlock. There’s a floor.” Garfield rolled his light brown eyes and went over to their shared wardrobe, selecting one of his four pieces of clothing and draping it over his shoulder.

“There actually is a floor. You can see the floor?” RJ asked, looking up.

Garfield shrugged into his only button-down shirt, a Hawaiin one with orange and yellow flowers flooding the surface. It fit snugly over his broad frame – a remnant of his years playing college football. He turned to RJ. “Yes, RJ,” he said, speaking slowly and over-enunciating every word. “I, can, see, the, floor. Sheesh, how many hours of sleep did you get?”

“You can see the floor,” replied RJ, leaning over the side of the bed. He saw a suede couch with chocolate brown pillows at each end. “I want a suede couch,” he murmured to himself. Hesitantly, he lowered his left foot off the bed and touched the floor with his big toe. “The floor is cold,” he noted, setting his foot down flat.

“A master of deduction you are,” said Garfield. He did up the last button on his blindingly Hawaiian shirt and peered sceptically at RJ. “You sure you’re cut out for P.I. work? Law school’s hard as concrete, but at least it doesn’t drive you nuts.”

Deduction, that’s right. Deduct, RJ – deduct things. What can you deduct? You mean deduce. I mean deduce. “You can see the floor. You are standing on the floor.” He slid off his bed and hopped up and down a few times. “I am standing on the floor.”

“Dude, are you still dreaming?”

“I am standing on the floor, but I cannot see the floor. Why can I not see the floor?” The cool tile was smooth beneath his feet as he shuffled across to the wardrobe mirror. It still freaked him out that he couldn’t see what he was standing on, so not lifting his feet from the floor felt safer. It was irrational, but he allowed himself that – after all, he couldn’t see the floor. He looked up – sure enough, even using the mirror, the floor was completely not there. Invisible. But only to me.

He crouched down and knocked a fist against it. It sounded very tile-like. This is so surreal.

Garfield crouched down next to him, one eyebrow raised. He looked back and forth between RJ and the part of the floor he was knocking on. “RJ, are you of sound mind and body and soul?”

“Soul?” asked RJ, looking up at his roommate. “I don’t think that’s part of it.”

Garfield met his gaze and held it. “Well, are you?” He reached out and lifted RJ’s eyelid with a large thumb.

RJ brushed his hand away. “I’m not on drugs, Gar, I’m fine. I just can’t see the floor.”

“Ohhh – you just can’t see the floor,” said Garfield, drawing out the last word in mock realization. He raised his wide hands and shrugged dramatically, nodding. “Well then, everything’s fine and dandy! Nothing to worry about here, doctor, just a guy who can’t see the floor. No, no, it’s perfectly all right – he say’s he’s ‘fine’,” Garfield deadpanned, staring at his roommate as he finished.

I’m not crazy! There’s just some weird stuff going on here. RJ thought for a moment. What did I eat last night? Tuna, with mayo, some ketchup, a little-

“RJ!”

“Yes! What?” RJ said, pulled out of his rememberings by his friend’s sudden shout.

Garfield threw on his tattered black jacket, then reached into the wardrobe and tossed a white t-shirt at RJ. “Get dressed, I’m taking you to the doctor.”

“I don’t need to see the doctor, I need to see the floor!” RJ argued, pointing an accusatory finger at the invisible tiles. They stared at each other for a silent moment. “Okay, I admit that sounded a bit weird,” he continued, holding up a hand. “But I’m not going to any doctor until I figure out for myself what in the world is going on here.”

“RJ, you-”

“No.” He pushed himself to his feet, fighting against the sudden vertigo that threatened to topple him as he rose from a floor that – to his eyes – wasn’t actually there. “Garfield,” he said calmly, putting a hand on his roommate’s shoulder. “I cannot see the floor. It is as if it is not there.” He leaned in closer, eyes serious. “I can see through the floor. I can see our downstairs neighbors drinking coffee in their living room. I can see that one of them just spilled some onto a pillow, and is trying to clean it up with his jeans, which, incidentally, have a hole in the left knee.”

Garfield narrowed his eyes and made as if to say something, but RJ cut him off before he could speak. “Yes, I am sure that I am not hallucinating and/or imagining this in any way. No, I am not making this up as some sort of prank. Yes, you can verify this by calling them and asking about the coffee. Their number’s on the refrigerator next to the announcement about the building blackout that was posted last week.”

He crouched down to continue his study of the nonexistence of the floor as Garfield walked into the kitchen, glancing back with a worried look before rounding the corner. Fifteen seconds later, he heard his roommate clear his throat.

“Um, yes, hi – this is- actually, never mind, it doesn’t matter who this is. I am calling to confirm that you…that you spilled some coffee on your couch pillow, and then tried to clean it off with your jeans, which h-” A pause. “No! No, I swear! I just- yes, okay. Okay.” Garfield walked out into the living room, phone held loosely at the end of his dangling hand. He was nodding continuously to himself – small, quick nods, as if repeatedly touching his forehead to a wall directly in front of him. “So,” he said matter-of-factly, beginning his nervous habit of tapping his right foot.

“So,” replied RJ, exhaling.

“You can see through the floor.”

He looked down at the suede couch, and the new coffee stain on one of the pillows. “Apparently.”

Garfield scratched at the back of his neck awkwardly, then looked over his shoulder into the kitchen. “Seeing as you don’t want to see a doctor – want some breakfast?”

“Breakfast would be great,” RJ said appreciatively, standing and walking into the kitchen. “I can never think well on an empty stomach.”

Garfield joined him, opening the refrigerator as RJ did the same for the pantry. The two were greeted by a carton of milk and a box of Froot Loops respectively. They glanced at each other and shrugged. “Cereal it is,” said Garfield.

It was only after pouring himself his third bowl that RJ noticed something…off, about the contents of his bowl.

“Gar,” he said curiously, bringing a spoonful of cereal to eye-level. “How many Froot Loops are on this spoon?”

His roommate leaned over, counted, and said, “Nine, I think. Why?”

RJ reached out with a finger and poked a blue Froot Loop. Then he poked to its left. His finger touched something that wasn’t there. Emptying the spoon into his mouth, he set it down in the bowl and picked up the box of Froot Loops, shaking out a small pile onto the table. “Blue, orange, pinkish red, yellow…clear,” he stated in a puzzled tone of voice, picking up a seemingly non-existent piece and bringing it to eye-level.

“You’re telling me you can’t see Fruit Loops, now?” questioned Garfield, raising an eyebrow. “Reality, I would like to argue that my client be exonerated on the grounds of insanity.”

“Huh,” said RJ. He poured some more cereal onto the already existing pile and sifted through them. “It’s only the green ones. Wait a second,” he continued excitedly, picking up the box and turning it to Garfield. “Is the O here actually see-through?”

“No more so than the floor.”

“Gar,” said RJ, squinting and looking around the room. “I think I’m going colorblind.” He noticed a flyer for a pizzeria being held to the fridge by nothing, though he remembered placing a lime-green magnet at its top. “Only I’m pretty sure it’s not supposed to work like this.”

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