The last thing Tyler could remember was looking down at his receipt as he removed his card from the ATM machine. He had a bad habit of walking away from the machine as it beeped, alerting him to the fact that he was not as smart as he told himself.
That was how much he had in his account and it was the most he'd ever had. For the last ten months he'd been saving money from every single paycheck from the mail room. Every ache and pain he felt during the long bus rides home, paper cuts, constant sneezing from dust, and unimpressed looks from dates he got for his occupation was worth it for that $9,483.07.
Tyler froze in place. Awake? Where was he? Who said that? Was he asleep? It was now registering that he could not feel his limbs. He tried to open eyes he could not blink. “Wheeeeeeeeeeere...?” he droned in a voice he did not recognize as his own.
“A few more moments, please. You are almost awake.”
“Heeeeeeeelp...meeeeeeeee...” Tyler moaned. Now he could feel someone holding his chest down. He was not aware that he was attempting to rise. Slowly he began to feel something, a belt perhaps, restraining him at his arms, chest, and legs. Maybe he was in a hospital. He'd been told that he worked too hard sometimes and pushed himself. Maybe he fainted at the ATM. Oh, Christ, no. His wallet!
“Quiet, now. You're almost awake. Be patient.”
Patience Tyler could do. Most of his friends took his patience for lack of activity. But they were wrong. Tyler knew that to do something correctly you needed to analyze it from every angle possible to predict the proper results. This went for friends, family, chores, and relationships. Headlong decisions is how he ended up divorced at the age of 26. Now at the age of 35 he figured he had a handle on things. Four good friends. His relationship with his family doing better than it ever had. Job going well. Relationships? Well, there was time for that. He felt a hand remove something from his head.
“When you are ready I want you to open your eyes.”
“One thing at a time. For now I need you to focus your vision. That's right. Just slowly...there.”
A wail came from Tyler that took a moment for him to recognize as his. He thrashed against the restraints and slammed his head back as hard as possible which meant very little since he was laying on what could best be described as a cloud. “Where am I? Oh, God!”
“I will wait until the effects of your multidimensional delirium subsides. Most do not take the news well and in your current state keeping you in this current dimension would prove rather difficult.” Tyler felt a warm hand cover his eyes. “Sleep for now.”
Tyler drifted into what could be called half asleep. He just kept thinking of the money he left behind. $9,483.07 was a lot of money and it took him so long to get it. He wondered if anyone had contacted his family and friends. He had a date this Friday. He wondered if he'd be able to get out of here before then.
“Do you like turkey?”
The voice startled Tyler. He wasn't aware how deep in thought he was. “Uh, yeah, I guess. I don't really think about it. I eat it on Thanksgiving of course and when I stop by Subway. That question came out of nowhere.”
“Do you know how big a turkeys brain is?”
“I've never really thought about it” Tyler had to admit.
“It is about the size of a walnut. A whale's brain, sperm whale to be exact, is about 17 pounds.”
“No wonder they are so smart” Tyler said. He had no idea where this was headed.
“A human brain is close to 3 pounds. So does that mean that whale's are almost six times smarter than you?”
“Of course not” Tyler said defensively. “If they were they'd have the things we do. Humans, I mean.”
“And what do you have?”
“A job for one” Tyler said. “Friends. Family. A house. Freedom.” Tyler struggled to think of more things. “You know. Stuff.” Tyler heard the voice sigh in disappointment.
“You're not ready yet.”
“Ready for what?” Tyler asked.
Tyler hesitated before continuing. “What do you mean? What do you mean by reality?”
“Close your eyes.”
“They are closed” Tyler responded. “Its dark.”
“Before you leave I will give you this bit of information. You will forget it soon but still, it makes us feel better just letting you all know. None of what you are doing means anything eventually. This is not to say that you should become complacent and ignore your duties. But we suggest you refocus. Your job makes you happy but you do not love it. Do what you love. Be a better friend. Be a better son. Money is no way to value yourself. It can be easily taken from you at the press of a button or the squeeze of a trigger.”
Tyler removed his card from the ATM, proud of himself for remembering before the machine beeped. While removing it he dropped it on the ground sighing at himself. As soon as he bent down to pick it up the ATM machine exploded. Tyler spun to see a young man holding a gun less than a foot from him. He looked just as surprised as Tyler imagined he did.
Jumping up, leaving the card on the ground, Tyler wrestled with the man for the gun. Three more shots were fired, ricocheting on the ground and wall. “Stop!” Tyler shout in his face. The man continued to resist. Tyler gripped his wrist causing the man to scream since his finger was still in the trigger guard. Tyler heard a snap, the man opened his mouth, and the gun went off.