The Caretaker

The Caretaker

A Story by NoblePariah
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(First Draft)

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      Jim opened the foil top of the apple sauce and poured it into the designated glass “applesauce” saucer his trainer had shown him earlier. It was his first day as a caretaker for Mr. Coolidge and he had no intention of screwing up any minor details, as the job paid decently. He smiled at the stereotype of an old man and his applesauce as he walked up the stairs, but by the time he arrived at Mr. Coolidge's room, it was gone, in favor of a look of respectful attentiveness.

The door to the room was open, but the curtains were drawn inside, making the old man's figure in the bed barely discernible against the dark background.

      Jim approached him slowly, wanting to wake him as gently as possible, for fear of setting off the man's heart condition. He put the applesauce down on the end table and reached for the old man's shoulder, lightly saying “Mr. Coo-” He was interrupted as a hand grasped his shoulder and shouted from behind, causing him to jump and turn around in a rather ungraceful motion.

      The shout turned into an attempt at “hi I'm Tom!” but it was interrupted with bursts of breathless laughter.

Jim looked at his would be assailant and realized that it was Mr. Coolidge and he had been standing in an unseen corner of the room, waiting for the right moment to scare Jim. He was laughing hysterically, but for a second, Jim thought he saw sadness on the man's face, replaced immediately with a smile.

      Tom continued through his chuckles, “you, uh man... you should've seen your face boy, I got a spare pair of pants if you need it.”

      Jim shrugged it off, he didn't actually find it all that funny, but he laughed anyway before shaking the old man's hand, at least to keep up his image as a good sport. “My name is Jim, I'm your new caretaker. Gerry filled me in on how everything works around here, and as a show of good faith I brought you your 8am applesauce.”

      The man looked over at the applesauce and opened one eye wider in irritation, “why'd you go and put it in a fancy dish, it's applesauce, nuthin' fancier ya know.

      “Oh... Uh sorry about that, I was just going by what Gerry said.”

      “Yeah, Gerry's kind of an a*****e, don't listen to him about anything having to do with me.”

      Jim laughed, more genuinely this time, happily surprised by the old man's difference from his Gerry, his grandson, “I'll be sure to keep that in mind.”

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      Jim swept confetti into the dustpan wearily. He was exhausted from the serious amount of jokes Tom had played on him. It made him wonder how the old man was spry enough to set traps, yet not manage his own care, though it gave him a job, so he didn't complain. The old man did have that one weird twitch that bothered Jim, as if with each prank the man grew sadder, though it was only visible for a split second each time.

      As Jim stood to throw the confetti in the trash, he heard a loud crash from the other room, followed by a scream, of rage. He ran into the room to find Gerry, his long tan trench-coat and leg were caught in a rope trap suspending him ten feet in the air by one of the chandeliers. Jim stared for a moment, ferociously fighting back laughter as the man teetered upside down.

       Gerry flailed and yelled, “You b*****d! Don't you dare play your tricks on me! Get me down from here NOW!!”

Jim ran over to assist, and noticed Jim standing at the top of the staircase looking solemn, before disappearing into the hallway.

�" �" �" �"

      Jim smiled as the plot unfolded slowly, Gerry's car was in the driveway and Tom's plan was in place. They had been planning this final prank ever since Gerry had formally announced that Tom was to be put in a nursing home, thus eliminating Jim's employment.

      “Alpha hawk, has the eagle landed yet? Over.” came Tom's voice over the radio.

      “Yes, Tom. Gerry's here,” Jim replied, using his tone to show his distaste for the code words.

      “You know, you're the oldest twenty year old, that I've ever met.”

       Jim ignored the comment, preparing the lever that connected to a surprisingly well rigged pulley system that would catch Gerry in the exact same position that he had been caught in last time, specifically to annoy him more. Gerry opened the main doors, walking towards the main staircase. He took a breath to scream for Tom, but it was instead sucked from his lungs as he stepped into the rope trap.

      Jim watched as the man snapped into the air, and there was a loud crack as his head hit the floor, leaving him hanging upside down and motionless. He looked with horror at Tom, who was standing at the top of the staircase, smiling wickedly. He turned towards Jim and said, “thank you, Jim. You have no idea how long I've wanted to do that.”

       “But... is he?” Jim started, digging out his phone to call 9-1-1.

       “Oh yes, he is quite dead. I wouldn't call th-” Tom began. “Oh dear you've already pressed call haven't you.”

       “What happened, Tom? It worked fine last time?! This wasn't supposed to happen! He wasn't supposed to get hurt!” Jim pleaded, before turning his attention to the phone “Please I need help 375 Maple Ave. there's been an accident.”

       “Short version then...” said Tom, leaping from the second floor rail and onto the first floor. He looked to be getting younger by the second as he continued, “Gerry was not that man's real name. It was Kalor... or something weird like that. He was not a good guy, I can tell you that for sure.” The sadness returned to his eyes, though now it stayed and was more pronounced. “I'm a god, sort of... I go by many names: Loki, April Fool, etc. but I prefer to bask in mischief in human form.”

      Jim was too stunned to even speak, he thought about laughing, but he was watching the man get younger in front of him. It was too strange to take in so fast, he kept telling himself that it had to be some kind of dream.

      “The other 'gods' if you will, like this as well, because, frankly I'm less mischievous as a mortal. Unfortunately, Gerry here was a collector of sorts, and he locked me away... and killed my human family. Keeping me locked in this place, cycling caretakers, and preventing me from killing him with some form of magic. Alas it did not prevent you from activating a trap that was off just enough to cause a minor incident to befall this man.” Tom once again paused, looking over at Jim before asking, “Got it?”

      Jim blinked a couple of times before yelling, “You're crazy! This is just one of your tricks isn't it? You drugged me didn't you old man!?”

       Tom stood on the threshold to the door, put one hand on the top of his head, and said, “you know kid, whether I'm old and I drugged and moved you, or whether I'm telling the truth,” his voice began to trail of as the building slowly began to disappear and his vision blurred. When it refocused he was laying in an empty plot of dead grass. “You'll never know... and that's gonna bug the hell out of you.”

© 2013 NoblePariah


Author's Note

NoblePariah
First draft, definitely not my best work but as always any opinions are welcome.

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No, it's not yur best work, but pretty good all the same. I noticed smething you'll want to fix:

Jim ran over to assist, and noticed Jim standing at the top of the staircase looking solemn, before disappearing into the hallway.

Posted 6 Years Ago


NoblePariah

6 Years Ago

Thank you, I hadn't had time to write as much as I'd like and this was my first successful attempt a.. read more

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Added on June 15, 2013
Last Updated on June 15, 2013
Tags: caretaker, sarcastic humor, pranks

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NoblePariah
NoblePariah

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I am a writer trying to better myself in the craft. I'm 22 and in college, pursuing a degree in creative writing. Please don't add me and send me a read request without reviewing a piece of my work. .. more..

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A Story by NoblePariah