It's been nearly ten years since Milligan Cruise lines came to its end. Not many of you will remember her, but that's because Milligan Cruise lines was the worlds crappiest cruise ship. It also wasn't a cruise line, that was just a name, but that's not important to this story. What is important, however, is that no one ever liked her; not when she was a war ship in the twenties and forties, or when she became a cruise ship in the early eighties. But who could blame anyone, when you came to think of it. Even new she had been slow, had bugs, and her room sizes made ex-cons wish they had never been paroled. All that being said, there was something oddly poetic about the old girl.
Lucas Sticks can’t help but grin to himself as he goes down the steps leading to the cargo bay. He wasn’t usually the sappy type, but he guesses that being gone for over six months had made him a tad sentimental. He had never thought he wouldn’t be happy for getting six paid months off work, though, the whole being hit by a truck thing had hurt like a bitch. At twenty seven, it had been the most pain he’d ever been in. And that was including the time in high school when he had to get his stomach pumped because of alcohol poisoning. Anyway, the last six months had been hell, but he may have had one, maybe two, many drinks last night and this caused him to oversleep and miss the staff morning meeting. His first morning meeting back at that! To make matters worse changes have been implemented since he'd been gone- and one of them has to do with him tonight. Luke was chosen to be the one who gets to spend the entire night, alone, in the cargo bay. Why? Because his boss is a cheap ass, bastard! Well not his immediate boss- Harry's pretty cool- but rather the owner of the ship. Edward Jenkins was a rat of a guy, whose head was just slightly bigger than his ever growing gut.
“Well if it ant' the babysitter now!” a familiar voice calls out to him not even a second after he walks through the doorway to the cargo bay.
“Nice to see you again, too,” Luke calls back, walking through the mess of luggage and other junk, making his way over to his co-worker, Louis.
The cargo bay is not that impressive of a room. It's merely two rooms that have been merged into one. The whole thing reminds Luke of a maze with its no natural light and its weird 's' shape. Lou's voice is coming from within the second room and as Luke waves through the suitcases, and boxes that little the area he begins to feel a chill run through him. Still he sees Lou over at the far wall, a cigarette between his lips, and salt and pepper hair slicked back like someone out of 'Dick Tracy.'
“Enjoy your time at the spa?” Lou asks as Luke stops beside him.
“This it?” Luke asks, kicking a long mahogany box that was maybe a foot away from the two men. The newest change that had been implemented was that apparently they were now going to be transporting coffins. And not only coffins, but coffins filled with dead bodies. Luke first heard that when he arrived at the staff meeting this morning, but it didn't seem to hit him until now how morbid that really was.
“Nah, that’s a grand piano.” Lou smacks him on the back laughing as if he had just told the funniest joke in the world.
Luke barely notices though, as he moves his fingers over the weird carvings that seem to be etched along the sides of the coffin. He's never seen a coffin so fancy. He bets this little beauty paid a pretty penny. Still...something about it seems to be eating at him.
“It just seems so, I dunno, wrong,” Luke mumbles. “It just feels like this isn't going to end well. I dunno. Do you think Ed's finally reached a new low?”
Lou shrugs, planting a cigarette between his teeth, “Maybe, but I don't care what the fuck he does. All I care about is whether he signs my paycheck! So even if he sends himself to hell in a dolly pink hand basket, I’m just going to sit there and wish him bon-fucking-voyage.”
Luke chuckles, but the unsettling feeling won’t get any better. “I just think...”
A hand to the back of the head cuts him off, “You think too much! That’s always been your problem Sticks! You got to learn and be more like me. Stop giving a damn and life gets easier.”
Luke sighs. He wants to believe Lou, he really does, but he can’t seem to shake the feeling that had entered him. He’s never been much of a religious person, and to be honest he never even believed in any of it before today, but suddenly he had the oddest feeling of a need to pray.
“Hey, idiot!” he jumps, and wonders how long he’s been lost in thought. The degree of time can mean a variation of outcomes from Lou, “Stop being a little pussy and help me get this area ready.”
Okay, so he must have been out at least a few minutes. He quickly runs over to Lou who is at the other end of the coffin moving pieces of plywood. He quickly grabs as much as he can and tries to concentrate on work. Tries, of course, being the operative word. Because as much as he tries, he just can’t seem to focus on anything but that damn coffin! Fuck! This is going to be one long trip!
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