Susanna Parker had been reliving the same dream for three years. She would be walking down the street with her sister when a pack of rabid squirrels in black trench coats came at them from all directions. Just as all seemed lost, a red-haired man with brown almond-shaped eyes would appear out of nowhere and save them. Once out of harms way, the man would approach Susanna, hold out his hand, and introduce himself. This was where Susanna got confused, because she could never fully hear his full name. She couldn’t figure out whether his first name was Ed or Ted, or if his last name was Barton or Martin.
During the day, his face stayed fixed in her memory, but his identity remained unknown. His eyes, nose, and chin, didn’t belong to anyone at work, or on the metro, or in her apartment building. It was this fact that made Ed or Ted so hard not to think about, for Susanna decided that if he didn’t exist in her past or present, he must exist in her future. Either way, Susanna finally resigned herself to the idea that his identity would be revealed at a crucial date, and not before. So, she went about her daily activities, one of these being dropping her paycheck off at the bank.
While waiting patiently in line, Susanna was surprised by the sound of a gunshot. Like everyone around her, Susanna dropped to the floor, and kept her head down.
“Nobody, move,” said a masked man all in black. “Tellers will empty their registers. If I see one of you go for the emergency button, you’re all going to get it.” Susanna lifted her head just a tiny bit so she could check on the situation. She looked around at all the people on the floor. No one looked familiar.
“Who’s the manager here?” asked another masked man.
“I am,” said a trembling man’s voice from behind a cubicle wall. Susanna recognized that voice, and she watched as the man stepped out into the open. It was him. Ed or Ted. He was unmistakable. The second masked man kept his gun aimed at him, the manager. Without warning, Susanna felt herself rising to her feet.
“Leave him alone,” Susanna said.
“It seems we have ourselves a hero,” said another masked men, aiming his gun at Susanna’s heart.
“Mrs. I appreciate your concern,” said the manager, “but I can handle this.” Just then, the bank echoed the calls of police sirens.
“You called the cops,” the second man said to the manager, steadying his aim.
“No!” Susanna screamed, and she ran between the manager and the robber just as the gun fired. The bullet hit Susanna just below the shoulder-blade. All the hostages screamed, and the cops, having heard the shot, knew the situation had escalated, and broke down the main door. The robbers didn’t bother to put up a fight, for they knew themselves to be surrounded, and they had no time to hide behind hostages.
The manager rushed to Susanna’s aid. He applied pressure to the wound.
“Your going to be alright,” he said, “Thank you for saving my life.” Susanna took his hand with what little strength she had left. The pain made it hard for her to catch her breath.
“Thank you…for saving me…from the squirrels,” Susanna said. Of course, this meant nothing to Ed or Ted, whose real name was Ned. Fortunately, he figured she was temporarily delusional. Ned visited Susanna in the hospital every day until she was better, at which point, they decided to spend the rest of their lives together. Is that nuts?
The Moral: Dreams can be deceiving.
This story was written by Alex Schattner (7/31/12)
Cover Image by: Victor-Bezrukov