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A Glimpse in the Window

Nikita Palaisy

Jayden woke with the sound of Mitch vociferating at Dave. She rubbed her eyes an
d looked at the clock on her desk. It was four o’clock in the morning. She groan
ed with annoyance. She tried to cover her head to block out the noise, but his v
oice was still heard. She heaved a sigh of frustration and rolled out of bed. Fo
ur o’clock was too early to get up, yet she knew if she didn’t she wouldn’t be a
ble to sleep. Lying in bed for the next two hours would irritate her even more a
s she would have to listen to the one-sided argument going on at the other end o
f the house.
Jayden grabbed some clothes and staggered grudgingly to the bathroom and
into the shower. Hot water was a sure way to wake her up completely before she
headed to the garage for an unanticipated early start. She figured she’d look at
the car that Gregory had driven by the previous day, before the rest of the gan
g got to the garage. Then get the three students that were supposed to work that
day, to do what they could with it. Although they had little experience, they h
ad taken apart other cars prior to this one, but this time they would have to fi
gure out if it was worth the extra time and effort to repair it.
There was no sound in the house when Jayden walked out of the bathroom a
few minutes later. She figured Mitch had stopped his conversation when she’d go
tten up. He often did that, as if he didn’t want anyone else to know what he was
talking about. That wouldn’t make sense, Jayden thought. He talked to himself a
ll the time even if he was surrounded by a crowd or just when he sat alone. It a
lways seemed to be about the same things, all of it having the focal point of re
ligion.

Jayden was at the garage doors at four thirty with a fresh cup of coffee
and the perception that Mitch would elude that day. It always happened a couple
days after he got that look in his eyes. That intense glance that―
She was so caught up in her thoughts that she wasn’t really watching wha
t was in front of her and nearly ran into the guy standing against the garage. S
he looked bewildered for a second before coming to her right mind.
“Hi, can I help you?” She asked with confusion. Why was he standing ther
e at this time of the morning?
“I don’t know. Do you own this place?” His voice was deep but with a mel
low sort of drawl like he wasn’t in a big hurry and there wasn’t a care in the w
orld. There was a sort of authority to it, like he knew how to get what he wante
d if he needed to.
“Not exactly, I work as a mechanic here. The owner is out of town right now and
won’t be back for a couple of weeks. Although, if you need something important y
ou can always come back in a couple of hours or so and Patrick, the person in ch
arge right now, will be able to help you,” she informed him.
“Two hours or so, eh?”
“Yes,” she put the key in the lock. He leaned against the wall by the do
or obviously not ready to leave.
“I heard from a friend, that you were hiring people here, do you know if
that’s still happening?” He asked with interest. Jayden regarded him with only
the dim light from the corner of the building. He had dark pants and a sweatshir
t but the shadows covered his face; blocking any of his expressions. In Jayden’s
opinion he looked like the type of guy who would bean athlete, maybe a professi
onal soccer player or professional volleyball player.
“Have you ever worked in a garage before?”
“No, but I know what I’m doing. Oh! Wait, I have my resume in my jeep if
you want to take a look; see if I qualify.” He said pushing himself off the wal
l.
“Sure. That would be great,” she said with a hint of skepticism.
“I’ll just go get it then,” he walked toward a green jeep that Jayden ha
dn’t seen when she’d first driven in. It looked to be a light grey or maybe whit
e and the tires were as big as the ones on Jayden’s truck.
As he went to his jeep, she went into the garage and flicked the light s
witch. The lights came flooding on instantaneously showing the huge room that wa
s only half used at the moment. Her second truck was on the far side, and next t
o that was Gregory’s car which she’d moved into the garage the night before. The
n, finally came Howard’s van that was getting the fuel pump changed.
Jayden was looking under the hood of Gregory’s car when the guy got back
from his jeep. Jayden looked over to where he stood at the door; his eyes scrut
inized the whole place.
“Like it?” Jayden asked with a half laugh.
“It’s nice, very open,” was all he stated as he walked over and handed t
he piece of paper over to Jayden. With more light, Jayden could now see what he
looked like without the shadows veiling the details. He had on a pair of dark je
ans that were faded along the thigh and breaking into a hole at the knee. He wor
e a sweatshirt that advertised a university that she’d never heard of before. Ja
yden presumed he’d went there for courses but she never based anything on presum
ptions. Overall, he didn’t look especially tall; a few inches taller then her at
five-eight. He was poster boy handsome with a rougher edge to him. He had dark
brown hair that was in desperate need of a cut and blue intense eyes that seemed
to say ‘I know everything about you’ with one glance.
Jayden was afraid that those eyes were going to bore into her, so she re
treated and looked at the sheet in her hand and read over the context. Nicolas G
reville. Education: he completed high school and took a course in engineering. E
xperience: two weeks ago he worked at a restaurant as a waiter, and than a year
ago he was a mechanic for number twenty-three in the NASCAR circuit, last on his
list, he worked at a radio station as a security guard (that was two weeks befo
re he started as a mechanic). Hobbies: playing music, racing, fixing things and
sports. Skills: fluent in both English and French, easy to get along with, hardw
orking and a good sense of humor.
“Do you have any references?” Jayden asked after reading over it twice.
He was about to answer but her cell-phone interrupted him. She cursed with annoy
ance; who would be calling her at this hour? She flipped it open and read the re
adout. She swore again before finally answering. It was Mitch.
“’lo?” She walked away from Nicolas, not wanting him to hear her convers
ation.
“It’s Mitch,” he mumbled into the phone on the other end. His voice was
so quiet; you could hardly hear it across the line. It always felt like he didn’
t really want to be calling but there was a fringe of obligation in his voice, l
ike it was mandatory to call. Jayden let the silence drag on, knowing he’d event
ually get to the point of the phone call. He did.
“I was wondering if you’d be going into town later tonight. I need to fi
nish that thing Rick asked me to do and I have a class later tonight.”
“Mitch, I’m probably working late tonight,” she exasperated, “I want to
finish my truck as soon as possible.”
“Fine, I’ll find a way home then, or I’ll just stay here.” There was a c
lick as he hung up the phone. Jayden rolled her eyes and turned to find Nicolas
writing on a piece a paper on the hood of the van. He handed it to her.
“I’ll come back at a later time,” he said with a masked expression. His
eyes analyzed her face and body language in a split second.
“Sure.” Jayden watched as he walked away before putting the papers on th
e desk in the office and got to work on the rusted car of Gregory’s. She turned
on the radio and tried not to think about Mitch and how much that minute convers
ation had impacted her.

“What the heck is this?” Patrick’s voice was a bellow over the sound of
the music that was now blasting through the garage. The garage was in full funct
ion mode, but with the sound of his voice everyone stopped what they were doing,
including Jayden who was sanding down her box on her truck.
“Oh, that was dropped off this morning by some guy who wants to work her
e,” Jayden explained when she saw that paper he was holding up.
“Yes, I realize that’s it’s to do with a job application, but why did yo
u put it on my desk? You know full well we don’t need another mechanic,” he soun
ded even more infuriated.
“We’ll always need another mechanic. You know in a week, these kids will
be only working part time and only at night or on the weekends. That leaves onl
y you and myself to work day shifts. I just figured he could be helpful around h
ere once school started. We could always hire him on a trial bases and see where
that leaves us,” she protested; unsure why. Patrick shook his head at her argum
ent and walked back to his office. She knew he’d call the guy and that made her
smile.
“Jay?”
“Yes?”
“What the hell are we suppose to do with this car?” What were they going
to do with that car? Gregory was going to be there that afternoon expecting som
ething done with it. She held back a string of profanity as she regarded the car
. In her opinion it would be a whole lot cheaper if he just went out and bought
a new vehicle then to repair this hunk of junk. It was going to cost him a fortu
ne, not to mention that if they repaired one thing this week in a month from now
(if not before) it would be back in here for something else. But as the saying
always goes, a costumer’s always right. They’d have to fix the car.
Jayden spent the day helping the students repair the car and by the time
Gregory got there to pick it up, they’d replaced the main attributes that neede
d fixing. He seemed surprised when he first started the car to leave and it didn
’t stutter and clunker like it was about to die.
“I’ll have to tell my co-workers to watch out for this place if they hav
e any vehicle problems,” Gregory commented before driving away.
They’re always watching. Mitch’s words ricocheted through Jayden’s head
without warning; it made her return to the past. She tried to remember the first
time he’d said those words. How long ago had it been since the beginning?
Moments flashed before her eyes like a slide show. A time when they were
on a trip and someone’s voice;
“Why does Mitch always write all the time? It’s kind of creepy.”
Then another time when he’d gotten home from work;
“They did something to my glasses. They know everything I do, everything
I say. It’s all broad casted on the radio. Just listen.”
Then during the night;
“No, I’m not married and I don’t want to be. No, I don’t want kids,” “Th
e Russians are after me,” “They’ve planted a camera in my glasses,” “I’m fine, y
ou take it,” “In Genius, it says―” “This shows the cross in which Jesus dead to―

Jayden remembered when she was younger she didn’t think anything about i
t. It was just a comment here and there, over time, however, it had changed; dev
eloped into something more. He was no longer the quiet, timid brother he once wa
s, but a religious, childlike man with a mental illness that rocked the people a
round him. Jayden didn’t go a day without wondering if something drastic would h
appen and he’d be the cause of it.
“Jay? Are you okay?” The voice drifted through her mind and brought her
back to the present but not out of the daze. The voice was loud and she recogniz
ed it as Patrick’s.
“Huh? What?” Patrick was standing in front of her with the guy from that
morning.
“You seemed to be lost in another galaxy for a couple minutes there,” Ni
colas explained with an easy smile that had a hint of concern floating around th
e edges.
“He’s like a martyr, giving up all his stuff because he thinks he no lon
ger needs it. He thinks that just because there’s accessibility to something tha
t he can just give it away or use it himself. He has no sense of ownership which
can sometimes led to suicide.”
“Pardon?” His puzzled look was what brought Jayden back to reality and s
he realized what she had just let slip.
“Oh, sorry,” she inwardly winced from embarrassment. She’d never talked
about her brother to people she’d barely known about before and she knew she was
n’t comfortable with the sudden outburst.
“You okay?” He sounded worried as if she’d hit her head on something and
she wasn’t think right. She didn’t feel right.
“I’ll be fine.”
“Nicolas will be working here starting tomorrow,” Patrick put in sensing
Jayden’s distress with the situation, “he seems to know a vehicle inside and ou
t and as outstanding experience.”
She glanced around her to see what was happening elsewhere in the garage
; to try to familiarize to her surroundings. The students were just finishing up
and getting ready to head home. She figured she’d blanked out, lost in thought,
for at least five minutes. Anything could have happened in those five minutes a
nd she wouldn’t have known about it. She was getting too caught up with the situ
ation and it took away time from work. That scared her. Was she losing her mind?
Was Mitch’s situation sending her over the edge? Too much was happening at once
for her to handle.
She distanced herself from the issue and focused on the new mechanic. He
looked different for the third time that day. He no longer had a sweatshirt on,
but resorted to a t-shirt that had obviously seen better days. There were tiny
burn marks all over the fabric. Jayden was way to familiar with this image, as h
er herself had identical marks. Working as a mechanic was tough on clothes, espe
cially when using the welder.
He also seemed taller then he had this morning, and his eyes no longer h
ad that intense glare that saw everything. They instead were a softer blue; a so
fter, more approachable look. They were less intimidating.
Jayden had just decided she’d go home early, when a police cruiser pulle
d into the yard. Patrick was walking towards the officer before he’d even parked
. The look on the officer’s face was all Jayden needed to see to know that it ha
d something to do with Mitch.
She ended up in a police station fifteen minutes later with the basic in
formation about the incident that had happened. She would be allowed to see Mitc
h after paper work was filled out and questions were answered. When she was fina
lly able to talk to him, he looked the same as he had the night before; the last
time she’d seen him.
He still wore the ripped jeans and paint covered shirt he had been weari
ng for the last week. He was a mess with an overgrown beard and matted hair that
had remains from when he painted the wall in his room. He was in desperate need
of a good washing and a hair cut. His eyes darted around the small interrogatio
n room with that stare that Jayden tried to avoid. That stare gave her that chil
ls and she always wanted to look away whenever it was focused on her. She could
never figure out how a stare could tell the world so many things at once. I don’
t trust you. They’re watching. You did something guilty. They’re after me. Are y
ou the one behind all this?
“Why’d you do it?” Jayden demanded although she had a pretty good idea o
f why. He didn’t answer right away but watched the officer, which had come in wi
th her, with those terror-stricken eyes.
“God told me to.”
“Why’d he’ll tell you to do it?” There was another moment of silence bef
ore he answered.
“He was sinful. God told me to punish him.” The answers left a sickness
invade Jayden’s whole body with the horrifying truth to the matter. She knew she
’d never have her brother back; he was no longer the person he once was. A menta
l illness had changed him and herself.
What had once been a few comments here and there had turned into an inno
cent civilian being murdered. Her brother would be sent to a mental hospital and
the family of this citizen, what would their reaction be? Would it be anger? Ha
te? Disgust? Despondency that the murderer wasn’t locked away for his crime?
Jayden stared past Mitch’s head at the wall behind him before turning ar
ound and walking out the door she’d just come in. She stood perfectly still at t
he sight of Nicolas analyzing her. He heard everything through that two-way mirr
or that spanned across the interrogation room wall.

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