I recently lost my job. I was planning on quitting once I got my finances together, but I guess my boss could tell I had lost all motivation for working at a company that never promoted from the inside. Even though I was broke and couldn’t pay my rent, I was happy. I was me again. I found a new apartment, a smaller apartment, a little further from downtown. It wasn’t one of those murderer and cockroach infested pads like some, but it wasn’t a swanky all-wood-interior gated community like I was used to. I figured I could manage.
On my first night in the new place, I took a walk around to familiarize myself with the layout and log all the barbecue pits, pools, and vending machines into my memory. I walked down to the first floor of my block, which was partially recessed into the ground like a trilevel home, and saw a strange door at the far end where the second open-air entrance should be. All the complex doors were off-white and molded to look like they were made of fancy beveled wood. This door was smooth, metal, and blue. I smiled, thinking it might be a secondary laundry room within very easy walking distance of my one bedroom. The door was locked. I placed my palm onto the surface, enjoying the warmth of the room beyond the metal and felt a vibration coming from behind it. It had to be a laundry room. I decided to ask about it the following morning.
I awoke to find the door gone. I stood on the first floor landing in my pajamas for a good fifteen minutes, staring at the opposite entryway. I could see the parking lot on the other side. I decided I must have been so tired and cold that I had a waking dream about a warm, blue door. I plodded up the stairs to my place and brewed a pot of strong coffee.
The next day was the first day of my job hunt. Without fully knowing why I chose to begin the way I did – just an excited whim – I drove downtown and personally visited each of the companies I wanted to work for. I was turned away from three and told to apply online. At two others, I was actually able to speak to the hiring directors and some of the department managers. At the final company, I decided to use the restroom before I began the process in case it ran long. At the very back of the men’s restroom, seemingly where a urinal should have been, was the blue door. I pressed my palm against the center. Warm. Vibrating. I slid my hand down to the handle. Locked.
I woke up on my couch with no memory of the last interview. Or lack thereof. My mother had left a voicemail for me the previous day asking me to pick up a package she had waiting at the post office. I didn’t have anything planned for the day, so I got dressed and headed out. I peered at the first floor entryway as I left; still no door.
There was a door at the post office, however. In the last row of PO boxes where my parents’ business box was, set directly into a row of boxes that I knew where there the last time I had picked up their mail, was the warm, vibrating door. I tried the handle. Unlike the other two times, it yielded to the pressure I applied. It felt smoother and more substantial than most handles, almost like it was turning in a thick pudding.
The room was dark, but inviting. It felt like home. A string bumped my forehead softly as I moved around, unable to see. It was the chain for an old-fashioned bulb. I pulled it. The room was nothing but a small closet. A warm, quiet square. Though it was comfortable, I knew I needed to deliver the mail and get groceries. I left.
I stepped out of the door into complete pandemonium. Post office workers and customers were running, panicked, in every direction. Screams filled my ears. My shoe lost traction and I fell into a thick smear of blood on the tile. I ran.
I raced away from the post office, driving as fast as I could. I saw the blue door next to ATMs, on building facades, and even on the back of a U-Haul truck. When I got back to my apartment complex, the door was waiting for me at the bottom of the first floor. I wanted to run into it, to calm myself inside the warm room, but I also wanted to find out what was happening at the post office. Was it a hostage situation? A terrorist attack?
I turned on my TV to see breaking news of the shooting at the post office. They played security cam footage of the PO boxes. Of me retrieving the package. Of me entering the door. Then, when I knew I had been inside looking for the light, I stepped back out holding a pistol. I took three well-aimed shots, placed the pistol back inside the door, and left.