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  • The day had been going fine for Zeke Martin. He had awoken with a headache, but the dull ache had been easily cured by a smile from his lovely wife while she handed him a glass of orange juice and a plate laden with bacon, eggs and pancakes. Okay, so not completely cured. He’d taken a dose of Advil, but had to hide the fact because his wife, Lucinda, was nervous about medicine. She always thought that they would take it when they didn’t need it and then when they did need it, it wouldn’t work because of some built up immunity to it. So he palmed it into his mouth and went on with his morning routine. His briefcase in hand, he kissed his wife goodbye and smoothed down his NFL tie that Lucinda had gifted him for his birthday as he skirted around the back of his Camry. He placed his case in the passenger side seat, laying down and buckled. Tapping the garage door opener, he turned the key in the ignition and glanced to the window above the kitchen sink where his lovely wife was standing in her pink silk robe. He took a moment to wish he was back in there slipping it off of her shoulders and sprinkling kisses on the skin he uncovered, but he cleared his throat, shook his head and offered her a smile. She smiled back and sipped at a cup of coffee in her hand as he pulled out of the driveway and headed toward work.

    Half an hour later and he was massaging his temples as he listened to the messages left on his work phone. The office was bustling as per usual and the coffee sat, still scalding hot but no better tasting than cardboard, on his desk. He flicked a glance at it, but decided that the caffeine would likely not ease the throb there. He just jotted down a phone number and name on his notepad and tried to work through it. He had part of an article written up, but needed to finish it before the day was out. Such was the life of a Journalist. He sighed and smoothed his tie again, smiling tightly as his desk partner gestured to it and made a remark about it that was probably meant to start some sort of conversation, but he just couldn’t bother with it. He set the phone back in the cradle and rested his head in one hand as he clicked his mouse and fixed a spelling mistake.

    It was toward the end of the work day, after he’d finished up his article and turned it over to the editor, that he was given his next assignment. It wasn’t anything particularly interesting, but it was article worthy enough for a grunt Journalist to take it on. Which he just happened to be. The guy who didn’t have a column. He chose not to dwell on it because he still brought money home, so clearly he was doing okay for himself. Still, he figured he should hunt down those he could interview and set up times during this week that he could talk to them. He easily set up two of the interviews for the following days, Wednesday and Thursday respectively, when he got to the Librarian. She was a bit stiff and difficult about agreeing to anything. She had finally agreed to the interview even though she was busy and reluctantly asked if he could do it now. He did need some questions answered by her, so he acquiesced and took off to get the interview over with.

    His head was still pounding; maybe the quiet in the nearly empty library just brought it out more, made it seem worse than it was. He figured after this he could go home and put his feet up, watch some TV and drink a cold beer to ease the ache. That wouldn’t be a terrible end to the day, especially if Lucinda would curl up next to him and maybe order in some Chinese. He had to chase after the Librarian, Carla, as she went about her work of putting books back on the shelves. He doggedly asked her questions about the book drive, anything he could think of for the sake of the article. This wasn’t something he was all too excited about, but he attempted to act interested just in case she would look down on him for not caring about the Annual Scarlet Hills Book Drive and 5K Walk/Run. It sounded like a bake sale as well and that they had some live bands playing. Perhaps Lucinda would like to attend—she’d probably insist on preparing something for the bake sale. He scampered behind her, trying to keep up as she wandered from section of section to put books away.

    So he wasn’t expecting a hardcover book, the Atlas Shrugged, to fall from the top shelf (the one that you have to bring a step stool or ladder over in order to reach) and kill him. He had been mid-question when it bashed him on the skull. Had he been able to tell people what it felt like he would have said it felt like his brain exploded inside his head. As it was, though, he just crumpled to the floor and didn’t hear the scream that came from Carla as she turned to see what had happened.
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