Tony sighed when he dropped his old worn out credit card onto the floor.
When he looked down, trying to find his credit card it was gone.
He stood up, pushing his chair back and looked once again for the credit card that he had just dropped, but it was still missing.
In his mind, he pictured printing off pictures of his credit card with missing written in large green letters across the top of the page.
He shook the thought out of his head, “I must me going crazy. That crazy card has to be here somewhere…it’s not like it grew legs and ran away.” He laughed.
Finally, giving up the search, he walked over to his soft bed and fell onto it. He forgot to cover himself up but it was too late the wisps of the dreaming world were taking him over.
He smiled in his sleep, blissfully unaware of the small shadow covering half of his face. The shadow crept closer and closer to him. It ducked out of sight when his sleepy brown eyes popped open and then slowly closed, once again.
The shadow shuttered, almost as if in a sigh.
It began the journey back to Tony’s face, once again. This time, it did not shy away from the small movements his body made while entangled within the depths of dreaming.
When it finally reached his forehead the shadow fell against his warm, sticky skin. The shadow let go of all the feelings that it had been collecting from him through the years. It was so tired and beat up, it really wanted to rest. After draining all the emotions and feelings from its microchipped system it gave into the bliss of what humans called sleeping.
Tony was having a faintly good dream but it was fading, being replaced by another dream. A dream that resembled reality more than he liked.
He was walking down various aisles scanning for his lost credit card. Sometimes he would smile, happy with what he had just purchased. There were other times, that he was not so happy.
He was crying into his small pillow, having no one else to turn to. He relied on his credit card much more than any normal human should.
To him the card was always there for him, that was until the first time he did not pay it. He had just lost his job but had not stressed out too badly about it because he had a fairly large limit on his shiny little friend. He was at the check-out line at the local grocery store when the clerk told him that his card had been rejected.
His face flushed red in embarrassment because he had no money. He had to leave all his groceries with the clerk. Shamefully saying that he would be back with cash, soon.
He never went back. Instead, he locked himself away inside of his apartment.
His food was almost gone and his job search was not going well. He had abandoned his old friend to a dusty shelf that had old family portraits on it.
Walking down a few aisles he skipped past bits and pieces of his life. Something made him stop at the aisle that played out the saddest moment of his life.
It was when his wife left him.
They were arguing over bills, over his credit card usage. The arguing was a cover up for the core issue, the fact that they had been unsuccessful in being able to have a child. It was an old wound but one that had connections to his old friend, his credit card.
Instead of comforting his wife like he knew he should do, he spent all the time he was not working playing games and shopping with his credit card. His addiction had become so bad that half of his paycheck went to his credit card payment.
He tried not to cry as he watched his wife turn away from him once again. As she walked out of his- their- apartment, forever.
Shaken by the memory he started to blindly run.
He ran until he reached the end of the long maze of aisles.
In the last aisle there were no memories, there was only his lost credit card. Somehow it was different, he started to reach down towards it but stopped short when he noticed that it had a face and two tiny feet.
The card jumped back from him.
“Whoa, man…you really think you should pick me back up. Why not let me rest for a while, so that you can get your debt under control and your life back together.”
He wanted to say something but the only sound that came out was a moan.
The card hopped back a few more steps, glaring at him.
“Come on man, have more self-control. You know I bet your wife would come back if you stopped spending so much time with me. Just be you for a while and see what happens.”
He sat heavily down, “My credit card is talking to me…at least this is a dream.”
The card laughed, “Well, yes this is a dream that is why I have a face and two tiny feet. Plus I can talk but I assure you that I am currently leaning against your forehead. That is how I am able to be here so that I can show you just how out of control your spending has been. I mean, your wife left you…man.”
The card crept a bit closer to Tony, “You know she would have stayed, if only you had tried a little harder to put me away. You could have looked away from your computer and that game that you were about to buy. You could have both mourned together and perhaps ended up adopting a child.”
Tony started to laugh and cry at the same time. He knew he had an out of control spending habit.
“So this is what my life has come down to? My credit card has to tell me in a dream that I have a problem…” He covered his face up with his hands.
“So what will it be…will you cut me up or will I have to kill you in your sleep…” The credit card asked, bluffing. Outside the realm of dreams, the card could not do much but hop around sometimes, when it accumulated enough energy.
Drawn By Jonathan Smith.
Before Tony could say anything in response, he woke up.
When he opened and closed his eyes a few times to make sure that he was no longer dreaming. He sighed, trying to fall back to sleep and that is when he noticed his lost credit card on the bed near his pillow.
His heart raced…surely there was a reasonable explanation.
When the card moved an inch away from him, he knew that he would not be able to rationalize what was happening. He jumped up out his bed and ran to the kitchen. Opening and closing each draw until he found his scissors and then he walked back to his room. He grabbed the lifeless credit card and cut it up so that he could no longer readily use it.
“I could just order a replacement credit card…” He paused in thought.
When he started to remember what he had dreamed about he buried the pieces of the credit card into the trash. He vowed to leave his apartment a little more, no longer tied down to his computer games or to the various stores that had accepted his only friend.
The drawing is by Jonathan Smith, my husband. 🙂 It was really awesome of him to draw a picture for my short story… 🙂
I hope you enjoyed reading my short story! 🙂