Gaining inspiration from Martin Luther King’s birthday, I thought what if he had never shared what was in his heart? This is a short story based on that premise. #Day2 #Yourturnchallenge
‘There must be some sort of mistake!’
Martin was livid.
‘We don’t make mistakes.’ Peter replied, peering up from the papers on his desk.
‘I want to speak to the boss!’
‘I don’t know about that. He’s busy. There’s a lot of things going on in Sector E, you know that you was just….
‘Peter! Don’t worry I got this’
A large silhouette emerged behind the gate from out of nowhere.
As it came closer Martin felt the shape looked familiar.
That’s not possible, he thought. No one sees the boss
‘Yes they do’ the boss said.
Martin startled backwards towards Peter’s desk.
‘You of all people should know that!’ the boss continued.
Martin looked up still amazed. He was trying to take it all in.
It hadn’t been long ago that he had been in hospital. A normal check up had led to a diagnosis of flu.
Ahh a few days of work – I need some rest anyway, he thought.
Now he was here. Surrounded by white cloudy space and behind the tallest golden gate he’d ever seen.
‘Well anyways, as I was telling Peter, there’s got to be a mistake.’ Martin said, snapping out his trance.
‘I work for you! I wasn’t a contractor, I was a part of the whole bloody establishment!’
‘If this is what I think it is….’ Martin began to tail off.
‘You guys are breaking the agreement!’ he said snapping back to focus.
‘What agreement?’ the boss replied inquisitively.
By now the boss had slid through the gate and was standing directly in front of Martin. The large figure intimidated Martin.
Never the less the familiar way in which Martin was being addressed put him at ease.
‘That I tell people about your power. About the way the company is run. What it can do for their life, ya know? ’ Martin replied assuredly.
‘Yes you did. And we’re very grateful for that. That’s just one division of the company though. We got loads of freelancers as well. You did very well though.’
‘But we still can’t let you in.’ the boss finished with a cheeky grin.
Martin was getting agitated now. What do they want from me? he thought.
‘Let me ask you a question Martin, if you get it right I’ll let you in.’
‘What does it look like in there?’ the boss said, nodding towards the gate.
‘Actually let me change that – what does it FEEL like?’
Peter now perked up his head from his papers in interest and looked at Martin.
‘Feel like? I don’t get it. How can I feel it if I’ve never been inside?’ Martin said, genuinely confused.
‘Martin everyone who comes inside here has felt it at some point in there life’s. ‘
Peter looked with sadness at Martin. The boss always gets em with that one, he thought.
‘So what does it feel like then’ Martin said, still trying to understand why he was outside.
He was a good man. He looked after his family. He cared about the community. He did charity work. Why should he be left on the outside?
‘Well I can’t tell you that – that would be cheating’ the boss said and winked down at Martin.
‘But I can show you.’
‘Peter pull up the screen please.’
A large screen arose behind Peter’s desk. They all turned round and watched.
Martin looked at it with complete shock.
Staring back at him….was him!
And he was on a stage, speaking in front of thousands and thousands of people.
‘This is what it feels like’ the boss replied.
Martin still didn’t understand.
‘You see Martin I put you in that division for a particular reason. There we’re problems that I knew only you could sort out. I’d trained you for it. It’s what your skills and experiences were for.’ the boss said calmly.
‘And yes you were a good worker – one of the best even. And you are a good man.’
But you didn’t do what you we’re supposed to do.’ The boss said shrugging shoulders at Martin.
Martin was angry now.
‘Why me though! Why do I have to be the one up front? I get the hard role and everyone gets the easier role. I do my work yet I’m getting punished!’
‘It’s not like that Martin’ the boss replied soothingly. ‘Everyone has their own role. Everyone has skills that I’ve given them to do that role. I don’t tell them what it is – it’s for them to find out. Some people never find out they have a role unfortunately. You did though. You knew there was more.’
‘And you’re playing small did not serve the company’
Martin walked over to the front of Peter’s desk and put his head in his hands. He had known. He was there. When all the trouble was going on in Sector E.
He knew he could have done something about it. He knew where to start.
He looked up at the boss, looking elegant in a long silk robe.
I was scared, Martin thought. I didn’t know if I could do it or if I was worthy….
‘They all are’ the boss replied cutting into Martin’s thoughts, now not surprising him with the mind reading abilities.
‘But the ones who fight it are the ones who are worthy. The ones who develop the skills I’ve given them. And gain awareness of their weaknesses. The ones who go after it. The ones who FEEL it’ the boss said, pointing towards the heart area on the robe.
Peter came round to the front of his desk and offered his hand to Martin. Martin took it and got back to his feet, small tears now rolling down his eyes.
‘I knew’ Martin said solemnly. ‘I knew and I did nothing.’ Martin’s teardrops now started to flow from both eyes like a river running down stream.
The boss wrapped an arm around Martin. ‘It’s not too late you know’ the boss whispered in his ear.
‘What!’ Martins exclaimed as his head jolted backwards’, looking upwards at the boss.
‘No of course not, it never is’ the boss answered with a big grin.
‘You’re one of the lucky ones Martin. Many never find their skills. Fewer still find their cause. Yet you had both. It only takes one of these to take the first steps.’
‘And those who carry on are the ones who get to feel what it’s like in there’ the boss said, nodding towards the gate again.
‘For those who do and are sincere, we like to give them a glimpse. Some in there call it the friendly version of being scared straight. We like to call it a friendly poke.’ The boss explained grinning with a friendly wink.
‘So I get another chance!’ Martin exclaimed, his eyes now wider than since he was a child at the funfair.
‘Yes you do. We’re going to send you back. You can choose to act straight away. Or you can carry on as you were. The choice is yours. It’s not easy to get in here.’ The boss said nodding towards the gate again.
‘And it’s not a prize – it’s the reward. If you feel it down there, you’ll feel it up here.’ The boss said pointing at Martin’s heart.
‘I’m ready.’ Martin said excitedly.
‘Good stuff! One warning – this will not be easy. In fact it will be the hardest time you ever had in your life. Many times you’ll want to quit. Many people will try and stop you. You will often be in grave danger. I can’t stop those things – that is up to the people. Only you can be aware and ready to face those challenges.’ The boss explained with a serious look at Martin.
‘Because Martin you will fall. But it’s the amount of times you get back up that will determine your success. So are you ready?’
‘Yes’ Martin said. His whole body was shivering now.
Excitement, nerves, fear, relief, joy all embodied in one.
And with another pat on the shoulder he was gone, with Peter and the boss just remaining.
‘So do you think he’ll do it?’ Peter said, getting up and standing beside the boss. He’d seen this scene many times before, rarely had the return visit not been much happier
‘Well that would spoil the fun wouldn’t it? We’re going to have to watch and see’
And with that the boss slid back into the gates and Peter returned to his desk.
Martin woke up in his house. He felt different now. Giddy like a child.
As he put his foot on the ground his wife and son rushed in.
‘Daddy, daddy are you ok!’ his youngest son exclaimed.
‘Yes honey, are you alright? You’ve been sleeping for a day now since you came back from the hospital.’ His wife explained, relieved he was awake.
‘I checked you we’re alive but couldn’t wake you up’
‘Yeah I’m fine’ Martin said with a croaky voice, as he stretched out his body. ‘In fact I’m great better than I’ve ever been’
‘So what was it, why we’re you out for so long? All the years we’ve been together you’ve never slept for so long.’ his wife replied, curious and puzzled at the same time.
‘Well…it’s a long story. I’ll tell you about it later. The only thing I can say for now is……’
‘I had a dream’
And with that Martin strolled past his family and out the bedroom towards the bathroom.
He didn’t know what the day had in store for him.
All he knew is that he had to take the first step.
By Dubem Menakaya