On the last day of his life, Hamilton Scrubbs awoke at 5:45 a.m., made his favorite weekday breakfast of Eggos drenched in Mrs. Butterworth’s, Tropicana Extra Pulp, and a cup of Hazelnut Mocha fresh from his Keurig before giving Martha a goodbye peck and heading to the train station.
On the last day of his life, Hamilton Scrubbs parked his ’11 Avalon, caught the 7:53 to Manhattan, graciously gave up his seat to a pregnant commuter as the train pulled out of Metropark, and peered down her blouse all the way to Penn Station New York.
On the last day of his life, Hamilton Scrubbs treated himself to a cab ride to his office, checked the stock market futures on his iPhone, and sent a message via his Yik Yak account.
On the last day of his life, Hamilton Scrubbs’ boss summoned him to his office, congratulated him and his team for placing first in his Division’s monthly sales competition, and offered the use of the company Skybox at the Giants home game of his choice.
On the last day of his life, Hamilton Scrubbs broke the good news to his sales team, treated his administrative assistant to a very expensive lunch, and explained that he’d be at an off-site meeting for the rest of the afternoon and was not to be disturbed for any reason whatsoever.
On the last day of his life, Hamilton Scrubbs stopped on his way to the train station to purchase the latest Xbox cartridge for Ham Junior, shoplift a man-sized pair of pantyhose, and withdraw $500 in cash from his personal account.
On the last day of his life, Hamilton Scrubbs exited the train one station beyond his usual stop, took a taxi to a neglected condo complex near the interstate, and strode purposefully to Building 7, Unit 18-A.
On the last day of his life, Hamilton Scrubbs pulled into the driveway of his home at the usual time, parked the Avalon in his three-car garage, and was surprised to find the house in total darkness.
On the last day of his life, Hamilton Scrubbs poured himself a double shot of Pappy Van Winkle, sat at his desk, and began composing his second Yik Yak message of the day.
On the last day of his life, the last things that Hamilton Scrubbs noticed were the screech of a blue jay in his back yard, the distinctive scent of his wife’s perfume, and a searing pain in his left ear.
#b#About the author#/b#: George Point, a freelance writer who lives in Lawrenceville, has published work in the New York Times, Princeton Packet, Kelsey Review, U.S. 1, Hudson County Magazine, ARTimes, Gold Coast Magazine, and other publications. When he’s not concocting stories or plays, he specializes in marketing and business communication.
Point calls the story above a piece of “do-it-yourself” fiction. He encourages readers to suggest changes or additions to his story, or alternate endings. Says Point of his title character: “I hope your readers will have fun filling in the details of his demise.”
Point says that there are two “points of origin” to the Hamilton Scrubbs saga. “The one that immediately comes to mind is the radio dramas I used to listen to as a young child, usually when perched on the back seat of my parents’ old Ford as we returned from day trips to the Jersey Shore. ‘Gangbusters’ and ‘Inner Sanctum’ were clearly my father’s favorites. In the dim light of the dashboard and radio dial, they filled me with half-understood yet decidedly dark and spooky noirish imagery, long before I had any idea what ‘noir’ meant. My attempts to decode the unfamiliar words and sound effects I heard coming through the speaker conjured their fair share of feverish nightmares.
“The other inspiration is my years spent commuting, primarily observing humanity of all stripes on their routine travels in and out of New York City. When I kept to a regular work schedule and didn’t have the distractions most of us now have at every waking moment, I soon noticed that the masses who took ‘mass transit’ had shrunk down to the very small number of people who usually boarded my car at the same station at the time and often sat in the same seat.
“I was in close proximity to some of these folks for two-plus hours a day for years, yet we never spoke a word to each other or even acknowledged each other’s presence. Where did they come from? Where did they go? What was their life outside of work like? Needless to say, the writer in me began to invent stories along those lines, bits and pieces of which surface in my work to this day, including Hamilton Scrubbs,” whose name, he adds, was inspired by a uniform store with a similar name on Quakerbridge Road in Hamilton Township.
#b#How would you edit “The Last Day?”#/b# Send your revisions, additions, or alternative endings to our editor, Richard K. Rein: rein@Princetoninfo.com. To obtain a digital version of the story above, visit www.princetoninfo.com and search the archives for the Genesis stories.