I had been housesitting for my friend Jessica while she was away visiting family in Australia.
The day she returned home, I had a job interview at a bank and was nervously trying arrange my wardrobe for the interview when Jessica arrived home, unannounced and weeks earlier than I had expected.
I greeted her and told her I was running late for a job interview and she said she was exhausted from her trip and was going to shower and go to bed.
I went downstairs and began dressing, but noticed I had had grabbed a pair of dark denim jeans instead of the navy blue trousers I had left out.
Suddenly, I realized that it was now spring and thinking I'd feel more comfortable and confident in my tan poplar suit, I went into the guest room where I'd been staying and looked for my suit in the closet.
Not finding it there, I remembered having put some of my clothes upstairs in Jessica's wardrobe, so I went upstairs to look for it there.
Finding it where I thought it would be, I headed back downstairs but noticed that Jessica had left the bathroom door ajar, something that she would never do and was completely out of character for her.
It hit me then that perhaps the reason that she cut her trip short—and left the bathroom door open while she was in the shower—was because she had fallen in love with me; returning early to reveal feelings she could neither withhold any longer nor reveal by phone or text message.
I also felt that she left the door open to test me, to see if I would breach her confidence by looking or—even more brazenly—coming in while she was in a vulnerable state in the shower.
Unable to control my impulses, I tried to peek in the open door when I saw in the mirror's reflection that Jessica had already stepped out of the shower and had heard me outside the door.
I quickly ran down the stairs not knowing if she had seen me there by the door or not.
I put my suit on and yelled up to Jessica that I was late and had to get downtown and I would see her after my interview.
On the tram on my way downtown, I realized I had left my pistol with its silencer attached in the inside jacket pocket of my suit coat.
Pulling it out, I observed that I had made quite a few of the other passengers on the tram uncomfortable by revealing my gun, so I pulled the rope and decided to get off the tram at the next stop and walk the rest of the way to the bank.
As the tram was pulling into the stop, I pushed the door-open button and jumped off while the tram was still in motion.
I began walking through the park when I noticed a young Latino man nervously pacing around looking conspicuously at the people around him, giving me the suspicion that he might be poised to rob someone.
Just then, my suspicions were confirmed and he snatched the purse of a young woman who had been walking with her grandmother, causing both women to scream out for help.
The young Latino man started running in my direction, so I removed my gun and pointed it directly at him as he approached.
He begged me not to shoot and handed over the purse insisting he had never done anything like that before but was desperate for money as he had been out of work and needed to support his family.
Believing the young man's story, I removed my wallet from my front trouser pocket and took the entire contents, which I believed to be a couple hundred dollars, and gave it to the young man.
He thanked me profusely and walked away in tears.
I arrived at the bank for my interview and was told my the woman who had greeted me at the reception desk that she was sorry but there had been a last-minute change of plans.
It turns out that the bank's security guard had called in sick saying he had tested positive for COVID-19 and seeing from my résumé that I was an army veteran, the woman asked me if I wouldn't mind postponing my job interview and spending the next couple of weeks working as the bank's security guard until their security guard was well enough to return to work.
I agreed to the woman's offer and she handed me a box containing my uniform and accessories and told me I could find a changing room in the back of the bank.
A few minutes later later, I emerged in my new uniform and took my position at the front door of the bank just as it was about to open for business.
One of the first customers to arrive was an older gentleman, who was obviously a war veteran, wearing combat fatigues with a sidearm and accompanied by a German shepherd dog attired in the same army-style fatigues the elderly gentleman was wearing, including waterproof boots that all but covered the dog's entire legs.
Not being terribly intimated by the man seeing how he had showed me his sidearm which he was obliged to do in accordance with state law, I began taking inventory of my own accessories, discretely feeling around my utility belt to see what was there.
I noticed a long baton, handcuffs in a webbed case and, attached to the back of the utility belt, a rather larger leather-wrapped box whose contents I was unable to identify by touch.
Making my way around the whole of the utility belt, I noticed I was not issued a sidearm and had left my gun in my suit jacket pocket in the locker in the changing room.
The man with the dog finished his business at the teller's window and gave me a pleasant salute as he and his dog made their way out of the bank.
After work, I was met by my father and two of my daughters, one of which was accompanied by a classmate.
While we were discussing whether to go straight home or stay downtown for dinner, we were approached by three German tourists who asked directions.
Telling them that I wasn't from the city that I too was trying to get my bearings and find a bus stop, I told them they could follow us to the bus stop where I would consult the map and help them find their way.
Noticing that it had gotten late and there would be no more busses circulating, I advised the men to call a taxi to take them to their destination and they thanked me for my time and effort.
Realizing that my father and children hadn't eaten and that it would take an hour or more to get home, I suggested we go into a nearby mall and get something to eat while I sorted out a taxi or another way to get home before the curfew began.
We apparently entered the mall through the service entrance and found ourselves in the middle of a kitchen that appeared to be a fast food outlet.
Walking out of the kitchen, I observed that we had conveniently walked right into a Burger King and I asked everyone what they wanted to eat as the woman behind the counter was ready to take our order.
I told the woman that I would like the plant-based Whopper meal and confirmed that both of my daughters would have the same thing. My older daughter asked her friend in Dutch if she wanted the same vegetarisch burger that everyone else was having and I interrupted by telling the girl she could also have it with real meat, but she was keen to try the plant-based burger, so I ordered another menu for her and one for my father, who surprisingly also thought it would be interesting to try the meatless Whopper.
Then I woke up.