After a complete shutdown overnight, he was powered up and reloaded for the new day. It was a day that seemed like any other ordinary day but was different only because Mr. Cody noticed how ordinary things were… which is something he never did. On his way to work, he noticed that the traffic lights that were green for him yesterday were the same ones that were green for him today. Subsequently, the ones that were red for him yesterday, were the same exact ones that were red for him today. “An interesting coincidence,” Mr. Cody thought, “on this peculiarly ordinary day.”
When he got to his classroom, with it being 7am, it was noticeably quiet and cold. This made it easier to hear the knocking on his door. This also made it easier to jump out of his cold computer desk chair and do a little warm up jig towards the door. “Come in!” he rippled out the sound waves through his vocal chords wondering who wanted to talk to him. The door opened halfway. “Hi! I’m the new teacher… next door. Hugh Baxter. I’m taking over the 5th grade class,” he answered. Mr. Cody, still shocked that another teacher acknowledged his existence at school, introduced himself, then quietly paused to wait if the newcomer wanted something from him. Hugh Baxter, who was wearing a plain white t-shirt, looked as if he forgot to put a shirt over it. Was he peeking out his bathroom door after his morning shave? No, he was peeking into his neighboring teacher’s classroom - at work. What he lacked in time-spent-on-clothing he didn’t make up for in time-spent-on-hair. “You can call me Hugh,” he said as his eyes scanned the room. His momentous pondering finally amounted to the question, “What time does the heat turn on?” Mr. Cody replied, “Around 8.”
“Not until 8? Maybe I don’t need to come to work this early! Say, do you have any tips for new teachers?” Mr. Cody flushed with delight having recognized a perfect opportunity to share some knowledge, “The first tip is to bring a jacket if you come this early. The second tip is actually a tip that no other teacher can tell you.”
“Sure, I’m ready!”
“I’ve discovered something. This is something that I don’t think even veteran teachers are ready for. Meet me here after school and I will show you something that will just shock you.” Hugh pumped his fist in celebration of a private victory. “This is great!” he laughed. “Am I lucky or what? My first day and I came to the right person - or am I getting ahead of myself?”
“No, your excitement is justified.”
“Great! Why don’t we just go there now?”
Trying not to sound too obvious, Mr. Cody replied, “Because your students will be here soon. And so will mine.”
At the end of the school day, Hugh headed to Mr. Cody’s room. Mr. Cody was already shutting down his computer and grabbing his jacket . “Where are we going?” asked Hugh. “We are going? To the arcade,” Mr. Cody said as he picked up a few stranded pencils off the floor, “Don’t worry, I will explain on the way.”
As Mr. Cody’s vehicle began to park in the parking lot several rows away from Ponchello Cinemas, and after shedding light on the mysterious arcade connections with Nova, the dog and the penguin palooza, he finished his story of the best ice cream in town saying, “Cone or cup, it definitely exceeds expectations!” Hugh responded by saying, “Why don’t we skip the ice cream for now and go straight to the arcade?” As they got closer, he began to slow down. “This place is closed,” Hugh said, “All the windows are blacked out... and look at the sign!” The sign read, “Closed. No Trespassing!” “I was just here yesterday!” Mr. Cody said, confused. They got out of the car and walked towards the building. The parking lot was full, but the entire building looked closed down. Mr. Cody took a few steps closer so the titles of the movies postered about looked clearer. “We Are Closed” was playing. Another movie, titled “Do Not Enter” was also playing. “What are these movies?” Mr. Cody muttered to himself but loud enough for Hugh to hear, “These aren’t the same movies that were playing yesterday.” A large cut-out of a movie sign read, “Off Limits″. He looked at Hugh who stood there motionless. As he stood motionless, it reminded him of someone for a second, but only for a second - like it was a glitch. “Hugh, are you getting a weird feeling?” Mr. Cody said. But Hugh did not reply. Mr. Cody then leaned towards the blacked out windows, cupped his hands around his eyes and tried to peer into the darkness. He was startled by what looked like a girl who was inside looking out but amounted to nothing more than an illusion as she faded like eye floaters you tried to follow. He stared intently and directly, which seemed to puncture a soft hole in the glass. The darkness leaked out and quickly drowned his consciousness.
Mr. Cody woke up in his computer chair in his classroom almost as if he teleported from the arcade. He thought for a moment if he had fallen asleep. Did he show Hugh the arcade? He checked the time and discovered how late it was. There was no more time to do work, to go to the arcade or see a movie. He had to go home and let his brain crash. It was on overload again.