THE   JUKEBOX   —  a  short  story


He parked his car, checked his mailbox and opened the door to his house. He had been away from home for two days, catching up with an old friend and ‘colleague’ after a long time.

In all these years, Nick had never come home to a sloshy & wet carpet. And, he was certain that it had not rained in town for the last two months. After the door had closed behind him, he could now hear the water running. He hurriedly plopped over to the kitchen, where he saw the waterfall cascading over the edge of the sink. After he turned off the water, he got ready to appraise himself with the scale of the disaster.

He vaguely remembered some local rumor about a gang of robbers recently operating in the neighbourhood, who called themselves the ‘Wet Bandits’ – named after a similar gang from a hit 90s comedy movie

The 40″ LCD TV, the BOSE audio system, the three paintings that he had recently procured at an art auction – it was all gone. He opened the closet to check if the 3-CD changer mini-jukebox that he had been working on for a VIP client was still there. It had been taken too !!

Nick Gray was never a person to lose his temper. He always knew to remain calm in the worst of situations. It was a requirement in his line of work.

Even now, he knew that all his week’s worth of hard work had been wiped out by these petty crooks who had taken the jukebox. But it was all right. His client was paying him more than enough, and he could afford to work another week to make a similar box.

He sat down and opened his laptop. On his GPS tracking application, Nick saw a blue dot moving west along the I-40 highway. He took out a radio-like gadget from a box, extended up its antenna and after a brief pause, pressed the big button at the center. A second later, the blue dot disappeared from the screen.

The next day, Nick did not get a chance to watch the local TV news channel. On the morning news, they had mentioned a strange accident. An allegedly stolen sports car had suddenly blown up in a huge explosion, as it was travelling along an interstate highway.