But standing there waiting for his train, something strange happened to him. Aside from his usual thoughts…another thought, different than all others – a feeling actually, crept into his mind. This feeling changed how Dylan Trout stood, thought and looked. Before leaving work he had managed to capture somewhat of his normal routine and once he stepped outside of his workplace and set foot towards his train, he almost felt like he was back on track. But then he had this feeling – a feeling he had not felt since pretending to be a cowboy on his grandmother’s ranch. Curiosity was a feeling that he thought had died many years ago. Then he realized something. This was the second time today he had felt curious. And to himself, but out loud, Dylan made a sound typical brilliantly-minded individuals don’t usually make. “Hmmm.”
But there it was again. Resurrected and revived. And this time he had the trash can to thank.
Apparently he wasn’t back into his routine because to his recollection, he had never bothered to look into that trash can – that he didn’t even remember being there before. The urge to look, however, was there. The tiniest piece of cellophane rested on top of some napkins with mustard residue. Thankfully there was no urge to reach in and grab it. But instead, he did something else completely out of the ordinary. Not only for Dylan Trout – the brilliantly-minded, socially-awkward, mustached accountant, but for anyone that had a so-called right mind.
Dylan Trout turned, faced the building he had just exited, looked up to the 24th floor and walked back in.
Oh, he wasn’t back to work to work. No way. Dylan Trout was bitten by the curiosity bug and once again Dylan Trout was off track.
Using his badge, Dylan entered his workplace, received a few strange looks, and once again took the elevator to the twenty-fourth floor. Opening his door and seeing his desk ready for the next day, he felt like it had been weeks since he caved and eaten the cookie. A cookie wrapped in cellophane. Almost forgetting the reason for his return, Dylan – now having officially missed his train – headed toward his trash can with the sole intention of retrieving the crinkly wrapper that his snickerdoodle had been wrapped in.
Dylan stood from his stooped position and turned towards the squeaky wheel. Joe the janitor – or was it Jim – was pushing his cart doing his nightly cleaning. Again, out of character, Dylan did something he thought he would never do – initiate conversation.
In a half jog, the usually sluggish accountant, left his office in attempt to attract the attention of John – or was it Jake.
“Joe!” Dylan shouted again this time moving more quickly towards the janitor who apparently did not hear him.
“Joe!” This time the janitor, dressed in the typical blue company cleaning uniform, turn with a bewildered look.
“Are you calling for me?”
Dylan ceased his jog. “Yes, thank you for stopping.” Normally a phrase so easy and natural for everyone else would have been arduous torture for the brilliantly-minded and socially-awkward accountant.
“Do you even know my name?”
“Of course I do,” Dylan answered abruptly while simultaneously thinking, “crap”. “It’s Joooahhnnnimmmm?”
“It’s Raul,” the janitor said tersely, clearly agitated.
“Well, I knew there was vowel in it somewhere,” Dylan attempted humor. Why was he attempting humor? He hated funny. Found no use for it. Dylan suddenly realized, again, why he disliked conversing with people. And why he so disliked himself. “I’m sorry, I just wanted to look…into your trash.” He couldn’t believe the words that just came out of his mouth.
“Be my guest. Anything in particular you are looking for?”
“Of course. My mistake for emptying a trash can with cellophane in it.”
Dylan ignored the rudeness. Then after he ignored the rudeness he asked something else he thought he’d never ask. “Can I use your gloves?”
Snap. Snap. Raul removed his gloves with an even more irritated look, but was actually intrigued by the whole scene.
Dylan, after putting on the gloves, sighed and dumped the trash all over the floor. And while he was losing his mind, Raul was losing his intrigue.
“Why are you…?”
“Found it!” Dylan shouted, showing another different expression. He hadn’t shouted or raised his voice in any manner since…he remembered doing it, remembered the tears, remembered there was someone else there with him, but it was fuzzy and swirling like a dream that’s vivid the one second and then gone the next.
Shaking the memory away, Dylan stood, held the cellophane in one hand and its pink-striped twisty in the other.
“I saw these before.” Dylan turned to Raul.
“I did too. In the trash. I’d assume that’s where it would have stayed.”
“I know where the cookie was from.”
Raul, intrigued again but, confused…maybe even a little frightened, looked at Dylan. “Are you okay?”
“No idea. No…”
“Why don’t you take your little cellophane back to your office? I’ll clean up the mess.”
Dylan proceeded towards his office walking backwards still staring at the cellophane and pink-striped twisty. Smelling it, he faced forward and didn’t make it to his office.
Ding. And without his briefcase, without going back to make sure everything was in order, Dylan – the brilliantly-minded, trash-searching cellophane hunter, stepped into the elevator.