Mary Ellen Schuster sat at her desk in the Seventy-first Precinct of the New York Police Department eating a bologna sandwich for lunch.
Mary Ellen Schuster hated bologna and Lester Schuster knew that. The sandwich struck her as one of his pranks. It was all those miscellaneous ground up parts that nauseated her. She swallowed hard the disgusting piece of the sandwich remaining in her mouth. God! she wanted to gag. She tried looking composed as she tossed the offensive sandwich in the garbage can beside her desk.
Glancing up at the clock across the gray painted basement office, nicknamed, ‘The Dungeon’, Mary Ellen discovered it was twelve fifteen in the afternoon.
The last time she remembered being in this room it was nine thirty in the morning. She had no idea what had taken place between the hours of nine thirty and twelve fifteen. That was just like Lester to keep her in the dark when he was up to something.
Over the years, she had grown accustomed to these patches of darkness. She’d also gotten use to people calling her Rebecca. Everyone here in The Dungeon, called her Rebecca. Even her official identification badge had that awful name emblazed across it. She hated Rebecca. The name reminded her of that movie, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. She thought to herself, “I’m not crazy, I’m just different.”
From what information she could gather about her other self, she knew that Rebecca was kinda of shy, retiring, lack-luster and about as efficient as a hamster on a treadmill. So much so, that she was passed over for promotions every year. Rebecca was stuck here and so was she.
That whimp hadn’t even had the balls to find herself a job. Her daddy, Donald ‘Nightstick’ Schuster, a distinguished and decorated street cop — she could hardly contain her laughter whenever she heard people use that phrase in connection to Donald Schuster — had obtained for his ‘injured’ daughter this nothing position as a data entry clerk.
That son-of-a-bitch owed it to Rebecca, she thought. After all, he was the one who had ‘injured’ her. If he had not insisted on her joining him on that faithful morning, Rebecca might have turned out all right.
According to the head docs that her mother had dragged her to, it was most likely the sight of all those mangled body parts, the ‘bathtubs’ or holes of bloody human remains, and the smell of burnt flesh had sent poor little Rebecca into a severe depression. “I mean come on, what idiot takes his ten year daughter to an airplane crash site – Donald ‘Nightstick’ Schuster – that’s who.”
“Idiot,” she repeated again. She realized she must have said that aloud because people were giving her peculiar looks.
“Well, at least he did one good thing. The job he’d gotten her in Records, inputting hand written police reports, witness statements, and victim reports into the criminal database provided her with a good income and far more importantly, access to all sorts of information.
She sank another quarter in the vending machine located in the hallway outside The Dungeon. The pack of cheese and crackers fell to the bottom of the machine where she retrieved them using her right hand. Lately, she was beginning to get the feeling that people were starting to realize that she wasn’t Rebecca.