I dropped a flaming match into the hay stacked around Matilda. Flames rose; she screamed. My mind jumped back to the beginning of the day.
At work, I couldn’t stop imagining how much fun we’d have together. Thinking about her was the answer to my prayers. The one I’d always wanted to hang from the rafter’s in the barn and do to her what I’d seen done to fair skinned women on TV.
I’d pretend to be an Indian attacking a wagon train and snatch her from under the wagon and take her to my teepee I built in the yard. I’d teach her to love the wild man I’d be and then I’d change into her white-man rescuer and she’d show me her appreciation by making passionate love to me.
Next I’d dress her like a bride and take her to the Baptist Church down the road and make her marry me. Then she’d have my kids and be a mother to them and me. She’d dress me and send me to school with the other kids, but when bedtime came around, she’d remember how well I made love to her.
“Joe, Joe!” my boss yelled disturbing my rambling thoughts as I daydreamed about Matilda. “How about working instead of dreaming?” He gave me a disgusted look. I began pushing the broom across the floor of the office where she worked as a receptionist. My eyes didn’t leave her for a second. She must have known. A slight blush spread across her cheeks when I hovered close to her.
Should I ask her for a date? Would a beauty like her go out with a retarded janitor? I could read and write my name, so maybe I wasn’t retarded, just a bit slow. I gathered my courage, swallowed, and said, “Matilda, will you go to see the Twilight Movie with me?”
The other two girls in the office heard me ask and laughed. “Go on, Matilda; better grab him while you can.” The other said, “He’s perfect for you.”
Matilda turned toward me with pity in her eyes. “I never go to twilight movies.”
My eyes begin to water and at first didn’t believe it when she continued speaking and said, “But I’ll make an exception for you, and go to any movie you want.”
I dropped the broom when she said that. Maybe my fantasies would become reality. That night I picked her up in a taxi. After the movie, we went to my house that my mom left me when she died. Matilda oohed and aahed when she saw how meticulously kept everything was.
“Would you like to see the barn?” I couldn’t wait to tie her up and play Cowboys and Indians
“Is that where you hid the money?”
She put her arms around me. “Show me where it is?” she whispered into my ear.
“After we play,” I said. “We’ll go to the barn, and then I’ll show you.”
“How much do you have left? Did you go on a spree after you won the lotto?”
“Susie told me you won the lotto and promised to give her thousands if she’d date you.”
I had lied to Susie so she’d go out with me. During that time I thought she was the answer to my prayers, but it didn’t work. The story about me winning the lottery had spread though. Since then, all my co-workers treated me with respect. Some asked me to donate to their charities, some asked for loans. I had thought Matilda didn’t care about money and went out with me to be nice. It didn’t matter what motivated her. Once she entered the barn, my fantasies would become reality.
“That’s true. I told her that.”
Matilda’s eyes grew bright. “Show me the money?”
“It’s in the barn.” Once in the barn, I’d have her right where I wanted her. “Let’s go there and I’ll show you where it is.”
She followed me into the barn. I picked up the rope I had ready in case my fantasy of bringing her here ever came true. I spun around with the rope held ready to wrap around her when I felt a pain in my chest. Next thing I knew I was on the ground convulsing from electricity coursing through my body. It stopped. I lay on the barn floor in a daze.
“Tell me where the money is.”
Another jolt of electricity had me dancing on the floor. After a few seconds, the juice turned off, but my muscles continued to twitch.
“You’ll be dancing until you show me.”
She pressed the trigger. I convulsed until I passed out. I awoke tied to a wooden beam that stabilized the barn roof. It wasn’t right. She was supposed to be tied up. She approached with a Taser in her hand.
“Tell me.” She touched my neck with the device.
“I never won any lottery. I lied to get a date.”
She kicked me between the legs. “How do I know you’re not lying now?” She opened all the cabinets lining one barn wall. I tried to turn my fantasy around where she’d save me, but my imagination failed.
She emptied every container in the cabinets while I twisted and turned trying to loosen the ropes like I’d seen the guys do on TV. Once I got free, things would be different.
Matilda yanked on a rope attached to a ceiling panel. Greenbacks rained down on her. She stood in a shower of bills. “Yes, yes, you idiot. You did win the lottery.”
Just as she said that I broke free, wrapped the rope around her and tied her to the pole. “I didn’t lie to you. That,” I pointed to the pile of bills lying on the floor, “belonged to my mother.” I piled many of the bills mixed with hay around her feet. Pulled a book of matches from my pocket, dragged one across the striker and when it burned well, dropped it at her feet and watched the flames shoot up around her and her screams were true , just like in my fantasy.