Get up. Go to work. Get home. Eat dinner. Go to bed. Repeat.
What a boring fucking life.
James Tiberius Kirk was not one to work in the same place for sixty years, retire, and then die. He wanted to go out, explore, conquer the world, fall in love. He wanted to do something; something real, something important. He didn’t want to work at a manufacturing plant his entire life, doing exactly nothing day after day. But that’s what he was doing, for now anyway, working in bum-fuck nowhere in Georgia, because he couldn’t live in Iowa anymore, because he had to get away from his stepfather, he had to get away from everything.
He thought he was going to go to school, he could have gotten an astrophysics degree from Georgia Tech, but those piss poor grades in high school finally came back to bite him, and that rejection letter had been the first of many. So here he was, making auto parts for minimum wage forty hours a week, and taking night classes at the local community college to try and up his chances for having a halfway decent life.
He hated the feeling of running in slow motion, like you do in dreams, and no matter how fast you seem to run, you only go slower. Even he knew he was working way below his potential, and for a long time, being the only genius repeat offender in the Midwest had been fine. When he reached his twenties, however, it had become less than ideal, and by the time he was twenty-six, he was absolutely miserable, working dead end-jobs, and screwing every man, woman, and any species that would stand still long enough. Granted, not much had changed since he’d moved to Georgia; he was still in a dead-end job, still screwing his way through all the bars in the state, and still pretty miserable with his general existence, but he was, at least, away from his mother and Frank.
He walked into his apartment, which was built specially for the plant workers on the outskirts of town. He liked the little apartment better than any other living arrangement he could have afforded, but it still stung to have to live under a roof that was built by the very company he wanted so desperately to escape, but he had to pay the bills somehow.
He threw his bag into one corner, and sat down at his little wooden table. He pulled out the days paper, and started nonchalantly flipping through it. It was full of the same; death, destruction, angry letters to the editor, same old, same old…
He flipped to the classified section, because they were always hilarious to read and once he found a man who was willing to sell him all the furniture in his home for two-hundred dollars and the best ham sandwich he could make, hence the little wooden table he was sitting at. He was just about to close the paper and make dinner for himself when a little ad in the corner caught his eye. It was barely two inches long and said,
Looking for caretaker of large plantation house and 20 acres of land. Would include peach-picking, caring for house, and tending flowers and attached garden. Living arrangements and food included. Payment up for discussion. Contact Leonard Mccoy, M.D.
Jim stared at the ad. It would certainly be a change of scene, the house in question was far outside town, and was secluded with no neighbors in sight of it. He had seen it several times when he had gone to Atlanta when his mother was there on business. He had always admired it from a distance, and had certainly always loved being outdoors. Maybe this was his way out of a completely dead-end job, and living in a cramped place that made him feel like he was about to explode. It wasn’t perfect, he wasn’t an astrophysicist who was building huge new craft for NASA, but it was something new, and something different. If he didn’t have to pay for food or a place to live, he could save more of his money, he could attend more classes, or save up more money for travelling the world, which is what he really wanted to do.
But did he really want to give up his job and his current livelihood. It sucked, but it was at least steady money, and he wasn’t just at the mercy of one person, which he would be if he tried to take this new job. He didn’t want to give up any ounce of security he had, because if this job didn’t work out, he had no friends he could ask to stay with, and he was not going to admit defeat and move back to Iowa.
This would open a lot of doors for him, in the long run anyway. It would be interesting and different, and life was really fucking short and he couldn’t just do the same thing forever, not if he wanted to stay sane, anyway.
He should probably sleep on it, he should probably think about it, consider his options, take the time to figure out if this was actually a good idea, but he was never one for thinking things over. So he seized his phone, ignoring the fact that it was past midnight, and dialed the number stated in the ad. The phone rang and rang, and he thought that Dr. McCoy was asleep, or not at home, and just as he was about to hang up, someone picked up the phone.
“Who in the hell is calling me at this time of night?” a taciturn voice snapped on the other line.
“Hi!” he knew he was being too bright and too cheerful, but it was time to go big or go home, “Hey, yeah. This is Jim Kirk and, uh, I was calling about that job you had in the paper.
“Yeah, yeah, definitely. Is it still up for grabs?”
There was a pause on the other end of the phone, and Jim thought for a split-second that he was too late, but suddenly the man on the other end spoke again,
“Yeah, it’s still available. When can you be here?”
“Does this mean I have the job?”
“It means I’m considering it. Now when can you be here? And answer quick so I can go back to bed.”
“I can probably be out tomorrow at around ten.”
“I hope you mean ten in the mornin’, because I’m not gonna be waiting up for you until ten at night.”
“No, no, in the morning. Uh, I guess I should ask, am I talking to Dr. McCoy?”
“Yes you damn well are, and I’ll see you at ten in the morning tomorrow.”
The line went dead. Jim observed the phone with raised eyebrows. Dr. McCoy was certainly not what he expected. He hoped he wasn’t always that grumpy, and it was just that Jim had woken him up. Shaking his head slightly, he got up, stretched, and went to get himself dinner.
The next morning, Jim called in sick at the plant, and was yelled at for a good fifteen minutes by the foreman, who felt that people shouldn’t skip work for mundane things such as bodily illness.
Jim snuck out to his truck, and pulled out onto the highway, driving past the town and back into the country, where the house he was looking for was.
He found the road he was looking for and turned into the long, winding driveway, with a broken down stone gate with a winged griffin on each side. The driveway was pretty, with trees on each side, but they were pretty badly overgrown, with the foliage almost brushing the top of his truck. It made the driveway inordinately dark, especially because it was a bright summer day. He came to a clearing where he assumed the house was, and was more than a little shocked at what he found.
The ad had said that the house needed to be looked after, but it hadn’t said that it was almost falling down where it stood. What was once a beautiful stone fountain stood in the center of the courtyard, which was now crumbling like the gate, and covered in moss. The house itself was surrounded by trees which had long since grown to cover most of the house, so it was even from a distance in clear need of a fresh coat of paint. There were two wraparound porches one on each floor, and they were both full of cobwebs and who knew what else.
The garden was partially obscured by the house, but he could see that it had not been tended in years, and was full of weeds. There was a peach orchard in the distance, which he was sure was just as overgrown. It looked like he would have his work cut out for him.
He walked up the broken down stairs of the house onto the porch, which had holes in the floor where the wood had rotted through. He could only imagine what the inside of the house was going to look like. He knocked on the door, which, surprisingly, was pristine and clean. He heard a distant “Come in,” from the depths of the house, and he opened the door.
What he found inside was, if possible, even more shocking than the outside of the house.
The inside of the house was pristine. Everything was spotless. The furniture, the walls, the floors, the rugs, even the chandeliers were perfect. There wasn’t a speck of dust on anything.
Jim stared around. The house was beautiful on the inside, with a double staircase circling around to the front. Above there was an enormous crystal chandelier hanging from the high ceiling. There were doors all around him, and he could see a magnificent drawing room between the staircases. He only stopped staring around when the same, gruff voice called from the room directly to his right,
“You can come in.”
Jim opened the door, and walked into a stunning library. It was all mahogany with floor to ceiling bookshelves that were all stuffed full. There was one of those ladders that you usually saw in libraries sitting by one of the shelves. A large desk was placed in front of a stained glass bay window, and a side table that was stacked with what looked like medical files. The walls were covered with antique medical tools, and medical papers. A large corkboard to the side of the window was also covered, but with little notes and yet more pieces of paper.
The man sitting in the large leather armchair by the desk was perhaps the biggest shock of everything he had seen so far. By the way he had sounded and acted on the phone, Jim had thought he was going to be working for an older, retired doctor who was grumpy and decidedly took no shit. He found that he was going to be working for a man who was only a handful of years older than he was, a doctor who was clearly still in practice, and who was grumpy and decidedly took no shit.
He stood up when Jim entered, and extended his rough and calloused hand, which was a little odd for being a doctor, and for the outside of the house being in such great disrepair. He was taller than Jim, with dark brown hair and hazel eyes that were regarding Jim wearily, as though he were taking a great risk by letting him in his home.
“McCoy. Leonard McCoy. And you must be-”
“Jim Kirk,” Jim finished for him.
“Well Jim, I guess we better talk business,” he gestured to a chair across from his own.
“I guess we’d better.”
“I guess I should start with what you’ll be doing. I mean, you know the basics, but there’s only so much you can really put in a two inch ad. You’ll mostly be workin’ outside. As you can see there’s plenty to do. The orchard, the garden, the outside of the house, anything you think that needs doing or fixing, that’ll be your job. There’s stuff that needs doing inside the house too, but we can cross that bridge when we come to it. I’ll be in and out most days, but I should be here every night, unless they drag me to some godforsaken medical conference somewhere. Like the ad said, you can live and eat here, unless you have somewhere else to live, and if you do, we can up your pay accordingly. I was thinking, if you’ll be living here, that three hundred to three-fifty is a fair price per month.”
Jim almost fell out of his chair. He could save a hell of a lot of money with that kind of pay. The work might be hard, but it seemed like it would be more than worth it…
“I’ll take it,” he said, simply.
Leonard blinked, surprised.
“Yeah, when do I move in?”
“Hold on there, kid, I don’t even have a room ready for you.”
“That’s okay, I’ll just take whichever’s free.”
“Won’t have to look too hard, then, they’re all free, apart from mine.”
“Doesn’t anyone else live-” he pulled up short, worried that he had crossed a line, but McCoy just chuckled a little darkly and said,
“No, kid, all I got left is my bones.”
Jim looked at him and said,
“All right, then when should I move in, Bones?”
He ignored the new name and muttered,
“I guess today’ll work, but as long as you don’t need help or anything, I have a patient to see in an hour.”
“Nah, I can manage myself, I don’t have that much.”
“Well, then, welcome to the insane and impossible task of caring for this monster, Jim.”
He rolled his eyes and Jim grinned, and they shook hands again. Jim bounded out the door to quit his job and move on with his life at last.
As predicted, it didn’t take long to move all his possessions into his truck, tell the manager to have a nice life, and leave the smog-filled plant for good. It wasn’t like he had made a huge change or anything, but, for some reason, Jim felt freer than he had in a long time. Something was different, something about this was going to be great, and, even though he had no idea what it was, he was excited about it.
When he arrived back at the big house, there was a note waiting for him on the side table.
You’ll be back long before I will, so pick whichever bedroom looks best to you, except, of course, the one that I live in (second floor third door on the right).
Jim smiled, and headed upstairs to try and find a place to live. Two of the bedrooms were pretty but had terrible paint jobs (peach and lavender), and one didn’t have a bed in it. but, the bedroom on the second floor, second door to the right was just right. The walls were light blue, the bed looked nice, there was a decent-sized bathroom attached to the room, there was plenty of furniture for him, and, when he cleared out the branches pressing themselves against the window, he was pretty sure he’d have a view of both the garden and the orchard, which would be great once they were spruced up a bit.
When everything was moved in and put away in its proper place, it was already pretty late, and he was hungry, so he started to wander around the palatial house, trying to locate the kitchen.
He finally found it, way at the end of the first floor. It was spotlessly clean as well, but didn’t look as though much was used in it. Now, Jim Kirk was no chef, but he was not going to back down from a challenge, and this kitchen was presenting him with one.
He pulled out everything he recognized and set to work.
Several hours and many attempted dishes later, he had concocted a halfway decent dinner. He ate in the kitchen by himself because, as he had said, Bones wasn’t back yet. He wondered how long it would take him to get tired of the new nickname, and Jim wasn’t even sure why he decided to give it to him. Maybe it was because “all I’ve got left are my bones” really stuck with him.
When he had finished, Jim cleaned up all the dirty dishes, and made a little plate with a plastic wrap cover, and took it up to the library. He set it on the desk and scribbled a note to Leonard,
You don’t just have your Bones any more!
He looked at his handiwork, and wondered why on earth he was leaving dinner for a man he had just met, and had just barely started to work for. Maybe he wanted to be friends with the grumpy old man, for whatever strange reason. He shrugged it off and went up to bed, eager for morning so he could start his new life.