After the last remaining 3-hole punch went missing from our office, and I got blamed for it, and then got drunk during lunch and attempted to Mace everyone in our office, I was told by Sheila, our boss, to go home and that we'd talk tomorrow. She was going to fire me; I was certain of it. As hard as I tried, I couldn't come up with any other reason why she'd want to talk to me tomorrow.
On my way out of our building, still quite drunk, I collapsed in the revolving door and passed out cold, trapping an elderly gentleman in the glass compartment opposite me. As he banged on the glass in a completely futile attempt to wake me, other men and women in business suits stood outside impatiently. I was making them all late for an important meeting. I was later told that the elderly gentleman was trapped inside the compartment for a full three hours before Dino, our building technician, finally freed him in an intense procedure which involved carefully removing all the glass while everything was documented on camera by all five local news teams.
I woke up in a large, dark, hot room, laid out on a table. I sat up frantically. Dino, who is in his fifties, stood before me, staring me straight in the eye.
ME: Where am I?
DINO: The boiler room.
ME: I'm scared.
DINO: Not enough.
ME: What are you going to do to me!
Dino dropped his heavy hand onto my shoulder and gripped it painfully.
ME: I don't feel so well.
DINO: I made you some espresso. Drink it.
I did as I was told.
ME: This is really good. Delicious.
DINO: Shut up.
ME: All right.
DINO: You need to grow up. You need to be a man.
I cried then.
DINO: Stop it!
ME (through my tears): Thanks for taking such good care of me.
Dino slapped me across the face.
DINO: Wake up!
ME: I am up!
The look in his eyes really scared me.
ME: What are you going to do to me! Please don't hurt me! Please. Please.
DINO: In life. Wake up. You've been sleeping your whole life.
ME: That's ridiculous.
I finally exhaled, and lightly touched my stinging cheek.
ME: Dino, you sure you're not a serial killer? Everybody says so. Since the day I started here.
DINO: And everybody says you're a cry-baby.
I bawled some more.
ME: That's hurtful.
DINO: The 3-hole punch. It's still in the building.
I quickly wiped the tears away.
ME: What did you just say?
DINO: You're just looking in the wrong place.
ME: Where? Dino, where is the 3-hole punch?
DINO: If you want to know, you need to start at the beginning.
ME: The beginning?
DINO: The first 3-hole punch. From the dead man.
A chill sparkled down my spine.
ME: You mean Charisse's punch?
DINO: Find one, find them all.
ME: Dino, just tell me where it is for crying out loud. You're like Ryan Seacrest before a commercial break over here.
DINO: I've said too much. You have to go. Now!
ME: You're being rude.
Dino slapped me again. I cried.
DINO: Stop your crying, baby-man!
ME (through my tears): Why won't you let people see the real you. Taking me down here, making me espresso. No one's ever been this nice to me since I started here.
DINO: I said leave!
He struck me with the back of his hand. I cried louder.
ME: I mean it. When people say you're killing people down here, they don't really know you.
He punched me in the stomach. I bent over, coughing.
ME: You're a beautiful person. I wish people could see that.
He performed a scissor kick to my chin. I fell back.
ME: Just let someone in, for Pete's sake, like you did me, you beautiful man.
He rammed me into the door, and I fell out into the back alley. He then slammed a metal trash can against my back and knee-ed me in the face.
He left me there, in the garbage-strewn alleyway, unconscious. But I was on my way. I finally had a lead: find one, find them all. It was already 4:12pm and I had just under one hour to save my job. The minutes were ticking away, as I lay there, still unconscious.