Recepton Desk Guard

First Job After Home

In the breakroom of Big K Enterprises stands alone security guard. He savors the coffee from a Styrofoam cup, while not wanting to spill it on his uniform.

An older, slightly overweight security guard strode in. “I see you had no trouble finding the coffee machine.”

“I always start my day with a good cup of coffee, sir.”

The older security guard stretches out his hand. “My name is Richard McMillan. Welcome to Big K Enterprises. I will be your supervisor for the day shift. People around here call me

Sarge. I was a sergeant from when I was in Nam. When I started here, they keep calling me Sarge.”

The younger officer takes Sarge’s hand. “My name is Mitch, Mitch Gordon.”

“What do you like to be called?”

“Mitch, will do.”

“I reviewed your personal file. I need to ask you, why does a decorated Army

Ranger, like yourself, take a boring job as a security guard?”

“After seeing all the action, I did. I want to see and experience boring.”

“You will get bored here.” Sarge refills his cup.

“The hard part of this job is staying awake between rounds.”

Mitch takes a taste from his cup. “Yeh, that explains why this coffee is so strong.”

“If you have questions, feel free to ask. I have been here since the early days of Big K. I plan on retiring in a couple of months.”

“Have you seen any major problems the whole time you’ve been here?”

“Na, the only real problem you will see is someone forgetting their key card. Then you have to call their supervisor to come and walk them in.”

“So, nothing really happens at Big K? Then why do we carry side arms?”

“It is all for show. The sight of someone in uniform makes most tough people compliant. Others behave themselves when you rest your hand on that Glock 19.”

Mitch’s lips press together and nods. “That makes sense.”

“We will be taking turns making rounds every hour. The one who doesn’t make rounds will be alone at the reception desk.”

“I believe I’m really going to enjoy this job.”

“Before we go out to the reception desk. I want to review a few things with you.”

I have memorized the procedure manual they gave me over the last couple of days.

“Good, I want to emphasize that you are not to engage in a physical confrontation with any employee or visitor. If someone wants to create a problem, we call the local police. They are usually just a few minutes away. Do you understand?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Now let me see your Glock.”


“I want to make sure you have an empty clip and no rounds in the chamber.”

“Why? What’s the use of having a side arm without the ability to use it?”

“Our insurance doesn’t cover us shooting anybody. As a precaution, management wants to make sure none of us shoot anybody or ourselves by accident.”

Sarge takes Mitch’s Glock, pulls out the ammo clip, and pops a round out of the chamber. “What is this? I said no ammo in or around your sidearm. Take all the rounds out and store them in your locker. At the end of your shift, take them home and leave them there.”

“But sir, I have trouble understanding why I am carrying a weapon but not having it available for use.”

“If the need ever arises, you call 911. Let the trained professionals, the local police, handle the troublemakers.”

“But sir. I spent ten years as an Army Ranger with five tours of combat duty. I know how to properly handle a good number of weapons and situations.”

“This is not the Army, son. Things are very different here in civilian life.”

“But sir!”

“No buts, take the bullets out and put them in your locker, then meet me at the reception desk. The morning shift will arrive soon.”


Walking through the big glass doors of Big K Enterprises, new visitors often drop their jaws when they see the large reception area. As Big K grew, they spent a lot of money on first impressions. High glass ceiling supported by polished stainless-steel beams and reflective floor tile spoke of money to burn.

Visitors and employees need to pass through a locked-tempered glass door to all the offices.

A Big K employee must escort all visitors.

Sarge and Mitch sat at their station behind a large wooden reception desk. Every hour, on the hour, one of them took a turn walking the internal perimeter, checking for any doors left open.

“Mitch, you look like you are having trouble staying awake.”

“I was up late last night.”

“You shouldn’t party when you work the next day.”

“I had trouble getting to sleep. I’m still trying to adjust to life outside the Army.”

“Go ahead, take this walk around, stop at the breakroom and get yourself a cup of coffee.”

Sarge’s head snaps toward the front door. “Oh, no, here comes trouble.”

In walked a man in an old hoodie and worn jeans. “Where is my last paycheck?” He. shouted.

Sarge stood up. “Like I told you last week, accounting will mail it to you. We can’t help you.”

A three-fifty-seven magnum materialized from the stranger’s waist band. He thrust it directly between the eyes of Sarge. “I want my money now!”

“You don’t have to get violent about it. Put the gun down and let me see what I can do.”

“I’m tired of waiting!”

Sarge’s head jerked back. Red splatters the back wall. He falls backward.

The gun moved toward Mitch.

Mitch pointed his Glock 19 directly at the stranger.

The stranger’s eyes widened, and a smile came to his face. “Don’t threaten me with an empty gun. I’ve worked here long enough to know you rent a cops don’t carry loaded guns.”

“I am new, and I do not follow the rules.”

“Oh, shit!” mouthed the shooter.

Pop, pop!

The stranger’s head jerked, and his body fell backward onto the floor. Mitch melted into his chair. He laid his Glock on the desk. Then he picked up the phone and dialed 911.

Moments later, two police officers rush in, weapons drawn. Mitch stood up with both hands in the air.

The male officer moved towards the body, lying motionless on the floor. The dead body was still gripping his gun. The officer kicked the gun away and checked for a pulse. None existed.

The female officer walked behind the reception desk. She takes note of Sarge’s body and the blood on the back wall. Slowly, she reached around Mitch and took his gun.

“Are you okay?” She asks.

Mitch shrugged his shoulders.

“Come with me. Let’s get you out of here.”

She escorted Mitch out the front door while Mitch continued to mutter. “I didn’t want to kill him. I have taken too many lives. I didn’t want to kill another.”

The rest of that day and into the night, Mitch gets hounded with questions from law enforcement and Big K supervisors. Finally, they released Mitch.

On the way home, Mitch stopped by the corner liquor store. He purchased a bottle of inexpensive whisky and a pack of no-name cigarettes. Stepping inside his apartment, he locked the door, and he planted himself on the couch, and proceeded to forget the day’s events.


In the early morning hours, we find Mitch still sitting on the couch pondering the three items in front of him. An ashtray is full of crushed cigarette butts. An empty whisky bottle. A nine-millimeter Browning calling out to him, “The cigarettes and whisky didn’t help, so use me.”

Mitch picks up the revolver and places it under his jaw. He closes his eyes. Mitch mouths the words, “Oh God, why do you put me in positions where I have to kill? You know I hate killing.”

A strange presence filled the room. Mitch peeks open his right eye. He lowers the gun.

In front of Mitch stands a large number of ghostly figures. Mitch recognizes some. Others to disfigured to be recognized. He places the Browning back under his chin.

Mitch hears, “We deserved the bullets you put in us. You kept us from killing. Killing those who did not deserve to die. Don’t kill yourself.”

The sun wakes Mitch, along with a pounding headache. He looks down to see the handgun is still in his hand. He places it on the coffee table. Taking the cell phone, Mitch dials an old Army buddy who lives a mile away.

“Hey, Mitch, I heard what happened yesterday. Are you alright?”

“No, I’m not. Can you come over?”

“I’ll be right over.”