He had read it in a magazine, about the Romanian civil servant who had died at their desk, sitting propped up in their office chair for two weeks and no one noticed. That could happen here, Graham thought, it is the Friday before Christmas if I died now they would not find me to January.
The office was open plan. A sniper who happened upon the scene should have had line of sight from one end of the cavernous space to the other, but as Graham looked around he could see how people had manufactured walls to protect themselves. A forest of pot plants loomed, family photos were chosen as company over the living heartbeats and conversation of colleagues, calendars were propped up as a makeshift barricade a stuffed Piglet toy and Shaun the Sheep pressed into service as the defenders.
He could hear the tap, tap of a keyboard, an incessant voodoo beat that reverberated around in the post five pm hush on the second floor. Graham watched as the motion activated lights blinked out, a testament of abandonment, an onward rushing tide of darkness that would overwhelm him.
There should have been festivity, he thought, a Christmas tree that twinkled in the corner, maybe a moth-eared chain of paper angels set to fluttering in this air sucked dry of atmosphere, even a simple card, but it was like Cromwell had never left this part of Cambridgeshire. Christmas had been cancelled.
A door slammed, the last light extinguished, snuffed out, only the light above Graham remained alight.
‘I’ve got to get out, while I’m still alive.’ He whispered to the night.
While somewhere out in the dark his unseen companion tapped away at a keyboard.
With spring being here, I have got round to undertaking a long overdue clean out. I am a terrible hoarder and if I can think of any reason to hold on to something rather than throw it out I will. But this has led to what is actually important getting lost amidst the chaos.
Half of it, I do not even remember keeping and is most definitely rubbish. This is what I thought I had when I found a tatty blue folder hidden in a pile of magazines. Dog-eared sheets of typewritten paper tumbled out, they looked so old that I would not have been surprised if they would have had “Here be dragons” scrawled in the corner. And when I say typewritten I mean written on a typewriter. I guessed that made them at least twenty-five years old and what they contained was a story written by the teenage me.
Well as I read I began to recall the story, but it was not quite like I remembered, character names were different and just as I thought I had a handle on the plot it would set off on an unexpected course. I think this was the closest I had ever got to understand what a reader’s eye view of my work would be. I read the words of the boy I was, as the man-shaped boy I am now and when I was finished my overwhelming feeling was one of frustration, not because of a lack of development in a quarter of a century in myself as a writer. No, my frustration came from the fact that the last page of the story was missing and what I wanted to know was what remained of the tale.
© 2014 | Frank Regan, All rights reserved.
I remember a purple bike,
An incongruous relic even then
To my child’s eye.
As I wobbled after my mum,
Stabilisers gone, pink
Elephant legs whirring furiously.
As we pedalled past houses,
Bumped up over kerbs, cycled down
The bronze hued road of memory
Towards the wood where the flowers grew.
Those mischievous angels in the dust,
That shone out from beneath the trees.