Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Flash fiction

            You’re listening to the radio while you shave. You like to listen to the news in the morning while you shower, shave, get dressed, get ready to go to work. To that excruciatingly boring job you’ve been going to for the last 23 years. Faithfully. Never missed a day except for one week when they took out your gallbladder. Every day, five days a week, fifty weeks a year. The other two you have vacation but you seldom go anywhere, preferring to stay home and clean the gutters, sweep the garage, rearrange your tools, paint the banisters and window casements.
            You’re listening to the radio like every morning when the announcer says a fire has destroyed the corporate offices of Longman and Schuler. The fire started early this morning, sometime between 4 and 5 a.m.  Startled you cut yourself. What do you do now? Call somebody? Your supervisor? The announcer goes on to say that there isn’t any news yet how it started. What’s your supervisor’s home phone number? You always said I should keep it in my wallet but never got around to it.
            You’re listening to the radio when you realize you have no job to go to this morning. After 23 years of mornings and afternoons at the office, your day is free, open in front of you with innumerable possibilities. What should I do? You ask yourself and then decide, suddenly, to do nothing.
            You will not call your supervisor. You will not go to the office to see what happened. You will not finish shaving. You will not get dressed. You will go back to bed and sleep until you can’t sleep anymore. Then you’ll get up again, have breakfast or lunch (depending on the time) and you’ll read the newspaper in your pajamas. You’ll do nothing for the first time in 23 years.

            It pays to listen to the radio.