Work Day. Short Story.

Hope everyone’s week is going well. I finally got some stuff done in my room, specifically shelves and posters put up. Yay for that. Beyond that not much else is happening!

On with the show!


The fountain gurgled gently behind him, barely audible above the shouts and calls of te milling crowd. He took a bite of his sandwich, then used a napkin to wipe his mouth. He had bought the sandwich only moments ago, but after only two bites, he was already sick of it. Too much mayonnaise. He never learned, he always asked for a little and between the time they put it on the sandwich and wrapped it, it seemed to have multiplied an astounding amount. A big glob of mayonnaise dripped from the back of the sandwich, landing on the ground, he didn’t notice. He put the sandwich down beside himself, still protected by its wrappings, and removed the top layer, then he started to wipe the excess mayonnaise away. He couldn’t afford anything else for lunch and if he didn’t eat this, there would be nothing until at least eight, when he got home. He had forgotten his wallet, again, luckily this time there was some money in his trouser pocket, it was only a fiver, but it was enough. He could picture his wallet, still sitting on the drawers in his bedroom. It wasn’t the first time he forgot it and it wouldn’t be the last either. Nothing too serious ever came of it at least, he knew he wouldn’t forget it so often if he wasn’t in a rush every morning, but that would mean getting up earlier, something he just could not bring himself to do.

With the job of making his sandwich edible done, he left the sodden napkin beside him and began to eat again. The sandwich wasn’t too bad, now that he could actually taste it. Chicken, lettuce and stuffing. He had splurged today, even going so far as to get a bottle of coke,  with the sandwich it had come to 4.50, and as he ate, he decided it was worth every bite. His day wasn’t going that well, work was hellish, as usual, and today it was even worse. The air conditioning was broken, so the lovely warm day outside, translated to a horrifically hot, swampy atmosphere inside. The building was supposed to be all high tech, retain heat or some shit, but they didn’t seem to factor in the sun shining on the windows, which seemed to warp and increase the heat, it was almost as though each pane was a giant magnifying glass, designed to burn them all alive slowly. It was all fine when the air conditioning worked, but when it broke down, on average four times a year, it was like working in the Everglades. He popped the last bite of his sandwich into his mouth and chewed, enjoying the taste. He took a swig from his coke, then closed his eyes, enjoying the slight breeze. His phone beeped. Shit. Time to go back. He stood and gathered up his rubbish, once he was sure he had everything, he began to slow trudge back to the office.

The walk normally took ten minutes, but he made it last twenty. He was a little late, but no one would really notice or care. The boss had suddenly remembered his day was packed with meetings in other offices when he realised the air conditioning was gone. Once his work was done, no one would care if he was a little late. He needed the job, really needed it. Well, at least if he wanted a place to live and the ability to eat food. He was sending out C.V’s to other places, but no one was hiring or at least, no one was hiring him. He’d get something else eventually, he knew he would. He strolled past the rows and rows of people, personalisation was not allowed here, each and every desk looked the exact same, the only differences were the people sitting in front of the monitors. His desk was by a window, at first he had thought it was great, he could look out at the day and people going by but it didn’t take him long to realise it was the position they put the new people in. When a desk in the centre cleared out there was always a scramble for people to claim it. The air might be cool when everything worked, but the sun could get surprisingly hot. He sat down on his chair, it was warm. He moved the mouse around and waited for the screen to come to life. He glanced out the window, they didn’t even open, and down at the people below. There weren’t many, nor could he tell what any of them looked like beyond general colours, he was too high up. His screen brightened and he looked at it, after a moment, he started to type.

He stood and stretched, the day was finally over. He drained his cup of water and set it down again. He was done. His shirt was covered in sweat patches. He gathered his things and left quickly, ignoring the people still working. He didn’t want to chat with them, it would all be bullshit anyway. It wasn’t long before he was stepping out of the elevator, then through the large glass doors. Outside he paused for a moment and sighed in relief, the cool breeze was just perfect. He started to walk again, slowly. He’d have to get the subway and no doubt it would be cramped and hot down there too, he’d waste some time first, then he could head home after the rush of people. He didn’t have money, so going to a coffee shop was out of the question, they wouldn’t let him sit unless he bought something and he wouldn’t be able to afford anything they were selling. He took a left, then a right, he’d head into a bookshop, browse for a bit, it’s not like they knew he couldn’t afford anything.

“Do ya’ve any spare change?” He stopped and dug around in his pocket, retrieving his last coin, he put it into the beggars cup. It wasn’t like he really needed it. The beggar nodded, “thanks”, and started walking again. No doubt he’d go spend it on booze or drugs, his voice was slurred. Oh well. Someone would get enjoyment out of it. He continued walking, he’d get to the book shop. Something sharp jabbed into his shoulder, he cried out, hands were on him, reaching into his pockets, by the time he turned to fight back, the homeless man was running away. His phone, he subway pass, gone. His pockets were empty. His shoulder still stung, he reached back to rub it, wondering what the homeless man hit him with, when his hand hit something hard and plastic. His breath started to speed up, he felt faint. He wrapped his hand around the hard plastic and pulled, it came out easily enough. He brought it around in his hand, hoping and wishing, but knowing what it was anyway. It was as he suspected, a syringe. There was his fresh blood, gleaming in the light and beyond that, the dark red flakes of dried blood. He felt sick, faint. Oh god. What if he got infected with something? What was he even supposed to do? What could he do? He stared at the syringe in his hand, then he turned and went into the nearest shop, he needed to call the police, they’d know what to do, his things were stolen. He tried to push the thought of the syringe away, they’d tell him what to do. It’d be ok, everything would be fine.


About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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