At the Top. Short Story.

Hope everyone had a good weekend. Mine was pretty enjoyable.

I went to the cinema with some friends to see I, Frankenstein. I hadn’t heard of it before but I looked up the trailer so I knew something about it. It was pretty much as I expected, an action film that didn’t really require much thought. It was ok, it was expensive for the tickets alone, and I certainly wouldn’t pay the money to see it again, but if it was on TV I wouldn’t mind so much. It was pretty much Van Helsing, but with Frankenstein instead of Van Helsing and Demons instead of vampires. One of my friends really disliked it, about halfway through she started giggling in the cinema, which made me start laughing. It really was an unintentionally funny moment. There were some problems with the story that could have been really, really easily resolved. Also I didn’t care about most of the characters as much as I was supposed to. One of the characters didn’t have a name until about half way through, Frankenstein yells out her name, despite never being told it. It was kind of strange.

I  finished reading N0S4A2 by Joe Hill (might have mentioned it previously) I really enjoyed it and the ending was satisfying. It was a good book and I’d recommend it.

I also read Love Minus Eighty, it was definitely one of the stranger books I’ve read, but I really, really enjoyed it. It was kind of a romance novel you could say, but completely different from any I’ve heard of. It was really, really good.

On with the show!


He lay in bed, staring at the white ceiling. Jacob didn’t want to do anything today, nothing. Just hide from his responsibilities and lie here. A shaft of light slowly slid across his face, soon it was shining directly into his eyes. He groaned and flung his arm over his face, blocking the light. It wasn’t fair. He didn’t want to get up. God damn it. He flung the covers back and stepped onto the cold floor. He never knew why it was cold, no matter what he did the floor would never warm. Probably the douche who lived here before him. Socks didn’t even help. He stood and stretched, then he plodded towards the bathroom. A shower would wake him a little, might even make him feel better. The pipes rattled as water flowed through them, he’d have to get someone to look at it before something bad happened, it was making that rattling noise for a while now. If he waited too long the entire system would probably have to be replaced. Then again that wasn’t always a bad thing. Expensive sure, but he wouldn’t have to field the expense. He waited until the water was lukewarm, then he stepped into the shower. It was as close to hot as it was ever going to get. Despite being slightly cooler than he would like, the shower was refreshing, at least while he was in it. When he stepped out and began to dry he felt that old familiar crushing feeling return. He didn’t want to work today. He really, really didn’t. Maybe someday he’d get a choice, maybe he could get a promotion, or a demotion. Either of those would be fine. He could manage someone in his position or take orders, but he didn’t want to be the one giving so many orders to so many people. It felt like he’d been doing this job for eternity and time was just an endless tunnel stretching out in front of him. Maybe he should talk to someone. As soon as the idea appeared he pushed it down. That was stupid, who the hell was he supposed to talk to about this? He couldn’t seem weak, what ever happened. They’d think he was going soft in the head or something if he talked to someone and just who the hell could he talk to? No one would ever understand and he doubted he’d be able to explain it properly to them. No, there was no point in finding someone to talk to.

He dressed as usual, black suit, black tie. God forbid he used a little colour to brighten things up a bit. Apparently it didn’t look professional. This was his latest uniform, he missed some of the old ones. At least they were sometimes comfortable. It could be worse, the fabric was softish at least. He stepped out of the house and squinted at the blinding light. After a second his eyes adjusted. Then, he started to walk.

He could be there much faster, but he liked to walk, it helped him clear out his head, prepare for the day that was coming. It wouldn’t be particularly tough, at least he didn’t expect it to be, there were always random emergencies that required his attention right now or else, but he hoped today would be a good day. He hadn’t had one of those in a long, long time.

He got to the office and ignored the people filing in and out, they stayed a respectful distance away from him. A few of the higher ups nodded politely to him, but none spoke to him. No doubt they were afraid to. He stepped into a lift with solid black doors, only a few people had access to this. He pressed the button for his floor and waited as the elevator rose smoothly to the top. He stepped out, his secretary was already at her desk. He wondered if she ever actually left. He had never even seen her eat. As far as he knew she would live and die at that damned desk.

“Morning Grace.”
“Good morning, Sir. Your coffee is already on the desk. Is there anything you would like?”
“No thank you.”
“Have you eaten already?”
“No, I’m going to wait until lunch.”
“Are you sure?”
“Quite sure, thanks. It’s a bit early for me to be eating.”
Grace nodded and turned back to her computer, soon her fingers were flying across the keyboard. He had never managed to get his typing up to that speed. He watched for a second, then stepped into his office.
It was on the top floor of the building and definitely the largest. Glass windows allowed him to have a view of the surrounding area and, as the building was the tallest around, that meant he could see a lot. They had tried it before without the windows, but it was too windy. He didn’t know what the architect was thinking.
He sat behind his mahogany desk and sipped his coffee, it was lukewarm. What he’d give for a piping hot cup, just once. He turned his computer on and waited for it to load, once it did, he started to work.

Sure, he was the top man, the owner of everything, but he still had to work. He worked harder than most of the people in his building. He knew some people thought that about themselves, but he knew it was true in his case. He took a short break from his work, which turned into an hour YouTube binge. He was watching a video of a cat dancing for the third time, when he snapped out of it. He had work to do and a lot of it. If he didn’t get it done he’d have to stay late and he always hated that. It made everyone antsy, made them think something big was in the works when usually it was just that he had fallen behind. He didn’t blame them for that. The last few times he had intentionally stayed late he had been a bit of a dick, firing people here and there. It had been a long time since those days. There was nothing big planned on the calendar, not for a while anyway and he was probably going to push some of those back. It was something he had always planned to do but the guilt of it all would keep him from doing it.

He took another gulp of coffee. He hated this,  but it wasn’t like he had a choice, he was trapped here, like everyone else. All he wanted to do was go out and explore the world. Sure he knew about most of it, but that was different, he wanted to walk through sand and walk across streets that have existed for hundreds of years. Fat chance of that though. Last time he’d played hooky things went to hell pretty quickly. He rubbed his face. He just had to get through this, just another couple of billion years, then he could throw in the towel. Give it all to some up and coming angel, get out of the game completely. Sure he’d still have veto power over everything, but they’d no longer bother him with trivial stuff. The stuff he couldn’t really change and wouldn’t, even if he cared to. Jacob got back to work, humming slightly. It wasn’t easy being God, but someone had to do it.


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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