Reading and a short story

Blog, Short Story

Bismillah

Hello internet world. I haven’t written in ages. Sorry about that. But my excuse is that I’ve been reading. I saw a short interview with Werner Herzog a few weeks back and in it he gave one big advice to directors/filmmakers: Read!

So I went down to the local charity bookshop and bought some Hemingways and Fitzgeralds and I’ve been reading quite a lot since. Train rides have become much quicker all of a sudden.

Anyway, this post is going to be a short story, inspired by modern office life and I’m looking at it as a way to sharpen my imagination for the screenplay I’m working on.

It was a beautiful Friday night. An inherent beauty that hung in the air like perfume despite the smell of damp and urine. He walked home from the train station, past stylish young revellers, his ankles getting wet in the rain. The day had not been triumphant by any means. Fridays were supposed to be days of success he thought. And though the day contained within it some metaphysical power or dimension which set it apart from the rest of the week, he still felt defeated by the onslaught of corporate and corporeal punishments.

It was dark now, with the ground cool and after a shower the roads and pavements reflected lamp lights like spectres and ghosts of the sun. He noticed how sad and lonely each reflection looked even though they sat strewn across the wet streets in a constellation. The club and party goers ignored him as he floated through them. Each face looking hopeful for the promise of the night and he wanted to be with them but he knew deep down that most of them too would soon know the clarity of rejection.

Eventually he left the town centre far behind and came finally to the quiet safety of suburbia. A soggy man sat ashamedly under a low bridge with his dog.

‘Spare some change please mate?’

He instinctively searched his pockets and his fingers came in contact with the familiar papery touch of a £20 note. He didn’t take it out. In fact it made him wonder about how he would have to divide this paper representation of his sustenance over the next 5 days of the (non)working week.

Earlier that day he had been laid off. It had happened fast and it had made him quite dizzy. He was too young to have let it take the earth from beneath his feet but it had certainly winded him. After 3 years of writing, of overtime with no pay, of loving, and giving love, and giving himself, it had come to an abrupt and senseless end. Redundancy was a word far worse than it’s lowbred cousin ‘sacked’ or even the brute ‘fired’. The human resources staff had used it and it made him feel worthless. Like a bent paperclip. Or a fax machine. It was worse than death because it was life without purpose or value.

His mouldy melon-faced manager had contorted his face to show something that was supposed to resemble sympathy and the pitch and timbre of his voice warbled some misappropriated words of condolence. Like an awkward and insincere eulogy.

Maybe this symbolic death was also a chance to be reborn. Years of writing the same thing, of only tapping in to the same part of his brain had dulled the tools of his creative mind. Perhaps now he could start that novel that had been sitting on the dusty library shelves in the back of his brain. A clean slate. He pictured a guitar player re tuning his instrument. A baby crying in the delivery room. A young fresh woman coming out of a shower.The magic of Friday slowly returned to him, in his face as a warmth and in his fingers as a tingle. And as the pubs had been left far behind, the scent in the air was fresh. A breeze ran invisible fingers through his hair.

‘Mate?’

‘Here you go mate’. He gave over the note and as it left his hand any thought of how he would survive the following week had gone with it.

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