That Sinking Feeling


I’d left my desk early, on the pretext of getting the tea room ready for morning break. I’d passed Julie, frantically typing up whatever garbled message her boss had left on his dictaphone. Marie was sorting invoices, matching them to statements of accounts payable and stapling them – with that furious “THUMP” on the stapler to let everyone know she hated this job. Noel was emptying his client’s suitcase of all the month’s business papers. No one looked at me as I passed.

I was clutching the envelope in one hand buried deep in my suit pocket. I’d not opened it yet. I wanted to be on my own, as I had that sinking feeling that goes through every employee in a business where there are rumors of layoffs.

I filled the Zip, pulled the cord. While it started to rumble, heating the water, I clattered the coffee cups and mugs into neat rows, emptied the humongous teapot and threw in the customary handful of tea-leaves. Sugar tin out of the cupboard, milk bottle out of the fridge, teaspoons clinked into a mug.

As the Zip screamed, I leaned against the bench and opened it.

Phew!  Only a pay-rise!

(C) Lynne McAnulty-Street, Rotorua NZ, Aug ’13

Hurricane by a different name


Given the starter HURRICANE for a 10 minute “quick write” – I thought “Jeese I never watch the weather or news reports – what now?” Luckily a different kind of hurricane came to mind.

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The old neighbourhood pub, as usual, was crowded with punters along at the brightly lit bar end. It reeked of stale b.o.,  stale  beer, stale smoke.
At the far end of the bar-room it was dimly lit apart from three low slung light bulbs,  suspended over the green baize covered slate snooker table. No action there yet though – the auto workers across the road hadn’t finished their shift.

The street door opened, and pushing his way in through the crowd came an elegantly dressed young man, maybe in his late twenties. He firmly pushed his way between the drinkers up to the bar, and ordered a pint of bitters. He was out of turn, but as people began to recognise him, any annoyance fled.

“ ’Ere, that’s the ‘urricane!” came a whisper.

“You mean ‘iggins?” someone asked in awe. Murmurs of admiration and wonder floated through the punters. They moved back to give the snooker champ some room, while wondering why on earth had he come here, to this ol’ dump?

“Hullo, lads. Just fought I’d pop in for a quick shoot while me tyres get fixed. Anyone up for a quick play?”

He was almost mobbed in the rush.

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© Lynne McAnulty-Street, Rotorua NZ, Feb 2011

Learn about Hurricane Higgins at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_Higgins
Watch his style at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwoLQVDNEWs

 

The Opus Urban Myth


Given the urban myth of the murder/suicide or Ronald Opus (refer www.snope.com/horror/freakish/opus.com  for the source) we were asked to select one of the characters in the tale, and present the story from their point of view, using dialogue. Most writers selected Ronald Opus, his mother, the medical examiner.
Me, I had to go for the obscure character, a mention only – one of the building workers, mentioned almost as an aside.
I chose to present only the words a workman said, not both sides of a dialogue. And I shan’t apologise for shifting the locale to the UK not the US. This is the result of a 15-minute quick-write
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“Yer, I’m free to talk to yer nah, h’officer”

“Nah, we’ve bin workin’ on upgradin’ v’ buildin’ fer munfs nah. Vat safety net only went up on Sat’dy nigh’, ‘cos up to v’ Fridy we’ve bin workin’ only dahnstairs – basement an’ grahnd floor.”

“Got an ‘elluvva shock when ‘e come dahn – broken glass frough v’ mesh – good job we’s all wearin’ ‘ard ‘ats. But v’ fellah wot landed in v’ net – gawd – scared v’ b’jesus outa ever’ one!”

“Aah, could tell ‘e wuz dead or dying. ‘Free shots in ‘is chest ‘n’ side, an’ one ‘frough an ear?!”

“Oh, Joe – over vere, see – ‘e ‘unts, see. So ‘e knowed vey was shotgun pellets, not bullets. ‘Sides, we’d only ‘eard one blast.
Joe reckoned  v’ shot frough v’ ear woulda bin v’ fatal one. Y’know – going inter v’ brain an all. ‘E reckoned eiver a long barrel, or righ’ close range.
Yeh, talk to ‘im wen ‘e’s finished at v ‘ambulance – ‘s in shock, y’ know.”

“Yeh, course we knew ‘im. Well, not ‘is name but.”

“We’d see ‘im goin’ in an’ outa v’ block, same as alla tenants. E’d sometimes come aht grinnin’, stuffin’ cash inter ‘is walle’.”

“Nah, a while ago ‘e wuz comin’ aht in a righ’ rage. An’ ven since, gerrin’more mis’rable ev’ry day fer weeks, nah.”

“Fink it’s sumfink ter do wiv the ol’ couple livin’ on v’ ninef floor. ‘E’d visit vem near on ev’ry day jist abaht. Usually wen v’ ol’ man weren’t  ‘ome – ven ‘e’d visit.”

“Oh, well some of v’ crew’ve bin workin’ on v’ stair wells, so vat’s where vey’d see ‘im, ven.”

“Nah, v’ lifts dahn’t work, mate.”

“Me? Nah, I’m orrigh’ mate. Takes more‘n some poor sod droppin’ aht frough a winder ter shake me.’’’

“Fanks, hofficer. No worries. ‘Ope you find wot yer need ter sort aht yer paper work an’ all. See ya later.
– ‘Oy, Ron? Put v’ billy on, son!?”