|Just a job. (standard:drama, 1331 words)|
|Author: Cyrano||Added: Nov 02 2008||Views/Reads: 1563/865||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|Most days he was a grocer, but every now and then he performed a different occupation. he followed a family tradition.|
My eyes open from an uneasy sleep, setting off the process of thinking. I'm not exactly alert, or enthusiastic about the thought of getting out of our bed, particularly feeling the warmth of my wife, her sleepy nasal sounds comforting that side of me; the side of me that is her husband. There is another side. A darker side, some say. I can see the headlines before they've been written, but these thoughts should not concern me. My wife stirs, she turns over as I climb gingerly out of bed. The store is in good hands until I get back. I cannot miss the train; the next one won't give me enough time for all my preparation. I consider my apprehension, looking at my half foamed face in the mirror, and know I must rid myself of this feeling immediately. Think positively. Today I perform a duty to Queen and country. Too hell with public opinion! This razor is blunt, dam! Aided by gale force winds, rain thrashes horizontally, pelting against the windows and rattling the shutters and, doubtlessly, shaking the rickety leaf filled gutters from their unsteady fixings. More alert, I let my mind shuffle with thoughts about the day's possibilities, but I'm clear now that my job is simply to carry out the Queen's command. I look at my suit, black, smart. For some reason, and this is extremely rare, I wish I was donning my white apron, getting among the cabbages and the potatoes, dealing with my customers and sharing a joke or two. Some people think I should consider the intoxicating success I've had in my work, the adoration and the sometimes the hatred shown me. I look at my watch. 3.21. Perfect. I'll be five minutes early for the four o'clock train to London. Careful not to fall over anything, slowly working my way round the bed, bending to gently kiss the head of my wife, her snoring now rhythmic. Peaceful. I'm a lucky man. I pick up my old, shredding leather briefcase, touching it as though I were touching my father, who owned it before me and who used for the same purpose. I check that it is locked and that the contents cannot accidentally fall out. When I return home it will have fifteen new guineas in it, my fee. Maybe we'll buy that gramophone, the one we've had our eyes on, His Masters Voice. The train thunders through the dark, its smoke, just discernible whiffs of gray, seen through the windows, down which rivulets stream. I read the headlines on the newspaper, held open by the man opposite. If I were to concern myself with headlines I could not do my work. The carriage smells of Brylcream and the overpowering decoction of old perfumes, all mingling with the whiff of stale tobacco ash. I smile in response to the staring eyes of a woman sitting opposite and next to the man reading the paper. She is uncomfortable, fingering nervously with her bag. She stands up and leaves, precariously making her way up the rocking carriage, colliding with people's knees, apologizing, and lunging for the hand rail above her head. Clickity-clack through the dark, I pass the time wondering about my fellow passengers. I consider that at this time of morning we are all traveling with a purpose. Take the man across the aisle. I like the look of his fine brogues. He is serious, perhaps a doctor on his way to perform a difficult surgery. The man opposite rasps his newspaper, seemingly irritated, offers me a courteous glance before again raising his newspaper. Darkness is subsiding fast; heavy clouds hang low over the unattractive suburbs. Rain continues to fall in stair-rods. We are making good time, due into Euston at 7.16. I check my watch. It's seven exactly. One man, never having removed his ponderous black overcoat, a large, florid man, puffy faced with strangely colorless could be a detective, his continual mutterings undecipherable. Just something about him makes me uneasy. The train is slowing. Stepping down from the carriage my nose is filled with the smell of smoke, my ears with the hissing of steam. I've been absorbed into a mass, jostled along in a wave of peevish people. It seems every time I make this trip from Bradford, more and more people are doing the same. A rotund, red-faced man wearing a peeked hat, and a red and black uniform looks uninterested, even annoyed as he snatches at my ticket. The huge station precinct is a hive of activity. I'm pleased the bench, the one under the station clock, is vacant. I set my case down and open the latches with the key. It's force of habit, routine really. I take out the yellow cloth, a brush and a tin of black cherry blossom. I'm very precise about my shoes and cleanliness. I'm in good time. The polish has a lovely smell, but I'm hungry, exacerbated by the aroma of Click here to read the rest of this story (66 more lines)
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