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Just a job. (standard:drama, 1331 words)
Author: CyranoAdded: Nov 02 2008Views/Reads: 1622/903Story 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 


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