January 1, 2012 Fiction






Digging deep for the boss’ benefit


Michael Organ


Hands clawed their way against clay like iron, only faint thumb and finger prints making an impression. A deep rumbling embarrassed, muffled by throat clearing etiquette on the other side.  This was Chris’ big night, after all, and he had to be on his best behaviour, despite his real self being told well and truly to behave. It wasn’t every day he had dinner, or dare he admit, an interview, with the firm’s chairman. His one big chance.

An invisible miner’s headlamp illuminated the hollow. There had to be an easier, quicker way through the vicodin coated wall. Pushing was the next resort, then punching. What next…

Chris laughed politely, consciously removing his tongue from clenched teeth at the precise point of each remark he thought witty from the boss. He was doing okay. He must be, laughing at those right times. They had to be funny.  Hadn’t even sat down for the meal yet. Needed another drink. Not too fast though.

Whoop !  A soft kick to the wall, making a satisfying dent, a healthy one at that. How about another ?  Space and light were tight though, but would get there. Ahead was a way, and would keep on.

Still laughing, Chris finally sat down. God, how in love can someone be with himself ? The placemats showing that rich grin alongside the firm’s crest had to be the final straw. But no. Please be good, he begged his self. Just this once. It would be the last time he got such a chance, especially after that fire extinguisher incident. He wasn’t to know it was just a planned drill. Will be good though.  Next he patted his chest lightly to mask a rumbling stomach, butterflying with hob nail boots against his own prim grimace.  Polite smiles in return.

Another kick, this time harder, the wall becoming thinner each time. Still quite strong, but with persistence, a way would be found.  The imagined light was no longer needed, the faintest pin prick lighting all. A hammer and chisel now appeared, as though hidden by the dark.  Sraight to work.

Ah, the soup, at last. “I shall not sip, but slurp”…or was it the other way round. Confusion again grabbed the reins. These pills were good.  Oh no, not the hiccups. Not now. The first watery spoonful jumped straight down the front of the shirt. Matching stain though. He was glad he chose beige tonight. The chairman didn’t show the same relief or amusement though. He wasn’t even laughing. What was wrong with this man. He was laughing earlier. Perhaps repeating one of his jokes to get the ball rolling again would work. Am sure he wouldn’t think the piss was being taken.  Nothing.  He’d even stopped sipping his own soup now. What had been said?  Just an incredulous look of disgust. Wasn’t the first time had seen it from him either. Had once caught a glimpse from afar when a Big Issue seller spoke to him outside the building.

Woohoo! Old black joe. “I’m coming home”, he sang as each bang of the chisel opened wider a hole to see and be seen. “I’m coming home”

He couldn’t help now but to place a hand firmly against his raging forehead, banging in time to the increasing heartbeats. The chairman was saying something, not good, but he could see the lips moving slowly, spitting. Had he said something else to offend him ? Couldn’t recall anything specific, but had been struggling against he urge to laugh out loud at this shallow pomposity, not to mention fixated by the man opposite him’s protuding, pointing nasal hair. Oh shit, please no, not yet.

Hi ho silver, the shout now sang. One small hole, big enough for the eye. To talk through even. A larger one below to push through too, signs of the now thin wall crumbling like cheese thrown for fun between friends. Happy days.

The old man’s mouth still moved.  At once though, a light shone, eyes and ears opening. Voice, sight and mind had returned. He felt his hands and arms again, as though numb, chained to the table before. Thank goodness, he could now hear him opposite and would again join in. He found himself no longer biting his tongue either. Damn those pills. At least he had the chance to redeem himself now though. Relief.

“So where do you see yourself in five years time?” he was asked.

“Well…in my dreams” he replied in his best grown up voice “am already pissing on your grave, so am hoping for a position in middle management.”

And before he could get a reaction, the old man had fallen to the ground.  Naughty fist.  Where had that been all night?

He’d had worse interviews though.





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