Monday, July 27, 2015

Nonessential Personnel (Jill, 1)

Jill pulled her ponytail back tightly until her scalp ached, then pulled the tail into a secure bun. The mild pain distracted her from what she was about to do, a good thing in her case. She was a sanitation engineer, and this week had drawn the short straw. With a practiced motion, she slung a triangle of cones around the manhole, levered the cover aside, and climbed down.

She wasn't frightened of small spaces, not that she'd ever admit to, but the sewers gave her the willies. They had a way of accumulating all the smells of the city above in pockets of air and puddles of deformities. The pipes out here in the suburbs were pretty tame in comparison to deeper downtown, but that didn't mean they were a walk in the park.

Before leaving the diminishing circle of sunlight completely, she clicked on her headlamp, double-checked her backup flashlight, and mentally reviewed the map in her head; it wouldn't due to get lost down here, not that that meant anything fatal, but simply that it would be a long and humiliating walk back to her truck and her change of clothes.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Nonessential Personnel (Sara, 1)

Sara pulled on her hoodie as she stopped for a breather on the parkway path. It was always lightly too chilly inside the sustained shade of the overlapping branches, despite the rising wave of humidity that always came to meet her there too. Her morning jog took her through the ever darkened woods that most people avoided, and this time was no different. She had the pavement to herself.

Sara liked running alone, where it was so much easier just to focus on herself and not worry about comparing herself to others. She got enough of that at work, which was the only reason she kept jogging instead of stopping to examine the beauty of the park around her.

She was a paper-pusher for an obscure bureaucratic office, and only because she never missed a day in eight years did they not realize that the office would do just fine without her. As long as they kept paying her, she was willing to while her time away, breathing artificially over-cooled air, and thinking green thoughts.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Nonessential Personnel (John, 1)

John slumped over his keyboard and barely dared to breathe. It was far past morning, and he knew that if he didn't get to bed soon, he would be barely conscious at work tomorrow, but he couldn't stop. The words that were filling up the screen were hardly on par with the publishing industry's standards, but that couldn't stop him from setting them down, releasing the floodgates that held back the tides of inspiration. It was like an injection of adrenaline, straight to the heart, and it felt so good it hurt.

He sobbed with joy, living the world and the work he created. When he was done, he saved the long lines, backed them up on his server, and went to bed, drained and empty.

The morning arrived in a blink of an eye, and John considered calling in sick. Nonetheless, he stood, grabbed his pre-made lunch, and forgetting breakfast, rushed out the door with a little time to spare.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Gretchenfrage

1I could hear the silence.

Not, I could hear nothing;
but I could hear silence.

The world whispered around me softly and did not presume to disrupt my peace.

Until,
scratches on a stone,
questioning glance
tilted up and wondering...

Stillness meant danger and death,
worry warning and fear
all conveyed in a single
chirp?

I breathed.

--
Title courtesy of BetterThanEnglish.com