It was an idea, a fanciful dream. I packed nothing and left everything.
The plantations were green, not brown. A prevailing wind filtered out the sounds of humanity’s pickers but the life I had wished for never existed.
I returned home deflated. My mum smiled and offered me a coffee.
She was an invaluable member of the team, or so they claimed. The promised wine flowed, and Rachael basked in the admiration of her fellow co-workers. The bigwigs remained silent simply nodding their agreement here and there, raising their glasses in unison as if mannequins attached to the same string, gifting the occasional smile.
We partied for several hours, ate well, drank better, then readied for home. Rachael was the last to leave having the hands of all to shake before departing. I’d waited, being her only friend in the office, on the prior promise to walk her to her front door; the city was never safe at night.
It wasn’t until we were outside alone and well down the high street that she started to cry. Inconsolable, she drenched her handkerchief, then sleeve, then my shoulder.
I didn’t know what to say or do, I’d never been good with such things. Instead, I held her until she was ready to speak. What on earth had upset her so was beyond me? She was new to the company yet had risen fast. Yes, she might not have been popular because of it, but that wasn’t her fault. Three months into her stint, she’d gained the promotion to Staff Manager that several of us had coveted, yet failed to gain.
Eventually, she ceased her tears.
“Better?” I asked.
She shook her head and passed me a small envelope bearing the company seal: a ferocious tiger ripping out a deer’s throat with ruthless determination.
I poured the contents into my hand and read as follows.
Dear Miss R. Smith,
you have become invaluable to our organisation and are hereby promoted to Staff Manager. Many congratulations!
Your first task is to fire the office staff. They are now surplus to requirements.
“They said I was invaluable,” she whispered. “But how can I be when I’ve now nothing to be invaluable for?”
“Business is business,” I’d replied, as she passed me the note with my final salary.
Disassembling A Dream
’There’s bills to pay.’
’I’m not sure you do. You can’t look out of the window all your life dreaming that the glass will clear.’
’Money! The world is coloured green. You’ve got to have money to live, even to breathe. If you don’t get yourself out there, you’ll starve.’
’Is that your answer to everything? Don’t you know anything else? And stop looking out of that glass, I’ve told you.’
’I’m not looking.’
’Then what are you doing?’
’Just recalling a time when there wasn’t any glass at all.’
And I stood before the surging star stuff as in a dream, but a dream so real as to reach out and swirl the very fabric of reality with my fingertips. I thought then, Is this what it means to be God? If so, I'd rather just enjoy the view.
50 Word Stories: Jinxed?
My wife claimed I was jinxed. My typical day included: falling over the cat; losing my car keys; eating cold soup; brushing my teeth with shaving foam and best of all going to work in my slippers. Yes, jinxed my wife claimed, though my friends just called me a prat.
Gold was the colour
Of our midday rendezvous
A sparkling backdrop
Yet the colour fades in time
To more memorable blue
50 Word Stories: The Robin
For seven years, the Robin sang every morning at six o'clock. Regardless of season, weather, light or dark, the same little bird trilled me a special wake-up call. I expect that's why it hurt when he left. The mornings lost their exuberance. I couldn't bear to say he'd died.
"You mean infinite."
"Why would you say that?"
"Because everybody longs to live forever. The desire to be immortal is inbuilt. If a lifespan is finite, it has a definite ending. You can't mean that you wish for it all to end, to die?"
"Yet, I do. Yet, I am."