1 - 2774

1 - 2774

A Chapter by ansley2408

1. Day 2774

It was the start of Stuart’s 2774th day of work, not that he kept a running count of each and every day at work, it was just a slightly depressive, yet inexplicably addictive exercise, that he would carry out whilst bored at work. He had been bored this morning whilst waiting for the computer to load up, so in the six and a half minutes it had taken it, he had multiplied the number of years he had worked here by the number of days in a year and calculated that today; was day number 2774. This wasn’t strictly accurate as he had not subtracted weekends, holidays and other days off, but as far as he was concerned those days never truly belonged to him, all of his days belonged to the job.

It was still dark outside and even the cold harsh fluorescent tubes couldn’t keep the darkness out of the office, it loomed in like a noxious cloud. He was one of the few people who enjoyed the benefits of starting work at 7am: being able to finish at 3pm, and not having to do any work for the first hour (on account of nobody else being there). He had been doing it for nigh on eighteen years and had come to the conclusion that it was the best work day available (one could start at any time between 7 and 10 providing that 7.39 hours were worked in the day). It did mean having to drive to work in the dark in the winter, but this was something that he had grown to love. The M60 was almost empty and he would cruise along at a slow pace, heating on full and gripping a travel mug in one hand as the motorway stretched out ahead of him like some orange serpent glowing in the night. He would arrive at work, park up in the empty and icy car park and make a point of walking over the grass, deriving a little pleasure from the crunch of the half frozen blades. It was the little pleasures that counted; people said. He would walk into the old office buildings with his breath steaming out ahead of him, a locomotive, continuing even inside. He would take his seat, turn on the computer and then conduct various tasks whilst waiting for it to boot: making tea or porridge, organising his post it notes for the day, checking the news app, checking the weather app, calculating how many days he had been here. It was supposed to be a clear day today, this was good news, the office block was a way out of town and sat amongst fields. In winter, on a clear day you could see the sky turn from black to purple, from purple to orange as the sun emerged over the frozen fields, then finally to a crisp blue: the little pleasures.

However the little pleasures could only go so far, the crunch of the grass, the pleasant winter mornings, heading to the beer gardens for lunch during summer, the weekly meeting with Jenny from transfers. Sooner or later you needed the big pleasures, and Stuart was distinctly lacking in these. When he had landed the job they had been in abundance, he had gone straight out of school -most of his mates were busy working up debts at university or travelling- and he was earning a decent salary, driving a decent car and taking decent girls to decent restaurants to eat. However as he had aged, his friends had at first caught up with him and then overtaken him; he remained simply decent. Now, by comparison, the salary was average, the car was outdated and expensive to run, none of the girls had ever persisted and somehow, despite his years of service, he had only managed to save around ten grand, (no small amount, but not significant enough to actually do anything with). He was also startled by how little he possessed, most of his money had been spent on things that had quickly gone obsolete, their value fading like his prospects. ‘Something has to change’ he wrote boldly on a pale yellow post-it, before screwing it up and tossing into the bin, tracing the footsteps of  countless of its predecessors.

Slowly the other occupants of the office filed in, and as they did Stuart had to actually start working. He had mastered his job years earlier, was thoroughly adequate at it and met all his targets, he had perfected the art of “the bare minimum” and despite having to be present for 7.39 hours every day, only actually had to work around 6. Now at 8.17am, the office was almost full, and "porridge and BBC news behind him- he would start working. There were the usual morning rituals as the others came in: the chatter about the snow on the roads; the analysis of the weekends footballing events; the sick calls and the subsequent moaning about the people who made them; the conflict between Janice and Neil over whether to have all of the lights on or not, which like some sectarian civil war had raged for near on a year now, spilling over onto Stuart’s row of desks and incorporating numerous actors to either side (both sides had tried to recruit him at some point but in all honesty he couldn’t give a f**k). He hated office politics. Yes something had to change; but nothing would. He sighed and began to type.

Why day 2774? Why do we need to hear about this day? The reason we have picked up the story here, on the 2774th day of Stuart’s employment as a pensions administrator, the reason we have joined him here out of countless other days, is that, contrary to his laments and despairs, things were about to change. They were about to change very fast, and in very many directions. Uncontrollable is probably too strong a word, but they would certainly not be controllable. Stuart typed on oblivious, and sighed. 

© 2013 ansley2408

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Added on July 21, 2013
Last Updated on August 2, 2013
Tags: Administration, routine-breaking, mundane, job, work, stress



North West, United Kingdom

I'm a relative beginner to this, mainly writing fiction at the moment. I welcome all feedback and reviews especially with regards to my style, and also grammar, which I am a little unsure of. more..

3 - Watching. 3 - Watching.

A Chapter by ansley2408