Monday Morning

Monday Morning

A Story by Hendro Smit

Dave woke up on monday morning, he went to work and fell into the same old routine he always did. It was the best day of his life, his last.


Monday Morning

My head ached and the world was nothing more than a dull buzz to me as I sat at my desk this morning, cold coffee in one hand and a tax report in the other. I hadn't gotten much sleep last night and I was still shaking off the burning in my eyes when I noted that the florescent lights above my cramped little cubicle were unusually loud today. The dull pulsing pain I felt in my head started closing in like a cloud of claustrophobic black smoke whirling around me. Finally, I tried to pull myself out of my somewhat distressing state and try to get some work done, money is tight and I can’t afford to feel like every morning is my last. I brushed away the cold beads of sweat that had started forming on my brow and righted my hair, it’s a bit of a nervous habit. “Come on Dave get it together, just breathe. Only a few more hours and you can go home and get some rest.” I muttered to myself.

I had been working at SFFR for the last ten years, don’t ask me what the name means I just assumed it was just a subtle way of telling us that we come here to suffer. My job was comfortable, I was in sales and I had done well for myself but my career isn't anything remarkable, I’m just a number, another face in the office. My boss, Steve Harvey Walker, was one of those people that always seemed happy and confidant. He’s the type of guy that had everything going his way. He was in his early forties but looked much younger, dark sleek hair, strong sharp jawline and the body of an aging athlete. Every day I'd see him walk into the office wearing one of his excruciatingly mundane suits, flash his sterling white smile at the secretary and greet every single one of his employees by name. He did the same thing the same way every single day, Steve was a creature of habit if nothing else.

I ran my fingers through my hair again and stared at the little computer screen in front of me that had come out of the company's golden years in the late 80's. A lot of things in this office come from the so called golden years of SFFR and we always heard the stories about the ambitious young businessmen that started it all. What they never tell you is how it all fell apart, how those young men began to taste power and the greed spread like an old familiar corruption through them. SFFR became nothing more than another corporate machine.

A hand fell on my back and my heart skipped a beat. "Did you finish those tax returns yet Dave?" Steve said as he leaned into my cubicle, only half committed to entering. "Not yet but I'll have it on your desk by this afternoon" I lied. "I need you to be proactive Dave, this company can't move forward if you don't show a little initiative!” he said with an utterly insincere smile. "I'll get right on it" I muttered. "Great! I love it when you're motivated Dave". He had this way of always having my name in the sentence when he spoke to me, probably something he learned at a manager’s conference or something but it drove me up the wall. He walked to the next cubicle where I could hear him giving an almost identical speech to the next number on his list. My chair strained as I leaned back and I looked down at the ice cold cup of coffee I had in my hand and grimaced. Nothing worse than cold coffee. I poured it into the little blue plastic trash can I'd been given as some kind of joke prize at a “teambuilding exercise” a few years ago. I stood up and pushed my chair into my desk, squeezing past my big filing cabinet and almost fell into one of the interns in my attempts to leave my largely disorganised cubicle.

The office was full and loud. You could always hear someone talking on the phone or yelling to a cubicle on the other side of the room. I’ve always thought that there’s something inherently unnerving in being surrounded by people you don’t know. It’s like you’re not part of the same world anymore. You’re alone somewhere far away and all you can see is the shadows of these people that will never even know you existed. It’s a scary thought but hey, at least they put in a new coffee machine last week and Steve had said that we could have as much as we wanted as long as we stayed productive. So I walked down the aisles and aisles of cubicles, took a left at the broken water fountain and down the stairs to the break room.

I switched on the big chrome machine that stood completely out of place on the little plastic table in the break room. The decrepit old table was held level by a few magazines that were shoved under one of the legs and it was littered with little polystyrene cups and crumpled up papers. Our microwave was broken so it had been a while since I've actually had a warm lunch at work and the fridge looked like it was salvaged from a scrap yard in the 70’s. There were notes all over the room, though fights would better describe the little messages that were stuck the fridge and to the walls. Stuff like "To whoever took one of my doughnuts. You are the scum of the earth and I hope it makes you sick!!! " a man without a pastry" and "To the inconsiderate person that left the break room in such a terrible state. I don't know who you are or who taught you to use a fork but I will find you and kill you." they weren't an awfully creative bunch. This room had something about it, something that made me uncomfortable. It was dull and smelled of mould and rotting food, all the colours were soft and muted to keep us more calm I imagine and only half the lights actually worked. The walls all had these motivational posters on them that just seemed wrong somehow. “At SFFR we’re like a family, wasting company time kills your family” and “Productivity is the lifeblood of industry so don’t be a dirty leach” Written in big bold letters under the picture of someone who seemed far too happy to be human.

I was quickly pulled back down to earth when a little beep came from the coffee machine. I hit the button and put a cup under the overly complicated chrome piping. The smell of coffee always makes me feel better; those strong refined flavours drifting through the air and slipping into my nostrils made me remember that everything's going to be alright. It made me feel at home even if my real home never really felt like one. I was so captivated by the smell of the coffee I had hardly realised my cup was already overflowing. I quickly shut the machine off and hurriedly grabbed some paper towels from under a pile of candy wrappers and shoved them onto the table.

 I abruptly became very aware that I was not the only one in the room. I’m an anxious person and I hate feeling exposed. I heard the door creek and the soft feminine giggle permeated the room. I spun round in a quick jerking motion and spilled my coffee onto my pristine white shirt. Caroline stood in the door, laughing to herself. She was tall and her long hair was beautiful amber red that streaked past her plump cheeks. She had a cute face, big well shaped lips and a small delicate nose. The kind of girl that was head cheerleader in high school and defiantly not the kind of girl that I wanted to make a fool of myself around.

"Are you okay?" she asked, still very amused. "I'm fine... I'm just... I'm having a rough day" I sighed. She rolled her eyes and brushed past me. She slipped a few coins into the old ragged looking vending machine while I grabbed a washcloth from the sink and tried to clean myself off. This was my only presentable work shirt, I won’t go into detail about what happed to my others but let’s just say my washing machine had to be sent in for repairs after it had a disagreement with a few of its older and more rebellious components and my shirts had gotten caught in the crossfire. I felt an elbow dig sharply into my side and Caroline handed me a bottle of water. “Try not to spill this one okay” she said as she made her way out of the room. I took a sip of the ice cold water and smiled. Every cloud as they say.

I had a very real problem now. My boss is not what I would call lenient when it comes to “his” employees and how he wants them to be dressed. “Steven Harvey Walker is not a man who tolerates untidy employees!” is what he would spout at us every time someone came to the office without a tie on. Not to mention it was a Monday and he was bound to give some kind of motivational speech before we left so I wouldn’t exactly be able to sneak under the radar and hope he doesn’t see me. If I could just make it back to my apartment I’d be able to wash out the stain in the sink or at least make it less noticeable but I’d have to be quick, Steve checks in on us at around 11:34 am, I know this because that’s four minutes after I need to start calling my clients and I find his presence so irksome I always do something wrong. Then I get some kind of a speech about how I need to start making a better me and concentrating at work. Every single day. Okay its 10 am now so I might be able to run home, fix my shirt and make it back before Steve starts asking too many questions. That is if I can convince Kevin to cover for me.

I quickly slipped out the door and over to my cubicle without being noticed. Kevin was a big guy, he always looked like he’d just eaten because he had little pieces of food stuck in his short scruffy beard every day, all day. There were also always big yellow stains underneath his mammoth arms and pimples lined his neck, which I always found odd because he was already in his fifties. Still all and all I liked the guy. He was cheerful, although not very intelligent but I could count on him to help me in this kind of situation. “Hey Kevin how’s it going man” “Dave! I haven’t seen you all day. What on earth happened to your shirt?” he said, almost snorting with surprise. “That’s what I need to talk to you about. I need to run home and fix this mess before Steve finds out and hangs my a*s up to dry. Do you think you could cover for me? Just make sure he doesn’t notice I’m gone.”  I had a cool serious tone but he seemed very amused by me and laid back in his chair chuckling.” Well sure Dave I could probably help you out but what’s in it for me?” “How about I bring you some lunch tomorrow? I’ll go to that nice little pizza place you love so much and everything” That was all I needed to say, he agreed immediately. “I got it covered man, you go get yourself cleaned up and don’t forget I like the thick crust. Oh and don’t let them be all stingy with the anchovies! They always cheat me out of my anchovies.” he was laughing and almost falling off his chair at this point so I left without another word.

I put on my old black duster to cover up as best I could and quickly grabbed my keys. I ran down to the lobby weaving in between high class executives and bumbling assistants on the way. I was going fast, my legs almost floating underneath me as I flew down the stone steps at the front of our office building and into the open air of the office park. There were dark clouds rolling in from the West and the air felt heavy. I could feel the rumble of a thunderstorm in the distance so I upped my speed, I don’t have an athletic build but I’m tall and walking to work every day has gotten me pretty fit so I could speed up with relative ease to avoid getting drenched in the storm.  I waved at the guy selling hotdogs on the corner. His name was Ron but I always called him Reggie. He was a nice guy, always had a story to tell if you had the time to listen and I usually did. Every now and then he’d give me a hotdog on the house so I was always eager to talk.

As I passed him I nearly ran into an old professor standing by an oak tree on the corner, he had an ancient tweed jacket on and his old battered face had a hint of joy in it. It was a busy day; there were people everywhere, people in cars and people walking on the street, people sitting in restaurants and people running to catch the bus. I always wonder where all these people were going, where they had to be. Why did lady in the sleek corporate attire with her hair pulled back in a neat bun looked so upset? Why was there a dog barking in the middle of down town Chicago? Why was the smell of sewage and the sound of jackhammers not nearly as bad today?

I had a lot on my mind as I ran across the street and I could feel the first drops of the storm hit my face. The lightning flashed and the loud crack of thunder rumbled down my spine. When there’s a storm like this I can almost feel the energy in the air waiting to escape, this raw power held in the sky looking for a way out, a way to release. There was a loud screech to my right and I quickly turned to see what had caused it. To my horror I saw that there was a bus hurtling towards me, there was nowhere for me to go, nothing I could do. You know how they say that just before you meet your end your whole life flashes before your eyes? Well the only thing that went through my mind the seconds before that huge hunk of metal smashed into me and wiped my existence away was ”S**t.”

Time moves very slowly in your final seconds and you feel disconnected from it all. It’s like you’re watching a movie but there’s something more, a connection and an understanding you could never get from just watching. I didn’t feel any pain as it hit me. I felt it snap my spine and turn my ribs to dust. I felt my muscles rip and my brain smash into the side of my skull. Then finally I fell to the ground, the whole world slowly turning grey as the blood rushed from my mangled body and flowed onto the street beneath me. My final breath left my lips and I knew it would be over, it was all over. My last bit of strength pulled a smile across my face and then it all went black.

© 2016 Hendro Smit

Author's Note

Hendro Smit
This is the first time I've tried to write in a more formal capacity, I hope you enjoy it. The story is brief but I am considering taking it further if you guys think it's worth it.

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Added on May 13, 2016
Last Updated on May 13, 2016
Tags: death, fiction, office, short story


Hendro Smit
Hendro Smit

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