Author Topic: Everybody Out ...  (Read 2452 times)

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Offline scrappy

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Everybody Out ...
« on: June 24, 2013, 06:30:18 PM »

“Bastard.  Bloody snidey bastard.”  Adrian Forrester ground out the words bitterly as he pounded down the steps of McArthur Brothers and onto the wet pavement.  One of his loafers smacked into a grey puddle of oily water, sending dark spots up his trouser leg;  Adrian bent with a snarl of impotent rage to examine the damage and in the process dropped his briefcase into the same puddle.

“Who the hell do these jumped up little oiks think they are?” he enquired of nobody in particular, as he sipped moodily on a warm pint in the nearest pub.  “Looking down their bloody noses at me, just because I’m a rep.  I know more about engineering than the whole lot of them – five years at college, certificates to prove it, I can fix anything, me.  I’ve got a gift, I have.  Mum was right, I’m wasted doing this job.  Repping!  Trying to talk nobodies in posh suits up in their tower blocks into spending money they’re too damn mean to part with.  Bastards.”

Adrian Forrester had much to be bitter about.  He was pushing 50, grossly overweight, unmarried (although he tried kidding himself this was through choice) and had the sort of unfortunate personality that seemed to repel; this was undoubtedly a disadvantage in his line of work, although like many others with character defects he had a finely honed sense of his own importance and capability and very little self-awareness.  Since leaving college with a so-so knowledge of all things mechanical and an unjustified optimism that employers would be fighting each other to procure his skills, he had gradually come to the conclusion that being sacked from job after job was proof – if any was needed – that the world was “out to get him” and that all the ex-bosses he’d locked horns with were, frankly, jealous.

He lumbered away from the pub, wiping his lips of beer and attempting to avoid any further puddles as he made his way back to his small flat.  He stopped off at a news stand to buy the evening paper; tonight was job night, although in his present mood he doubted he would find much other than burger flipping.  He ran his eyes over the columns of small print, his lips curling in supercilious amusement as he read aloud the weasel words.  “Computer literate enthusiastic go-getter needed NOW!”  “Ha bloody ha” he sneered.  “A shop assistant with pimples and the IQ of a newt is what they mean.”  “Are you a yes man?  Then we don’t want you, we want a can-do man!”  “God help us” Adrian intoned.  “A can-do man?  To do what, sell cans?”  He slurped his instant coffee, lit a cigarette and leaned his plump elbows either side of the adverts, allowing the ash and the coffee drips to combine into a murky slurry at the top of the page.  It’s so damn unfair, he thought as his bloodshot eyes trawled the columns.  Here I am, all this potential, young, smart, more savvy than any of these yuppy kids who land prestigious careers in daddy’s business, and here I …..

A small ad at the bottom of one column caught his eye and he squinted short-sightedly at the words, leaning over and causing a worm of warm ash to plop into his flashy tie.  “A chance of a lifetime for one lucky man!  Are you good with your hands?  Intelligent but under-appreciated?  Fed up with dealing with idiots?  Call this number and change your life.” 

Adrian Forrester, frustrated and bitter, fat and middle aged, didn’t hesitate.  He grabbed the phone and with podgy fingers dialled the number.  “Probably already gone” he told himself, as he listened to the ring tone.“Can I help you?” a smoothly hypnotic female voice enquired gently.

“Er, yes you can, I hope” replied Adrian, his palms suddenly damp.
“It’s your ad.  I want to pop along if that’s allright.  Just let the dog see the rabbit, don’t you know.  Show you what you could be missing.”  That didn’t sound quite right to his ears, but she didn’t seem to notice.

“Of course sir,” the velvety voice responded, and proceeded to give Adrian explicit directions and an appointment time for the following morning. The office block was tucked away in a narrow road that Adrian had never noticed before, which was odd as he’d lived in the area all his life.  He’d made a special effort to look good for the interview – mock silk tie, not too garish and unstained, his grey suit from which he’d sponged most of the previous day’s mud, shiny shoes, dark socks and a generous splash of cologne.  “If that bird’s as good as she sounds” he smirked, “she’s going to get a treat when I lean in to shake her hand.”  The thought brought a faint colour up to his fat cheeks and a grin to his mouth.  He paused outside the doors, took out a tiny phial of breath freshener and squirted a jet down his throat.  He marched confidently over to a reception desk which was disconcertingly deserted.  No bell to attract attention either, he noted.  No visible CCTV to monitor who came and went, which was very lax of them.  He could fix them up in no time, might earn him a few brownie points …

Adrian ambled over to a leather chair against the wall and leaned back, crossing his legs.  He re-crossed them, then placed both feet firmly on the floor.  It was difficult to appear relaxed when you were sitting on your own and not sure who might suddenly pop out of one of the doors, but he attempted a semi-recumbent pose.  He was dying for a fag and hoped that whoever turned up was a smoker.  It really was too bad though, he thought irritably.  It was bang on the right time, he’d made the effort and ….  “Good morning sir.”  The voice breathed softly just behind his right elbow and Adrian nearly shot out of his chair.  He had heard nothing, no footsteps, no door opening.  The woman standing patiently a few feet away was the most beautiful creature he’d ever laid eyes on, and that included any of the celebs he lusted after on TV.  She was tall, willowy and pale, and the overhead lights brought her red-gold hair to life with tiny sparks as if her head was on fire.  She wore a tailored suit of palest cream, very simple and yet, and yet … Adrian felt dizzy and slightly sick, as if wakening from a fever and finding the room off-skew without quite understanding why.  The woman’s eyes met his.  Those eyes!  Palest blue, almost colourless as if the incessant rain outside had washed any colour right out of them leaving just the faintest residue.  Stone washed demin, thought Adrian wildly.  No, blind man’s eyes.  Was she blind?

The woman held out a narrow, white hand with colourless nails and delicate veining.  She held his gaze without expression, but her lips curled up slightly as if aware of the impression she was giving and it pleased her. “Are you good with your hands, Adrian?” she asked softly.

Adrian.  How the hell does she know my name?  Did I mention it on the phone?  Of course, I must have done.  How else would she know?  Wild meandering thoughts chased each other across Adrian’s mind, chaotic, panicked.  “Pull yourself together, man” he reprimanded himself.  “It’s a job interview, for God’s sake.”
Adrian took a breath, sucked in his ample stomach and smiled ingratiatingly.
“Well yes, I am.  Extremely good.  I can fix most things actually.  Machinery, electronic equipment, computers.  Something of an expert, me.”

“Oh, wonderful.  I’m so pleased.  I think you may do very well.”  The woman introduced herself.  “I’m Angela, by the way.  I can see how enthusiastic you are, Adrian.  Tell me, have you had much luck in life?”

Such an odd thing to ask, he thought.  She sounded like a bloody fortune teller.  A hot fortune teller, it’s true, but even so; what sort of question was that?  The funny thing was, he found himself suddenly telling her everything, all the slights he’d suffered as a rep, the misery and humiliation of unsuccessful jobs due to the incompetence of the idiots who paid his salary, the barely hidden sniggering asides from kids half his age at coffee machines.  All of it.  Every damn let down, every lonely night nursing a pint at a table on his own at the pub, the comfort eating, the smoking.  He felt oddly cleansed, as if he’d offloaded to a priest in the confessional.   Angela patted his hand, and he could swear her denim eyes were moist with empathy.

“Now, Adrian” she said, standing up.  “We do of course need you to complete a practical test before we can take you on.  I hope that’s acceptable to you, but you do understand?”

“Of course, of course” Adrian nodded keenly.  He’d expected some sort of test, hell, he’d had enough practice.  She was probably going to show him a broken computer or maybe ask him to wire up some lighting system or something.  A thought suddenly occurred to him.  “Er, Angela?  I don’t think your ad actually mentioned what you do, did it?  Some kind of surveillance is it?  Fitting electrical equipment perhaps?”

Angela paused, considering.  “All will be explained shortly, Adrian.  First, I need you to go up to the top floor, where someone will meet you.”  She indicated a smooth black set of double doors set into a far wall.  “The lifts.  Just press the top button.”

He glanced round to thank her – and she had gone.  As if she had never been there at all, no sound of her footsteps, no sign of any nearby door.  Adrian stood in the centre of the large reception area, totally alone and staring all around him.  There it was again, that off-kilter sensation, that faintly nauseous feeling as if the world had slipped off its orbit for an instant.  Then it passed, and he was just Adrian again, standing like a fool on his own and approaching the lifts.  There was only one button to summon the lift, and the instant he pressed it, the doors slid noiselessly open to reveal a mirrored cubicle.  Expecting to see the usual row of buttons for the various floors, he was startled to see one large smooth disc with “top floor” engraved on its surface.

 “Ah, must be the executive lift” he surmised, grinning cockily.  “This will be my own way up to my very own office at the top;  give it a year and I’ll be using this one and to hell with the plebs fighting to use the other one.”  He stuck his fat finger into the disc and depressed it firmly.

At first Adrian thought there must be a fault.  The lift appeared to be stationary, and he searched in vain for a Help button.  No, it was moving, he realised.  Christ, it was slow!  How the hell did Mr Big get to work?  He would be quicker taking the stairs, or perhaps he left the house an hour earlier.  This was ridiculous!  He could tell the lift was ascending, although at such a gentle rate it was unbelievable.  Well, this would be the first thing he’d mention once he did get up there; things would have to change once he was on the executive staff….

A movement from the corner of his eye caught his attention.  All the walls were seamless mirrored glass, as was the ceiling.  Each view reflected Adrian’s crumpled suit, gelled hair and darting eyes, like one of those fairground hall of mirrors, he thought.  Quite creepy really.  Except surely the ceiling and walls hadn’t been quite so close?  The lift crept on, smoothly, silently, towards the top floor.  Adrian Forrester stood enclosed within his mirrored box, sweating through his shirt and running his hands down the walls, looking for – what?  He sank to his knees, placed a pen an a short distance from the angle of the wall and floor and watched incredulously as the wall inched its way towards the pen until it lay right up against it.  The pen then began its creeping journey towards him.    Frantically peering up at the ceiling, he was sure it was at least six inches closer to the top of his head now.  Was he going mad?  And why didn’t the bloody lift move faster?

“Help!” he yelled into the vacuum.  “Help needed in here!  Anyone hear me?”

“Hello Adrian” came the soothing velvety voice of Angela.

“Who – where are you?  What the hell’s going on here? “  Adrian felt himself falling through the fabric of sanity.  He wanted his flat, his pub, his mother.

“This is your practical test, Adrian” Angela explained in a patient tone, as if to a backward child.  “Remember?  To see if you’re as good with your hands as you said you were.  You need to stop the walls and ceiling shrinking before you reach the top floor.  It’s not far to go now.  I’ve slowed the lift down to make it easier for you, but you don’t have long, Adrian.  See you on the top floor – maybe.”

Adrian screamed.  He was by now on his knees as there was insufficient head room for him to stand, and the side walls were sliding ever closer.  He squatted with his arms out at his sides to hold back the movement, but nothing helped.  He began to blubber, and begged the disembodied voice to let him out.  A warm wetness squirted down the leg of his trousers and puddled on the shiny floor.  The lift crept ever upwards.

Angela’s kindly voice echoed around the tiny space of the lift, although Adrian by now hardly registered the fact.  He lay flat on his face, his wobbly stomach spread out on either side of him, legs bent, arms squashed to his sides.  Fat drops of greasy tears slid down his cheeks and the remnants of a long-forgotten garbled prayer tried to escape his mouth.

“This is what we do, Adrian.  We’re Corporeal Recycling of Useless Deposits – CRUD for short.  Oh look, here we are – the top floor.  Everybody out.”




Paddle faster - I hear banjos!

Offline Krippers

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Re: Everybody Out ...
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2013, 11:37:21 AM »
I like this, it's exceptionally engaging, really well crafted. I say I like it, it took me a few minutes to decide if I did or not. Which is why I say it is well crafted.

Good one.
In a world bereft of hope, lost to immeasurable inhumanity,   entrenched in commercial exploitation, devoid of hope, where's my underpants?

Offline Outoftowner

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Re: Everybody Out ...
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2013, 12:46:53 PM »
http://buzz50.com/forum/25-stories/1441774-everybody-out


This bit was missing.

Quote
Carole Jones © 21/1/2012
What's it all about?

Offline Weebleman

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Re: Everybody Out ...
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2013, 01:13:21 PM »
http://buzz50.com/forum/25-stories/1441774-everybody-out


This bit was missing.

Quote
Carole Jones © 21/1/2012



You getting your drawers cellular in a twist here over something OOT. I just assume it's the same person submitting the work in both places, nothing sinister :-)

Offline Outoftowner

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Re: Everybody Out ...
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2013, 01:32:03 PM »
http://www.ipo.gov.uk/c-basicfacts.pdf

Infringement of the copyright laws may bring something down on Geoff's head.
My "drawers, cellular" are in a twist on his behalf, as he is away studying disgusting Viking smells and early industrial artefacts.
What's it all about?

Offline Outoftowner

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Re: Everybody Out ...
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2013, 01:48:30 PM »
There is always the chance that Kripper's competition has attracted the original author to the TS site, in which case I apologise but still advise claiming copyright in the normal way.
What's it all about?

Offline scrappy

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Re: Everybody Out ...
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2013, 02:10:10 PM »
I deliberately left my name off the story I posted here as I wished to be gender-neutral  - but as you felt it was your duty to include it on my behalf, cheers for that.
Paddle faster - I hear banjos!

Offline Weebleman

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Re: Everybody Out ...
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2013, 03:47:12 PM »
.... he is away studying disgusting Viking smells and early industrial artefacts.

Yes! I also don't see the reason for travelling so far from home when he could experience the same effects on a night out with us  :wink:

Offline Outoftowner

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Re: Everybody Out ...
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2013, 05:19:10 PM »
The grass is always greener........................
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Offline Simon

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Re: Everybody Out ...
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2013, 08:21:11 PM »
I personally don't care about your gender, scrappy. If you're the author of this story then please feel free to post more if you want to, this is really good  :)
We are all in this together, but some of us are more in it than others (with apologies to George Orwell)

Offline Mart

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Re: Everybody Out ...
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2013, 08:51:54 PM »
For those who can't be there.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_fldhVW8Yg

I'm off to run up and down me oars.
Sometimes I think you have to march right in and demand your rights, even if you don’t know what your rights are, or who the person is you’re talking to. Then, on the way out, slam the door.

Offline I Could Do That

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Re: Everybody Out ...
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2013, 11:03:38 PM »
I think Outoftowner has a good point.

Why cut and paste novels on here? (particularly if it's somebody else's work)
Why not just post the link with a brief description?

Always wary of anything that doesn't make sense
(and not in a stupid Rob way either)
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Offline boothill

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Re: Everybody Out ...
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2013, 10:38:15 AM »
                                                                                                      My contribution in the short story category



                                                                                                   Once upon a time.......the end.      short enough ?
Old people believe everything...middle aged people suspect everything...young people know everything    3 2 1 back in the room !

Offline Outoftowner

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Re: Everybody Out ...
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2013, 12:47:15 PM »
Quote
Always wary of anything that doesn't make sense
(and not in a stupid Rob way either)

I think that in this case this is Scrappy's own work ICDT.

What Scrappy may not be aware of is that it is not unusual for us to see plagiarised items as well as the obvious "cut and pastes"almost invariably from members that have a low post count. Some of this is done by people, whose elegant prose from the cut and paste, is soon shown up by their complete lack of English language knowledge when they use computerised translators to make a comment. Other times it is an actual machine that has searched the net and made a comment, often actually starting a new thread in the process. We call these "bots", as in Robots.

Had there been a short intro before these items, then we would have known that we were not dealing with a spammer or a "bot".

Excuse us Scrappy but we have become wary for good reason. :surrender:




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Offline scrappy

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Re: Everybody Out ...
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2013, 01:25:32 PM »
Fair enough.  Any further stories, I'll introduce them as my own work beforehand.
Paddle faster - I hear banjos!

Offline Alex

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Re: Everybody Out ...
« Reply #15 on: June 30, 2013, 06:59:08 PM »
Very good indeed. Certainly well crafted. I loved the ending- you were prepared for something of a twist but that was quite dark and not what I was expecting. Really hooked right from the start.