Note: This story was entered in a 500-word writing contest in 2015. It weighs in at 499 words.
My ears were ringing and I could not focus my attention. I blinked hard and looked across the desk at Dan. His mouth was moving, he was talking about something or other, but it was a murmur of sound. No distinct words were registering in my head.
I took a deep breath in and let it out. My hearing returned and Dan was still talking, “…and so the shop will pay you while you are dealing with this issue. Just keep track of your time and let me know so I can get it in the correct job code.”
I walked out of his office in the basement of the Hertz building and headed up the exit ramp from the underground parking garage. Stunned silence turned into agitated motion as I began the 6-block journey to the medical clinic on Market Street.
After everything that I have done for them it comes down to this? I have worked my balls off for this shop and now it all may be over? I might be done? Dead?
Gusts of wind slapped the collar of my jacket against the side of my face in an effort to divert my attention. It wasn’t happening, I was too upset to let this go. The sky and my mood were both darkening.
Five years. That was how long I had been with Dutton Electric. This time around. I worked for them a total of eight out of the last ten years and this is how it ends? Light raindrops fell on my face as I opened the door to the doctor’s office. Fucking perfect.
Three strides across the lobby brought me to the receptionist’s desk. She smiled and said, “How may I help you?”
“I’m Charlie Farnsworth and I am supposed to pick up a copy of my chest X-ray.”
“Oh, yes, we’ve been expecting you.”
She picked up a large manila folder and handed it to me. I looked at the warning on the side: X-ray Film. Do Not Bend.
“It’s getting windy out there, be careful with that film.”
“Yes, ma’am,” I said. “I wouldn’t want to create more problems for myself today.”
“Good luck, I hope that it goes well for you.”
The rain and wind stopped during my walk back to the Hertz building. High fast-moving clouds dotted the blue sky. A mixture of shadows and light were cast down the street by the afternoon sunlight bouncing off the sides of the steel and glass high-rise office buildings.
How many more days like this will I be able to enjoy? Enjoy? Hell, how many more days do I have left?
I went down the exit ramp to Dan’s office and found him at his desk. “I am going to catch an early bus home and then take this X-ray to my doctor.”
Dan checked his watch, “Ok, but I can’t pay you overtime to do it.”
You motherfu… “I didn’t expect you to. See you tomorrow?”
“Yeah, tomorrow. Good luck.”
The following little ditty from Dr. John kept running through my head while I wrote this story.