We are All Mad Here

… Perturbed and confused, he got into his car, as he did every morning, and made his way to work. As he went into the brightly lit open plan office, he nodded with a smile of recognition to the receptionist sitting in the entrance way. She ignored him. She often did, though he wondered if there was something unusual about the way she ignored him this morning. He sat at his desk, switched on his computer and looked about the office. He was early. Only a few people had arrived at the far end of the office. He raised his hand to wave good morning, but they didn’t see him. He stared at his monitor screen and saw the twin shadows dancing before him.

He sat that way for quite some time before he felt a tap on the shoulder. He looked up and saw the receptionist looking down at him, steely faced, overly made up with savagely plucked eyebrows and dank brown hair scraped back into a French twist that looked like a protruding seam enclosing her head. Something like the folded seam on a Cornish pasty encasing all the hot meaty potato goodies inside. Her shimmering pinky lips were moving though he couldn’t hear what she was saying above the drilling. He winced and moved his head up closer to her. She looked away in annoyance, looked back at him, moved her lips again, rolled her eyes dramatically towards her thin black eyebrows and then clip clopped with her heavy heels, vibrating thunderously loud, back to her desk. From this distance he thought he could see her giving him a dirty look but he couldn’t be sure. He looked around him and saw that the office had filled up. People were all typing and talking away and he considered it odd that he hadn’t noticed up until now. He had been preoccupied with the drilling and the twin shadows that seemed to be hanging about him like a giant dark cloud. He looked at the young new starter who sat at the desk closest to him. The boy was deeply engrossed in some kind of chart printed onto a large sheet of paper. Edward coughed to get the boy’s attention. Nothing. He leaned forward and grinned in what he felt was a friendly way. Nothing. To which Edward leaned back in his swivel chair and started whistling. Nothing….

(Extract taken from full story first published in ‘Curious Tales’, 2018)

Copyright 2018 Joon Haque. All rights reserved