100 words, seven days, then spliced together with jam.
My body aches when I wake up. My vision is blurry when I wake up. Night terrors once again. The bed sheets on the floor, my girlfriend still sound asleep, unmoving, silent breathing.
The clock on the wall said 11.36, a lazy Sunday lie in. I got out of bed, climbing over the sleeping girlfriend, and went to have a shower. I sit in the bath as the water hits my body, and I try to recall the dreams of the night before. I think there was something to do with getting repetitive strain injury while at work, or something else packed with the imagination of dreams. The water was lukewarm, and I continued to ache.
I left the shower when the water turned cold, it didn’t take long, and after a quick half assed dry with a towel, I stepped back into my bedroom and sat on the bed holding my head. My girlfriend was still asleep, I nudged her but she just bled. Blood seeping out from under her body. When I turned her over, I saw the gaping wound with her fluids draining out, keeping her silently sleeping. Sunday morning.
The office is freezing. The pile of work is mountain high, and I can’t see over to my colleague, who never gives me eye contact anyway. And the office is freezing. I stare at the pile for a while and wonder why we don’t just use email. And the office is freezing. The boss smiles at me as he walks past and he gives the thumbs up. He did this to the last person who sat in this chair too. And the office is freezing.
I sit at the office wearing a coat over a hoody, a hoody over a jumper, a jumper over a shirt, a shirt over a T-shirt, and a T-shirt over a vest. I complete a handful of the workload, and each one stinks, all rushed out to meet a target. I shiver because the office is freezing and the pieces come back, torn to sunder. I just want some warmth. I could burn the pages and lie my head in the flames. Never a good Monday, and it ended with the announcement of a meeting the next day to discuss my ‘output’ with a client.
I slept on the sofa at night, I didn’t want to wake her from her death.
I had to take some Prozac the next morning, as I was getting the shakes. I’d been up all night worrying about the meeting, and I was even worse on the day. The shovel store (Digging A Hole) client I was meeting, Dan Han, was a towering sort of guy, with a big bushy beard.
He asked to see my work, and now calm, I showed him, and he nodded his head and purred, his eyes glancing over at a female colleague who wears short skirts in January. It was work he hadn’t even seen yet, despite having been sent out a week ago, and he still hadn’t seen it when he scrunched it up into a ball and stuffed it into his mouth.He then proceeded to vomit the paper out of his mouth and stared at me intensely.
‘It doesn’t even taste good.’
‘It doesn’t have to taste good,’ I stammered as drool rolled down his beard.
‘I’m not an angry man. I’m not a bad man. I’ll give you another chance with my reports, but I think you need to get to grips with my wares…’ Before I could answer, he marched out of the room, pocketing some biscuits on the way. I stared at the soggy remnants of my report for the rest of the day.
My dead girlfriend is still lying on the bed when I get home. She stares at me with cold unblinking eyes, her head rested on a pillow. I haven’t moved the body yet as I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I’m certain I didn’t kill her, but it didn’t really matter if I had or hadn’t. People would think I did it if they saw me dragging her down the steps regardless, and I can’t take the extra stress along with work.
‘I’ll sort you out tomorrow,’ a whisper as I kiss her neck.
‘Whatever,’ she groans, her breath stinking of sick.
He’s standing outside my work in the morning, clasping a polystyrene cup of coffee or tea or something. He nods his head as I approach and I just look at him without saying anything.
‘I’ve got what you asked for,’ he muttered, and walked towards his van, opening the back doors to pull out a shovel.
‘I didn’t ask for anything.’
‘Now once you’ve dug a few holes here and there, I’m sure you’ll know how to write proper reports!’
‘Sure,’ I say, knowing he’ll hate everything I do. He hands over the shovel then drives off, Patti Smith Group blaring from his in van radio.
The shovel stays by my desk all day and colleagues give me funny looks, the first looks they’ve given me in months. They don’t say anything. I don’t say anything. It’s still cold.
On the way home I sat on the train with the shovel by my side. The train was full of depressed looking people, staring at the floor, or a phone. There is little difference.
My train friend was sat across from me and I was telling her all about my day, and a recent film I saw about a man dressing up as different people and living their lives, until she silenced me and said.
‘I can’t hear anything you’re saying, you know.’
I sat for the rest of the journey in silence, clutching my shovel. I didn’t have much else to say anyway. When she got off I stared at her empty seat.
My dead girlfriend won’t let me bury her. After deciding to make use of Dan’s shovel to make digs efficient and easy, she won’t let me.
‘You’re not burying me,’ she said, lying in a heap in the garden, her ribs protruding from the hole in her skin.
‘But, I don’t know what else to do, you’re starting to smell, and I’m up all night worrying about my job. I just need some time alone to organise my affairs. Is that too much to ask?’
‘Are you saying I smell?’
In the end I put the shovel in the shed, and my dead girlfriend still sleeps in my bed. She doesn’t smell that bad, really. She’s getting a bit thin, and so am I. The pile at work continues to grow fat, as if sapping the life from me. When I go to work, they call me the Walking Dead.
And the office is still freezing.