Hearing an alarm. Sleepily turning off said alarm. Having a shower. Putting on a tie. Brushing your teeth. Having breakfast whilst listening to Radio Two. Saying goodbye to the wife. Dropping the kids off at school. Driving to the train station. Buying a ticket to London. Boarding said train to London. Sitting in train for two hours whilst reading the Guardian. Getting off train at other end and walking in the direction of nearest Tube Station.
Tapping in. Standing on the right. Walking the length of the platform. Standing well behind the yellow line. Hearing the announcements from your favourite TfL worker. Boarding your train when it finally arrives. Getting a seat. Re-reading the same paper you read on the two hour train journey to London. The flicker of light through tunnels. Giving up a seat. Listening to a podcast. Laughing out loud. Remembering there are other people. Saying “sorry”. Avoiding eye contact. Checking Insta. Minding the gap. Standing on the right again. Tapping out. Getting an hour to your self in the morning whilst you walk from the Tube Station to your actual office.
Receptionists. Caffeine-filled air. Taking a lift. Seeing your second family. Watercooler conversations. Proper bants. The boss’s jokes. Plastic plants. Office gossip. Those weird carpets. Face-to-face meetings. Not having to make lunch. CCing. BCCing. Accidentally replying all. Hearing buzzwords.
Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a flipping big television. Choose washing machines, cars, compact disk players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three piece-suit on hire purchase in a range of flipping fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the heck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit crushing game shows, stuffing flipping junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, living your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, effed up brats you spawned to replace yourselves. Choose your future. Choose life… But why would I want to do a thing like that? I choose not to choose life. I choose something else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you’ve got heroine?
“Dave?” “Dave?” “DAVE!”
Dave Peterson broke from the trance he had been in since waking up, and finally showed more emotion than the blank face he pulled from his bed in Lower Strangling to the easy chair around the long meeting table in his office.
“Er, what? Sorry, I just drifted off,” Dave told his work colleagues and his boss; Noah Campbell, none of whom he’d seen in the flesh since that fateful morning in March when everyone had received a text saying “Have a lie-in, we’re working from home… indefinitely.”
“We were just wondering whether you had any ideas for what innovative technology we could design and release next year,” Noah Campbell told Dave whilst staring at him in the eyes, “well, do you?”
Dave looked round the table and saw that every single one of his colleagues were looking at him as if he was about to say something incredible.
Dave stared at Noah for a few seconds before simply replying, “no, not really.”
Noah and the other people round the table sighed exasperated sighs.
“We’re getting nowhere with this,” Dave’s friend and colleague Liam Davies said, “perhaps we should just call it a day.”
“No we are not calling it a day,” Noah declared, “no matter how much I really want to.”
The meeting continued with various suggestions for new technology that were incredibly sub par compared to the eThompson that they came up with in May.
“I still think my Tennis ball would be worth it”, Giles Richardson added.
“Giles, we decided against your Tennis ball because it would take part of the fun out of Tennis and leave the Ball Boys and Ball Girls out of a job,” Noah explained to Giles.
“It would also reduce the abuse Ball Boys and Ball Girls sometimes receive from Tennis players”, Giles replied.
Noah sighed before continuing the meeting. “Does anyone have any good ideas?”, Noah asked his subordinates, “anyone at all”.
“We could just forget about being truly original and just bring out a phone?”, Liam suggested.
The others murmured in agreement.
“We can’t just ‘bring out a phone’, Banana is different to any other technological companies, it’s original, it’s democratic, and most importantly it’s British,” Noah proclaimed before sitting down. “We could bring out an original phone which is better than our competitors phones?”, Liam proposed. Once again the others murmured in agreement.
Noah stared at his subordinates for a moment, then sighed once more. “Maybe we’ll come up with a really great idea after a trip to Pret,” Noah announced. And so everyone around the table got and went to the local Pret.
Ah, Pret, Dave thought as he bit into his sandwich, that was one thing he missed whilst he was working from home other than the city skyline he could see from his office. Of course, if he really wanted to, he could have driven to Coventry to eat at the nearest Pret to Lower Strangling, but that wouldn’t be the same as the Pret on the corner near the Banana skyscraper.
“So, er, any of you guys going to read JK’s latest novel?”, Liam asked his colleagues before taking another bite of his egg and cress sandwich, “you know, despite the, er, controversies surrounding it?” His colleagues had mixed responses, some said they were going to read it whilst others said they weren’t going to read it mainly because they either didn’t read novels or had no interest in JK Rowling.
“I don’t particularly want to read it”, Noah told Liam, “I read the synopses and found it’s subject matter…. disturbing.” “Ah yes, the serial killer”, Liam replied before taking another bite of his sandwich. “No- although that is unfortunate- what disturbed me was the fact a significant amount of the book is set in the Cornish harbour village of St Mawes,” Noah explained to Liam.
Liam spat out his orange juice, “St Mawes? You were disturbed by St Mawes? Why would that- oh right, yeah. Sorry,” Liam said, remembering Noah’s infamous party at his Cornish Mansion in Cornwall involving Jeffery Epstein and several young girls from the fishing village which was nearby.
“My, you managed to keep out of that one,” Giles said to his manager. “Yes, I did,” Noah replied, “partly because Andrew kept his promise, although I was worried that the press would finally come knocking at my door when Ghislaine came into the mix in July. But now I feel that that case has well and truly closed and I can move one as if that party never happened,” Noah said before sipping his mini bottle of Pinot Grigio.
“Yeah, we’ll see about that,” Dave muttered to himself as his ate his strawberry yoghurt.
After coming back from Pret, Noah Campbell and his subordinate technicians had another meeting to decide which device they would create in time for Christmas, before leaving early for a cheeky afternoon in the sun having reluctantly decided that Giles’ Tennis ball really was the best option they had.
After a while, Dave got back on the train to Leamington Spa train station, picked up Will and Eleanor from Warwick Prep, and went back to his manor in Lower Strangling.
“Well, going back to the office wasn’t that bad after all”, Dave told his wife when they were in bed for the night. “You might as well enjoy being back before you’re all inevitably working from home again when the second lockdown comes,” Guardian journalist Sarah replied to her husband. “Well, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it”, Dave said before biding his wife goodnight and turning the light off in order to go to sleep.
In his slumber, Dave knew that ninety six miles away in a sky scraper in central London, Dettol was cleaning the tables and desks so that Dave could do his working day all over again tomorrow.