Wednesday February 22nd, 2017

The exercise:

Write about something or someone that is: on standby.

Bakery was mostly steady today, but I was left with 14 loaves on the shelves as closing time approached. Then a woman called at 3:50 asking if I had any bread left. I said yes and that I'd be there until 4:30 cleaning up, so as long as she could get there by then I'd hold some for her. She said she could and asked for 3 loaves.

She got there at 4:05 and brought a friend with her. Who bought 4 loaves herself.

So they managed to halve the number of loaves I had to put in the freezer at pretty much the last possible moment. I was pleased by this, even if it meant staying later because I was selling and slicing bread instead of finishing the clean up.

Back at it at 10 tomorrow morning.


"All operatives remain on standby. This situation could go haywire at any moment. Over."

"This really seems like a highly inappropriate use of resources. Over."

"I ordered radio silence, Gonzalez!"

"Oh, you mean other than you breaking it every five minutes to remind us that we're still on standby? Over."

"This is insubordination, Gonzalez. Resume radio silence immediately. Over."

"This is the most ridiculous assignment I have ever been on."

"Radio. Silence. Now. Over."

"With all due respect, sir, you're the only one who cares what your ex-wife is up to. Or who she might be getting up to it with. So I don't know what the rest of the unit is going to do, but I'm going home now. Please don't call me until you've got a more legitimate assignment for me, okay? Over."


"Good night, sir. Over."


Greg said...

That's a well-timed sale! Since you could have said you were already closed I think it goes to show that being helpful and friendly pays off :)
Hmm, I find myself siding with Gonzalez in this piece, even though his boss is clearly stressed and having trouble following his own rules. I think I'd be heading off home as well -- at least that way there's radio silence, after all! I like the use of language in this: everyone comes across as intelligent, which makes the whole premise that little bit more intriguing!

On standby
The offices of Data Analytics Marketetic Normalisations were darkened but not dark. It was 2am, and the last of the salaried staff had gone home a half-hour earlier, many of them intending to back in by 5am to continue working. There was a lot to at the moment with the need to find the right Presidential candidate for the American Hipster Association to promote; the issues regarding delocalised healthcare initiatives; and the perennial problem of Sweden. The CEO and Managing Director, Jeremy Diseased-Rat was rumoured to be sleeping in his office, but he was also rumoured to drink a cup of Arsenic every morning, to exercise with rabid Pit-bulls as encouragement, and to be planning an actual Hunger Games to be televised and compete with American Idol. His PA, a tall woman with the hands of a strangler, would only comment that no more than two of those rumours were true.
At half-past two the security guards did their rounds again. Every twenty minutes they moved silently through the building dressed in ninja-garb attempting to avoid being seen by their colleagues manning the closed-circuit television cameras. Success meant a bonus for them, and trouble for their invigilant colleagues, so there was fierce competition. As the new team reached the seventh floor one of their number noticed that the door to the stair-well was ajar, propped open with a bottle-cap that could have come from anywhere.
Except that in the offices of Data Analytics Marketetic Normalisations no-one would so careless as to drop a bottle-cap, let alone so career-suicidal as to leave it on the floor. The team immediately alerted the ground-floor desk and then deployed to ceilings, alcoves and hidden panels in the wall to observe and plan. The ground-floor hit the Intern button, and sixteen interns, kept on stand-by for just such emergencies, were deployed out into the hallway. They were red-eyed from the constant caffeine ingestion, lean from a near-starvation diet, and muscled because Jeremy Diseased-Rat was (possibly) forcing them to train for the first two rounds of a real-life Hunger Games. Three of them ran into the stairwell, while the others fanned out and braved the offices on the floor. Twenty-eight seconds later four of the interns were dead from traps placed in offices (the executives of Data Analytics Marketetic Normalistions were infamously paranoid) and the three in the stairwell were on their knees choking on asphyxiating gas.
A further ten seconds later two gas-masked interns entered the stairwell and hurled flash-bangs both up and down. A noise like the commencement of war reverberated through the building and the ninja-garbed security guards dashed in and hauled the choking interns out. The gas-masked interns followed, closing the stairwell door behind them, and then the ground-floor desk hit the fan-button and all the air from the stairwell began to be evacuated.
One hundred and thirteen seconds after that a young woman with bright blue eyes, a green jacket and a can of spray paint collapsed on the fourth-floor landing, her hands clutching at her throat as she struggled for oxygen.
The security guards returned the interns to storage, setting them back on stand-by, and pumped sleeping gas into the stairwell.
By 3am the building was quiet again.

Marc said...

Greg - it's partly me being helpful, partly me wanting to put as little into the freezer at the end of the day as possible.

I appreciate your comment about their intelligence, as I was tempted to make one of the two a bit of a doofus for comedic purposes. I'm glad I decided to play it more straight in the end.

There is so, so much to enjoy about yours. The standby interns are obviously a fav, but the whole thing is just full of wonderful details. I am, however, left curious as to what the spray paining woman was up to that got this all started...