Wednesday July 12th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: trepidation.

We limited customers to one pint of raspberries each when our email went out this week in order to make sure everybody who wanted them could get at least one, since the berries are not doing very well in this recent heat. So of course of the nine people who ordered, seven said they'd take a second if there was one available.

We managed to get fourteen pints between last night and this morning, so only a couple customers had to settle for one. Better than we expected.

Miles fell asleep super early this evening, which was nice because it gave Kat and I some extra time for just the two of us.

It will be less nice when he wakes up super early tomorrow morning.


He approaches warily. We can see that he has been hurt before. Badly, perhaps. So we let him take his time, trying to appear as harmless and friendly as possible.

He's not buying it. I'm not sure I can blame him. We must look huge to him.

I offer him a treat and, to my great dismay, he becomes even more nervous. Has someone tried this trick before, but with less honorable intentions? Disgusting. Heartbreaking.

We retreat a ways, leaving the treat behind. He hesitates for a few moments, unsure of his next move. But I can see that he really wants that treat. It is difficult not to hold my breath. I can feel my sister beside me fighting that same battle.

Finally, with many a backward glance, he comes forward a few steps. We coo encouraging words. A few more steps. Big smiles, tiny welcoming waves. Here he comes. Almost there. Almost.

And at long last the pool boy takes the bait.

I mean treat.


Greg said...

I like how your customers trust you so much that they're always happy to take extra if any are available. I suppose it could also be a Canadian thing, but I like to think they appreciate you :)
Hmm, these two seem like trouble to me, but I'd definitely like to hear more about them and what their plans for the pool boy are. And more about this world to be honest; what kind of world has produced this pool boy and his (seemingly real) fears? Which I think is all a convoluted way of saying I really enjoyed this and your writing here!

The bank was usually quiet; the corporate culture didn't encourage the idea of work being fun. There were no pool tables, no Playstations, and the kitchen areas were tiny: limited to kettles (there were plenty of them, and coffee machines) and some tupperware containers that held hard, dry biscuits. Somewhere on the Executive level there was a packet of chocolate biscuits, guarded stoically by someone's PA. Even so, the atmosphere was quieter still now that the forensic accountants were in the building. The only noises were the click of fingers on keyboards, slightly anxious breathing, and the odd squeak of terror when someone received an email summoning them to the boardroom.
Miranda Wainfleet noticed that the corridor that led to the boardroom was cold when the elevator doors opened and she could see her breath condense in the air in front of her. As she walked along it she saw ice forming where the walls met the ceiling, and there was a patina of frost on the door-handle. It took all of her courage to open the door and go in.
Miss Hyde greeted her. The room was warm and the lighting was soft. The huge pine table was covered in files and paperwork, stacked nearly three metres high in places, and there were five laptops set between the two accountants. Miranda relaxed just a touch, and then tensed again when Miss Sikh stood up as sinuously as a cobra being charmed from a basket and offered a beringed hand to her. The gemstones in the rings glittered inappropriately.
"Miranda," said Miss Hyde. Her panda-eye makeup made it hard to focus on her face properly, and Miranda couldn't shake the feeling she was talking to a skull. "You work in Dr. Atherton's department. How long for?"
"Twenty-seven months, miss." Miranda heard her own voice as a squeak and a small flame of anger stirred inside her. She shook Miss Sikh's hand and it was dry, slightly scaly. Miss Hyde smiled.
"We think we have located an... irregularity," she said. "From fourteen months ago. You were working on a team of three at that time. Who were the others?"
"Chloe and Sebastian," said Miranda. A dry, scaly hand seemed to close around the flame of anger, extinguishing it and leaving her only with smoky trepidation. "Chloe was promoted and Sebastian left to go to Who-"
"Sebastian was run over by a fleet of motorcycle couriers eighteen minutes after he left the office on the evening of May 27th," said Miss Sikh. Her voice was as cold and ageless as a glacier. "Offerings were made to Nagmiti and they were accepted."
"We had tea at Simpsons together," said Miss Sikh. "I still network."
"Miss Sikh was a goddess," said Miss Hyde. "She's well connected."
There was a moment of silence.
"Miss Hyde is more of a force of nature," said Miss Sikh.
"Dea-?" Miranda couldn't finish the word. The two accountants looked at each other and laughed naturally, which felt like the most unnatural thing in the world at that moment.
"No," said Miss Sikh. "Fate."

Marc said...

Greg - hah, thanks. This still made me smile as I re-read it, so perhaps I'll have to revisit these two (and their poor pool boy?) soon.

Ah, Misses Hyde and Sikh. I do rather enjoy reading their story, even with how much they creep me out. Great descriptions in your opening scenes, by the way.