Armageddon

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Armageddon

Post by Graham on Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:15 am

I've edited this. Read the new version further down.

Words 586

I thought he was a funny bloke on that first day. Everyone else ignored me apart from the bastards from production who put the article about the bloke and the hamster on my desk. You know the one. It involves a visit to A & E and the painful extraction of said hamster from bloke’s anus. I don’t think the hamster survived. They’d giggled like 10-year olds who’d just found ‘vagina’ in the dictionary. Then there was a commotion and most of them disappeared to the ‘war room’.

‘It’s a meltdown,’ said Allan. That was his thing, always deadpan. He would just get on with it while the rest of the team rushed around like headless blue-arsed flies.

‘Where’s the tapes’

‘Jesus, that’s not right,’

‘Fuck’s sake, that can’t be it,’

Our manager came charging at us waving a printout. Alan gave me a sardonic look.

‘China crisis,’ he said, ‘nuclear reactor coming through.’

He got away with it, probably because he did his job, but I think everyone knew he was right. It was all shit in a can. Who really cared? For some reason women fancied him. He bore a passing resemblance to the superman actor Christopher Reeves and always wore jacket, collar and tie.

Come the redundancies and ‘holocaust’ was his one-word summation. I was the first to go, last in, first out. We drank together occasionally but gradually lost touch. I met him by chance twenty years later. It took a double take. He was prematurely bent, and his head resembled a worn broom, more wood than bristles.

‘Alan, how’s it going.’

‘Apocalypse, mate, horsemen all over the place.’

It didn’t sound funny anymore. He was talking about his own life. It was an ordinary story, marriage, kids, booze, gambling, divorce. There was one bright spot. He was taking his son to Paris at the weekend to see his favourite metal band, his son’s that is. Alan hoped there would be a bar and he was taking ear plugs.

‘It’ll be death by electric guitar.’ He pulled out his phone, ‘Here give us your number. He stabbed at it and grunted a few times. ‘It’s new, you’re the first one in it.’

We parted company, drunk and maudlin, laughing about our erstwhile colleagues and their panics. We promised to keep in touch.

It happened on the Friday after. I had got off with Karen from HR. It wasn’t that I fancied her or vice versa, just two jaded people, drunk on a Friday night and with nothing to go home for. Our coupling was joyless, and she might even have been crying when my phone buzzed angrily. I took another drag on the Pall Mall unfiltered and focussed on the noise.

‘Aren’t you going to answer the bloody thing?’

I looked at her. She was staring at the ceiling as if she might reach up and claw a hole in it. There was a lot of static and muffled cracks, hopeless. I was about to put it down when I heard him, barely a croak, but the same world-weary inflection.

‘Graham, mate. Sorry, you’re the only one on it.’

‘On it?’

‘It’s Armageddon.’

Then I heard a series of louder bangs. He made a kind of ‘ouf’ noise then all I heard was his breath gurgling slowly like the last water out of a tap.
His son survived, hidden under his father’s body. Eagles of Death Metal are returning to Paris in February and I’m taking him.


Last edited by Graham on Wed Apr 11, 2018 6:22 pm; edited 1 time in total

Graham
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Re: Armageddon

Post by Graham on Wed Apr 11, 2018 6:20 pm

Rewrite

Down to 498 words but the hamster had to go, along with the blue-arsed flies.


I thought he was funny on that first day. Before I’d settled at my desk, Brunhilda, as I learned to call him, bore down on us. Alan started singing Ride of the Valkyries. The system was down and most of the team were called to the ‘war room.’

‘It’s a meltdown,’ said Allan. That was his thing, always deadpan. He would just get on with it while the rest of the team rushed around like headless chickens in a hurricane.

‘Where’s the tapes?’

‘Fuck’s sake, that can’t be it,’

Our manager came charging at us waving a printout. Alan gave me a sardonic look.

‘China crisis,’ he said, ‘nuclear reactor coming through.’

He got away with it, probably because he did his job, but I think everyone knew he was right. It was all shit in a can.

After the redundancies ‘holocaust’ we drank together occasionally but gradually lost touch. I met him by chance twenty years later. I needed a double take. He was prematurely bent, and his head resembled a worn broom, more wood than bristles.

‘Alan, how’s it going?’

‘Apocalypse, mate, horsemen all over the place.’

It didn’t sound funny anymore. He was talking about his own life. It was an ordinary story, marriage, kids, booze, gambling, divorce. There was one bright spot. He was taking his son to Paris at the weekend to see his favourite metal band, his son’s that is. Alan hoped there would be a bar and he was taking ear plugs.

‘It’ll be death by electric guitar.’ He pulled out his phone, ‘Here give us your number. He stabbed at it and grunted. ‘It’s new, you’re the first one in it.’

We parted company, drunk and maudlin, laughing about our erstwhile colleagues and their panics. We promised to keep in touch.

It happened on the Friday after. I had got off with Karen from HR. It wasn’t that I fancied her or vice versa, just two jaded people, drunk on a Friday night and with nothing to go home for. Our coupling was joyless, and she might even have been crying when my phone buzzed angrily. I took another drag on the Pall Mall unfiltered and focussed on the noise.

‘Aren’t you going to answer the bloody thing?’

I looked at her. She was staring at the ceiling as if she might reach up and claw a hole in it.

There was a lot of static and muffled cracks, hopeless. I was about to put it down when I heard him, barely a croak, but the same world-weary inflection.

‘Graham, mate. Sorry, you’re the only one on it.’

‘On it?’

‘It’s Armageddon.’

There was a series of louder bangs then he made a noise like a balloon deflating. All I heard after that was his breath gurgling to a stop like the last water out of a tap.

His son survived, hidden under his father’s body. Eagles of Death Metal are returning to Paris in February and I’m taking him.

Graham
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Posts : 93
Join date : 2018-02-04

View user profile http://typosaurus.forumotion.com

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