Another Day at the Office A Short Story by Sarim Abbas As I felt the bullet tear through the flesh of my arm, I knew my day was not going well. The office workers around me screamed, throwing up whatever they were holding in a flurry of paper, and began to run wildly away from a rapidly approaching presence. Sam looked at me, mouth agape, staring at the blood seeping through the wound. The cup of coffee he was holding fell to the floor, sending the caffeine laden sticky beverage all over my leather shoes. Great. “What,” Sam breathed heavily, “What the – what ,” he was gasping. Sam’s asthma was acting up. He fell to the floor, groping his inhaler as he struggled to insert it in his mouth. I looked back. The shooter was sprinting towards us, fumbling with another cartridge. I was terrified. As I ran down the corridor, leaving a white and petrified Sam backed up against the wall, I wondered who possibly wanted to kill me. My car payments were due, for certain, but the leasing company wouldn’t get this worked up over a late monthly payment, would they? “Hey, maybe we can sort this out,” I shouted over my shoulder to the sprinting shooter, “Mr. Joe wants his payment for the month right?” “What?” he called back. “I said, Mr. Joe wants his money for the Chevy, doesn’t he?” “I don’t know who Mr. Joe is. But I’ve got a Chevy too,” he hollered. “Oh really?” I said, picking up speed and swerving through a turn in the passageway, “What model?” Shots rang out, bullets pinging all around. One embedded itself into a metal beam a few yards ahead of me. I gulped. “It’s a Camaro V6 – Uh hold on a minute, have to get this spear out of my belt.” “You have a spear? What the hell!” I cried, arms flailing around my head as I ran. “Yeah, it’s umm… Yakuza regulation,” he replied, sending one soaring into the air. I screeched in pain as it grazed my shoulder and went spiralling to the ground. “Ah! Got a cramp,” I could tell he was wincing as he said it, “pretty heavy things.”
I could hear the sound of another spear being drawn. “Hey, come on, what’s your name? Let’s get to know -‐” I was cut off halfway, literally. I looked down, gurgling. The shaft emerged from my stomach. “Nice aim,” I said faintly as I teetered to a fall. The assassin came up, breathing heavily, with arms on his knees, as he stared into my face. “It’s not going to be as painful as you think. And I’ll pay Mr. Joe for you, so don’t you worry, Nick.” “Nick?” I choked, “Who’s Nick? My name’s Gerald!” “Hey, hold on,” he looked confused. “You aren’t…Nick?” “No you idiot! You got the wrong guy!” I gasped in blinding pain. “Oh,” he looked embarrassed. There was a long pause. “Sorry.” “SORRY DOESN’T CUT IT!” I spat into his face. “I have to go now,” he said guiltily, “thanks for understanding.” As I cursed the fool who was slowly walking away, my vision began to blur and all I could see was a searing white. I prepared for the end. The end… “Come on. End my suffering. Please,” I sobbed. I opened my eyes. I was face down on the floor, pain gone. Surprised that my vision had cleared, I turned around, thinking all that had happened was just a dream. I groaned. The spear was still there, sticking out of my stomach like a large marshmallow on a pointy stick. “Running late. Running late. Have to hurry –hurry,” a voice was mumbling, getting louder as its owner came down the corridor. A figure in a hooded cloak emerged from the shadows. “And who are you supposed to be, the Grim Reaper?” I said. “Precisely,” the figure threw back his hood, revealing a grinning white skull with glowing blue sockets, “I am a bit late, but I am here to collect your soul.”
“Why?” I asked. I should have been scared, but being pursued by a spear wielding, idiotic Yakuza had exhausted my capacity for fear. “My good man, you have a weapon sticking out of your gut. You’ve got to go. You’re going to have to become what we call ‘dead’” the Reaper said, “It is my duty to destroy life from those creatures whose bodies cannot withstand significant damage –“ “But you’re late!” I interrupted, “the least you could do is heal me and let me off!” “That,” he said, preparing to swing his scythe, “can simply not be done.” “Hey, wait!” I shouted, “Listen one moment. What if I could give you something? In return for being let off?” “Like what?” he said, scratching his skull with a bony finger. “If you hurry, my Chevrolet Camaro V6 is still parked outside the office building. They don’t come by easily, you know.” “Hmm,” the Grim Reaper said, thinking, “I could do with a snazzy ride…” “Who wouldn’t?” I asked hopefully. There was a pause. And then – “Very well, Gerald Marshall,” I felt the spear being wrenched out from my stomach, “consider yourself saved.” The Grim Reaper vanished. I looked down and saw nothing but a scar. I also saw my leather shoes, still sticky with Sam’s decaf, and I wondered how things at the office were getting along.