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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.    

Another Day at the Office  

A humorous story about a man caught up in a misunderstanding and who has to convince Death himself to let him off.

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