Despite having a short story coming out in October and co-writing a novel for a publishing house, it still miffs me when you get a letter saying your story didn’t ‘grab someone’s interest.’ I know, I know, thick skin and all that. So I watched a bit of All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace (thanks to Adam Curtis for that extremely long title) and realised I had two options. I could be gracious and let it lie, or I could write a juvenile story. The second option is tricky as the internet is a powerful tool but I figured: what the Hell, I just wouldn’t say who it was. So here is a little story:
He arrived at work after fighting the daily torture of traffic. “Would you like a coffee?” asked his secretary in her nasal New York whine.
“No!” he bellowed, already sick of her and her cheap perfume. He trudged into his office, ignoring the piles of unread stories sent in for the magazine and instead surveyed the skyscrapers and yellow cabs down below. To him, the view may as well have been empty.
Leaning against the vast window, an idea began to take shape. An idea that brought a smile to his lips for the first time in months. Glancing briefly at the door, he heaved the window open and leaned forward, the air smelling of freedom and adrenaline. He paused, happy in this private moment, when the knocking began at the door. “Mr Belfry’s here to see you!” wailed his secretary, “Sir, Mr Belfry! Mr Belfry!”
“Oh God,” he moaned, his fingers clawing desperately at his face. He turned back to the open window and almost wept with relief. He stepped out onto the ledge and, with an ecstatic smile on his face and outstretched arms, he flew.
I just want to make clear that I’m not this terrible person who advocates suicide. OK, I clearly am.