The Vending Machine

It’d been a long week. Things had got off to a good start, despite Mondays being his longest day – figuratively and literally. The day had rolled past pleasantly. No transport delays in the morning or between classes, nothing unexpected had been flung in his face, no aches, pains or niggles in the back of his mind. When he settled in front of the news at 10pm everything felt right.

The same couldn’t have been said for Tuesday. He’d got out of bed on the wrong side, a feat of some proportion given that his bed only has one side, and he couldn’t recall having clambered through the small interior window which led directly into the shower cubicle. Yes, he was almost certain this hadn’t happened. Perhaps the one accessible side of his bed had always been wrong side, and on good days he leapt out of it with such vigour as to actually avoid the wall of dark energy held in it. No. That wasn’t true either. He was thinking too hard about this most platitudinous of idioms.

Whatever had happened, the rest of the week hadn’t felt right. As it had gone on he’d become more anxious and wound up, feeling increasingly disconnected from his surroundings. Each night he told himself it’d pick up. It hadn’t and here he was on Thursday, hanging off the edge of a late night and a few two many pops. He’d got to work just in time, gasping for a drink. Water cooler empty. He shuffled over to the vending machine and fumbled among the cigarette filters and assorted debris, finally finding some coinage. He slotted the coins in and punched the numbers in with urgency as the time ticked around to 3pm. The plastic bottle of water tilted, teasingly. Ready to grab it and head off he stared in dismay as the water wedged itself between the rack and the glass. He waited, hoping it would drop, boiling up inside. It didn’t.

“Are you FUCKING KIDDING ME!’ He bellowed, startling the afternoon coffee drinkers surrounding him.

This really was the rotten cherry on top of a turd of a week. He breathed deeply, took control of the anger, and the desire to put his elbow through glass and whispered to himself through clenched teeth…

“Friday tomorrow. Fri. day. tomorrow”


One comment

  1. Stephen M Rees · March 18, 2015

    Hi James,
    This has the sort of barely controlled energy and anger that a lot of your work has! It is a sort of surrealistic dream based firmly in reality!
    Not sure about the vocabulary that you use because I am not sure that I am convinced by the ‘voice’ of the narrator, there are some words which stand out when I think they should have blended in to the story.
    This is a micro story, and I like the idea. I think that this is something that can be worked into a series – and I for one would certainly read it!



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