Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Delicate Balance of Time and Fate

Or, Never on Wednesday

Gerry Anders hated everyone on Wednesday. Indeed, he was an equal opportunity hater. Barista. Bus driver. Secretary. Boss. Friend. Those who knew him best tried to avoid Gerry on Wednesdays; even a polite “hello” was not an option halfway through the week.

No one knew why Gerry became such an abhorrent troll once a week, and, truth be told, Gerry didn’t really understand it himself. It was as if all of his frustrations, fears, and biases - his dark clouds that he kept bottled up six days a week - automatically boiled over like clockwork. Perhaps it was internal pressure control, stroke avoidance.

“Idiots!” Tucked away in his work cubicle, Gerry cut loose on a contractor whose work was behind schedule. In most offices, heads would have turned at the harshness of the raised voice, but this was “Gerry being Gerry.” He was tolerated here, because the quality of his work was high, his value to the firm outweighing a single day of Hell each week. They gave him a wide berth, going so far as to post a lookout while he was in the breakroom to warn the innocent away.

Was it Fate that decreed he would meet the woman of his dreams on Wednesday? At the very least it could be chalked up to mundane bad timing; Sarah Jones rescheduled her Tuesday visit to Wednesday to accommodate an emergency trip to the dentist.

Sarah Jones did not exactly light up a room when she entered. No one would describe Sarah as anything like vivacious, bubbly, or even beautiful. What Sarah possessed was a deep well of kindness in her soul, the kind of inner beauty often ascribed to a saint. She believed in love at first sight, though she hadn’t seen it yet. She believed that everyone on Earth had a soul mate, if only they could find each other.

Sarah’s friend Jessica told her about a man with whom she worked. He had his rough spots, she told Sarah, but he was smart, efficient, and even kind of charming if you caught him on the right day.

“Just drop by the office and I’ll introduce you to Gerry,” Jessica pleaded with her friend. “I think you’d like him; he could be the one for you, Sarah. But come on Tuesday....”

In hindsight, Jessica regretted not emphasizing the day of the week more clearly to Sarah.

Sarah stood on the carpet just outside her friend’s cubicle for almost a full minute before her presence was felt. She smiled her kind, somewhat naive smile, exuding...well, goodness.

“Hey, Jess, I got held up yesterday, but I’m here now,” Sarah said. “Where’s this guy you want me to meet?”

Jessica’s eyes grew wide.

“Oh my God! Not today! This is not a good day to be here, Sarah!”

And then, like a cold shadow, Gerry stood behind Sarah.

“What the Hell is all this noise, Jessica! My cubicle is right there, and I can’t get anything done if you’re entertaining guests all morning!”

Maybe Sarah misread the fear and panic in Jessica’s eyes. Maybe she thought Gerry was kidding. She liked guys who were good kidders.

“Don’t worry about it, Gerry. She and I were just leaving....”

“No, we’re not!” Sarah said brightly. She turned to face the source of Jessica’s fear. “So you’re Gerry? I’ve heard a lot of nice things about you.”

For a moment, Gerry was silent. Did indecision slow his reply? Was there a glimmer of his six-day-a-week humanity, struggling to self-edit?


Listen, lady. I am up to my neck here, trying to keep this crappy place afloat, and the last thing I need is an overly-cheerful moron like you distracting me!”

What a bastard, Sarah thought, her smile flattening. Casting a hurt look at Jessica, she turned and strode toward the elevators. In a moment, with a ding, Sarah was gone. Silence smothered the maze of cubicles. Wednesday played out like it always did around Gerry Anders.

On Thursday, he cried.


Postscript: What the hell was that? Excellent question. The text above is an attempt at Flash Fiction, directed, in particular, to the Three Word Wednesday blog.


Sheilagh Lee said...

yes opportunity knocked and he answered incorrectly.Great story

oldegg said...

I don't remember Wednesdays being that bad. Clearly he didn't deserve her or anyone else for that matter.

Great scenario.

A Kwee Life said...

I really liked that. Your characters, even Gerry, seem like people I know. I'm glad I got to read it. Thank you.