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Flash Fiction: Stall
Words: Zia Zulia
Image: Tyler Rosado
Zia, I do not see your report in my inbox. Are you having trouble with your internet?
Her thoughts interrupted by the bubble message that popped up on her computer screen accompanied with a soft blurp sound.
Zia tilted her head two inches to the left, past the paper partition separating her desk from her boss' desk twenty feet away. Her boss' eyes glued to the screen, while her fingers typed with such charisma, Zia wondered if that was what Strauss looked like when he was composing his symphonies. Allegro, she thought.
The office radio blared a few feet away from her: an early morning prank gone wrong, where the victim heaved in profane beeps and fits of scratchy rage, followed by a geyser of laughter from the radio host and prankster. You've been pranked! Thanks for playing. You win a $20 gift card to some chain restaurant. Now for the weather report.
Zia looked looked up to her computer screen and back down to the yellow legal pad in front of her. Her personal notes mixed in with her work notes; a scrawling jazz composition devoid of any blinking cursor on her moniter; a cursor that resembled more of a ticking bomb than a metronome. Lines of neat block letters divided by half drawn flowers, numbers, dollar signs, and abbreviations. In the upper left corner was the cryptic reminder to send her boss the report before she fled for the day yesterday:
rpt --> boss
I asked for it yesterday. Is there a problem?
Another message. She peered past the partition again and back at her screen, the brightness she deemed offensive at 8:05 in the morning.
apologies for the delay. i played a show last night and my arms feel like jello. so does my brain. i am still trying to figure out how i am going to get my drum set from the bar before the show tonight. i convinced my bourbon-soaked self that the bar is safer than loading and unloading it at 4 AM. it gets pretty weird at night downtown. i may just grab it at lunch. is there a way i can bring it here, to the office? that way i can go straight from the office to the venue on 4th street. my boots are in my car. i can chuck the heels. it should be easy. attached is my report.
She began typing:
apologies for the delay. i believe something must be up with the system. resent.
Blame the system, she thought.
Blame being 20. Blame your boss. Blame the computer screen. Blame the instant gratification of a mouse click. Blame your incoherent office handwriting. Stall. Blame the system. Blame talk radio. Blame your cluttered desk. Blame your co-workers for giving you shit for your cluttered desk. Blame the coffee that tastes like jet fuel. Blame the past. Stall. Blame the four glasses of neat bourbon you drank last night when you only meant to drink coffee and water. Blame the encore you played; that song you swore you'd never play again after you two separated. Blame going against your "nevers." Blame your laziness for keeping your drum kit on a stage with a chicken wire cage and a beer/bourbon/bile splattered sign that says NO MOSHING. Stall.
Zia clicked her keyboard to send her report: a snappy etude a la a despondent Beethoven.
Zia dared to look past the partition in the foolhardy attempt at making eye contact with her boss, whose eyes quickly darted to the upper left corner of the screen. A few patters of the keyboard:
Got it. Thx.
A flash of envy pierced Zia's heart at the ease her boss felt just from the clean, staccato click of a button. She stretched her arms overhead and yawned silently.
It felt good.
#Unreal #FlashFiction #StreamofConscious #ZiaZuliaChronicles #SelfImprovement #Responsibility #Youth
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