Satellites And Razorblades

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
The unfortunate Martin Marcel.

Submitted: November 24, 2011

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Submitted: November 24, 2011




At 07:23 M. Marcel woke up seven minutes before his alarm went off, as usual. He jumped out his bed and pulled on a dark jacket to match his smart trousers. He had slept in his suit that Friday night because today was not any ordinary Saturday morning – Marcel was going to have his photo taken today.

He had not been able to shift a conversation he had heard two weeks prior from his usually empty head. On his way to work on May 12th, he stopped at the café around the corner from his building, like any other Tuesday. He handed over his money, took his two steaming cups of coffee and sat down at an empty table by the window, like any other Tuesday. He was usually a private and quiet man who kept himself to himself but that day was not like any other Tuesday. He pricked up his ears as a conversation from nearby floated over to him and caught his attention.

“May 23rd, around 9a.m., or so the newspapers say,” a young lady of about twenty three years asserted in a half-whisper. Marcel sat up straight and turned his head slightly to the table on the other side of the small room, as though it would help him to better hear what they were saying.

“But what for?” another young lady of about twenty three years asked as Marcel stirred the fifth lump of sugar into one of the cups of coffee, trying to avoid any sort of noise from the porcelain cup and the spoon, seemingly unaware that he wasn’t at all camouflaged in any way.

“Something about a satellite coming over the city to take photos of the streets for some kind of GPS system,” the first girl replied, uninterested.

A smile broke out on Marcel’s face. Although he was quite an introverted individual, he did love to have his photo taken. He became quickly engrossed in the idea and sat there in wonder that both of his cups of coffee went cold.

He had been so excited during the days leading up to the 23rd that he had hardly slept. He spent most of his time trying to come up some clever slogan he could paint across a piece of paper, but he couldn’t come up with anything he still liked twenty minutes after thinking of it, and his attempts lay strewn about his apartment.

He waded through the reams of Martin Marcel, Apartment 36, Rue Jarry 55, welcome to France and I can see you up there! on the floor, hanging on the wall with thumb-tacks and screwed up and thrown nonchalantly in the vague direction of the bin in the corner of the living room.

He stepped into the bathroom as the excitement gripped him like an iron fist. He stared into the mirror and found himself grinning inanely. His hands shook as he turned the tap and the cold water began to pour out.

At this point, it is probably worth noting a couple of significant things which had come about in Marcel’s life which were about to have some large amount of significance. Firstly, he was a champion haemophobe – that is to say, that nobody was able to collapse and pass out faster than him at the sight of blood, and secondly is the (not completely unrelated) fact, that in such wild excitement, he was extremely prone to momentary installation inexactitudes – that is to say, he put things in the wrong place. More specifically, the morning of the previous day after brushing his teeth and shaving his rough chin, he put the toothbrush back on the left hand side of the small shelf above the sink, and his razor on the right, where he would otherwise have them the other way around.

He hit the ground like a sack of potatoes dropped from the Eiffel Tower when he picked up with his right hand what he thought was his toothbrush, opened his mouth, put the cold, steel bristles against his front teeth, closed his lips around them and took the first (and last), forceful stroke across his gums. Needless to say, Marcel didn’t have his photograph taken that day. 

© Copyright 2018 Ian Stephenson. All rights reserved.

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