Getting Up

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
How real can real get?

Submitted: April 11, 2016

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Submitted: April 11, 2016

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As usual, Andy got up immediately the first alarm sound chimed.

As he stretched to reach the bed-side table-clock and stop the alarm, a body-shuddering yawn escaped him. It emptied his resolve to stand up and left him lying back on the bed. Remembering how tempting such a position was and how years back he’d missed a class test the last time he allowed himself a little extra rest after switching off his alarm, he forced his prone body to rise.

The sleep will have to wait. He had an interview today and he’d invested too much into this one to allow for indiscretions like a little “jara” sleep.

He yawned again as he glanced at his reflection in the mirror above the bathroom sink while he fed his toothbrush some paste. The time he’d spent the night before poring over the Mission and Vision Statements of the company was asking for payback. With interest.

“Not today, pal,” he said to his reflection.

He shook his head vigorously to clear the cobwebs of sleep trying to clog his cranium. For extra effects, he splashed some of the cold water on his face to sting the sleep out. Then, the teeth-washing ritual began.

With five more yawns between bath and a breakfast of indomie and what was left of his supper corned-beef, he promised himself to return home immediately after the interview and have a siesta for a few hours. As if that promise pacified the sleep-hunger, the frequency of the yawns reduced.

Traditionally a stickler for scheduling and timing, Andy’s prepared dressing for the day and route to the venue were pointblank with a little over twenty minutes for him to go over his notes and prepare his mind for the questions that were sure to come. He went over them again. Twice. Satisfied with his readiness, he entered a calming routine he was perfecting.

“Slow breaths, in through the nose,” he muttered the instructions under his breath, closing his eyes for focus as he practicalised the motions in real life, but was interrupted by a female voice.

“Number 3, please.”

A small-framed girl whom Andy believed was too coquettishly dressed for an interview for a position of PR in a multinational corporation betrayed her enthusiasm by excitedly raising her hands and almost tripping over Andy’s chair on her way to answer the summons.

Andy shrugged. He noticed that he was not the only one – in a room full of about 24 prospective numbered candidates – who disapproved of her demeanour. From the corner of his eyes, he noticed two girls who were not familiar with each other a minute ago begin to animatedly chatter with outwards gesticulations of how “Number 3” almost embraced the ground in her excitement.

Andy sighed.

As much as it was a funny sight, he surmised, there was no telling who was going to be picked from the lot. So, what was the point laughing at someone else’s misstep when one was not even sure of what steps awaited him or herself? Why don’t you simply concentrate on…

Andy stopped himself. He had the perfunctory inclination to overthink these humdrum inanities which often distracted him from his intents. He needed to retrace his steps.

“Now, where was I?” he queried himself. “Yes,” he said closing his eyes. “Slow breaths, in through the nose,” he began again, “hold. Then, release out the mouth,” he concluded as he exhaled orally.

By the time Andy had done 10 reps, he felt his body calm. He felt lighter and told himself that a little more and he’d be ready for them when they called “Number 9”. He continued, nose inhaling, mouth exhaling. He could “see” his nerves relaxing. He could “feel” weightlessness. He could…

“Number 12?”

Out of nowhere, he jolted up like an arrow.

“12?” The question escaped him before he could re-establish connection with his mind. “Didn’t you just call “3” just now?” he still wasn’t thinking nor asking anyone in particular. He was just querying. “How could you have gone from 3 – 12? Who does that?”

As the real “12” got up and approached the lady that was directing the call-ins, he sprang forward and stretched out a hand meaning to stop the lady before she disappeared behind the door with “12”. But the force of his drag pulled the lady so hard, he almost upended her. The contents of the folder from which she called the numbers spilled around the legs of the three of them standing in front of the door.

The look she gave him when she regained a bit of her composure was from Hades.

“Are you mad?” she demanded in a pitch that raised steadily so that the “mad” was almost delivered in a shriek. “Or is something doing you?” This sequel was performed while the lady’s eyes maliciously roved from Andy’s head to his feet which if Andy was keeping count, couldn’t have been anything less than 12 times between “Or” and “you”. “Imagine the nonsense,” she finished rhetorically.

“12” had meanwhile attempted to help Angry Lady retrieve all the documents from the ground.

“Thank you, jare beta pesin,” she hissed accepting the papers from “12”. “That’s how you slept yourself through your number,” she spat out these words with the intention to injure, ending it with disapproving down-turned lips of the yimu variety. “Please come with me,” she said to “12” as she glanced around the tiled floor to make sure nothing was missed. She gave Andy the 13th eye-treatment, up-and-down, hissed another long one and slunk away with “12” in her stead.

Andy was rooted to the spot. He’d not intended for that to escalate so badly. Not only was he sure now that it dawned on him that he’d calmed himself into a nap, he realised that all his preparation for the big interview had just gone up in smokes.

Poof! Just like that.

There haven’t been many times in Andy’s life that he wished the ground could just open up and swallow him whole. But in those few seconds between when the lady left with “12” and when he had to turn around and face those who witnessed the entire event play out in high definition, he had only one thing he wanted. He wished…

The alarm on the table beside his bed chimed at exactly the hour Andy had set it.

Andy opened his eyes. They were greeted by the familiar sight of the ceiling.

“Huh?”

The confused look on his face worsened when he sat on the bed and looked around his room. His forehead furrowed as he tried to make sense of what he was experiencing. He slowly moved his head to the clock. It confirmed the time to be 5 am.

It took him a while to realise the alarm of the clock was still ringing out. He reached for it to turn it off and saw his polished shoe still next to the chair by the table. The folder containing his documents and notes was where he left it on the table and his chosen suit for the interview on the hanger in front his wardrobe.

It made no sense.

Was he not just now…then, he had an idea. This was surely going to reveal the facts of the matter to him. He dashed into his kitchenette and swung open the door of his mini-fridge. And there, at the corner of the base of the fridge was the leftover corned-beef from the previous night.

He stood there before the open fridge and shook his head, heaving a sigh of relief. Some of the tensions evaporated from his shoulders and as he felt himself calm, a yawn escaped him. Mid-yawn, snippets from the false awakening he’d had earlier came back to him. Especially the yawns and he ended up choking in his own laughter. He had calmed properly when the choking stopped. But it left him red in the eyes.

“Hmmm, na wah oo, this kind of real life something!”

He shook his head and entered the bathroom.

He had an interview to meet.


© Copyright 2017 moore numental. All rights reserved.

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