Rock And Roll

Entry by: Alex Fleet

17th January 2019
My first day at work was an interesting experience. So many names, so many faces, so much to learn, so many people to try to be nice to.

The most outstanding of course was the girl who helped the tea lady. I didn’t realise that she helped the tea lady, because I didn’t hear her trolley arrive, being so involved in the intricacies of figuring out how to work a particular piece of software.

The first thing I knew was that this beautiful young girl was smiling at me and asking if I would like a roll. Well, I thought, she is certainly straight to the point. Her eyes laughed and she continued: “Ham roll, cheese roll or egg roll. Or a sandwich.” Actually I’d brought my own lunch. I was on the point of declining the invitation of a roll when I had a moment of spontaneity and found myself suddenly asking for a cheese roll. She smiled again, turned and I couldn’t help noticing her slim figure in a beautifully fitting summer dress. I watched her casually saunter over to the tea trolley, pick up a roll and walk back towards me. “Two pounds please”, she said, with a look in her eye that didn’t seem to have anything to do with the current transaction. I fumbled in my pocket for a couple of coins which she took without a word and passed on to the next customer.

I realised that I was still watching her when I became aware of a guy over the other side looking at me with a smirk. Suddenly the software became my focus of steely attention as I stared fixedly at the screen as if I had never been separated from it since birth. The room seemed strangely warm.

When I looked again, the guy over the side was looking at his own screen, but the smirk had been replaced with a sneer.

The end of the day finally came and I went home. I walked away from the building, through the industrial estate, past other offices and factories pouring their workers out like a swarm of lemmings, all going home to their cosy houses and families.

Turning a couple of corners brought me to the quieter end of the industrial estate, some of the buildings empty and vandalised. Another corner brought me to a street where the some of the buildings were ruins, their car parks abandoned and overgrown with piles of rubbish strewn around and a couple of burnt out cars.

Round a third corner and I realised that ahead of me was a familiar figure. Slim in a summer dress, it was the girl with the rolls. She was walking ahead of me, sauntering. Soon, I was near to her and she must have sensed me there because she turned and glanced behind; recognised me, smiled.

She walked ahead, I matched my pace to hers, keeping a respectful distance back. At one particular factory there was a length of broken fence and she paused there, turned towards me and smiled, the same smile she had when she asked me if I would like a roll. Then she disappeared through the broken fence and when I arrived there, I could see her walking towards an empty shell of a building.

Intrigued, I found myself following her. Perhaps I felt worried about her, I wouldn’t want her walking into danger. What sort of thing might be going on in this deserted building. Maybe I was mistaken in my motive, but whatever it was I simply found myself following her.

At the broken, smashed doorway she had entered the building though I paused, peering inside, my eyes adjusting to the darkness. Then I stepped in, and found myself in an empty cavern, the light shining on the bare columns of the building like light filtering into a cathedral, the large bulk of dusty machines heavy in the background. I stepped forward, but could not see her.

Suddenly, as in the most predictable of films, I was grabbed from behind and my throat pinned by a strong arm, pulling back into an uncomfortable position. My judo tuition disappeared from my memory and I concentrating on gasping as my throat was constricted and back bent into an agonising position, my legs buckling beneath me.

The arm changed position and the other joined it and I found myself being shaken like a rag doll, then thrown hard against the dust of a pitted concrete wall. Then my throat was grabbed again by a hand which pinned me hard against the wall and I could now see the face of my assailant: the sneering colleague from over the other side of the office.

“So you fancy my girlfriend do you?” the face sneered.

“Thought you’d follow her here did you? Have your way with her, did you think?”

Well, no, not really. I was worried about her. But I rather felt that sneerface might not believe that.

I remained silent. Out the corner of my eye I saw the girl, in her summer dress, standing nearby, the same smile on her face.

“Do you know what I do with boys that follow my girlfriend, eh?”

Oh dear, this was all becoming so predictable. Let me guess.

“I’ll show you, save you the trouble of trying to think too hard. Here’s a little taster.”

Sure enough, here it came.

As his free arm swung up towards my face I lunged out with my leg, kicked him in the shin which rather distracted him and as he eased the pressure on my throat slightly, managed to move my face out the way of his fist which I noticed happened to have a small rock held tightly within it. I heard a crunch as it contacted the wall by my left ear and Sneerface winced with pain.

A quick second kick knocked him off his feet, then I grabbed him and to my surprise my judo training finally burst into life and before I knew it he was on the floor on his back. In the gym I would be down and doing floorwork with him, but in this particular situation I judged it more appropriate to leg it as fast as possible.

As anticipated, a few expletives were thrown in my direction but unfortunately amongst them was the rock he was holding, which hit me square on the back of the head. Good shot. It smarted, too.

I turned, glanced at sneerface as he stumbled to his feet and skidded on the dusty floor as he stumbled towards me. I could hear roll-girl laughing hysterically and felt like saying something smart like “It’s ok, I’ll bring my own lunch tomorrow” but couldn’t be bothered.

It turned out I was a better runner than sneerface and he quickly gave up the chase.

Boy, was I looking forward to going to work tomorrow. Not.

Rock and Roll. What a day.