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The List

by Anita Belli

 

I awake full of the joys of spring until I realise it is Monday. I rush to the bathroom and throw up. It goes downhill from there, really.

Run to Camden tube. Jump on first train along with hundreds of stressed commuters, then realise: right direction; wrong branch. Change at King’s Cross back to Euston and down to TCR. Still, I use the time well; I daydream about my plan to escape from the tedium of this temp job.

Then I make a list of all the things I need to do this week, which brings me back to earth.

Great. I’m only half an hour late. Maybe no-one will notice. Especially as I have to take a long lunch break to squeeze in that audition.

They notice alright. At least, Miss Jones, my supervisor, notices. Half an hour late is a capital offence in the Sangster Polling Agency.

I stick on a headset and turn on the sing song voice:

Hi there, I’m calling from Sangster Polling to ask you a few questions about Earth Moving Equipment. Can I speak to the manager responsible for capital purchases?’ I ask in my best acting voice. She hangs up on me. The next four receptionists are: indifferent, rude, unhelpful and finally, highly amused – they are an STD clinic and their number must have got onto my list by mistake.

By lunchtime, my nerves are frayed, my voice is growling, and I have completed exactly one half of one questionnaire. Never mind. I’m out of here soon – as soon as I land the right part. I am in no mood for an audition now, but I go along anyway, because if I don’t, all hope is gone and I’m stuck forever polling uninterested people about uninteresting subjects for indifferent bosses.

It is worse than I thought it would be. A long line of long-legged girls groomed and powdered to perfection. I feel frazzled and, not surprisingly, I’m told I don’t look ‘quite right’ for this part – it is an advert for baby lotion and I am a serious, drama-school trained actress. Sadly, however, I lack cleavage, glossy hair or polished nails.

I grab a black coffee and get back to my sweaty booth and earpiece. Miss Jones is on a late lunch, so I take the opportunity to review my list:

Pay council tax, pay credit card, pay electricity bill, call bank re overdraft, make appointment at health centre ….  

I don’t like the plot much so I throw it in the bin and try not to think of the last item on my list, or the little blue stick, which nestles in my bathroom bin, confirming my suspicions.

I feel nauseous again and sip the black coffee and breathe deeply.

Then, I remove the earpiece, pull my pad towards me, and begin to make another list. Of names: girl names first…

 

 

Copyright Anita Belli 2019

 

Discover more about Anita and her work at www.anitabelli.com or enrol in her new writing school for help with your own creative works!

Anita’s latest novel, Once Upon a Blue Moon, is out now!

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I grab a black coffee and get back to my sweaty booth and earpiece. Miss Jones is on a late lunch, so I take the opportunity to review my list:
Pay council tax, pay credit card, pay electricity bill, call bank re overdraft, make appointment at health centre ....
I don’t like the plot much so I throw it in the bin...