We all picked a place, an object and a mood, these were then given out randomly and we were given fifteen minutes to write a piece from that.
My prompts were – A staff room, An argument between neighbours, A chainsaw.
We had to be quiet and she didn’t get that. She was getting agitated, her voice rising so that people would be able to hear through the walls. For a little woman she was loud and I found myself shrinking back, all the power and strength I had felt just less than twenty four hours earlier, was seeping away. As she called me an idiot, told me it was up to me to put things right, the enormity of the situation hit me.
“I’m going to be sick.” I said.
“Don’t be ridiculous.” She spat back, reaching forward with one long finger, “you’re just trying to get out of this conversation. But I’ll follow you back to the office. I’ll sit there all day without doing a jot of work and people will ask questions.”
“You need to stop shouting.”
“Don’t tell me what to do. This is your fault.”
“No,” she laughed, “no, no, no. The thing is in your car. No one will think-”
“I’ll tell them. You did this.”
“It’s your chainsaw, your boss, your car. You’re the one who looks pale and nervous and-”
She stepped back slightly, her arms crossed over her chest and her mouth twisted in a patronising smirk.
“We did this together.” I whispered, struggling against my urge to break eye contact with her. “You did this, I just…we did this and you’re going to help me fix it.”
“Am I really?”
She shook her head and went to leave, that’s when I pulled the keys from behind my back. She looked at them, her green eyes wide. A frown flickered.
“What are those?”
I smiled, “car keys.”
“My car keys.” She whispered, suddenly she wasn’t so loud.
“What are you doing with my car keys?”
I moved forward in two paces, leaning in close, “I seem to have put the chainsaw in the wrong car, Liz. Oh dear. Looks like its your chainsaw now, your car, your boss. And you look pretty worked up and rattled to me.”
Before she could reply I was gone. The door to the staff room closed almost noiselessly behind me. Outside in the corridor everyone was busy, rushing around, no one had noticed our absence.
Geoff came up to me as I went back to my desk, he looked worried.
“Hey, have you seen Mr Winter?” He asked.
“No, not today.” I shruggd.
“He’s not here and hasn’t been home, his wife’s pretty worried.”
“Oh, I’m sure he’ll turn up.” I smiled, “ask Liz. I’m sure I saw her in his office.”
“I will do, thanks. At least we get a day of peace, I suppose.”
“Silver linings.” I smiled.