Brian remembered a time when greeting the day was a thing; being bounced awake by young bodies, then soothed with warm coffee and warmer kisses.
Now, silent bedroom walls watched as he rose. Only rumpled sheets gave any sign he’d not slept alone.
At breakfast, he obediently chewed his way through fruit-flavoured cardboard, while his taste-buds mourned for bacon.
Across the table, a face vaguely reminiscent of the beautiful girl he’d married centuries ago continued it’s self-destructive path under the weight of permanent negativity. Brian thought even the Kardashians wouldn’t believe her endless shite.
He had learned to tilt his head slightly, and follow her with his eyes, whilst his brain shut the curtain and went exploring elsewhere.
A teenage princess deigned into view, refusing to meet his hopeful smile. Brian considered the irony of funding her life yet being denied any connection. He dared not admit he’d rather have a floppy-eared spaniel, eager to love, yet able to be locked in it’s kennel when not required.
Trudging to the office, Brian barely noticed the expectant shoots of spring, or the heavily-reduced must-haves of the big-box store.
A young busker rocked out Seize the day* Brian vaguely remembered the song; Seize the day or die regretting the time you lost. 2005 was a lifetime ago. He’d sung the record-breaker back then with as little comprehension as the busker did now.
At 10am Brian dutifully endorsed his boss’s attempt to fleece the client. They were a team, until a glitch was identified. Brian silently received a fat colleagues allegation that he’d forgotten to analyse the data or check the pie chart.
Sucking his wife-induced smoothie lunch, Brian heard Seize the day waft through the open window. Bloody idiotic idea; he wanted to strangle the day, squeezing until it cried ‘pax.’
His colleague puffed into the room, complaining yet again about the distance between the lunch space and the lift. Two richly-odoured pies steamed from paper bags. Brian suggested his colleague should analyse his intake data by studying the pie chart. Beautiful star-like endorphins flooded Brian’s brain as the barb embedded. Brian instantly fell in love with revenge.
With drunken abandon he set out on a path from which there would be no return.
He phoned the police, anonymously advising of hostages being kept by his boss, then hung up as common sense began crushing the endorphins into nothingness. The office clock turtled a mere twenty minutes before a phone call expelled his boss from the office. Considering the resultant vacuum of edicts, Brian felt incumbent to ensure office security was maintained. In attempting to close the bosses unexpectedly open desktop computer, Brian accidentally emailed confidential documents to interested parties. The effect on Brian took him back to the days of youthful experimentation, drinking vodka on top of gin.
Brian wore his bosses tailored jacket home, thinking to keep it safe. On the way, he emptied a pocket into the busker’s money tray. The buskers eyes widened as notes cascaded.
Brian’s evening passed as any other, dining on foreign-sounding mush, then listening to his stomachs complaints while he washed and dried the dishes, before dozing through his wife’s choice of TV programmes. Brian retired alone when the Kardashians tormented the screen.
Next morning, Brian had just begun doing up his city shoes when his wife pointed out that the rubbish truck was coming down their street. He couldn’t remember how rubbish had become his responsibility. On the way he grabbed the ashes from by the fire. His wife noticed her mother missing just as Brian picked up his briefcase. Regrettably, he couldn’t stay to help her search; work commitments.
On his way to the office, Brian flicked his wife’s wallet into the local druggies park. Apparently everyone knew many folk use their security code as their pin. His wife had insisted on a pre-nup; her costs would be her own.
Outside the office building, his colleague wholly took up the double step, sitting under a ‘closed’ notice pinned on the entrance. Other staff milled about like bees without a hive. Gossip viralled to Brian’s ears. Police had discovered the bosses wife nursing bruises and fractures, hostage in her showcase home. Brian remembered the perfect hostess, gracious, intelligent and kind. He’d only met her the once, noting her slight tremble under long sleeves when his boss playfully spanked her back into the kitchen for more whisky.
Now, Brian watched the chill of reality sweep around the office entrance. Unemployment would be more devastating than a bully boss.
A sob from his colleague caught Brian’s attention. ‘I have kids, a mortgage; who will employ a fat guy like me?’ the man wailed.
Brian briefly considered walking away; not his problem. But unplanned words sprang into the air, without perusal or care.
‘I will employ you. We’ll approach the clients, tell them the truth, offer our services.’ With growing confidence, he continued. ‘We can do this.’
Arriving at his home, they celebrated with pie charts, data analysis, and beer. Brian barely acknowledged his wife’s screaming departure, the rescued urn under her arm. His teenager chose his money over the mother’s love, until Brian mentioned chores and work.
Brian got a spaniel, and a cleaner. He called at the big-box store, noting their sale, and purchased a sound system. As the first notes explored his home, Brian joined in, greeting the new era at the top of his lungs ‘Seize the day or die regretting the time you lost.’
* (Songwriters: Brian Jr. Haner / James Sullivan / Matthew Sanders / Zachary Baker
Seize the Day lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC)