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Friendship Holiday Funny

James looked at the clock. It was 4:50 pm. He let out a sigh and looked to the ceiling. A small spider hanging on its web caught his attention. He wondered what the world of spiders looked like. Did they ever feel stress? Pressure? Like they ever wanted to quit? 

“James?” James almost fell from his chair when he heard the voice from behind his chair. He stood up and turned to look at who was calling him. “Hi Linda, you scared me a bit there.” “Sorry” Linda smiled, a smile James never got tired of seeing.

“Can I help you with something?” 

“Oh yes, I need you to help me with the report that Andy told us to work on.” James narrowed his eyes. “I thought you had a copy of the report?” 

“I did. But I don’t anymore.” James looked at Linda as if expecting an explanation. But she didn’t say anything else.

“Okay...I’ll email it to you.” 

“Thanks.” With that, Linda left his office. James looked at her as she walked away. She really is strange sometimes, James thought to himself. 

James dropped his bag on the floor when he reached home. He fell on the sofa, feeling the strains of work all over his body. Somehow the sofa - that was made of leather - felt so comfortable, as if it was massaging his back.

On the walls of the living room hang picture frames of him and the trophies he had won on various sledge racing championships. “Good times,” James said to himself looking at the picture. He remembered how happy he was back then. How he felt alive in those competitions. Suddenly feeling thirsty, James went to the refrigerator to get a drink. 

He saw the pile of reports on top of his table, reminding him of the work he needed to complete. “Oh how I love my job,” James said in a sarcastic tone. Just then his phone rang. The caller id read “world’s worst boss.” 

“Hello, Mr Richards,” James thought of adding something else to his formal greeting. Something like, hello, Mr Richards, the boss no one ever wants to work for.

“James! Where is the report you were told to work on? I need it now!”

“I thought I had 2 weeks to work on it? I remember…”

“What?” Mr Richards interrupted. “I’m telling you now, I need that report. Get it down, now!”

With that, Mr Richards hang up.

“Now I really love my job”

It was 01:23 am when James finished working on the report. “Finally,” James said while yawning. He really felt tired. But most of all, he felt out of place. Like he was in the wrong place.

James had always thought of quitting but he was afraid. Afraid of the future. Afraid of being jobless. Afraid that...he never find what he was looking for. But what was he looking for?

James was alarmed by the alarm from his phone. He got up and looked at the time. It was 8:45 am. “What!” James shouted. “I am so dead” he rushed to the bathroom and took a quick shower. He looked through his closet, picked a T-shirt and black jeans. These will do. 

He was welcomed by Linda, who was leaning on the door to his office. She was wearing an all-black suit. Her hair was well done. For a moment James was taken up by how she looked. Realizing that Linda had noticed he was looking at her intently, James cleared his throat.

“What’s the occasion?” 

“The boss wants to see you.” Linda then began to walk away before she stopped. “Oh, and he doesn’t seem too happy”

James put his hand on his hip. Now, what’s the matter this time?

James knocked at the door of Mr Richards. “Come in” James entered. Mr Richards had just put the phone down. He looked intense. “I was told you wanted to see me?” Mr Richards got up from his chair. He walked towards James. 

“The report you sent me was...trash” James stomach tightened. “I mean...what did you even do? This is absolute garbage!”

James looked at his boss as he went on and on complaining about how bad the report was. James left anger build up inside him. Did he consider how hard I worked on this report? The time I slept working on that report? Does he even appreciate the work I do here? This ungrateful being!

“Oh great. You aren’t even listening to me!” James’ came back to reality. He was in a place he didn’t want to be, a job he didn’t want in the first place, working for a man who didn’t appreciate him or the work he did. His anger had finally reached a point where he couldn’t contain it anymore. 

“Now you listen to me!” James said with an angry tone in his voice. “I have done everything...and I mean everything you have asked me to do.” Mr Richards could see a line of veins on James’ forehead. 

“...but you never appreciate anything. Nothing at all. So I’m done. I quit!”

James walked out of the office, shutting the door loudly. 

He walked towards Linda until he was very close to her. He held her head and kissed her without any warning. He broke off the kiss and looked Linda right in the eyes, “I have always wanted to do that.” James then turned and walked towards the exit door. He looked behind and saw all the workers who were looking back at him with surprised eyes. “I hope you all open your eyes” James smiled and walked out.

James took a big sip of his wine before he told the bartender to add him another glass. “Don’t you think you’ve had enough?” asked the bartender. “Hey man, I…I have had a rough day and I don’t know what’s going to happen next. So please…just keep them coming, Ok?” James looked at his watch, it was 11:36 pm. “Time does fly when you’re having a drink.” The bartender, who was pouring him another drink, motioned to James that this was his last drink for the night. “I hope you are going to pay for all these drinks?”

James turned the lights of the room when he reached his home. “I’m home.” He looked around his living room as if expecting someone to welcome him. He let out a loud sigh when no one came. What a lonely person, he thought. He walked towards his sofa, clearly feeling the heaviness of the drinks he had. “Why are there 2 sofa sets?” James reached to what seemed his sofa, and dropping like a sack of potatoes, he fell flat on the carpeted floor.

James was snoring loudly when his phone started ringing. The ring tone partially woke up. He looked at his phone but couldn’t see the caller id clearly. He groaned as he sat up, realizing that he had slept on the floor. His head hurt badly as he tried to make out what had happened the previous night.  “Ah!” James let out a soft moan. His phone kept ringing.

“Hello…” James answered. “Hey, James. It’s been a while.” James tried to make out the voice but his head hurt really badly. “Who is this?”

“Oh man, I’m offended. I can’t believe you forgot about me that quickly.” James’ vision started becoming clear. His memory of yesterday begun coming back to him, but his head still hurt. He removed the phone from his ear to look at the caller id. It was his old friend Robert.

“Robert? Is it really you?”

“No. It’s the landlord and I have come for the rent. Of course, it’s me, Robert!”

“Sorry man, I…um…hey, how’s it going? It really has been a while.”

“It has. Listen, why don’t we meet up? I want to discuss something with you.”

James reached the destination they had agreed upon with Robert. He was 30 minutes early. James entered the restaurant and ordered a cup of coffee and some cookies. He loved cookies, especially chocolate cookies. He sat down and quickly his mind wandered to the conversation he had over the phone with Robert. What did he want to talk about? He looked outside through the big window and saw 2 boys walking across the street. He wished he could be young again and make better choices in life. But what bugged him the most was that he really didn’t know what he wanted in life. What was even his purpose? Somehow James felt lost, wondering if he would ever be or find something meaningful to do.

“Just like old times.” James looked at Robert, who was standing in front of him. “You always were early. Old habits never die huh?” Robert was wearing a black suit with sunglasses. His shoes looked like it could cover James’ salary for 4 months. “Are you walking with the Men in Black?” James asked while standing up. The 2 men hugged themselves, embracing themselves in a tight hug before pulling themselves at arm’s length and observing each other.“Well, look at you. You look so…classy.” James said.

They both sat down. “So…how’s it been?” Robert began.

“Oh, it’s been alright.”

“Hmm...it’s that bad huh?” 

James took a sip of his coffee and bit on his cookie.

“I quit my job yesterday. I couldn’t handle another day in that place.” 

“Oh, I see. You have any plans moving ahead?” Robert asked.

“Honestly, I don’t know. I just left without thinking about what my next move is.” James put down his coffee. “I really don’t know where I go from here.” James continued.

There was a moment of silence. Something like 10 seconds before James broke off the silence. “So...what did you want to talk about?” He took another sip of his coffee, but his gaze never left Robert.

“The Iditarod trail sledge dog race” Robert answered.

“What about it?” James asked.

“I want you to come back and race.”

“Come back?”

“Yes,” Robert responded. “The race needs people like you, James.”

“I’m retired, Robert. And besides, it’s been 6 years since I last raced.”

The waitress came and put Robert’s coffee on the table with a piece of cake on the plate. “Thanks,” Robert acknowledged the waitress before she left.

“Look...” Robert’s attention quickly turning to James. “Since you left, the race hasn’t really been the same. The passion has died because people can’t live up to what you achieved.”

James looked at his coffee. He was deep in thought, remembering how he used to race 6 years ago. “And besides...” Robert continued “you could get some money to help you find another opportunity. You don’t have much to do, and you kind of need the money. So why not give it a try?”

James turned his attention to Robert. He could see Robert wanted him to come back to Alaska. “The racers really need you to get their passion back. They looked up to you, James.”

James looked up to the ceiling. He wondered if he could still race. But maybe he needed this. The prize money was really good and it could go a long way to help him. It wouldn’t hurt he tried to race again. What else was there to lose?

“Are you going to race too?” James asked Robert.

“Of course. I wouldn’t miss it.”

“Alright then, count me in,” James said with a smile on his face.

“Yes! Thanks, man. I knew I could count on you. We leave on Thursday morning. Everything has been set.”

A cold wind welcomed James as he came out of the van. There was snow covering everywhere. This reminded James of his race days. It brought a smile on his face as he remembered his first race when he fell off his sledge. “I saw that” Robert put his hand on James’ shoulder. “It  brings back memories, huh?”

James saw a group of people and some dogs up a hill. He climbed towards them, but someone in the group shouted: “Is that James? James the sledge king?”

The people, who had been murmuring amongst themselves, turned and looked at James who was approaching them. “It is him…” another person shouted. When James finally reached them, they all rushed to get his attention. “What brings you, James?” one person asked.

“Are you here to observe the race?” “I didn’t expect to see you here” “Are you here to race too?” The questions kept coming.

“Guys,” Robert finally appeared. “Give James a break will you?” James nodded at Robert as if saying “thank you”

“I’m here to race too.” James finally spoke. 

“Really?” asked a young lady. 

“I thought you had retired?” another person in the crowd asked.

“I did. But now I’m back...for one more.”

James heard the dogs barking and he knew it was race day. Yesterday he hadn’t slept at all as the people kept him up for most parts of the night. He also was thinking of the upcoming race. Can I still do it? It’s been over 5 years. The organizers where busy arranging the sledges and patting the dogs. Seeing all this made James feel happy. He had always loved the feeling of racing on the snow. He loved how the felt right before a race. How the thrill of the race took over him whenever he would get on that sledge and race. All these feelings were coming back to him.

James turned and looked at Robert who was next to him at the beginning of the race line. He was about to going sledging with his friend. Robert had always come closest to beating James but never did. Maybe this time he would. But there was no denying how excited James was. For the first time in a while, James felt like he belonged here. In the snow. Sledge racing. Everything came back to him, and though he had retired 6 years ago. He had never really left. And he then knew immediately what he wanted.

He wanted to sledge.

January 21, 2021 22:19

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2 comments

Zaineb Haj Nasr
17:50 Jan 28, 2021

I like it! m following you for better stories. it's a good try for a first submission.

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Solomon Obedi
10:41 Jan 29, 2021

thank you very much.

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