Silent As A Graveyard

Written in response to: Set your story during the night shift.... view prompt


Contemporary Sad

This MC's wife and daughter are named after Deirdra Lovegren and Sienna :), two of my followers. Thanks for the support, Deirdra and Sienna :)!

CW: Mild language

I set my cup of coffee down, my fifth tonight.

For some reason, I'm over-tired, maybe because I'm always on the night shift. Boss says it's good for me, but I'd have to disagree.

He always thinks he knows every little detail, even how I feel.

But no one knows how I feel.

I think of my family, sleeping peacefully at home in their beds.

The younger daughter, Sienna, cuddling her stuffed elephant, Harry.

Probably dreaming about unicorns or some other little-kid stuff.

Our older daughter, Becca, sleeping in her mound of pillows.

My wife, in the big bed all alone.

I have a sudden yearning to be there, not in this stupid office that feels terrible.

You know straightjackets, right?

Well, imagine a straightjacket as a room.

Yep, that's what the office feels like right now. A restraint.

But I'm hit with a sudden fragrance that expands to fill the room.


I know how she smells.

We've been partners forever, and my whole family goes to her house every year for her Christmas party.

And, of course, her delicious cranberry pudding.

So when she strolls up to my desk in her too-tight uniform, I don't even bother to look up.

"Hi, Mel," I say, hunched over my computer.

"Hey Jake. Whatcha doin'?" She leans over my shoulder, looking at my spreadsheet.

I'm doing my mom's accounting for her, currently a province apart.

When my dad died, she was stranded in Alberta, with no one to help her.

Me and my wife, Deirdra, decided to find a small way to help out. After all, she is my mother.

So, right before we moved to British Columbia, Deirdra, a computer tech, set Mom up with an email account and showed her how to use it.

Then Mom was taught to use Zoom, so we can talk to her so she won't be lonely, and so I can figure out her tech-related info.

Deirdra's working on getting Mom moved into our basement apartment, but it's hard to move by yourself.

Deir's already called the movers to help Mom pack everything. After all that, the movers will drive all her stuff to our house and Deir'll take it from there.

But right now, Mom's still in Alberta, and the movers haven't arrived yet.

So I still have chat about all her accounting crap over Zoom.

It's a huge pain, I'll tell you that.

She'll be here soon, though.

"Jake." Melissa snaps her fingers in front of my face, bringing me out of my head. "You okay?"

"Yup! Perfectly." I lean back and take another gulp of my scalding-hot coffee, burning my tongue.

She frowns. "No, you're not. Tell me, what number is that?" She points to my cup.

"Um, fifth?"

Mel opens her mouth to say something, so I hurriedly add, "Don't worry, it's just to keep me awake."

"Sure it is. By the way, whiskey works better." She winks, then laughs and walks away, her keys jangling on her belt.

I sigh and sit upright in my chair.

I should really get this finished. It's not like I have anything else to do.

It's true; the night shift is always dead-quiet. Silent as a graveyard, hence the name everyone gives it. 'Graveyard shift'.

There aren't any calls, nothing remotely interesting to drag me away from my accounting.

When you're bored, having nothing more exciting to do than paperwork is very sad. And, in case you haven't noticed, I'm bored. With nothing more exciting to do. So I am sad.

It makes me wonder why they make us work the graveyard shift anyway.

I shake my head and tell myself, Focus, Jake. Seriously.

I spin my swivel chair and stand up. Next stop, coffee-maker.

When I wake up, the sun is shining right in my eyes.

The first thing I think is, What the hell? Stupid sun.

The next, Wait, where am I?

Then I remember I came home at 6am last night (well, this morning) and went to bed, my bed, just before everyone woke up.

The next thing I do is look at the clock.

3:00 stares me in the face, in digital red letters.

Nine hours. Pretty good in terms of my sleep schedule. Usually I scrape by with a six or seven.

I groan.

The kids are at school, Deidra at work, doing techno-stuff.

I've got the house to myself. Yay.

I sit up slowly, still waking up.

I need a coffee. Now.

So I go make one.

In the kitchen, my favourite appliance is, not surprisingly, the coffee maker.

If no one had even thought of that marvelous machine, I wouldn't be breathing right now. I would rather drop dead than live in a world without coffee.

So yeah, I love the coffee maker.

Sometimes, Deirdra jokes that I should have married the machine instead of her.

And, honestly, I kinda half-agree with her.

I open the cupboard at eye-level and take out the bag of coffee beans.

I grind my own beans, for the best freshly-made coffee.

Then I grab the measuring cups from the drawer, one inside the other like Russian nesting dolls.

I sort through them and take the one I need.

I carefully pour the coffee beans into the 1/3 cup, making sure I don't spill. The cup gets dumped into the coffee grinder, and I hold the button to mush the beans.

The blades make a loud whirring sound, and I'm glad no one's in the house to be woken up.

I'm usually the first up, so I have to wait for everyone else to get downstairs for me to make coffee.

But when I work the graveyard shift, nobody's here, so I don't have to get impatient and grouchy.

When the beans are ground, I take the lid off the grinder and pour the crumbs into the coffee maker.

I put the pot into the bottom of the machine, ready to catch all the last drops of yummy, yummy coffee.

I pour in the hot water to join the bean crumbs and let the coffee maker do the rest.

August 31, 2021 15:20

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Unknown User
00:02 Sep 02, 2021

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Serena Johnston
23:55 Sep 05, 2021

Thanks so much, and you're so welcome!!!! I've started naming characters after people on my Reedsy page!! LOL love the Thor reference. Do you like those movies?


Unknown User
23:57 Sep 05, 2021

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Serena Johnston
00:05 Sep 06, 2021

OMG me too! My friend got me into it a few years ago and I love it now!


Unknown User
00:06 Sep 06, 2021

<removed by user>


Serena Johnston
00:41 Sep 06, 2021



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