The hail pounded on the factory’s tin roof, filling the empty factory floor with a deafening roar. The offices were better protected, but the noise was still oppressively loud.
The lack of power was a bigger problem.
Nate went down stairs and walked through the unused machinery, leaving footprints in the dust. He unlocked and opened the door to the power room and went in and checked the fuses. Everything was in full working order. The building was simply not getting any power.
The blackout must be outside somewhere. He headed over to the front door of the factory and opened it. The little designer swimwear shop across the road was in darkness too. He leaned out the door and looked up and down the street. Everything was out.
Well at least it wasn’t something he would be expected to fix. He went back up to the offices and found Jock.
“Looks like power is out for the whole block at least.”
Nate went on. “The website is down, and even if someone rings to place an order by phone, with the computers down we can’t do anything.”
Jock was clearly not thrilled about this. “So we’re screwed?”
Nate shrugged. “Until the power comes back on yeah.” He paused. “Even if we had that generator you wanted, that would only give us an hour of power.”
Nate looked at his watch. It was 3.14pm. The chance that he would get out of here before five today were almost non-existent.
Jock shock his head. “Mains will probably be back on in an hour.”
“Wanna bet?” Nate asked as he walked over to the door.
Jock’s reply was drowned out but deafening boom of thunder.
This sort of thing had happened to Jock before. 29 times before. He only remembered three. The human memory is a fickle thing, and he didn’t even remember that he didn’t remember.
On the occasions he didn’t remember he had simple repeated whatever he had been saying that got drowned out by the background noise. Sometimes this had been the right thing to say, sometimes it hadn’t.
However three times in his life he had stopped, reconsidered and changed his mind. Coincidentally all three times this had turned out to be the best thing to do. These were the only three occasions that Jock remembered.
To Jock this was proof positive. Every single time he had had to repeat himself due to loud noise, changing what he said had been the right thing to do. It was the only option. His poor memory was proof of that.
So as Nate politely waited for the thunder to pass and asked the seemingly simple question. “What was that?” There was nothing simple or accurate about the thoughts that bounced through Jock’s brain.
“Err, nothing. Just let me know when everything is back online.” Jock answered.
Nate went back to his office, stopping at the front desk and the little waiting vestibule to pick up an old newspaper. He folded the paper open to the crossword section and realise Scarlet had already finished the crossword. Perhaps ‘finished’ wasn’t the right word, filled-in was more accurate. She always wrote random colours and numbers into the crosswords.
One hour and four minutes later the lights came back on. Time to get to work. Nate headed to the broom closet he mockingly called the ‘server room’, and started the process of bringing the website back online.
Jock opened the door as Nate was down on his hands and knees resetting the power suply. The overly tight yellow shirt riding up and little, and Nate’s jeans riding down, revealing his plumbers-crack.
Jock, just like anyone else in this position couldn’t help but look. As he did he noticed a large mole above Nate’s left buttock.
He pointed at the mole. “You should get that looked at, it looks cancerous.”
Nate yelped in surprise at Jock being there, and at the comment Jock had made. He tried to twist around to see what Jock was pointing at.
“Are you serious?”
Jock nodes. “I never jock about cancer. Just got your doctor to have a look at it.”
Nate stood up and dusted his knees off as the severs started to hum back to life.
“Great, just what I needed.” Nate checked the computer screen and nodded. “The website will be back online in about 10 minutes.”
Jock wounded off, satisfied that his supervision had fixed the problem, and went to find something else that needed his management.
Nate twisted around, trying to look at the spot on his lower back, but it was in just the wrong place. He went to the men’s room to check it in the mirror. Small, black, irregular shaped mole. Had it always been there? Had it always been that shape? He would have to get it looked at.
5.29pm and Nate was still at his desk, the website up and running smoothly, everything going as it should. He could finally go home and relax after the strange day.
He looked out the window. It was still raining. He pulled on his damp shirt over the top of the bright yellow t-shirt, picked up his shoulder bag and his rainbow umbrella and headed out into the rain.
A 5 minute to the station, a 10 minute wait for the train, a 12 minute train ride into town, change train, 6 minute more waiting, a 18 minute train ride home, and finally a 4 minute walk to his flat.
He climbed the three flights of stair to the top floor apartment, side the key into the lock and turned it, and stopped.
“Ah crap.” He shouted to himself, suddenly remembering his date plans for the evening. He had planned to stop in the city and get a new shirt. He looked at his watch. 6.27 not enough time. He pushed the apartment door open and went inside.
Before he got three steps in the door he was stopped by his flatmate. Glen.
Glen was a nice guy, a really nice guy, a bit of a flake, but a nice guy. Without a doubt the best flatmate Nate had ever had. And Nate had had a few in the past few years. But Glen was campiest little queen Nate had ever meet.
“Okay, before you freak out, it’s not as bad as it looks.”
Nate frowned and raised an eyebrow. “What’s not as bad as it looks?”
Nate’s frown deepened. “What damage.”
Glen pointed towards the kitchen. “From that super scary hail storm.”
Nate dumped his bag and umbrella in the hallway and stepped into the kitchen. The window had been smashed, and several plates and cups were shattered on the floor among the window glass.
Glen walked into the kitchen too, pulling on a pair of kitchen gloves.
“Broken stuff.” Glen said, as if that was somehow helpful.
“Do I, just put all the bits in the bin?”
Nate nodded again.
“And then… mop or something?”
Nate nodded. “Yeah… and I’ll find something to put over the broken window.”
Half an hour later, the mess all cleaned up and Nate had tapped a large piece of cardboard over the window. It wasn’t a good solution, but it would see the night through.
Nate slumped down on the couch and Glen turned on the telly.
“So… what you up to tonight Nate?”
Nate shrugged and then yelled. “Oh crap.” He got back to his feet and rushed to his room. “I’ve got a date tonight.”
Glen frowned and turned the telly off again. “Did you just say ‘date’.”
Nate’s dashed across the small apartment, unbuttoning his still damp work shirt as he walked into the bathroom. “Yeah, and I’ve got nothing to wear.”
Glen smirked. “OMG, you are gay after all.”
Nate stuck his head out of the bathroom door. “Why does everyone always think I’m straight?”
Glen shrugged. “That doesn’t matter right now. Right now you have to tell me everything, about this date, about this guy… it is a guy right?”
Nate grumbled from the bathroom. “Yes it’s a guy. Fine. I’ll tell you, but you have to lend me a shirt to wear.”
Story continues in part 6.
Part of my creative writing class. Weekly Assignment 6.