A Call from the Dark by Adam Deverell - HTML preview

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 How to Get Ready for Work in Half an Hour


I’ve never been very good at getting up early on Saturday mornings. I’m usually wasted after frying my brain all week at school and Dad never stirs unless he’s working, so there’s not much incentive. I used to drag myself up, get a bowl of cereal and hop back into bed, watch music videos and then go back to sleep for a couple of hours. Those awesome mornings have long gone.

I wish I hadn’t taken them for granted, cause who knows if I’ll ever get to sleep in again? Things have changed. I have to get up for work now, and since I walked to work I had to leave way too early. That didn’t mean I get up when I should though. I always leave it as late as possible. So, on the weekend that my life took a serious plunge down the toilet, I woke up at nine after forgetting to set my alarm, leaving me only half an hour to get ready.

Unlike what I was about to go through, this was something I could handle easily. First, I made sure I had the fastest shower possible. That’s difficult. I love long, hot showers, washing my blonde hair slowly and rhythmically, just letting the steam clear my head and the soap wash all over me. It’s probably the most peaceful part of the day.

Then, standing at the kitchen counter, I ate my cereal as fast as I could. I rarely eat anything else. That’s probably why I’m as skinny as my dad. Sometimes I have a glass of orange drink (not orange juice, it’s way too expensive), but most of the time I just wolf down the cereal and slurp the milk from the bowl.

I quickly stuck on the same clothes I’d had on the night before. I’ve got pretty simple tastes – jeans, white T-shirt, suede ankle boots. I wear the same thing almost every weekend. Half the time the T-shirt has fallen off the chair in my room and is all creased, but that’s OK. Customers never seem to notice.

I never wear much make-up, so that’s not a big problem either. I put on some foundation to cover a few annoying zits and some eye shadow, but I kept it to a minimum.

My hair is not even shoulder length and is dead straight, so I put it in a hair band and a couple of clips and was ready to go.

This took less than half an hour. Walking to work took longer. But at least I’d be on time. In fact, I’d probably be there before Crass and I’d have to wait until he turned up fifteen minutes late looking like a human hangover.

I like walking to work when the weather’s nice. Not too hot, not too windy, and definitely no rain. If it rained, I had to wake Dad up, and getting Dad up nowadays was not an easy job.

I walked through Jubilee Park. Only a couple of people walking their dogs and me. The dogs were all excited, straining at their leashes or running maniacally after tennis balls. Dogs are always so happy. Every time I see a dog I wonder why I don’t have one. In fact we don’t have any pets at all. They’ve all gone and died, including a couple of cats, a goldfish and a white rabbit called Snow that Mum and Dad bought me for my ninth birthday that lasted about two weeks before it escaped and feasted on snail bait next door. Dad found it stiff as cardboard in the neighbour’s rose garden. We buried Snow in the backyard and even now I don’t like stepping on her grave near the lemon tree. Somehow I think it’s bad luck.

I couldn’t handle a pet, anyway. Who’d feed it? Who’d walk it? I do enough. But it’d be nice to have some company on a weeknight when I’m alone in the house. Although that’s not so common anymore. Usually Dad’s home, watching TV or swearing at the buzzing fridge that has been threatening to blow up for, like, the last two years.

I could hear kids playing cricket somewhere behind the bowls club as I made my way towards Main Street. Saturday is the big shopping day around here and the Rising Sun bakery was pretty full when I walked pass it. Men with the newspaper stuck under their arms were buying coffee and pastries and women loaded loaves of bread into the storage compartment of prams. One mum was trying to coax her son into shutting up by offering him a gingerbread man, but it didn’t work. He went on crying and she came out the door with an exasperated look in her eyes. I heard her say, ‘You can’t have a meringue worm this early in the morning Damien!’ and he shouted back, ‘I want a worm! I want a worm!’

I wondered what my Mum did when I was a snotty brat? She wouldn’t have put up with it. Primary school teachers are experts at getting kids to behave. I wouldn’t have got a gingerbread man as a bribe, that’s for sure.

My boots were beginning to hurt by the time I reached the store. They’re not great to walk up hill in. I reminded myself to charge my MP3 player so I could listen to some music after work for the walk home tomorrow. I finished early Sunday mornings and Dad had stopped picking me up once Daylight Savings had started. I like the peacefulness of the early morning, but I liked listening to music to unwind at the end of the shift.

The door to the store was opened when I reached it. Right on ten o’clock. Crass was on time for once.

‘Oh well’, I said to myself as I walked in, ‘another day, another dollar.’ That’s an expression I read in a book somewhere that stuck with me. It’s like the motto of the casual student worker who does the stuff nobody else wants to for half the pay. I guess there’s worse ways to spend a Saturday morning.

Boy, was I ever wrong.