A piece of short fiction – based on a prompt to examine place, setting, and story.
The meeting ended and I took off my peadset. I learned back into my chair, looking at the clock. I had a few minutes before my next call.
With a quick turn, I prepared to stand up out of the chair. Max may have come in without me noticing and laid down behind me.
But when I turned around, I saw his empty bed, next to the overflowing Whole Foods paper bag. Filled with discarded magazines, old papers, and cardboard boxes, it was the singular task to get me out of the office. But for a few seconds, he could have been there. Even though I knew he would never almost get stepped on again.
Instead, I extended my legs over the three notebooks still on the floor. Reaching down, I grabbed the paper bag to bring it downstairs to throw its contents into the recycling bin.
He did not follow me for this chore either. But I imagined his nose sticking through the bars of the stairs. Always wondering where I was headed and questioning his choice to stay behind. The only sound emanating from the room were the overextended computer fans.
My cold toes stretched in the socks that should have been replaced. When my foot hit the concrete floor of the garage, I felt the hole was bigger than I thought.
The magazines slid into the bin, dragging the papers, boxes, and scraps with them.
I carried the bag back to the office and placed it again next to Max’s vacant bed.
The bright lights of the dual monitors drew me back into work. After closing my door, sat back own, put my headset on and said, “Sorry, I’m late. I got caught up with something.”