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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2207647
A sudden call to work on Christmas Day. A 416 word story.
Calling Yani

When my phone buzzes at 2am I don't need to look to see who it is. The hotel, of course; my place of employment. I don't need to hear the words either to know what the 'request' will be.

"Yani, we need you here today. Okay?"

They all know I can't afford to say no. The questioning tone is simply going through the motions. "Sure, okay," I say and turn over for another few hours sleep.

Usually, I'd catch a bus to the subway then take the train across town, but this being Christmas Day that's not going to happen. My shift will begin at seven o'clock, less than five hours away. I lay there in that strange state between being asleep and really awake, letting my mind puzzle over the problem of how I'm going to get there.

I guess I could take a cab. There are bound to be a few drivers waiting for fares. But that would cost me more than I earn, considering they are all going to be charging premium rates.

I could cycle. The bike is out in the hallway somewhere, providing that the last person to use it returned it. The rain is pattering against the window, souring the prospect of a bike ride. Of course it could be worse. There could be snow and ice out there.

I'll walk, I decide. It'll take me the better part of an hour and a half, but at least if I wear my long raincoat and walking boots I'll stay more or less dry.

I'm up before 5o'clock, and am getting myself ready. "Happy Christmas, Yani," I say to myself, seeing as there is no one else to say it to me. That's the only acknowledgement to the occasion that I'll be making. My breakfast will be a hastily downed coffee and a slice of toast, before I head out.

It's almost eerie on the streets. I can't help feeling a bit like Cillian Murphy in '28 Days Later'. There are no other pedestrians, no cars. I think maybe I hear a vehicle on the highway, but that could just be my mind playing tricks on me.

"Ah, Yani. Always, Yani,' I say aloud, knowing that no one is going to overhear me talking to myself. On I trudge, head down against the wind and the rain. But it's not that bad; my coat is keeping me dry.

And, on the plus side, I won't now be spending Christmas Day alone.

(416 words)

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