image: interior of a bently roadster


The first sign I recognize is shouting. One man shouting. Metal blinds crashing, followed by a glass-pane-rattling office door slam.

I consider action plan number four. Escape route. There is nothing, I reason, as I dismantle my Blackberry with a makeshift envelope opener, to prevent me from leaving. I’ll just exit the building. No reason to linger. Why should I endure the sting of having the entire office—no, the entire building, watch building security escort me out?!

The power surges briefly. While it’s ridiculous for a building of this size to have an electrical glitch, it is a lucky mistake for me. It means that some electronic security measure has been activated.  I am habitually the cause of this.

Action plan number five, stay calm, feign ignorance and when the coast is clear, flee the scene. I think about Daniel jamming away in his tiny gray square. He has a nice smile.  Daniel in his skinny tie. Whenever I look around, he is smiling at me and I like smiling at Daniel, who meets my gaze and doesn’t ever look away first. I relish that. An expletive sails over the nubby labyrinth of stale homemade caramels. When I stare at them, as I often do—another shriek. I’d wonder what is going on over there but I already know.

Several digital chimes  echo throughout a sector between the west bank of elevators and the reception area. Instant messenger. I hadn’t counted on that. A loud burst of laughter from somewhere near the west wall. More chimes. Shit! I stand tip-toe, my hawk-like vision sweeping over the top of the urban warren like the silent light of a seaside beacon. A half dozen faces peer back at me. Fuckitshitdamn. I feign sudden  distraction by something on my desk and casually look down before slamming the backs of my calves to my thighs. I beat my clenched fist on my forehead, lose my balance and knock into my freestanding vertical file. The bastard plastic fishbowl growing mold there topples down.

Bran cereal cruncher’s bright red face appears over the southwestern most divider of my trapezoid shaped hive. On hands and knees, I am down the west corridor. Sharp glance behind me as I come into a low crouch, run, then walk casually past the open door of the west supervisor. With the arrival chime of the elevator I consider plans of action should security be arriving via the exact route I am attempting to leave. I duck into the kitchen. In case of fire… I push through the staircase door. No cameras. No lenses for me to disable. Staircase equals blind-zone. Exhale. A door two landings above bangs open. My floor. Staircase window. Open. Bye. Fire escape. Well, hello! I have often enjoyed the rush of riding down the fire escape on the sliding ladder. I drop to my feet.

Stan pulls the roadster to a silent stop. I dust myself off as I get in.


Your character is at work and prints something personal or sensitive. Unfortunately, they realise they sent it to the wrong printer and, unable to cancel it, by the time they get to the printer, it has disappeared. Now keep writing.