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He came into her office without even knocking; just slapped his palm to the frame after barging his way past the other juniors returning from lunch. She sensed rage pulsing like heat from his rigid body on the other side of her desk.

She didn’t look up, noting that the digits on her screen clock said she had one minute remaining of her own. She held up a hand asking him to wait. Sixty seconds.

Of course, he hadn’t. Waited. He was one of those hotheads fresh from a disappointing 2:2 and he’d got to have his say. Right now. She’d wished she’d had more time to fully appraise both their positions, but, well—he was here now. And he was already launching his first missile: workers’ rights.

She had to get the last paragraph right on this e-mail; to get it out of the way; wanted to finish and click ‘Send’ but needed to word it differently. She couldn’t do it with him hovering above her. He was well into zero-hour contracts now. She clicked ‘Undo’, watching the lines fall like dropped stitches from her screen. She’d return to it after he’d left. She raised her head to face the onslaught.

But he’d gone. More than gone; there was no evidence of his ever having been there. Outside, the hum of the office was the same as before, and some of the workers were returning from their lunch hours. Again.

She checked her email on the screen. She’d got to the last paragraph, wanted to get it out of the way, but needed to word it slightly differently, when there was a thump of palm against doorframe and angry footsteps banging towards her desk. She hadn’t looked up.

He came into her office without even knocking.

Flash Fiction by Deborah Riccio

Published in Autumn 2017


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