Friday, September 17, 2010

Prompt 4

The Work Place

Seth Thomas

#18 Corneliusstr. Frankfurt a.Main. Only half a mile from the Alte Oper, and settled in the shadow of glass corporate giants such as Die Deutsche Bank, Commerz Central, and Die Deutsche Bahn. The sun is still on the rise, and the shadows of skyscrapers still stretch from Innenstadt all the way to the satellite communities of Höchst, Griesheim, and Eschborn. Paved arteries, veins, and vessels are already pumping away. Pushing life through the city. Sleek black and silver Mercedes intermixed with goateed bike messengers, and men in CandA suits exit the Bahn’s while mothers with strollers climb aboard. You don’t notice at first, but as you caterpillar along with all the other cars you feel something. It vibrates. Like the opening chord of your favorite rock ballad it resonates inside off you with something familiar yet foreign. You begin to wonder, but just then your Czech coworker, Michal Hansel honks his horn and begins shouting at a electrician who decided to park his car in the lane. Whatever you felt is still there, but by now you’ve already forgotten it. So you continue to look out the window. Completely unaware that the city has accepted you. Completely ignorant that you have now accepted it too.

Hansel circles the building three times before a parking spot opens. It looks like a smart car was there before us, but you’re already five minutes late and Hansel beginning to mutter under his breath about losing the reserved parking spot. You try looking up the street for maybe a better spot, but Hansel already has the car in reverse and begins packing the nine passenger Leiferwagen into the spot with all the skill of Mary Poppin’s handbag.

You’re still two blocks away, but the day is nice and despite Hansal’s mutters about being late neither of you bothers walking any faster than if you were early.

The Office, used both as a proper and generic noun, sits on the corner. It’s flowered windows, and painted sills merge innocently into the surrounded townhouses. A secret business, known only by the small plaque on the door which reads:

2. Etage: Kirche Jesu Kristi

3 Etage: Finanz Beratung Gmbh.

4. Etage:Deutsche Amt der Stadt.

5. Etage: Deutsche Amt der Stadt.

The same sign is posted in the elevator, but the buttons for the fourth and fifth floors replaced with locks. You wonder what goes on in the Official Offices of the German State, and even open your mouth to ask Hansal about it (he knows these things better), but are stopped by a man in a sleek pinstripe suit. He runs through the glass doors with outstretched arm shouting “Haltet den Aufzug.” Hansal holds the elevator for him. A short exchange of danke and bitte takes place before the man turns his back to you and places a futuristic looking key in the lock for the fourth floor, and turns it. The elevator door closes, and for some reason it skips the second floor (as always), and goes straight to the fourth floor. Both you and Hansal inconspicuously crane your necks to catch a glimpse of the mysterious secret floors, but all you get is the friendly smile of the secretary before the doors slide shut.

Two floors lower you unlock the double glass doors and walk into The Office. It’s no larger than a small apartment. A single hallway maybe thirty meters long is all the guide you need to find two offices, an empty conference room, storage, a kitchen, and the Office of President Webb. All the lights are on except President Webb’s. Hansal doesn’t waste time anytime taking of his jacket. In three simple movements it’s hanging on the coat rack. He also has his computer booting up, and is already pouring a bowl of Müsli before you have an arm out of your coat.

“Is that you boys?” the voice is sweet and warm, like a freshly baked batch of cookies calls from the second office. Your stomach grumbles.

“Yes Sister Cole” you call back before hanging your coat next to Hansal’s. You go boot up your computer, pausing to look at the picture of a smiling brunette taped to the monitor. Does she still look like that? The question goes unanswered. No point in questions with no answers, and you grab the mug sitting next to the keyboard, and head to the kitchen, squeezing past Hansal with a mouthful of Müsli. ………….. and due to a rapidly dying battery/attention span this prompt goes unfinished.

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