Phoenix Writers – weekly writing task

The task set this week was on the subject – Your worst ever job.

I don’t write autobiographically and was toying with the idea of something funny,light, whatever, when this short short arrived completely formed. i know its perhaps inappropriate, but it is offered in respectful rememberance.

The transport has shaken you. i can see that, the cold, the hunger, the thirst and above all the stench, the terrible stench.
You have begun to believe that things cannot, will not get better, but somehow, against all logic, something good is happening now.
Leaving the train, you were directed towards the right, towards us, huddling together, trying to keep a semblance of warmth, waiting for you.
You trot towards us, you, the other old men, the children, the pregnant women.
We greet you in your mother tongue, we speak a lot of languages now and tell you that there will be food, warm clothes, a shower.
i put my hand on your wrist, feel a watch and quietly suggest that i look after it for you, while you shower and you look at me and you see a man, filthy, verminous, ill- fitting stripey clothing, thin, but you don’t see the red armband, you don’t see that in the kingdom of skeletons, to be merely thin is to be well fed.
We open the doors, usher you in.
As i walk away, i drop your watch into my boot.
I am still alive.


About cathi rae

50ish teacher & aspiring writer and parent of a stroppy teenager and carer for a confused bedlington terrier and a small selection of horses who fail to shar emy dressage ambitions. Interested in contemporary fiction but find myself returning to PG Wodehouse when the chips are down View all posts by cathi rae

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