Issue 5
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The Boxes in the Basement

Andy Owen Cook

 

Good Animals

It’s forbidden but I know it happens. In the conference room.

If you accidentally find yourself on stage when you shouldn’t be, you’re meant to just turn your back and stride through the curtain. That’s what the conference room is up to, trying to get to the curtain. But it doesn’t stride. It swaggers; it got too good. Too clean. It’s clean-clean when it ought to be dirty-clean. Cleaners don’t push tables perfectly flush against each other. Cleaners don’t perfume.

It’s the brash choice. Unlike the server room.

Right in with all those LED and the thick cables and fan smell, where the algorithms are silently counting cards. That’s where the real dirty work happens. That’s my spot. The perfume won’t work down there.
 

 

The Boxes in the Basement

They belong to the bank. The poor buggers who left them sailed away long ago. Straight into the Bermuda triangle no doubt, back when it was still hungry for poor buggers.

They did the decent thing though. They didn’t just bury whatever is in there at the bottom of their gardens.

They may as well have done though, as well as climbing in themselves.

And now new poor buggers trade their pensions for them. After all, you can get a lot of priceless objects into eighty square centimetres of padlocked metal.

It’s not the all-or-nothing type here but eventually they’re creeping down the steps, tapping corners, confusing the rattle of Richard III’s lost signet ring with a broken wrist watch.

And then what? Some things have got to end up under the patios of the world eventually. It’s destiny.

 

 

Mad Richard

Mad Richard sees himself on the monitor. Shoulder length grey hair, sleeveless leather jacket, a twinkle of gold tooth.

It’s him.

But it’s not him because he’s in the booth, with his damp nylon crotch and instant coffee spreading slowly across the desk.

He zooms. The man who looks like Mad Richard but isn’t Richard is carrying a sixty five litre backpack. He’s grinning and waving through the screen.

Behind the Richard that isn’t Mad Richard is a window, wide open.

There’s a car with no number plate. On the shine of the paint over the wheel arch the light from the bank’s alarm box blinks. It leaves millisecond long lipstick marks in the wet, dark street.

The man continues to wave.

Mad Richard’s finger rests on the Record button in the middle of his joystick.