The Working Week by Mark McConville

The Working Week.

Your tattoos show me what you think of this world. The burning flames, the skulls, the words studded in. The words do not reflect freedom and do not spell out redemption, they tell me that you are hurt, disjointed from society. Your heart tells you one thing, and your mind tells you to end the cycle, the monotony of life is trapping you, and you have no dreams to follow. Dreams what are they? You have not dreamt in months, your mind shuts off when you sleep, I wish that would happen to me. I dream too much about ghosts and ghouls, car crashes, a tornado crushing everything in its path. I dream about hollowed out faces and beards as thick as straw. Comfort has no place in my dreams, I am stuck in them for hours until I wake up feeling attacked.

When morning comes, I am exhausted, but I ready myself for the incoming force, the undesirable working week. You lie there sleeping, I yawn for what seems for years. I am done and tired, breaking every waking hour. Today, will be like any other. I will drink coffee and type up letters, dodge anyone who wants to lay their worries on me. This all may seem selfish and unpractical, but I feel the world weighing on me, its weight so heavy and its core so impenetrable.   

Getting dressed, wrapping myself in clothes I do not feel comfortable in has become repetitive. I am not a walking fashion statement, far from being a predominant feature, dressing like this only covers up a body which has been compromised. You do not know my past, my dark, fractured past, dotted in mascara tears and blotted in blood stains, you do not ask me about it, so I do not speak about it. May I speak about it sometime? That would lay to rest the feelings.

Forming words to say to before I leave is difficult. I am not a sincere person full of vigour. I say goodbye in the most genuine way possible, not leaving a kiss or an imprint of blood on your cheek. The working week is waiting for my bones to shatter, its waiting for my nervous breakdown to rattle me into a hospital room, but at least I have you to come home to. Will you be here when I am a mess, will you be sober enough to see me fully in the light?

I saunter down the street into the bustle of a city crammed with enlists proclaiming to be freedom fighters. They hold their signs for a better world, better diets, better healthcare. They may be battling for nothing; they may have to move from the spot they are occupying as the police form into human barricades. Breaking down this barrier which rallies for silence will be impossible for the cause. Coffee instils calmness. Bottle rockets fly. Damsels in distress clutch onto their men. Anarchy is brewing and the working week seems to be under threat. I stand observing men and woman giving their hearts. It is not for glory, or redemption, it is a rail against the grain.

Smoke fills my lungs. The flurries begin to gain pace. I enter the building where these letters will not be written in haste. Inside the main area, I see my co workers sit in unison, with their heads bowed down. Even the most audacious characters seem to be silenced. The music plays, the pop songs play out sweet melodies without any substance through the radio.  

I amble towards and see a man with a mask holding a gun. All my inhibitions crash, I crash. Angels have no say here nor to the leaders. It is us and him. Blood has not spilled yet, veins have not been blown to pieces, hearts have not caved in. Anger and repent overthrows the lights that shine on us. Feelings, what feelings can we channel now? He is destined to kill, to shoot bullets and disarm us from freedom.

‘’Sit’’

I sit and look at the teary eyes. The colleagues I chose not to interact with are battling. There is one man between us a freedom. He holds a weapon that could kill all of us in seconds. He stands assured.

‘’This is now a hostage situation. Do not speak, do not stand or I will shoot’’

My day started with me staring at your tattoos. The skulls, the fire, the words that do not spell out redemption. I need you to scatter truth here. You aided me through the trails and tribulations, broke the latch to the shimmering light.

One man cries another scream. One woman cries another bellows.

Inside this capsule we are different from the rest. We are caught up in someone’s rage. We are caught up in his rage.

A phone goes and then the gun goes. One person is now dead…

‘’No’’

‘’Please let us go’’

‘’If you stay quiet no one else will get hurt’’

He is a man supported by the grittiness of his own voice and the darkness. I assume he is jaded and sick.

‘’Do not move a muscle, I am telling you…’’

I stand and walk towards him; he seems to hesitate in opening fire.

‘’Calm, be calm’’

This man has become a killer in seconds. And I am not an angel of defiance, I am a stuck to one man and his tattoos.

I place the gun near my chest. He does not open fire; he does not make a sound.

He fails in his pursuit. No honour will come his way…

I remove his mask and unearth an elegant face.