Frank sat in his car in the parking garage for a full ten minutes. He thought about his options. The car had a full tank of gas. He could drive to the ocean right now. He could be less adventurous and just pull out of the parking space and go home and get back into bed. The parking garage was eight stories tall. There’s a chance he could get enough speed to smash through the concrete and dive his car into the street.
He could get out of the car, go into the office and go to work like he had done 40 hours a week for the last few years and how he’d done at other jobs for years before that. He could also go into the office and quit on the spot. It would put him in financial trouble but so what. He’d been in financial trouble before. He thought about his last job. His boss there was so psychotic that the guy actually dressed up as Hitler for Halloween. He thought about how great it felt that he’d never see that pudgy son of a bitch again. He looked forward to the day he could say the same of this place.
He stepped out of the car and walked into the office. He thought about how some people go nuts and shoot up office buildings. He never wondered why. He knew. He also knew that he’d never do such a thing. He wasn’t interested in killing people. And trading his cubicle for a prison cell didn’t seem to be much of difference in his opinion. Less Netflix. That was about it.
He sat down at his desk and fired up his computer. The options were always there. And almost every morning he made the same choice. Sometimes he wouldn’t go in at all.
There was a time when Frank thought he was special. Millions of people went to work every single day week in week out for decades without getting fed up or burned out. But he learned from talking to coworkers that pretty much everyone felt the exact same way.
He didn’t know how to fix it. Many of his coworkers got by taking cigarette breaks slowly killing themselves while getting a few minutes outside the building. Frank had quit over a year ago. He had bills and a family. He couldn’t quit. And finding another job would likely be more of the same.
So he went to Toys R Us. Frank bought a container of bubble liquid. He went out with the smokers and while they blew smoke, he blew bubbles. It didn’t solve the problem but for a few minutes each day, he took his problems, put them in a little container, pulled out his weapon, and blew them away.
Words by Jack Cameron
Illustration by Ossaín Ávila Cárdenas
About 15 Minute Stories
It’s good for writers to write every day, but it’s easy for life to get in the way of that. One solution I read about recently was to write a 15 minute piece of short fiction every single day for a month. You may not have time to do NaNoWriMo every month, but if you like writing, you can always find 15 minutes.
So for the month of January, I’ll be writing and posting pieces of very short fiction that I took 15 minutes to write. I’ve asked that my friend, Ossaín Ávila Cárdenas join me by taking 15 minutes to draw an accompanying image for each story. Ossaín is one of the owners of a local zine shop in Tacoma called The Nearsighted Narwhal.