Thursday, last bastion of hope. Make it past today and the weekend is yours.
Mose walked into the call centre and found his chair. Not his own chair of course. A good chair was like gold dust in here and the night shift were notorious chair stealers and head set swappers. Why wouldn’t they be? They have nothing else to do all night. Sitting there on their takeaway-getting-backsides with their mighty uplift and minimal workload, God, how he envied them.
So Mose danced the dance of the Crappy Office Chair. Seeking out a good one without looking too much like he was a chair stealer, finding one that was suitable, he sat down and started going through the motions.
Yesterday had been quiet, normally a good thing in a place like this but it seemed empty. Quiet was good when there was a lot going on elsewhere in your life. Sometimes action was to be preferred, even if that action led to the unknown, maybe especially when it did.
He hadn’t drawn a thing yesterday. All day he had sat and looked at his pad. He had managed a few little scribbles but nothing really. No eyes, no hands. No characters, certainly no monsters.
As he plugged himself into the machine and took out his pad and pencil he, again, came to a realisation. Do I want to spend every day repeating the same mundane actions and spewing out the same boring words as the day before? Was it time for a change? What if Today wasn’t like yesterday. What if Today I insist on something new happening, no matter what?
Mose decided in that instant that he wasn’t going to settle for repetition any more. He cracked open his pad and began to draw. Nothing in particular, just anything his hand wanted to do. He hit the GO READY button on his computer and started taking the phone calls that paid his bills. As he talked to the customers and listened to their pointless complaints his hand drew on his pad. Animals and insects and people and forests and mountains, he flipped page after page and just kept on drawing. It didn’t really matter what he was drawing, he knew what he wanted to happen. He took call after call waiting for the voice, the voice that had called him on Tuesday and shaken his world and stopped him being able to think of anything else since then, the voice that sounded like it was from another world.
He drew furiously, scribbling sometimes and paying more attention to detail other times but constantly drawing something. His workmates around him didn’t pay him any attention, or if they did he didn’t see it. He sat there through his break, through his lunch, not eating anything, sipping from his water bottle now and then when the endless chatter and insincere platitudes that he spouted at the customers got stuck in his throat. He drew ferociously, beasts of all shapes and sizes. Hunters and warriors and gods he drew. He drew from his memory and he drew from his imagination. He drew planets and space ships and solar systems and galaxies and they all blurred on his page they all drifted into one image that never ceased moving in front of him.
The clock must have moved that day but if it did he didn’t notice it. There was a pile of pencil shavings on his desk next to him and page after page of his pad was filled from end to end with images. He drew until his hand ached and he never felt the pain. All he could think about was that voice. He pressed harder, leaning in as he shaded his latest creation and felt the top of his pencil snap. He looked down at it. Reached for his sharpener as he glanced at the clock, 5 minutes to go, he had been drawing all day.
The voice hadn’t called.
He sharpened his pencil again. The tenth time today.
The phone didn’t beep. It had been a nonstop day. Call after call but now, finally, with a few minutes left to go some respite, time to actually think.
Mose looked at all he had drawn, flipping through the pages. There must have been hundreds of them. Some crude, some more detailed but each with something on them, every page covered in something. Are these alive now? Did these creatures and people and objects he had drawn exist somewhere? Or was he just going more quickly mad than everyone else.
All he had wanted all day was that call.
There was one page left in the pad. He folded it over and smoothed it down.
It had to be worth a try.
He blew the dust off his pencil and started to doodle, a large old fashioned telephone, and next to it, in large chunky letters across the last page in the pad.
CALL ME 268587
Silence. The phone still didn’t beep. The clock ticked around. The second hand sweeping towards its destination, the place Mose usually sat and prayed for it to reach without a call coming through. This time he wanted nothing more than the call. All he wanted in the world was for the phone to ring right now and the voice to be on the end of the line and an adventure to begin. Surely there had to be something out there. He ripped off the paper and held it up close to his face, closed his eyes.
The phone beeped.
“Mose? Is it you?” The voice wavered.
He could hardly believe it. Had it actually happened? Had it actually worked?
“It’s me. Its Mose.”
The line went dead.
His eyes shot open.
Philanthropia was standing there, the paper was in her hand, and she was smiling at Mose.
“Hmm maybe, let’s see what tomorrow brings.” She smiled again, turned and walked away.