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“Jeremy” – Short Story


It was raining heavily by the time Jeremy’s bus finally pulled up to the kerb in front of him, and the humour of the fact that it had become a comparatively idyllic day moments after he boarded the transport somehow failed to reach as far as his lips. On a better day, Jeremy might have mused that this was somewhat ironic given the fact that, thanks to his now rather sodden scarf, his lips were one of the driest parts of him, but today was not a better day. He briefly flirted with the thought that on the whole the day was probably not too far below average, then decided it would make him happier if he pretended it was, and purposefully deepened the creases he’d made in his face.

Despite his best efforts, Jeremy spotted an elderly woman facing him from the front of the bus. He wasn’t sure if she would notice if he narrowed his eyes at her, but he did it anyway and it made him feel a little better. He smiled. It occurred to Jeremy that this would probably negate the effect of his previous action somewhat. He stopped smiling.

As the seconds passed with conspicuous volume on the wristwatch of the rather rotund man next to whom Jeremy was sitting, he realised that the device was an altogether better focus for his irritation than the old lady. In fact, it seemed to have been purpose-built for the task, by virtue of its way of assaulting the full array of the senses at once. To Jeremy’s mind, it had undoubtedly the most garish gold-silver-pink colour he could recall having seen on a timepiece recently, and oddly enough, in addition to its questionably offbeat ticking, it seemed to be emitting an irritating high pitched hum and, he fancied, a deeply disturbing smell. Though he wasn’t sure if one or more of these things would perhaps be more accurately attributed to the man on whose arm it sat. Jeremy pulled his eyes away from it, squarely meeting those of the man to whom the watch and the arm belonged.

‘That’s an interesting watch you’ve got there.’ He said when the man failed to look away from him, instantly regretting the act of opening communications with this new opposition in life. The man’s eyes drew their lids closer together and a low grunt which had an air of finality without possessing any actual discernible syllables ejected itself from somewhere within his considerable frame. Jeremy’s own eyes excused themselves, and purposefully moved to face anything less aggressive than that particular man. After a brief meander, they finally came to rest on the front windscreen and Jeremy sighed. It was beginning to rain again.


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