Frank was peckish. He knew he ought not to be but it was turning out to be a hell of a day. In the morning he had been called into the bosses office.
“Sit down, Frank,” the big man had said. Frank assumed he had a name but he’d always called him boss. Now he said nothing, just sat.
“As you know we are in a bit of a slump…”
Oh, god, no, Frank thought.
“We are having to let a few people go.”
Please not me.
“Don’t worry,” Boss barked. “You’ve gone as white as a sheet. No, we have decided that we need to lose Alex, and as you are his superior you need to tell him.”
Frank sat for a moment. “Me?”
“Yes, and today.”
Frank stood and nodded. What Boss hadn’t said was that Alex was a friend. Hell, they had just spent the weekend together, families sharing a barbecue and enjoying the sun.
Now, as he strode across the yard Frank found himself hungry and wishing he were anywhere else but there. He stopped. “Jesus,” he said under his breath. In the distance Alex was just getting out of the staff room. Not that the mobile caravan was much of a staff room. He held in his hand a bar of chocolate. Frank could already see he had taken the wrapper off. It was a habit that drove Frank to distraction.
The man started toward him.
They met in the middle of the yard. “What’s up?” Alex asked.
“Just had a meeting with the Boss.”
Alex let his eyebrow rise.
“They are letting you go,” Frank said, not meeting his friends eyes.
“Yeah! Happy April Fools to you too…”
Frank looked at him, and tried to make his expression grave. “It’s no joke.”
“Shit,” Alex said, breaking the chocolate bar in half. He held one half out to Frank.
Frank took it, not really thinking about it, just that this might not ruin their friendship. He wanted to keep this guy as a friend.
“So from when?” Alex asked.
“End of the day.”
Alex sniffed and then looked to the bosses office. “I’m not waiting to the end of the day.”
Frank shrugged. “I can’t stop you.”
He took a bite of the chocolate and Alex smiled. “Sorry.”
“Taking it out on you rather than him.”
“You…” Frank felt his throat burn and his tongue start to swell. His breath, which had been fine a moment ago, now whistled in and out. He felt as if he were sucking it through a straw.
Alex took a bite of the bar and watched as Jack fell to his knees. “You just bankrupted me. I’ll lose the house.”
Frank was now lying down struggling to get air.
Alex finished his bar and leant down to Frank. “They’ll find you.” He then took hold of his left wrist and slipped the medical bracelet off. “Can’t make it too easy for them, can we?”
He then stood and turned. Walking away he nodded at another worker. The other man rushed past him toward Frank. He would be fine, Alex told himself. Leaving the yard at a brisk pace he dropped the piece of jewellery in the public bin.
This story was inspired by the daily prompt – if you could turn back time. I recently was diagnosed with a nut allergy and, from having no problem with food, I now have a huge one. I am sure I’ll get used to it but most of the time I am worried about anaphylactic shock. Although I have no friends that would knowingly do this, it is a possibility. Did you know that most chocolate bars contain nuts, even if they have no visible ones in them? If I could turn back time, it would be to a point where I was fine with nuts and could eat them by the handful.