some fiction, per your requests

It's a sad day when your horoscope is more exciting than real life.

"Stop pretending you don't know how charming you've been. You know exactly how it's affecting others. Your mission is to hold back as much as possible, as you also know you'll be taking prisoners under unfair conditions."

Ennis rolled his eyes as he folded up the paper and laid it next to his computer on his desk. He once again mentally berated his pressboard office desk and he once again tried to tell himself that it wasn't important.

"Just ignore it, mate." His whisper was a croon. "Just ignore it."

He ought to be well accustomed to ignoring things by now. He had to ignore so many things in his life. Like how every piece of junk mail was addressed to Dennis. Like his annoyance at his thin, red hair--not because it was thin, or red, but how it had to be cut every four weeks on the bloody dot or it would begin to curl around his ears and make him look like a fucking queer. Or like the crack over his bed and how it had resembled the coast line of eastern Italy--except he liked the crack and he liked thinking about the crack.

Well, he didn't like the crack itself; cracks never bode well. He'd have to look for a new flat soon, and he'd negotiated a fair price on this one. But he liked its resemblence to Italy; until the damned thing had expanded and stretched from what the papers said was the wettest spring London had seen in two decades, and that was saying quite a lot now, wasn't it; because of the wet now the shoreline crack had extended well past the boot heel into the imagined Ionian Sea as if the water level had dropped round the world. Only if the water level dropped then the entire coast would be affected and changed and it wouldn't look like the Italy he knew anymore...

"Bloody hell, Ennis, just shut it!"

Ennis reached for his mouse and clicked it; hard. The browser didn't respond immediately, so he clicked it again, harder. Fucking connection. His mind dashed back to the crack--he could see it in his mind's eye--and he had to concentrate hard not to want to get up and go look at it. He pacified himself by thinking about the crack, which resolved into trying to not think about the crack, which he reckoned was a better thing. Progress.

Then the notion occurred that he must ignore that crack, lest he spend half the night mulling over the implications of dropping ocean levels and how impossible that actually was. But if you could believe what the Green House Effect People said, then if anything the oceans were rising and in fifty years they'd all be living on bloody boats.

He clicked the mouse again and thought about how sick he gotten when he'd sailed as a child. But his father had insisted and he loved his father and had always done his best to please him.

Still nothing. Ennis considered that he might actually loathe the blank screen before him. Hatred was like a weight pressing on the top of his head.

His father hadn't been a talkative man. More thoughtful and contemplative, that one. But kind to a fault. Never raised his voice or his hand to his family.

The phone rang.

"Ennis here."

"Ennis! You're coming out with us tonight, then?"

Ennis watched the narrow rectangle at the bottom of his screen fill with blue.


"Er... out, you say?"

"Are you working? Shall I ring back?"

Ennis tore his eyes off the half-filled blue box. He could call it a blue box instead of a white box because it was half-filled. That's what being an optomist was all about, after all. Glass half-full and all that rot.

"No. No, Gloria. I mean, yes, I'm working. But I can talk. I can always talk with you."

His mind vaguely registered her pacified sigh. Box, glass, same difference. What was up with the bloody connection today?

"So you'll come? It's quiz night and you always do so well."

The page loaded. Finally, thought Ennis.

Bugger. The email system was down. The last time this happened it was nearly a day before it was up and running again, and the time before that it was... two hours, he thought he recalled. Ennis looked at his watch. Half-nine and he had a meeting at ten. He'd needed this time to get email read. Bugger.


"I'll be there," Ennis promised. He reached up to touch the hair behind his ear. Week three. "I'll come out with you, love. Of course I'll come."

"I do love you, Ennis."

Miracles of miracles, the email announced its return with a little trilling buzz.

Ennis said through his smile of relief, "And I do love you. Oh, and Gloria, may I spend the night again?"

A low giggle. "Hmm. Of course, Ennis. I love it when you stay."

"Yeah. Perhaps we should talk about that tonight. I'll be needing a new flat soon, you know, and ..."

"Oh, Ennis. You've made my day. You really have."

Twenty-four emails. Slow day. At a minute an email he might just have time to stop by for coffee before heading to the meeting. As long as it was already made and he didn't run into that prattling James in the front office.

"Tonight, then, Gloria. I'll see you tonight."

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