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The Space

By Alan Edwards



Copyright 2011 Alan Edwards



Smashwords Edition, License Notes

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Ralph Ebbets gripped the phone tightly in his damp fist, hating the whining edge that crept into his voice. “Honey, I packed my lunch today, and – “

His wife’s voice cut him off sharply. “Oh, heaven’s sake, Ralph,” and he hated the way she used his name as a contemptuous weapon, against which he could raise no protest for it was but his name, “your son is going back to school today and he wants to have lunch with his father before he leaves. Can’t you change your precious routine for one day?”

Ralph knew the battle was lost, had known it the moment the phone rang and he heard his wife’s voice informing him of the new lunch plans. He fought grimly to retain his dignity as he capitulated, knowing that it didn’t matter much since Sandra knew he didn’t have any left, at least as far as she was concerned. A pair of muttered sentences later and he was off the phone, able to return to his work but now committed to leaving at 11:45.

The distraction of knowing that he was going to be leaving midday interrupted his concentration throughout the two hours he had before he needed to leave. The precise ordered lines of the spreadsheet gleaming whitely at him from the monitor as always, but he had trouble returning to his task of filling in the neat little boxes with the numbers that waited patiently on the reports in front of him. A sudden jolt of concern over whether he should take Route 2 or the interstate to reach the restaurant would interrupt him, or the dilemma of whether he had time to make a new mug of tea and allow it cool enough to finish before he left, or some other thought conspiring to destroy the ordered rhythm he normally enjoyed in his world of balance and precision.

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