First Day Story

I’m not an eloquent man but I was asked to tell my First Day story because it is quite different to that of the other remainers. It’s not about that one traumatic moment at 6:47am, instead my story only starts mid-morning.

I was hungover; very hungover. I woke slowly, reluctantly. I thought it was a Sunday at first because there was no traffic noise; then suddenly, painfully I realised I was late for work.

Very slowly I found some aspirin; took it; almost threw up; and decided to phone in sick. My boss’s phone just rang endlessly. Strange; but I was more concerned about the absence of coffee.

I had to get coffee.

Outdoors it was too bright; driving was hellish. At least the roads were quiet, no traffic until I got to the corner shop where some idiot had left his car idling in the middle of the road. I parked behind him and I walked into the store slowly; trying to control my nausea; to aisle four: hot drinks and sugar.  For some reason someone had scattered two sets of clothes all over this aisle – shoes, socks, underwear – even a handbag. I knew I wasn’t really awake yet but I was beginning to get the feeling something very odd was up.

It was only when I got to the till that I finally grasped what had been eluding me. The cashier’s glasses were lying on her keyboard and her crumpled pile of clothing on her chair with a pair of stockings trailing down to the neatly placed shoes. There was no one here, no one anywhere I had been in fact: they were all gone.

I really wished I wasn’t so hungover.

5 thoughts on “First Day Story”

  1. This was fun. I enjoyed it and it made me want to know more of the story. I love the way that you describe the world only in terms of the hung-over person’s viewpoint, but foreshadow it so that we are aware that something is up. I also really like the way the language is terse and focussed on the next action, which is in-keeping with the sense of being very hungover or having an awful headache. It explains why the situation is not noticed for so long – when you feel like that, most of the outside world is ignored unless it impinges itself on your consciousness.

    I like the vignettes which suggest that everyone disappeared out of their clothes in an instant. They add creepy colour the the story. But, the car in the middle of the road felt a little awkward, especially when the main character parks behind him. It made me wonder if one would park behind a car that was in the middle of the road, or whether the car was actually closer to the edge than that.

    There were a few grammatical bits I didn’t like:
    In “It’s not about that one traumatic moment at 6:47am, instead my story only starts mid-morning.” I would prefer a semi-colon for more of a pause.

    In “I was hungover; very hungover. I woke slowly, reluctantly.” the juxtaposition doesn’t work for me as the two sentences scan somewhat similarly but not closely enough. I would prefer a comma in the first sentence and maybe an ‘and’ in the second.

    “I walked into the store slowly; trying to control my nausea; to aisle four: hot drinks and sugar” feels a little awkward. I would break in into sentences, with the second being something like. “I headed for aisle four.”
    In some other places, I would replace semi-colons with commas.

    I really like the last sentence. It ties the story together nicely, bringing the hangover back in after the climax.

  2. Liked this a lot, especially the disappearing acts mentioned only sideways.
    Nice painting of the hungover feeling.

    The Attack Of The Semi-Colons in the third paragraph made my head spin a bit and broke the flow a little for me.
    Perhaps short, sharp, sentences instead?

    I found
    > Outdoors it was too bright; driving was hellish
    very evocative (hat tip @ docinatrix). Too bright I really, really, associate with morning hangovers.

    AOFTSC again with
    > I parked behind him and I walked into the store slowly; trying to control my nausea; to aisle four: hot drinks and sugar.
    I would’ve swapped ;s for ,s here.

    Really liked the final line.
    Brings the story back to the thing that’s still the most important to the narrator.

  3. At some point in the past something unspecified had happened at 6:47 in the morning. Our hero wakes up hungover and groggily makes their way to a shop to buy coffee. They are so hungover that they think little of the odd things that have happened around them: no one answers the phone at work, clothes are scattered around places, there is no traffic. Finally, at the shop, our hero realises that the other people in the world have disappeared (although there’s a suggestion that some others do remain).

    I enjoy the suggestion that there is a traumatic event and that it plays little direct role in Our Hero’s life. I also enjoy how the road trip to the shop seems (relatively) normal. I didn’t realise that something odd was happening until we hear about the clothes in the shop.

    I did wonder why Our Hero decided to park behind someone in the middle of the road, though.

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