Today I’m diving into the deep end with my first creative writing post. I had a thought last night (very inopportunely right before I was about to go to sleep) that a good writer should be able to render exciting even the most boring task done by the most boring character. That’s what I’m going to try and do with this post. So here goes:
Jones was uncomplicated, something he would have worn as a badge if he indulged in such extravagant showmanship. He liked his suits freshly pressed, his news papered and his breakfast oatmealed. His internal clock was so finely tuned that the military would be better served running on Jones Time. When Nosy Nellies pried into his life, demanding he explain how he could spend decade after decade living in the same house, eating the same meals, driving the same car, conducting the same boring, tedious, mind-numbing, spirit-crushing, soul-stunting work day after monotonous day, he always wished to respond with a sharp ‘Bah!’ However, Jones was not prone to such an outburst of wild emotionality.
Instead, he simply smiled, choosing to see their confusion as a sign of admiration for his work ethic. He reminded himself that they did not and could never understand. To them, excitement meant choosing one’s activities willy-nilly as dictated by daily whims. It meant reckless abandon, unnecessary risks that could never pay off as satisfactorily as decisions stemming from sound, time-tested routine. Some chose to label Jones as boring. He saw himself as enlightened.
Despite his promotions, Jones had kept the same office for the better part of his career. A windowless square room with no wasted space, lined with neatly filled bookshelves and well-maintained filing cabinets, and nothing more. No distracting greenery. No boastful accolades of his career or tributes to his personal life. When Jones stepped inside of his office, he focused on work and work alone.
As the clock ticked 12:30PM, Jones stormed back to his office. His co-workers had once against scorned his predictable lunch of choice, a brisk and efficient Cesar salad. They couldn’t see how predictability led to productivity! As they wasted time hemming and hawing over every little decision in their lives, Jones already knew what to do! Jones was the hare leaving all the preoccupied tortoises in his dust, but unlike Aesop’s hare, Jones would never consent to resting on his laurels!
“Is everything alright, Mr. Jones?” his intern asked as he barged through his office door. He stopped in his tracks and collected himself, smoothing his grayed hair, straightening his lapels. He ought not be goaded into such a frenzy.
“It’s fine, Jessica.” Then he noticed the stack of loose leaf papers she clutched in her arms, and the metal key dangling from her pinky finger. “Is that the filing I left you?”
“Yes, I’m sorry, I haven’t gotten to it yet! Mr. Smith needed me to–”
“It’s fine. Hand them to me. I’m sure Mr. Smith can find something else for you to do.”
“Oo-kay,” Jessica stammered as Jones shooed her out of his office. Free to file in peace, Jones set about calming his spirits and reaffirming his commitment to an uncomplicated and efficient life.
The first filing cabinet had been open for only a second when Jones had reacquainted himself with its perfectly labeled manila folders. His fingers weaved in and out of the tabs, opening the ones he needed and casting closed the ones irrelevant. He whipped out the papers with the accuracy of a filing god. His hands were a blur as he deposited one leaf, two leaves, ream after ream. When he finished one drawer, he moved to the next. No movement wasted, no time left idle. This was Jones’ Grand Prix, his office park Iditarod, the one marathon which he would eternally dominate.
“Mr. Jones, Mr. Smith needs you to sign this.” Jones locked the last cabinet and calmly turned to Jessica. He swapped the key for her paperwork and seamlessly retrieved a pen from his desktop. “You…finished the filing already?”
“Yes, Jessica,” he answered with the most modest grin. He was certainly not one for external praise, but he appreciated her tempered look of awe at his victory. No, his efficiency.