Dom called in sick. He knew there was no way that Graham, his unreasonable team leader, would believe him. He knew that Graham, or “Mary Jane” as Dom’s team called him, had seen him as the team’s ‘boy who cried wolf’ for a long time now, so Dom ringing in sick at quarter to eleven on a Wednesday morning? There was absolutely no chance Mary Jane would believe that he had actually fallen ill. He’d almost certainly be dragged into a meeting room the second he stepped into work tomorrow, but that was tomorrow’s problem. Dom was only half an hour into today and he’d had already had more than enough of it.
He spent the next half hour or so doing nothing much at all. Just messing about on his laptop, watching Facebook videos he didn’t care about that were posted by people he didn’t know. The baby photos were the worst part of Facebook for Dom. He knew it was a cliché, but they really were. They’d started becoming a regular feature of his news feed a few years ago. He was now 33 years old, so many of the people he didn’t bother to keep in touch with from school and uni were also around 33. A lot of them were married, many had started families and a seemingly disproportionate number he thought were posting pictures of their babies with startling regularity.
This had become a regular reminder that Dom subjected himself to. A reminder that his life was going nowhere. He had no children, no wife and no girlfriend. 10 years ago he and his mates were all going into town and getting drunk together like young people do, but one by one they’d all seemed to have grown out of it. At some point over the last 10 years or so, he had fallen far behind the other people that made up his age group. Only in small, incremental steps, but they all added up and now the gap between them was as clear as day: There they all were, owning houses, earning promotions, taking their children to school in the daytime and snuggling up next to their spouses at night. And here was Dom. In a supposed luxury but actually suspiciously tiny flat. That he rented. Alone.
As soon as he’d completed this thought however, Dom was surprised by a small “Ding” from his laptop. It was a Facebook message from an unlikely source. It was Neil, a lad that he’d been very good mates with at Uni and for a fair few years afterwards. They’d not spoken in quite a while though.
“Surprised to see you online during the day!” Said the message. It was true, Dom never really went online during the day. Social Media was banned at work, as were phones, so he never really got the chance.
“Off sick from work.” Dom replied instantly.
“Haha.” Came Neil’s quick reply. Dom wasn’t sure how to take that. Then Neil continued: “You ill?”
“Nah, just had a pretty shit morning.” He admitted. There was quite a long pause after Dom sent this message, which prompted a thought to flash across his mind – What if Neil was working for Graham, trying to get an admission that he wasn’t ill after all? Had he just been caught out? He berated himself for being paranoid as the word ‘Typing’ appeared under Neil’s name.
“Fancy a pint in town then?”
Dom did fancy a pint in town. Very much so.