The Perks Of Being Human

Another poem.

The perks of being human seem plentiful on the face,

We’ve brains and thumbs and no-one eating us. It’s pretty great.

Intelligence breeds empathy, science and philosophy,

Dexterity’s brought tools, precision grip and origami.

Our lack of natural predators has allowed us all to thrive,

So if you add up all these virtues, it’s no wonder we’ve survived.

But is it though? Just think on that. Are humans really best?

Have we used all these advantages to rise above the rest?

Our smarts seem only to have made us sneaky and conniving,

And we’ll step right over others if we know it means surviving.

Our thumbs were first militarised millennia ago,

We use tools and guns to wipe out habitats and people both.

It’s sad to think in some parallel World we’ve done no damage.

The ice caps are all fine and rainforests haven’t been savaged.

And in that World the only difference you or I can reason,

Is that humans still are thick, four fingered apes that might get eaten.


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Walt Awakens

“You’ve been cryogenically frozen for almost 1500 years, Mr Disney.”

“What… What year is it?” Muttered Walt, his bleary eyes adjusting to the bright laboratory lights.

“3462.” Came the curt reply. A wide smile broke across Walt’s face. It’d worked. It’d actually worked. “You’ve been cryogenically frozen for almost 1500 years, Mr Disney.”

As his blurry visions were slowly brought into sharper focus, Walt stepped out weakly from the tube that he’d called home for almost a Millennium and a half. He looked around the lab, marvelling at all of the incredible, unthinkable equipment that surrounded him, like props from a work of science fiction. His head swum as he looked from impossible contraption to impossible contraption, jaw agape as they blinked and hummed and hovered and glowed in sequence. They’d done it. They’d actually brought him back.

Walt’s heart hammered in his chest. What had he missed? What remarkable feats and developments had been made? What strides had his species taken, while he had lain in a state of suspended animation? He beamed in turn at each of the scientists gathered around him. What would they teach him? What would they show him? What… Wh… Why did they look so angry?

Walt’s smile began to fade. Poor Walt. He wasn’t to know of course that in the late thirtieth century, after thousands of years of War, argument and debate, Judaism had finally been confirmed as the one true religion and had subsequently been adopted across the Earth and throughout the off-world colonies that littered the Galaxy. He wasn’t to know.

It was at this point that Walt started to really ponder the functions of all of these futuristic machines surrounding him. He also started to wonder why he had been awakened in the first place. More to the point, did he even want to know?

Probably not, he decided.

The gang of scientists really fucked him up. I mean they really fucked him up. Probably serves him right though, doesn’t it.


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The Chaos Of Dom – Part Eight (Finale)

The End

Start from the start with part 1

< Part Seven

“You stink, mate.” Said Neil.

“Yup.” Dom agreed. “I’ll quit eventually.” He placed his cigarettes down onto the table next to his pint as he sat back down. “Can barely afford it anymore anyway.”

“What’s the pay like at your place?” Asked Neil, before raising the pint glass back into its default state.

“About as bad as it is legally allowed to be.” Dom replied, before following suit. There was a short silence while they drank, before he continued: “But it’s OK. I have a backup plan. A secondary income.” Neil lowered his pint, clearly intrigued, then raised it again as Dom pulled the £1 scratcher out of his back pocket. “I’m about to be a hundred-thousand-aire, mate. Got a coin?” Neil once again raised his fist and showed him a thumbs down.

Dom had forgotten just how often Neil gave this kind of response. If he had a pint in front of him, which he did more often than not, conversation was very much a secondary priority. Thumbs down was his most frequently used signal, then thumbs up. Then of course there was the middle finger. A classic. Those three tended to cover the bases.

Then Neil did lower his pint. “Ask one of them”, he grinned, gesturing towards a group of girls sat at the next table. Dom grinned too. As if.

“You ask them.” He replied, sounding slightly too casual.

“Last to finish their pint asks them.” Said Neil.

“Well that is clearly not a fair contest.” Dom laughed. “You’ve got a massive head-start on me.” It was true. Neil had basically inhaled most of his beer while Dom had only drunk about a third of his pint. Neil thought for a moment, then replied.

“You start supping, then I’ll join in once we’re level.” He reasoned. Shit, that did sound fair. Neil would definitely still win though.

Dom started to down the two thirds of a pint he had left, with Neil watching on carefully. Then, when the amounts of beer left looked pretty much identical, Neil lifted his glass once more and downed his. He downed it very quickly indeed. Much, much quicker than Dom.

Dom swallowed the last of his beer and disappointedly banged his glass back down onto the mat. “Fine.” He muttered, as Neil beamed. He turned to look at the group of girls. There were four of them sat around the table: The blonde on the left sat holding what he assumed was a gin and tonic. On the far side was a girl with red hair, who’d barely touched her coke, or rum and coke or whatever it was. This was in contrast to a second blonde on the right side of the table, who had almost finished her… Probably rum and coke too. Dom wasn’t sure. The fourth girl was sat closest to him facing the other way, so he couldn’t see what she looked like. He could just see her long, wavy brown hair that flowed down the back or her head and disappeared behind the back of the chair.

Dom mustered all of his courage. He hated this type of situation. He braced himself to be laughed out of the pub or humiliated in some other way. “Excuse me”, he ventured, voice trembling. The three girls that he’d already clocked looked abruptly towards him, their faces impossible to read. He’d interrupted a conversation. He momentarily wondered whether they’d be annoyed. But then she turned around.

Dom knew instantly that he was in trouble. The fourth girl was impossibly beautiful, with her deep brown eyes that perfectly matched the shade of her long, flowing hair, her delicate nose, her soft pink lips. He was painfully and almost certainly irreversibly infected by her. He’d already forgotten that he was supposed to ask for a coin for the scratcher. But then she delivered the finishing blow. She smiled.

Dom knew then that he was done for. That smile. That smile that seemed to bring the entire room into sharper focus. That smile that seemed to make the colours around her become brighter and more saturated. She didn’t so much have a face that would launch a thousand ships, but a face that could and should start a global nuclear conflict. A face that given the chance, Dom himself would start a global nuclear conflict for without hesitation.

Dom suddenly made a number of realisations. He realised that his jaw was hanging open and had been for a number of seconds. He realised that he was supposed to ask her something. Something to do with words. He realised that he had forgotten what words were.

Dom realised that the best he could do at this moment, his best chance of not messing this up was to smile back and hope for the best.

So that’s what he did.



I could probably say that Dom and the girl ended up together. That he said something funny and she threw her head back and laughed. That they dated, fell in love, got married and moved to that small rural cottage somewhere far away. That they cooked together, started a family together, were happy together and spammed all of their Facebook friends with pictures of their many healthy children.

I could say that Dom quit smoking and then his job, throwing it in Mary Jane’s face as dramatically as he’d always dreamed and that Sabrina had stood and applauded, tears streaming down her face as he walked out of the “Computer Guys!” building for the final time. That Dom and Homeless John won big on their scratchers, or that Neil got himself a job, whether with Dom’s former employers or not and was then the best man at the wedding, floppy blonde mop reinstated and hanging lazily over his eyes as he handed them the rings.

But does it matter?

None of that is the point. The point is that none of this, not Dom and the girl meeting, not he and Neil reconnecting, not one part of the story so far and not one of those possible future outcomes would have happened or for the most part even been possible were it not for that fire alarm. Those drunken arse holes that set off the fire alarm and in doing so set in motion a chain of events that lead us here and beyond. At three in the morning. As a prank. A funny, funny, hilarious, funny one at that.

And who’s to say that it was even them? Maybe I set off the fire alarm. Maybe you did. Maybe it was Johnny Bravo or a hawk that swooped in through an open window. None of it matters. We all set off fire alarms every day. We all do things that spiral off in different directions through the people around us, setting off chains of consequences that are perfectly and gloriously impossible to predict.

That’s the beauty of chaos.

And that’s the chaos of Dom.


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The Chaos Of Dom – Part Seven

The Scratcher

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< Part Six

Dom stepped aboard the number one bus. It was emptier than usual, to the point where he could actually get a seat on his way to work. Wouldn’t this be a luxury, he thought. His Majesty wouldn’t be standing this morning. Nor would he be swaying and bouncing as the bus creaked around corners, no Sir. Dom usually got on the number one bus at about 7:20am, but considering the events of the last couple of days, he’d decided to get in early today. Maybe he’d try to have a friendly pre-work chat with Graham before his shift started, or maybe it’d be enough that he was there early, showing willing even on a Friday morning. That’d get him back in Graham’s good books and at least make his horrible job slightly more bearable. That’s why Dom boarded the nearly empty bus at 6:50am.

Once the driver had scanned the ticket that Dom showed her on his phone, the doors closed and the bus pulled away from the pavement, leaving Dom to do his Bambi impression, walking shakily down the central aisle of the bus as it stuttered and rumbled along the road. He took the first seat behind the “Priority” ones. He felt uncomfortable taking the priority ones, especially when there were others available. For similar reasons he’d never followed the example of his colleagues at work in using the disabled toilets. Dom was a decent person in this regard.

As he sat, he noticed a scratch card on the window seat next to him. Dom had only bought about two scratchers in his life, partly because he wasn’t that interested in gambling, aside from the odd quid on a football match he was watching and partly because he never had any coins on him. Yes he could scratch them with his fingernail, but then your nail goes a different colour and gets all of the top layer gunk under it. Dom wasn’t a fan.

He picked up the scratcher on the off chance that he’d stumbled across a winner. He hadn’t. All of the scratching had been completed by its previous owner, revealing the symbols and numbers beneath. There were a few symbols that repeated twice, but none that repeated three times, as was the win condition described under the panel. Dom folded the scratcher up and pocketed it. He was also a decent person in regard to the fact that he didn’t litter, unlike the scratch card’s original owner.

When Dom disembarked on Sovereign Street half an hour later, he was greeted by the familiar croaky voice of Homeless John. “Spare any change, Sir?”

“Sorry mate,” came the sympathetic reply in their daily game of call and response. But then Dom stopped in his tracks and after a moment of deliberation, turned ninety degrees and marched into an off license behind Homeless John. Dom went straight to the counter and bought two £1 scratchers with his debit card. One for him and one for Homeless John. One Hundred Thousand Pound Jackpot! The front of the scratch cards boasted. If you say so, he thought.

Dom stepped out of the off license and handed one of the scratchers to Homeless John. “Here you are, mate.” He said. “Good luck.” Homeless John took the gift silently before looking up at Dom.

“Got a coin to scratch it with?” He asked.

“Uh, no. Sorry mate.” Came the sympathetic reply. Homeless John gave him a weak smile, showing a few yellow teeth and nodded in thanks as Dom walked on towards the “Computer Guys!” building.

Just as he had the day before, Mary Jane clocked Dom as soon as he arrived on the second floor and just as he had the day before, he dragged him straight into a meeting room. Initially, Dom wondered what he’d done to earn a second red-faced one-sided screaming match in such quick succession, but was surprised to find that Graham wanted to apologise.

Dom wasn’t to know, but Graham had received a bit of an earful himself from his floor manager, who had told him that if someone would rather drink away their day than go to work, odds are there’s something wrong and it was Graham’s job to find out what that was. Was Dom depressed? Was he stressed? Like actually medically suffering from stress? Had there been a bereavement that they should take into consideration? Yes, Graham had received quite a bollocking, so he pulled Dom into a meeting room and apologised.

After assuring Graham whole-heartedly that he was not suffering from depression or stress, not that a doctor had verified anyway, nor had there been a bereavement, he headed for the door. “Go get ‘em, tiger.” Said Graham, hilariously straight faced. Dom had his back to his team leader, so allowed himself a quick smirk.

From there, Dom’s day got better and better. The customers that phoned him were polite and cordial, allowing him to build a rapport and even… Dare he even think it… Have fun helping them? He was happy. He was confident. He was in a great mood. A fantastic mood, even. So when Dom received a text from Neil at lunchtime, enquiring about his availability for a few cheeky after-work pints, Dom’s answer was an enthusiastic yes.

Thank fuck it was Friday.


Part Eight (Finale) >

The Chaos Of Dom – Part Six

The Discipline

Start from the start with part 1

< Part Five

“Spare any change, Sir?” Asked the hoarse voice of Homeless John as Dom came within earshot. Homeless John was, as you might expect, a homeless man that frequented the hundred yard stretch of Sovereign Street between the bus stop where John would alight each morning and his work building. Because of this, he was pretty well known amongst Dom and his colleagues.

“Sorry mate”, Dom replied sympathetically, as he had pretty much every morning for the last two years. Dom wasn’t against giving Homeless John money. He knew he wasn’t an addict or anything that’d blow all his takings on heroine. Dom just practically never had any change to give. He didn’t see the point in this day and age, when you can use contactless cards pretty much everywhere. He’d suggested to Homeless John that he invest in a contactless card reader about a year ago, but received a blank stare in reply, so had quickly dropped the idea. He sometimes bought Homeless John a drink or something to eat when he asked, but he was barely ever able to give him change.

Dom estimated that his heart was beating at twice its usual rate as he stepped through the revolving door of the “Computer Guys!” building. He walked past reception, through the foyer, held his lanyard to the sensor to get past the metal barrier and pressed the lifts’ call button. He pressed it just the once as he was in no rush to get up to the second floor and see Graham.

The man was pure evil, Dom thought as he stepped into the lift. Graham had stared at him in the pub the day before for just long enough to make sure that Dom saw him see him, but then turned around and started laughing and joking with his cohorts, acting as if nothing had happened. Dom pressed the small circular button emblazoned with the number two. But that was why he was so certain that Graham was pure evil. He’d obviously wanted Dom to stew on this all through the previous afternoon, evening, night and now this morning too. He’d obviously wanted him to imagine all of the possible consequences that could result from having been caught partaking in a crafty lunchtime pint when he was meant to be ill.

Dom had considered quitting on the spot. He’d imagined it over and over since yesterday: He would’ve marched over to Graham, who would’ve looked so shocked as he watched his plan to rattle Dom backfire and Dom would’ve said: “Graham, I quit. Fuck your job. Give it to this lad here.” He would’ve gestured to Neil at this point. “He needs it. He’s desperate. But I am so sick of your shit. I’m fed up of that depressing hole we all pile into every day, getting shouted at down the phone just because we work for such a ridiculous little joke of a company. And what do you do to earn your wage? Sit on your arse down the pub, laughing with your little friends over the fact that you made Sabrina cry again, you pathetic little wanker.”

It would’ve felt good. Very good. Dom especially liked the bit at the end about Sabrina. He didn’t really give a shit about Sabrina and didn’t know her at all, but Graham did shout at her until she cried on quite a regular basis because of, as far as Dom could tell, her tendency to be a decent person and help the customers who phoned up instead of pushing them towards the sales team, so it seemed like good ammunition. But Dom had chickened out. He’d bottled it. He’d supped up, told Neil that he had to go for some non-specific reason and they’d swapped numbers. Then he’d walked right out of the pub and spent the rest of the day imagining all the things he would’ve said to Graham if he’d had the balls.

Graham did indeed bring Dom straight into a meeting room upon his arrival on the second floor and subjected him to one of his patented red-faced, one-sided screaming matches. Dom just tuned out though. He’d figured out that this type of employee discipline gets less and less effective as you get less and less invested in the job that you’re actually doing and Dom was currently about as uninvested as an employee could be.

In appearance, Graham reminded Dom of Doctor Phil from one of those American TV shows. He was middle aged, practically bald but clung desperately to the little hair he did have around the back and sides of his head, which seemed to cling to him just as desperately. He even had the little greying moustache. Dom had to stop himself from thinking about this comparison while he was receiving such a earful, as if he let the thought enter his mind he was in very real danger of interrupting Graham’s shouting with a fit of uncontrollable giggles.

Once Graham gave the telltale sign of wrapping up his rant, Dom knew he was in the clear. Each and every time he had a member of the team in here he would sigh, run his fingers through an imaginary head of hair, then place both hands on the table in front of him and lean forwards towards you. “Just sort it out.” He’d say quietly, then he’d wait for you to start heading for the door before adding, for no discernible reason, “Go get ‘em, Tiger.”

The first time Dom heard him say this, he’d thought it was a joke. He’d turned and laughed, thinking Graham was lightening the mood with a quick joke to raise his spirits before heading back to work. The look on Graham’s face that time had said it all though: Surprise, confusion with a hint of anger. For this reason, his nickname among the team, when his back was turned of course, was Mary Jane.

Dom checked his phone after leaving the meeting room to see that he’d received a text from Neil, saying to let him know the next time he fancies a pint. Dom raised his eyebrows. Today could have started a lot worse.


Part Seven >

The Chaos Of Dom – Part Five

The Pint

Start from the start with part 1

< Part Four

“How’ve you been then?” Asked Neil, before lifting his pint and beginning to drink.

“Yeah, fine.” Dom lied reflexively. “You?” Neil, still gulping down his ale, raised his fist and gave Dom a thumbs down. Neil looked much more familiar with half his face covered by a pint glass. Dom took a swig of his beer too.

“Shit.” Gasped Neil, finally stopping for breath. “3 months unemployed.” He started to drink again. Dom winced. That was shit. And also probably explained why Neil was available for a pint at lunchtime on a Wednesday. Dom felt a pang of guilt for sacking off his own job for the day after… Why was it? Sleeping in and getting wet? He took another swig.

Neil could handle his alcohol. He had always been the first one to suggest a trip to the pub or a few clubs and once those trips had inevitably happened, he had always been the last one standing. He was a big bloke. Not particularly overweight, just very broad and quite stocky. Yes he’d put on a bit of weight since uni, but hadn’t they all. Neil’s face was rounded and usually quite red and he had a mop of blonde hair that hung lazily down over his eyes. Or he used to. It seemed that the mop had fallen foul of an electric razor since Dom had last seen him.

It was a shame. The blonde mop, combined with Neil’s large frame, had used to remind Dom of a cartoon show he used to watch when he was little about a couple of dogs. One was big and quite slow, with hair that came down over his eyes and the other other was small, skinny and excitable. Dom used to suppose that the other dog was him, although he was no longer quite as skinny or as excitable as he had been back then. They had been a bit of a double act back in uni actually. The thought made Dom quite sad, so he took another swig of beer.

With Neil still unable to talk due to the almost empty pint glass he still held to his lips, Dom considered mentioning the loss of the mop, but as he absent mindedly glanced towards the bar, he saw something that made his heart stop. There, sat on a bar stool, was Graham. He was sat with a couple of team leaders that Dom recognised from the office and although they seemed to be in the middle of a light hearted conversation, he could tell that Graham wasn’t paying all that much attention to his colleagues.

Dom could tell this because Graham was staring directly at him.


Part Six >

The Chaos Of Dom – Part Four

The Sickie

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< Part Three

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.

Part Five >

The Chaos Of Dom – Part Three

The Bus

Start from the start with part 1

< Part Two

10:13 am

“COME ON!” Came Dom’s muffled plea through his sweatshirt. Dom’s bus left in less than ten minutes. He was already late for work, but somehow that made everything he did take ten times longer than it should have. He couldn’t just put on his sweatshirt, instead he had to wrestle with his sweatshirt as the arm and head holes inexplicably changed their positions in the fabric, taunting him with their elusiveness. He couldn’t just tie his shoe laces, instead he had to wrangle his shoe laces as they effortlessly tangled themselves into something that closely resembled a plate of black cotton spaghetti. Eventually Dom managed to dress himself and race to the door, stopping just short of leaving without his keys. He grabbed them off the kitchen-come-living-room counter and left, slamming the door behind him.

10:16 am

Out in the corridor. Dom hammered on the lift’s call button repeatedly and redundantly as it slowly trundled up from the ground floor. He kept spamming the button just in case the hundredth press made the lift realise that the caller was horrendously late for work, at which point it would surely leap into action and retrieve them, double time. But no. The lift trundled slowly up to the seventeenth floor, picked up Dom and then trundled slowly back down, stopping several times on the way to pick up other passengers. Dom hated them all.

10:20 am

The lift doors creaked open and Dom barged past his fellow residents, sprinted out through the building’s automatic glass double doors and kept running out through the pouring rain, which had presumably been falling throughout most of the night. He reached the main road and was about a hundred yards away from his bus, the number one. The number one went all the way through town and was Dom’s usual method of commute, as it stopped on Sovereign Street, just outside work. It only ran every half hour, but he knew he could make it to the doors. He could still get into work for eleven. He wasn’t sure exactly how getting into work three hours late was a positive thing, but right now it was all he had. Seventy five yards and the doors were still open, with the last customer in the queue about to board. Fifty yards. She was in. There was no more queue. Twenty five yards. “Come on!” He thought, gritting his teeth.

10:21 am

The doors closed. Of course they closed. Of course. Dom reached the bus just seconds too late and hammered on the door, silently mouthing to the driver, begging him to reconsider his decision to close the bloody doors. The driver ignored him. He didn’t even look round. He didn’t even do Dom the courtesy of looking him in the eye. Maybe he could have given a sympathetic shrug or tapped his watch, as if to say “Sorry, we’re running late too.” Or maybe he could have opened the bloody doors like a decent human being. But no. The bus driver ignored Dom. Totally ignored him. The bus driver, Dom concluded, was an arse hole.

As the number one indicated, pulled out and drove into the distance, Dom lowered his head into his open palms. This was all because of that fire alarm. Everything that had made him miserable in the last 8 hours or so was the result of some drunken reprobates and their funny, funny, hilarious, funny prank. Dom lifted his head as the rain continued to pour and scowled again. “Well,” he thought, completely unironically, “At least today can’t get any worse.”

10:23 am

A black Mercedes Benz drove past Dom, right through a surprisingly deep puddle that had formed along the side of the road due to a blocked drain. The resulting splash covered Dom from head to toe in filthy, foul smelling water.

Dom knew that he should have known better than to tempt fate on a day like this.


Part Four >

The Chaos Of Dom – Part Two

The Phone

< Part One

Peace. Silence. Serenity. Dom awoke feeling refreshed and very well rested. Even more so than usual. The night before was a distant memory, perhaps even a dream. Or a nightmare: Trudging silently down seventeen flights of stairs, gradually surrounded by a greater and greater number of similarly afflicted strangers, all marching sombrely together like they were heading off to war. Trying and failing to at least enjoy a cigarette when he finally left the building, only for it and his last remaining spark of hope to be extinguished immediately by the vindictively heavy rain. There was no fire. Of course there wasn’t. Dom had known it before he’d even got out of bed. It was just some pissed up idiots on a dare at three in the morning.

Dom opened his eyes slowly, cautiously accepting the bright morning sunlight as it beamed through his bedroom window. He reached for the bedside table to find his phone, but he couldn’t feel it. It wasn’t there. He opened his eyes fully and turned them towards the table, but this time he couldn’t see it either. Then he remembered. He’d taken his phone outside when he’d evacuated. He must have forgotten to take it back out of his jean pocket when he got back up to his flat.

Dom got out of bed, which was a thousand times easier now than it had been last night and walked over to the jeans that he’d left in a pile on the floor. He reached into his front left pocket, where his phone spent the majority of its time and pulled it out to check the time. It was dead. He pressed the home button. Dead. He hammered the home button. Dead. The power button? Dead, dead, dead. His phone was dead. It was as dead as the chicken in the madras ready meal he’d enjoyed last night and could somehow still smell, probably because it’s container still lay open on the bedroom floor, complete with residual sauce and chunks that appeared to have congealed over night.

A thought then occurred to Dom and that thought was this: He had forgotten to put his phone back on charge after the evacuation and it was subsequently dead, the only victim of a non-existant fire, meaning that if the time to wake up and go to work had been and gone, the alarms that he’d set on his incredibly dead phone would not have gone off, due to it’s being dead. Dom suddenly became very aware of just how bright the sunlight coming through the window was. Work started at 8. Dom had absolutely no idea what time he’d woken up.

Heart hammering in his ribcage, Dom ran to the kitchen. Well, it was more of a kitchen-come-living room, one of three rooms that comprised his supposed luxury but actually suspiciously tiny flat, along with bedroom and bathroom. He ran straight to the microwave, the only other method he knew of checking the time. His heart sank. The digital clock in the corner read twelve minutes past ten. He’d overslept. He’d overslept a lot. He was extremely late for work.


Part Three >

The Chaos Of Dom – Part One

The Fire Alarm


Dom squirmed, trying to free himself from the cacophony. He’d been in a small rural cottage, somewhere far away. He’d savoured the smell of freshly cooked food as his wife had busied herself about the kitchen. Then he’d said something funny and she’d thrown her head back and laughed. He loved that laugh. He loved that life. It’d been nice. He’d been so happy. But then…


“Go away!” Dom moaned fruitlessly into his pillow, throwing his right arm out in search of his phone so that he could turn off the alarm. His fingers groped around the bedside table, discarding each object they found as soon as they were identified as ‘Not a phone’. He felt his packet of cigarettes… His fingers moved on… His lamp… Jesus, come on. Where was it?


With a reluctant whimper, Dom raised his head from the pillow and propped himself up on his other arm, squinting his eyes to shield them from the cruel, inevitable morning sunlight. But there was none. Dom’s eyes instead found themselves adjusting to the pitch blackness of his bedroom, just as he’d left it when he’d dropped off to sleep. This made no sense. He looked over to the bedside table where he had blindly tried and failed to find his phone. Straining his eyes in the darkness though, he saw it. But it wasn’t lit up displaying the time or an alarm. It was quite silent. Quite still. Fast asleep, just as he should have been. Dom stared at the phone for a moment, lacking the brainpower in his current state to put these pieces together. It’s still dark… The noise is not coming from the phone… And yet…


The horrible, inescapable noise permeated his entire body but it took a few more moments for Dom to realise its source. The piercing ringing sound that had awoken him from what he vaguely remembered to be a fairly pleasant dream… Although he couldn’t quite recall its content… That sound was his block’s fire alarm.

For a fraction of a second, he considered risking it. He was ninety percent sure that the alarm would have been pulled as a prank. He was ninety percent sure that some inconsiderate arse holes that plagued one of the seventeen floors of his building would have just got back from the pub and pulled the alarm as a dare. To be funny. And how funny it was. Dom scowled. However, he was ten percent sure that he was wrong, meaning that he was ten percent sure that there actually was a fire. A real one. He let out a long, defeated sigh, swung his legs over the side of the bed and planted his feet on the floor.

Dom dressed hastily in jeans and hoodie, unplugged and picked up his phone, then grabbed his keys, his cigarettes and lighter, slipped on his trainers without tying them, then stormed out of his bedroom and up to the front door. He unlocked and threw open the door – And regretted it instantly. The corridor’s fluorescent lights blinked on, sensing his movement. Dom recoiled. In his haste to leave, he hadn’t actually prepared his eyes for such an eventuality this time. Still half asleep and rapidly losing patience with absolutely everything in a seventeen floor radius, he let out another almost inaudible whimper.

The lifts would be off limits during a fire of course, so Dom headed for the stairs and began the long pilgrimage down from his seventeenth floor flat to the foyer and the outside World beyond.


Dom hated everything.


Part Two >