Humdrum Carousel

For him, everything came to a pause.

The carousel’s arm churned and pulled out the completed tape. The wheel turned and the arm churned again, carefully inserting the next tape into the empty receptacle at the back of his skull.

Things began to move again. His vision faded away, exiting his dream, and when he opened his eyes again he was staring at a grey wall, curled up in bed and bundled in heavy sheets. He slowly shifted around, searching, until he found his phone and glanced at the time: Six twenty-six, as always. And the weather: miserably cold, as always.

Mechanically, he fell into his morning routine. He would take his sheets with him into the kitchen and put on tea then he would turn some drawling mussitation on the TV. He made his way into the bathroom and would bathe and groom simultaneously and once he was dressed – business casual to please the office – he returned to the kitchen and meandered about lunch while sipping steaming tea.

A knock came at his door. His neighbor was there to offer to give him a ride. He always declined – she was attractive and chatty and terrifying. She was always disappointed, insisting, but he would only wish her a good-day.

He got to the office via train, a short but slow ride to the other side of the city, packed tight with troves of other sardines which at least helped with the cold. On the way to his desk, he walked through the pleasantries of good-mornings then powered on his system and prepared for the day.

Pause. The carousel’s arm churned and cycled in the next tape.

Checking emails. Placing orders. The endless chat messages from within the office and from customers. It was routine work, routinely simple, but piled up quickly which kept him quite busy. He would skip lunch all-together, despite having mused over it that morning, for the sake of productivity. And when he got up for a break, just a quick run to the bathroom, he always came back to hot tea and a bagel at his desk. No one would tell him who was responsible. Regardless, he’d eat and drink gratefully.

Three hours over-time to tame the backlog of tickets and orders, he was the last one out of the office besides the overnighters who left in the morning. He would say his good-nights to them and the security staff on his way out of the building. Back outside in the night cold, bracing himself against howling winds, he would flag down a taxi.

Pause. Next tape.

A single yellow cab would veer to the curb, warmth billowed out and embraced him as he slid into the back. A jolly, balding man turned half way to look at his latest customer. “Where ya thinkin’, pal?”

“La Donna’s Market, please.” He directed.

“I like doing my grocery shopping at night. Can’t let my wife go alone though. No tellin’ what she’ll come back with.” The driver said and turned around and prepared to pull off.

Just then, life seemed to stutter – everything seemed like it doubled over on itself, shifted apart, and then realigned – and the cab driver turned around again.

“Where ya thinkin’ pal?”

“La Donna’s Market…” The bewildered man trailed off and the cab driver repeated his line about shopping at night and his wife. This time, however, he turned around and drove off as planned.


When they finally arrived, the man hastily got out of the car and payed the driver, fearfully expecting another glitch in time. He wondered if he was feeling well. Perhaps he needed a vacation?


Daily Prompt: Carousel

Word of the Day: mussitation


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