Dear Mr. Kelly.

I can’t come to work today.
I’m really sorry.
I hope you won’t mind.

I don’t think you know me.
I don’t think you’ve even looked at me before.

But it’s fine.

I don’t think you need to, I don’t do anything important, I just label and file the paper backups.

It’s not very special.

I’ve worked here for 9 years.
I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to anyone.

No one speaks to me.
It’s fine though.

I have a pigeon. Its name is Bird.
I couldn’t think of a nice name.
So for the last 2 years I’ve just spoken to Bird.

I think you’d like Bird.

Bird’s pretty, she makes nice noises.
I like it when she moves her head.
I tried to move my head like she does, a couple of weeks ago.

But it hurt.
And now my neck hurts when I brush my teeth.

I used to brush my teeth in the bathroom at the office.
But then those men from the Sales desk came in and they laughed at me.
So now I brush my teeth at the Spur on the corner.

Have you been there?

I’ve never eaten anything there.
I don’t like to stay there too long.
2 months ago the manager asked me to not walk past the children’s play area.
It’s fine.
Now I walk along the wall by the freezer.
But it’s fine.

The children look so happy.
I wish I had children.
I know you’ve got children.
I saw the picture on your desk.
The one with your son holding the little boat.
I can’t tell if the baby your wife is holding is a boy or girl.

But that’s fine.

Everyone looks very happy.

I don’t have any pictures on my desk.
I don’t really have anything I need a picture of.
I don’t have any pictures where I sleep either.
I think if I did have any pictures, and if I did put them on the wall, Mrs. Alberts would just take them off.

I don’t think she likes me.
But I don’t mind.
I don’t see her very often.
I hear her though.
I hear her screaming.
It’s very loud.
It’s so loud that I can’t sleep.

So most nights I come back here, and I’ll sit at my desk.
I don’t think I bother anyone.
The guard at the bottom doesn’t say anything to me and all the lights are off, so I don’t think I bother anyone.

Bird is here though.
I can’t see her because it’s so dark, but I can hear her.
At least most nights.
Sometimes I don’t hear her.

I’m writing this because there’s a note on the wall by the water cooler.

There’s never any cups so I got a plastic one from the Spur one day and I just use that.
The note said we must fill out a note and put it on your desk if we can’t come to work.

I’m sorry but I think I need to go to the hospital today.

My leg is very sore. And there is a big red and black lump by my knee.

Do you remember when the lift broke?

I was walking down the stairs and one of the big men from the Sales desk bumped me and I fell down the stairs.

I’m sure it was an accident.

But it’s been 2 weeks now and the lump is now quite big.
It’s nearly the size of my plastic cup from Spur.
And it really hurts when I try to walk.

A man I walked past on the way to my bed said I should go see a doctor.
He said it looked very bad.
I told him it only hurt a little but I was lying.
I don’t really know why I lied to him.

But that was a couple of days ago and I’m not sure but it looks like the black and red lump is getting bigger and now my foot is really sore when I walk so I think maybe I should go see the doctor.

So I’ve written this note.
To explain why I didn’t come to work.
I’m really sorry and I will come back as soon as I can.

My best wishes.
Allan Jeans

This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events, is purely coincidental.

The author

Nick Miles has produced an extensive body of work over more than twenty years of work in various areas of creative writing, having worked commercially as a Copywriter and Editor in for Advertising and Marketing Agencies, through to having had several of his fictional works published.

Nick counts his studies within the fields of Psychology, Philosophy, History and Classical Literature, coupled with his love for travel to be his greatest source of inspiration. He lives with his partner Sarah, and their dog Nandi.