Deeply absorbed in my lunch at Olive’s, I heard my smartphone buzz with a message. ‘Please bring October figures to the Saudi meeting. Vernon.’
Damn! I’d forgotten it’d been rescheduled; I had just ten minutes! I ran outside to a nearby taxi rank, ominously vacant.
Hopping impatiently, I saw one approaching. As it stopped, someone with orange hair, a bowler hat and striped tights pushed past.
“Oi, I was here first!” I protested.
Ignoring me, the man proffered some tickets to the driver. “Here, you can have these. Smith’s Circus, and step on it, buddy!”
The driver handed me one – “Sorry mate!” – and sped off.
With four minutes to go, another cab appeared, and I was away.
“Jesus H Christ!” exclaimed the driver, braking suddenly. Traffic ahead was halted by an escaped herd of sheep.
Now on foot, I weaved frantically between sheep and cars. I tripped over a sheep, which bleated loudly, and papers from my briefcase were strewn around, getting both run over and trampled.
My phone buzzed. ‘John, we lost the Saudi account. You’re fired! Vernon.’
My ambitions were shattered.
A thought occurred and I pulled out a ticket – sod Vernon! – I was going to the circus!
Featured in the book, To Cut a Short Story Short: 111 Little Stories
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