I'm Working

1st in the 'Beyond Words 2015' competition

A car pulls into the driveway, its headlights illuminating the row of houses. Coming to a stop, the engine sputters and dies. A boy, previously preoccupied with something on his desk, cocks his ears. With a grin he can hardly contain, the boy hurriedly props an old kitchen chair against the window and peeps through the blinds onto the street below. A man in a suit is making his way to the front door with a briefcase by his side. In a few
moments, the doorbell rings.
The boy rushes down the stairs, a piece of paper flying in his hands and opens the door.
“Hey dad! Look, I drew a picture,” says the boy, lifting the paper into the air so the man can take it. The man gives it a quick glance.
“That’s lovely, son, but I’ve got work to do,” says the man and shuffles past the boy to his home office. The boy walks into the kitchen.
“Yes, hon?”
“Do you like my picture?” The mother picks up the paper; a pencil-etched figure of a man was carefully drawn onto it.
“Son, that’s wonderful. Have you shown dad yet?” The boy nods with downcast eyes. The mother sighs. “I know you want to play with him, son, but your father is very busy. Maybe after dinner…”
A boy stands outside an office door, a toy fire engine held tightly in his hands. Taking two deep breaths, he pushes the door ajar. Inside, the room is dim and has a cool, musty feel that makes the hairs on the boy’s arms stand up straight. The only light comes from behind a computer monitor on the far side of the room. A man sits at his desk, typing away.
“Err, dad?”
Clack, clack, clack. “Yes, son?” Clack, clack, clack.
“Can you play with me?”
Clack, clack, clack. A sigh. “No son, I’m working. Maybe some other time.” Clack, clack, clack.
The boy silently leaves the room, the fire engine dangling by his side.
The next day, a car pulls into the driveway and the doorbell rings.
The mother answers the door this time, the man says thanks and hurries up the stairs to his office. Peering into the room, the man’s mouth falls open as he sees office papers strewn all over the floor, each with pencil-etched drawings on them. Meanwhile, the perpetrator sits scribbling away at his desk. “Son! What on earth do you think you are doing?!”
The boy looks up. “I’m working, dad. Maybe some other time.”
For a moment, the man is speechless, wide-eyed at the mess in his office. The man and the boy look at each other, surprised. Then, miraculously, the man smiles; a smile that burst into genuine laughter.
He rushes to his son, scoops the boy up with both arms and the two make their way out of the room giggling, leaving the office papers on the floor and the computer monitor to stare at a blank wall.


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