My Project: 365 Creative Writing Prompts
Day 15: Most embarrassing moment at work
It could happen to anyone. If you had been there, you might have made the same mistake. I was working for the Toronto office of Warner Brothers. It was my first day on the job and I had a lot to learn.
Overwhelmed with all the new information, I decided to go out during my lunch break to get some fresh air. Even though it was the middle of winter and bitterly cold, I thought a walk would do me good. The building had a beautiful garden and although the grass was covered thick with snow and the trees and bushes encrusted with ice, it appeared to be the perfect place to find peace and quiet.
However, there wasn’t much peace and quiet that day. No sooner had I reached the patio or I heard a bone chilling scream. I look around me. Had someone fallen and broken an arm or a leg? I couldn’t see another living soul. I hurried into the garden, looking for a human or animal form, but the whole garden seemed undisturbed. Yet I definitely had heard a scream.
Still puzzled by it all I heard another scream, a man’s scream, and it was, even more, bone chilling than the first. I noticed that it came from behind me, from the lower level of the building. Ignoring the snow and the ice on the garden patch, I hurried over and heard him scream again and again.
Just as I reached the building a giant of a man walked out the door. Dressed in pants held up by suspenders, he puffed out his considerable chest, lit a cigarette and with great satisfaction blew the smoke into the air. I skidded to a halt. This was definitely not the man who I heard screaming.
This man, I wondered, what had he been doing? Who else was inside that building? How could he leave a man, who obviously had been in considerable pain a few moments ago, alone while he stood there enjoying a cigarette?
My imagination took a flying leap. Was he perhaps the man who had inflicted pain on this poor soul? Being a few feet away from him I searched his clothing for traces of violence or worse ... blood. Had he been torturing someone? Surely not, this was 1999, not the middle ages. Then again, these days, one never knew what went on right under our modern noses.
I tried not to be too obvious as I looked at the man, but at one point our eyes met. He grinned at me. He grunted something, but too occupied with my own thoughts I didn’t pay attention to what he was saying.
“Well,” he said, louder this time, “what’s it gonna be?”
“Huh? I’m sorry, what?” I stammered.
“Do you wanna look,” he said, throwing a nod towards the door behind him. “You’re new here, aren’t you? They’ll show you this place sooner or later, but I can give you a private tour.”
Stepping back, I shook my head. “No thank you. I must go now.”
When the man moved towards me I flew into the building, up the stairs, and into the office. As they told me later, when I entered my office I was in quite a state, pale as a ghost, shaking and obviously very upset.
“Something’s happened,” I told my boss. “I was downstairs and I heard a man screaming. He was in pain. We have to do something!”
He tried to calm me down but I wouldn’t be calmed. With the screams still ringing in my ears, I figured someone needed help, now!
“Exactly where were you and what did you hear?” my boss asked.
“I was out in the garden and the screams came from inside this building,” I explained.
“Did you see anyone?” he asked.
“I saw a big man come out and have a smoke,” I said.
“A big man with suspenders and a French barrette?”
“He wasn’t wearing a barrette,” I said, “but yeah he was wearing suspenders.”
A broad smile spread over my boss’ face.
“Nothing is going on and nobody needs help,” he explained. “The big guy you met, the guy with the suspenders, he’s our sound technician and he synchronizes the images of the film with the soundtrack.”
I must have given my boss a blank look because he went on. “We have our private cinema where we show new movies before they're released on the circuit.”
“But the screams,” I said.
“Were the screams of a man being executed in the electric chair,” my boss explained. “It’s the new movie with Tom Hanks called, ‘The Green Mile. I saw the movie earlier and they are indeed bone chilling screams. It’s not a movie for sensitive viewers.”
As if that embarrassment wasn’t enough, more was to come.
A few days later I got an invitation to see the movie, with my choice of a guest in the private cinema. When the scene of the execution came, several heads turned in my direction and there was a whole lot a giggling and sniggering.
Later still I got to meet the sound technician, officially this time, and when he got to hear the story of my suspicion he laughed so hard I swear the walls of the tiny cinema vibrated.
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