Press Pause

By Brindley Hallam-Dennis

A short piece of creative writing Press Pause, in our automated world, where the doorman no longer exists; read here and enjoy.

Hold down until green light shows.

Back before it all, we used to have a man on the door. He’d smile and swing a slow hand up to the rim of his cap and say, Good morning, Sir, or Madam, depending on what you looked like. He was always a man.

Women never seemed to go in for that job. They’d be on the counter inside. Reception. They’d greet you too. It was all so friendly.

Your print has not been recognised. Please try again.

Ok, so it was unhygienic, but there was nothing serious going around back then, nothing you’d worry about picking up on the air, and anyway, nobody was shouting at you.

OK, there were days when you didn’t want to be told, Have a good morning, because you knew that however much you wanted to, and however much they wanted you to as well, you weren’t going to have a good morning.

You were going to have a lousy morning.

Your print has not been recognised. Please activate the eye-pad for retinal recognition.

Jesus. And you couldn’t stand and debate the point, besides which, when you scratched off the foil he didn’t really give a dam. He didn’t give a flying fart what sort of a day you were going to have. Not unless he’d been there a long time and so had you and you’d got to know each other.

Retinal recognition processing, please remain motionless and in contact with the eye-pad.Jesus

Christ.

You have broken contact. Please repeat, using the eye-pad.

Like the day they fired you. Williams was on the door. You could tell he was upset to see you standing there. He knew. You knew. He put out a hand, touched your shoulder. He shouldn’t have done that. Unprofessional. Infringed your personal space.

Familiar. Condescending. He’d still got a job to go to. Take your God-damned paws off me, you said. Line from an old movie. You’d always liked it. Never got the chance to use it before. Hurt in his eyes. Not a good morning for either of us. Emotion out of the picture these days. Impersonal. Efficient.

Recognition complete. Identification positive. Entrance denied.

Fucking stupid machine!

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