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New Short Story - "Extreme Measures"

Extreme Measures

Writing again as A. P. Grozdanovic I have just published a short story, Extreme Measures, on Amazon’s Kindle & Kindle App. Feel free to have a sneak peek by reading the extract below. Ordering details can be found at the end.

‘Feeling trapped after a combination of personal and professional setbacks, Glenn Shepherd is compelled to take extreme measures in his fight for justice.’

Extreme Measures

The office was functional, quite stark. There were no frills - no flowers, no racks of books or files, no family pictures that would help identify the present incumbent. Just a desk, two chairs, blotting pad, a pad of lined paper and a cheap biro.
Glenn Shepherd had been shown in by an anonymous secretary. Having worked for the local authority for almost thirty years, in fact most of his adult life, Glenn had never met Anna Parkin, as labelled on her identification badge. The fact she resided in the office of his employers meant little. Office based work was not his thing. His thing was working with vulnerable adults in the community. This morning had begun as usual with him assisting two service users begin the day and all that that entails. Once they were ready, he had helped them choose breakfast and tidy things up.
The big task for the day was the weekly shop. Terry and Jane lived together and needed extensive help with budgeting and purchasing groceries. Terry was partial to chocolate, whereas Jane loved coca cola. If Glenn didn’t help make a list first and guide them the shopping basket would be full of inappropriate items. He always began by helping Terry make a drink for the three of them. Routine seemed to help Terry a lot.
‘Are we going shopping, today?’ asked Terry.
‘Yes,’ answered Jane. ‘You know we go shopping on a Monday.’
‘We’ll go after we’ve done the shopping list. Is that OK?’ asked Glenn.
‘Yes,’ Terry agreed.
Glenn and Terry rejoined Jane at the dining table with the drinks. Neither Terry or Jane could write, so Glenn began the list by jotting the staples down, bread, milk etc. He then asked, ‘What do you think we need from the shop this week?’
‘Fish Fingers,’ replied Jane.
‘Chocolate,’ suggested Terry.
‘Good Jane,’ encouraged Glenn. ‘What about real food, Terry?’
Terry answered mischievously, ‘Chocolate biscuits.’
Glenn smiled.
‘Have you wrote coca cola on your list,’ enquired Jane.
‘I have.’
‘Good. I like coca cola.’
Once they’d completed the shopping list Glenn had to tell them that he wasn’t going to be there in the afternoon. He put his cup in the sink and broke the news. ‘I’ve been called to a meeting this afternoon, so I’ll have to leave once we’ve eaten lunch.’
Terry asked, ‘Why?’
‘It’s just a meeting I have to attend. I’d much rather be here. You know that.’
Glenn began washing his cup while observing Terry over his shoulder. If activities went astray Terry could become unsettled.
As if on cue, Terry angrily banged his cup on the table, spilling some coffee. It was important Glenn didn’t overreact. He left the washing up and calmly sat down next to Terry.
‘Are you OK?’
‘Why can’t you stay with us like you always do?’
Glenn gently moved the cup, without fuss, from Terry’s reach and wiped the table. ‘I wish I could,’ he answered. ‘It’s just that something has come up that’s very important.’
Terry’s behaviour could challenge in different ways. He could become very agitated and start to throw things, which posed a danger to himself or others. Occasionally, he would self harm. It would take Glenn a long time to settle him if this behaviour progressed further. He had stayed longer than his shift required on many occasions in order to help Terry relax.
‘But I don’t want you to go. I want you to stay.’
‘Look, why don’t we get a chocolate biscuit each and go in the lounge? We can watch a little TV before we go shopping.’
Glenn waited to see Terry’s response. He was on tenterhooks. He didn’t like seeing Terry either upset or distressed. If it wasn’t for the meeting, none of this would be happening. Terry would be fine.
Terry looked at Glenn with moist eyes and cheekily asked, ‘Can I have two biscuits?’
Glenn heaved a sigh of relief. ’Yes, of course, but we have to do the shopping soon.’
Thankfully, Terry’s behaviour hadn’t developed into a full blown challenging situation. But it had made him slightly late for the shopping and the meeting. Fortunately, no one seemed to mind.
‘Would you like a coffee, Glenn?’ Anna asked in a familiar tone.
His mouth was very dry and his throat begged a little liquid, but coffee wasn't what he needed. He craved what he couldn’t have, which was a straight whiskey. He settled for water.
‘Certainly, I’ll be back in a moment.’ She left to get his refreshment.
It wasn’t a secret why Glenn had been called into head office to meet with George Forester, the Principal Officer. Like the rest of the workforce, he knew his fate. He had attended the council meeting in the public hall recently. He had heard the councillors discussing various options, essentially privatisation of the services. They all spoke fluently and with feeling, about the services they were overseeing, typical of the politicians they were.
Glenn couldn’t help feeling that they didn’t give a damn about the staff they employed or the people they supplied a service to. With every weasel-like statement about how hard it had been to sign off on the current proposals, Glenn was inclined to punch each speaker. One by one they clicked the little button at the base of their personal microphone, the red light came on, and an amplified rebuttal of claims of council mismanagement and central governments unfair demands ensued. He found it nauseous. Glenn had had his fill well before the meetings conclusion. Holding his tongue ’til the end of the meeting would have stretched his sanity to breaking point. He left early. A stint in the pub with the self-serving union figures didn’t appeal either. For all their good intentions, they got absolutely zip done.
Anna Parkin returned with two plastic cups of water, cold from the fountain outside. One, she placed on the desk, the second she gave to Glenn. Before leaving she said: ‘Mr Forester will be along presently.’
Glenn took a sip. The sanitised office did nothing to ease his anxious disposition. Knowing what was coming wasn’t always for the best. He could hardly bear to be in the room. He found the place stifling. The door opened behind him. The athletic purposeful figure of George Forester, the Principal Officer, strode past him without a word. He was tall, his dark hair groomed to an inch of its life and teeth whiter than any toothpaste company could possibly promise. He sat behind the desk, moved the pad to one side and laid a beige, nondescript file on the desk in its place….

To continue reading Extreme Measures go to: Extreme Measures:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Extreme-Measures-P-Grozdanovic-ebook/dp/B012LE38RO/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

A. P. Grozdanovic Author Page:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/A.P.-Grozdanovic/e/B00QZ2CWZI/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

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