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“…the tangled skein of commotion….” – Rainer Maria Rilke
Twelve minutes into the day shift I knew it was going to be one of those days. The wrapping servants came, bonnets and hats in hand, to tell me the packaging materials had not been delivered. “I’m terribly sorry, your worship,” Thomason, the lead subordinate whined, acting as superior of the group. “It didn’t arrive during the night shift as it ought. We have only enough—”
“Yes, yes, Thomason!” I replied in my usual imperious manner, waving him off. “I will see to it. Do what you can with what you can until you hear from me.”
Once Thomason ushered them out of my area, bowing and simpering in something approaching unison, I turned to Harris, my adjutant, “See to it, Harris.”
“But I thought you—” my withering glare stopped him short. “Yes, your worship,” he nodded, obviously chastened, “I’ll see to it at once!”
As he left my area, he left my mind, taking the problem with him as he went. An hour later I was called out to assembly; a place I rarely attend voluntarily. The smell of the servants in assembly is fouler than the stench that wafts through the craftsmen’s rooms. The servant sent to beseech my presence was as ill equipped for the practice of communication as many of the craftsmen’s tools. It was soon revealed that my presence was made necessary by one of the female servants having come upon her time. Now let it not be said that I am not without kindnesses, for when I discovered the woman reclined on a bed of sacks and cloaks, struggling with child, I did not follow strict guidance which requires a day’s allowance docked when resting from labor. Irony is not lost upon me when I encounter it. However, it required my valuable time, and the dull cooperation of about ten laborers to bring that woman – and, eventually her newborn babe – away from assembly. We finally had her rest in a corner of delivery. I said irony is not lost on me.
Harris returned to me about midday with news that the wagon that was to have delivered the wrapping materials had broken an axle on the road through Charsbury. It was now nearly mended and would be reloaded with haste. We could see the wagon perhaps by the third bell. As I was considering how we would make up for the lack, Harris supposed that the second shift would have to make up double for our lost time. I took that as my solution and made a notation in my journal as to my inspired decision.
Around the time we were looking for the wagon, the Vandals were sighted, approaching from the north. “Bugger,” I puffed out, “Can a day be any disordered than this one has been? Harris,” I said, turning once again to my subordinate, “hurry off and tell my mistress that I may not be able to make our afternoon appointment.”
“And may I suggest we evacuate the mercantile?” Harris muttered, keeping an eye out the window to the north.
“Hmm?” I considered for a moment. “Well, yes, I suppose we rather should. Good head on your shoulders, Harris! Remind me to increase your allowance.”
“Yes, your worship. At the very next convenience.”
What a day it was to be.
(551 words – not counting title or Rilke quote.)
This is my second (posted) attempt at flash fiction. See the link below for my first post. I would like some honest writer’s feedback: Does the story stand as a story? How is the voice? Anything genuine you can provide would be appreciated.