Winter’s Worst

A short-short story By: D.e.e.L

Ben gets up out of bed and rubs his eyes. He brushes his teeth, combs his hair, and eats some gluten free vanilla Chex before putting on his shoes and walking out the door to his apartment. His neighbor screams and he looks down to notice that he forgot to get dressed. His mind stressing too much about what he will have to endure for the coming months. After getting dressed Ben walks out to his car, brushes the snow and scrapes the ice from the windows all while the heat is left on inside the car. He gets in and turns the radio on before rubbing his hands together to regain feeling.

            The ride to work is filled with classic rock and slow drivers. Trying to come to a stop at a light results in a bit of skidding on the slush covered road; all of this nothing compared to what Ben despises the most about this time of year.

          He parks his car in the lot and puts the parking lot tag onto his rearview mirror before getting out and locking the car door as he walks away. He steps through the automatic doors, knocks the snow off his boots on the mat. He then walks up the single flight of stairs while running his hands up and down his face, preparing himself for the real torture of the season.

            He uses a keycard; much like the ones used at hotels, and opens the door to the cafeteria area where he puts his lunch into one of the two fridges available. He then turns around to get a cup of coffee and notices someone walking up to him, he tries to hurry up, even spilling some of the hot liquid on his hand, he fills his cup and makes for the door that leads out into the hall, but it’s too late. The person has already said hello and Ben turns around to face the worst part of winter…Winter Small Talk.

            Ben endures the remarks that will haunt him all season long as the co-worker tells Ben about how he did the exact same things as Ben had in the morning, about how he has to shovel and how people drive slowly in the winter and how hard it is to stop at stop lights. The co-worker tells Ben that it is so cold outside and that he wishes it were summer. Ben nods his head, telling him that it will be summer soon enough – this is also something Ben has to say every Monday to those waiting for it to be Friday.

            The co-worker keeps talking, about his jacket, his boots, about the key to dry socks being plastic bags, about not being able to sit on his deck. Ben smiles, nods, and escapes when the opportunity arises.

            At his desk Ben holds his face in his palms, his eyes trying to stay open. He takes a sip of his coffee and stares at spam emails. He hears a knock the door, someone on the other side wanting to talk…he takes a sip of coffee and reminds himself…summer is almost here.

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