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If Only

I'll take care of that tomorrow.

By Mark GagnonPublished 17 days ago 3 min read
Top Story - November 2023
If Only
Photo by Maks Styazhkin on Unsplash

Jake is a busy guy. Every time he starts a project or just thinks about starting something, he gets interrupted. Most of the time they’re annoying minor interruptions: phone calls, a knock at the door, text messages from work, the list goes on and on. If only he had a little alone time, he could complete some half-finished projects. No phone calls, texts, or people, for one day. Is that too much to ask? Unfortunately for Jake, his unfinished business list just came due all at the same time.

Contrary to popular belief, Tuesday, not Monday, is the worst day of the week. Tuesday means there are four more days before the weekend. Everyone has recovered from the previous weekend and is now in full work mode. Weekly targets must be reached by Friday, which means everything must run smoothly on Tuesday. Jake’s Tuesday imploded before he woke up.

Sunlight streaming directly into Jake’s eyes woke him with a start. He always started his day well before the sun lit up his bedroom. Jake immediately checked his alarm clock and discovered it said 3 a.m. Still groggy from too much sleep, he grabbed his phone, which showed 8 a.m. There must have been a power outage. One item on Jake’s unfinished project list was to change the clock’s backup battery. Now he was very late.

With no time to shower or shave, Jake pulled on his clothes, grabbed his phone, and burst through the front door, sprinting toward his car. The six-year-old SUV listed toward the right rear. “This can’t be good,” thought Jake, and it wasn’t. The right rear tire was flat as a pancake. All four tires were bald. This was the first one to give up the ghost. If only he had replaced all four tires when he first noticed their condition, but there had been no time to do it. Fortunately, the spare was still holding air and had more tread than the one it was replacing. Unfortunately, there was no way he would arrive at work on time.

Jake knew this was not the best way to make a positive impression at his new job, but he was sure everyone would understand. After all, who hasn’t had a flat tire? He took out his phone and scrolled through the directory for his work number. What he found was the company name and the first three digits of the phone number. Flabbergasted, Jake remembered being interrupted while entering the information on his phone. He thought, “I’ll have to remember to finish this later.” If only he had. Now the best he could do was to send a text to a co-worker and hope they would see it.

Changing a tire is a dirty job. Jake’s hands were covered in brake dust and sweat soaked his shirt. There was no way he could arrive at the office looking like this. He placed the flat along with the jack back in the trunk area and headed for the shower. Getting clean didn’t take long, but finding clean clothes did. Jake normally did laundry on Sunday, but he had gone fishing with friends and just didn’t have time when he got back. If only he had made the time, he wouldn’t be digging through a pile of dirty clothes, looking for the least dirty ones.

Jake finally found some suitable attire and was ready to walk out the door when his phone rang. The caller ID identified the caller as the new company he had started with last week. Jake answered immediately. The impersonal voice on the other end asked, “Is this Mr. Jake Brown?”

“Yes, it is,” Jake replied, dreading what was coming next.

“Mr. Brown, this is Miles from the H.R. department. I regret to inform you that probationary employees who don’t report for work at their appointed time and fail to call in are terminated without redress. I wish you good luck on your future endeavors.” He abruptly hung up.

Jake sat on his bed, feeling dejected and frustrated. He looked over at the alarm clock and muttered, “If I had only changed those damn batteries!”


About the Creator

Mark Gagnon

I have spent most of my life traveling the US and abroad. Now it's time to create what I hope are interesting fictional stories.

I have 2 books on Amazon, Mitigating Circumstances and Short Stories for Open Minds.

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  1. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  2. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

  3. Expert insights and opinions

    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

  4. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

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Comments (13)

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  • tarun bhatt12 days ago

    Great story. Ending child have been better. Thanks for sharing

  • ROCK 13 days ago

    I like Jake; and I really dig your delivery. More please!

  • Naveed15 days ago

    Outstanding! Keep striving for greatness—congratulations😂

  • Donna Renee16 days ago

    oooooooh Jake. It's okay, it wasn't gonna be a fun job anyway! 😂 have a coffee and make a to-do list!

  • Lamar Wiggins16 days ago

    Ugh!!! I can think of a million times that statement would have applied. Congrats, Mark!

  • Cathy holmes16 days ago

    Oh my. Poor Jake. What a clusterf*ck of a day. Congrats on the TS.

  • Donna Fox (HKB)17 days ago

    Well that was a series of unfortunate events!! At least he has time to check some things off his to-do list now... lol 🤣

  • Well, defecation occurs and someone steps in it. Lol. Very relatable and well written.

  • Mariann Carroll17 days ago

    Looks like Jake needs to practice some Mindfulness. I can definitely relate to Jake in my younger years. Well written story. Subscribe

  • I was like "Where in the world does sunlight stream in at 3am?" Then I continued reading and was like "Who in the world doesn't set an alarm on their phone?" You know, at least for backup. I hope Jake doesn't leave things unfinished after this, lol. Loved your story!

  • Mr Ahsan17 days ago

    At the end battery damn 😔. Keep doing well best wishes with you

  • Mother Combs17 days ago

    Should have changed the batteries

  • Kendall Defoe 17 days ago

    Why do I feel like I have had too many Jake moments in my life?

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