Opening Excerpt | copyright ©2014 Barry Huggins All Rights Reserved
He closed the file in front of him and returned it to a large brown folder printed with the words, Finch & Beckett Chartered Accountants. Finch and Beckett were long dead and long forgotten, with the exception of the whimsical rumour that claimed their ghosts walked the corridors in the dead of night in search of a missing ledger; doomed for eternity to seek out the page that will balance the books of their life's endeavours. But beyond this, their names lived on in the accountancy firm that Simon toiled in nine hours a day, five days a week. It was said that if you were not a senior partner by the time you were thirty five, you never would be. Simon’s thirty-fifth birthday came and went three years earlier and he was still not a senior partner. In fact he was not even a junior partner. After twelve years with the firm, he still languished unnoticed on the first floor, handling the client accounts that no one else wanted. The resentment mounted slowly over the years. He resented those who failed to promote him and those who were promoted over his head. He resented the clients, whose financial accounts he prepared, all of whom earned four times his own salary. In fact he resented everything that Finch and Beckett stood for, from the senior partners’ opulent office suite on the fifth floor to the asthmatic whine of the photo copier next to his desk that frayed his nerves at random intervals throughout his colourless, tiresome day.
This all culminated in his assertion that his professional life had so far been a complete failure. Not only had he failed but he had failed in a career that he now detested. The bright, affable and promising student that walked out of university had lost his way as he navigated the career path. Somewhere along the journey he fell from the golden trail of prosperity and landed in the muddy ditch of professional life and the more he struggled to climb out, the more the groping clutches of fate clawed him back into the mire. The columns of figures and pages of spreadsheets that at one time fired his enthusiasm, now merely extinguished any glimmer of light that might have brightened his day. Even the promised security that his profession offered was no longer a benefit. It was now just a chain that shackled him to a dead career; chained to the security of a monthly salary cheque; just enough to keep him in fear of losing it but woefully short of an income that would allow him to taste the varied flavours of life.
When he looked at his watch again it was twenty past five, close enough to call an end to the working day. He raced to catch the 17.46 train, but missed it and caught the slower 17.55 instead. It made little difference, for at his destination, no one waited with a heart of desire in anticipation of his homecoming.
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