He should’ve been at dinner. Yeah he wasn’t dressed properly and yeah, he couldn’t force his hands off the typewriter but- he should’ve been at dinner.
The ridiculous shirt he’d thrown on that morning was in fact the only shirt he hadn’t throw out of the window of his apartment the night before, during one of his ‘weekly encounters with the phone bill.’ The shirt had in fact come from an old lover, torn and aged by the many owners it had had previously - now resting on the shoulders of a man who couldn’t bring himself to throw it out.
His hands- bruised, with fingers stained with purple, trembling to type, continued to type the tax returns of his latest client - a rather garish woman who had insisted he type instead of write the hundreds of equations she’d given him to compute. It wasn’t a job Bill particularly liked doing, but it wasn’t like he had anywhere else to work. As long as it was paying his rent, it suited him just fine.
Possibly the reason Bill had been typing the same algorithm for the past 74 minutes was because of the straining purple light from the fluorescent bar swinging above him (his mind was also preoccupied by the code above him). His notebook, a brown, tattered, lifeless thing resting underneath his wrist kept haunting him as he typed. The notebook had also been given as a gift from an old partner years ago, and over the years had been filled with Bill’s dreams - dreams that were so sinister and spooky he didn’t dare to read them after he wrote them down. But despite this inability to confront the ideas present in his nightmares, Bill chose to carry around the notebook as a sort of good-luck charm. As twisted as it seemed, Bill thought it was unusual and interesting that whenever he brought this notebook somewhere, good things happened.
It was precisely why he’d brought it today. The string of numbers peering down at him from the board above him had been written there by an unknown intruder 3 nights before. Bill, being a man who enjoyed a little adventure, had been trying to crack the code all day (it being 7pm, he had been working for approximately 9 hours on this.) He had been thinking about this code for the past 2 nights and had fixated his mind on cracking the 8 numbers that had been scribbled on the board. The number 19 on the calendar to his left wasn’t helping as it was reminding him of the dinner party he was presently missing. His ‘good clothes’ were sitting in a bag at his feet, ready to get changed into but somehow with the code in his mind and his hands whirring away, he couldn’t move.
He tried to tell himself that it was because of the deafening street noise outside that had driven him to miss the party. Maybe somehow the drone of sound crunching against his earlobes would be an excuse for missing the 200 dollar duck specially pre-ordered for the celebration?
The truth was that the slow tick of the newly installed clock was making him insane.