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Journal of Distraction - by Michael Kelly

Week 1 - Monday

This was a mistake. I want to make that clear from the start. It's Jeremiah's idea and all his fault. He asked me to write for A of E, and I said that at the moment I was too distracted with various things, and he said in that case I should keep a journal of the distractions and that would be interesting.

He was wrong. This is a waste of time. For one thing it will clash with, and be completely overshadowed by, Jeremiah's own more brilliant diary, which is possibly my favourite thing in the English language since Ivor Cutler's 'Gruts'.

For another, nothing remotely interesting will happen to me in the next three weeks. It's not like I'm being distracted by beautiful women hurling themselves at me or a spy mission or having to fight a cabal of vampires or something. Mainly, I'm working, one of my rare and fleeting forays into the world of day jobs. An ex-boss, one of the few I'm not on restraining order terms with, asked me to temp for her, and in a moment of weakness I agreed. That was a mistake too. The next three weeks will be sordid and dull and painful and horrid and frankly it's naked sadism on Jeremiah's part to make me write it all down. He knows full well how little I work and how much it distresses me when I'm forced to and this is his way of making me live it twice over.

Actually, I think probably he reckons that I will end up shooting all my colleagues and that he'll be able to make loads of money syndicating the record of my approaching breakdown.

Damn American cultural imperialism! Whenever one thinks of massacring one's workmates one naturally imagines running amok with automatic weapons. But the fact is we can't get guns in Britain, and if I did want to wipe out everyone in my office I would have to resort to more genteel, if less efficient, Agatha Christie methods such as stabbing or poisoning or lugging photocopiers up onto the roof and dropping them on people's heads as they leave or pushing filing shelves over on them or quickly garroting them in the basement and wrapping the body in brown paper and having it mailed to Edinburgh by the despatch department. One would really have to stay on one's toes to avoid being caught. After the first four or five murders I imagine the more cowardly members of staff would suddenly start taking sick leave or using up all their accumulated holiday days and I would have the place to myself.

I think I must consider this some more in the days to come. Purely to pass the time, you understand. I actually like my colleagues at this place. They are nice and well-behaved and by and large deserve to live. Most of them. But more tomorrow.

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