James Holden: The Chair Race

It is late, and the words of the executive committee briefing I am writing are merging into each other. I can’t leave until I’ve hit send and I just need to give it a final check and proof. I need to do something to re-renergise, but have already had too many coffees – I fear that I’d develop a tremor in my hand or a twitch in my eye if I drank any more.

There’s no one left in the room I work in, and there surely can’t be anyone left in the building, apart from security. Whilst still sat on it, I awkwardly manoeuvre my chair into the corridor. Unlike the carpeted offices the floor out here is stone, or a polished surface that looks like it is. I push off with my legs, and start taking increasingly bigger strides up the long corridor. It’s difficult to build up speed whilst I’m sat down – I feel like some weird daddy-long legs trying to win a race. But I love it – the whoosh of the wheels on the polished floor, the noticeboards passing before my eyes in a riot of blurred colour.

I come to the first fire door and push my way through. One lap, I think to myself, and I’ll return to my work so I can get out of here.

But as I reach the next fire door I see a woman ahead of me on a fast-moving chair, pushing herself along. I move my legs faster, determined to catch up with her. She slips through a fire door and out of sight. Moments later I skid in front of it, watching through the glass as she continues her way.

I nimbly pass through the door, and my legs start working overtime. I think about calling out to her, but wouldn’t it be funnier if I overtook her, perhaps turning to wave and grin at her as I did so?

I’m not too far behind as she goes through the next door. If she’s aware I’m here, she doesn’t show any sign – doesn’t turn her head to see my thundering up from behind or shout “catch me if you can”.

I reach the next fire door before it has closed properly. But as I turn into the stretch of corridor, she’s no longer there. There’s no sign of a door closing, and I try each of the office doors. All of them are locked. Disappointed I stand up and wheel my chair back round to my own office. I’m about to go in, finish the briefing so that I can go home, when the fire door at the other end of the corridor opens and a woman’s face poked through. “Fancy another lap?”

I sit down and start to wheel myself towards her. “You betcha,” I shout as my momentum builds. The report will still be waiting when we’re done racing.

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About James Holden

Brought up in Yorkshire, James has washed up on the shores of London. He spends his days working as a political geek. His short stories have previously been read by the Liars League.
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