Alan Samsa was an accountant for a large law firm, he was somewhere in his mid forties, clean-shaven, bespectacled, happily divorced of three years and largely missable amongst the crowds of suited commuters that flooded into London daily. He was widely respected in his profession but didn’t tend to socialize with anyone in the office. With the one exception of the Christmas party – though even there he managed to filter into the background, almost a decoration on the tree. From getting behind his desk, to the eateries he’d visit during his lunch break, to the moment he’ on the homestretch of the Brighton train, Sapphire would be on his mind – blonde hair, pantyhose, rich rouge lips, contact lenses.
Sapphire would tour the karaoke bars of Brighton, in many ways she couldn’t have been more different from Alan. Beneath the spotlight she’d tell people that she worked in a small art gallery in Brighton, though she didn’t specify which. He always looked forward to his next liaison with Sapphire. He’d worry about her future – like the time some snotty nosed teenagers spat and lobbed an empty vodka bottle down St James’s street at her, or when she fell drunk in a pub and was punched in the gut – at least it wasn’t the face. Or the one time that he found a thong of hers that had somehow gotten mixed up in his laundry. It remained tucked in his shirt, before getting dislodged while at the office one Thursday afternoon as he rushed to conceal it under a desk, like some grenade that was about to rip through the office – Oh, Sapphire. He wasn’t sure how he’d explain that, but it was no one’s business anyway.
And every Friday evening as the carriage arrived at Brighton, Alan was packed away and Sapphire was reborn.
Gwil James Thomas is the author of the novel Captains of Sinking Ships and a variety of other work that can be found online and in print. He is a member of the band Irreparables. He doesn’t have a Facebook or a blog.
New Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette is an online magazine about creative writing, culture and sex.