Tag Archives: waiting

2014 – A Year In Stories: Week 30 – Waiting


Posted on August 3, 2014 by

A nice suggestion from my friend Ed Murphy this week. Simply ‘a bottle episode where the protagonist is stuck in all day waiting’.

2014 – A Year In Stories
Week 30

George’s vision slowly came back in to focus as he opened his eyes. There appeared to be a beeping noise of some description coming from somewhere in his room that he couldn’t quite place.

The beeping happened again and George wearily swung his feet out of bed and began to look around the room for the source of the noise. Eventually, when the rest of his brain finally caught up with the bit connected to his ears he realised that it was his phone telling him he had an email.

‘Your BT Openreach engineer will be calling today to install your telephone line. The engineer may call at any time between 8.30am-6.30pm. Thank you for choosing BT.’

“Oh bollocks,” George said. “Is that today?”

He looked at the clock on his bedside table – it was 8am already. He wanted to make sure he was around so that the engineer didn’t miss him. The thought of going any longer without a phone line, and by extension real internet, was enough to make getting up at 8am worthwhile.


Half an hour later George was washed and dressed and sat in his front room waiting for the BT engineer to show up. He was surrounded by boxes. Two weeks in his new house and he had barely unpacked a thing – besides the essentials of course.

His desktop had been set up in a corner of the living room, though it hadn’t seen much use since he moved in. Without the ability to connect to the internet he couldn’t download and play any of his games.

The Playstation hooked up to the TV on the opposite wall wasn’t much use to him either at this point. The man coming to install the Virgin Media box said he couldn’t do anything until the internet was up and running, and he had finished all his Playstation games. The only fun in them lay in multiplayer now, which he was unable to access without the net.

It had been a tough couple of weeks entertainment wise, but at least George had his new job to keep him busy. Today he would have no such diversionary luxury, and would have to find other things to do to occupy himself.


At 9am George remembered that he had borrowed a copy of A Game of Thrones and had been intending to start that. He rummaged around in some boxes and eventually found the rather dog eared copy and sat down to read.

“The morning had dawned clear and cold,” he read aloud, “with a crispness that hinted at the end of summer.”

Within quarter of an hour he had put the book down again. I’ll read it later, George thought. After all, it would be a shame to get through the book so quickly and leave himself nothing to do later in the day, he noted, choosing to carefully ignore the book’s 446 page length.

He kicked his heels against the sofa for a moment before remembering that he had not had breakfast. Pottering in to the kitchen, he decided that as he had all day to wait around he would make himself a full English.

Careful to leave the kitchen door open so he could hear anyone coming up the path George set to frying some sausages and bacon. The moment after he had cracked the eggs in to the pan the doorbell went.

In a panic George ran to the door, nearly knocking over his pan in the process. He opened it to find a woman in a post office uniform. George was so certain it was going to be the BT engineer that he wasn’t sure what to say. The pair stood in awkward silence for a moment until the delivery lady awkwardly asked him to sign for a parcel.

It was something for his house mate, Dom, who was at work. Aware of his breakfast cooking away by itself in the kitchen, George tried his best to hurry the process along, but there was some sort of problem with the PDA he needed to sign on, and it ended up taking about five minutes.

By the time George got back to the kitchen he found his eggs blackened and crispy and burned on to the pan. He scraped them off in to the bin and opened up the carton to get out two more, but it was empty.

Oh well, he thought, sausage bacon and toast it is then.

Sitting back down on the sofa, George tucked in to his slightly too crispy breakfast and turned on the TV in the vain hope that something would be on one of the terrestrial channels. His luck was out. BBC 1 and ITV were showing weird preschool gobbledygook; BBC 2 was running a show about gardening and Channel 4 had a cookery show. He didn’t even check Channel 5.

Thinking that by now it must be getting late on in the morning, George checked his watch. It was only 9.53.

His breakfast done, he switched his attention to the television, as Alan Titchmarsh droned on about petunias. It wasn’t long before he had dropped off to sleep.


Some time later George awoke with a start. His phone was ringing again, except this time it was an actually phone call. He scrambled to pick it up, nearly dropping it in a glass of water, and swiped to answer without checking who the call was from.

“Hello?!” he said, in a tone that was borderline accusatory.
“Hello dear,” his mother’s voice came from the other end of the line. “I heard you were off today so I thought I’d give you a call and we could have a bit of a natter.”

George usually enjoyed phone calls from his mum, but it occurred to him that the engineer might call before showing up, and so he was eager to get her off the line as quickly as possible.

“I’m really sorry mum,” he said, “I’m expecting an important call. Can I ring you back later?”
“Oh don’t be daft dear, you’ve always got time to talk to your old mum. Besides, I’ll only keep you a minute.”

Twenty minutes later, George, who had run out of new ways to say ‘yes’, or ‘oh really’ was itching to get off the call. He was praying for a way out.

His prayers were answered when the doorbell rang.

“I’ve got to go mum,” he said. “Someone is at the door.”
“Oh right, ok,” his mum said. “Oh before you go, did you hear that the Dentons’ boy, Jim is getting married?”

The doorbell rang again, and was followed by a knock.

“No mum, I didn’t. But I really have to go.”
“Of course dear. It’ll be such a lovely wedding, his partner is beautiful. I believe they’re planning on having the ceremony in Paris.”
“OK mum, I’ll give you a call on the weekend, alright?”
“Yes dear. One last thing before you go…”

George calculated his options, and realising that he would never live down the act of hanging up on his mother mid-flow, he gently laid the phone down on the table in front of him, put the microphone on mute and went to answer the door.

He opened the front door to find that whoever the person was had gone, he ran out in the street, dreading seeing the BT van driving off in to the distance, but was greeted with no such sight.

Looking up and down the road he searched for any sign of who may have knocked on his door. Eventually he caught sight a well dressed man exiting one of his neighbours’ houses.

“See you again next Wednesday, Mrs Cooper!” the man called back in to the house.

George ran up to the man.

“Excuse me, did you just knock on my door?” he asked, gesturing at his house.
The man flinched. “Yes,” he said, almost from behind his hands. “Sorry, I didn’t think anyone was home. I know that many don’t like the teachings of the followers of Jehovah, but it is my duty to spread them.”
“So you’re not a BT engineer then?” George asked.
The man lowered his hands and looked at George curiously. “No,” he said. “I’m a Jehovah’s Witness. Doesn’t my getup rather give it away? I’m hardly going to shimmy up a telegraph pole in these leather loafers.”
“Oh,” George managed in reply. “Yeah, of course. Thanks anyway.”
“Can I interest you in any…?”
“No,” George said over his shoulder, cutting the man off on the way back in to his house.
“Oh well, worth a try,” the Jehovah’s Witness shrugged, and moved onto his next call.


Back inside the house, George found his mother still rattling on about the neighbour’s new baby.After sneaking his way back in to the conversation he finally managed to get away after a few more ‘how interesting’s.

He looked at his watch. Between his impromptu nap and the call with his mother it had somehow gotten to 2pm. His stomach began to rumble. It was time for lunch.

George searched his kitchen, but besides the bacon and sausage he had fixed some of for breakfast he had nothing in. He would have to go to the shop.

There was a Tesco Metro at the end of his road, but he wasn’t sure he could risk the time out. In the end his stomach won out, and he dashed off to the supermarket.

Five minutes later he returned clutching a fresh loaf of bread, some cheese and ham and a packet of crisps. He made himself a sandwich and returned to the TV.

Gardener’s World had been replaced so,e hours ago by a live stream of the golf. Co concluding that he would rather watch paint dry, George turned the TV off.

Surely the guy should have at least called by now, he wondered, whilst munching his sandwich. He had been under the impression that they called a couple of hours in advance.


The rest of the afternoon passed without incident. He got a few more pages in to the book, and trawled terrestrial TV a bit longer, but it was a truly boring time. He itched to go out and do something, but he had to sit in and wait.

At about 5 George realised that he hadn’t been to the loo all day, and that it was imminently going to be a problem. He checked his watch and wondered if he could risk missing the doorbell. His bladder made the decision for him and he rushed upstairs, shutting the bathroom door just in time.

Right in the middle of relieving himself, and still with some way to go, George heard his phone ringing downstairs.

“Come on,” he said, offering himself some encouragement. “Come on, come on, come on!”

When George had finished he hurtled down the stairs, nearly tripping over his trousers, which he had failed to do up correctly.

He reached his phone just in time to answer the call from an unknown number.

“Hello,” the person on the other end of the line said. “Is this George Menzies?”
“Yes,” George replied. “That’s me.”
“Hi, George, my name is Mahinder, calling from BT.”
“Are you on your way?” George asked.
“Unfortunately not, there’s been a mistake. The email that you were sent this morning wasn’t meant to go out until tomorrow. No engineer will be coming to your property today.”