This is an activity from the A215 Creative Writing Course that I’m doing with the Open University. The idea is to portray Antagonism between character and place. I chose to describe a hated job that is a financial necessity (6.3 Part1).
As he drove over the speed bump and through the high, wrought iron security gate, he gave out a heavy sigh, as he stared at the high perimeter fencing. He drove up to his usual parking spot and reversed into the tight gap between a black Ford Focus and a blue Citroen Picasso. As he reached over for his lunch, he simultaneously switched off the engine. He made his way to the reception area, some 150 yards away, across the workers’ car park – also known to him as the prison yard, in a slow and calculated manner, while pretending to be in an imaginary maze of cars. He pressed his key-fob against the security door and entered the building, only to be met by the familiar figure of his sardonic friend, Dave the receptionist, who was sat in his bright red swivel chair, drinking what John’s nose perceived to be an extra strong and aromatic Nescafe Alta Rica.
‘Morning Dave! I see that the mighty Liverpool FC crashed and burned, once again,’ he grinned.
‘Morning John! When you see your missus, tell her that she needs to pick her underwear up from my place,’ was the witty repartee of the short, grey-haired receptionist.
After debating the state of world politics and current affairs (football) with Dave, John made his way towards his desk, after holding up the key-fob to the security door that prevented access to the main building. He said the Monday morning salutations, and made the customary small talk with the other eight members of his work group: Football, Darts and Horse Racing with the blokes, and the X-Factor and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here with the women and Simon. As he headed in to the kitchen area to make the first cup of coffee of the day, he added an extra-heaped spoon of coffee into his beloved Man City mug. Yet another day, another dollar, he muttered, as he took a seat at his desk and looked over at Jim and Fred. Their sallow and lifeless faces appeared to him to tell a tale of two men who had given up on their dreams and accepted a second-rate fate. John seemed perplexed as to why they are still working at the place when they both have independent wealth. That is when the character of Fletcher, in the TV sitcom ‘Porridge’, entered his head – the habitual criminal who has been institutionalised, and who can’t cope in a strange environment. John sighed and switched on his computer.