by Barry Allen Herzog
During late afternoons in November the sun would glide across the metal-coated building behind Howard Abrams’ office and cast a smear of copper on the wall opposite his desk. The smear would slide up slowly, melting, until it met the ceiling, bent and oozed inexorably in his direction.
The sun always set before it reached him.
By then the secretaries outside his door would be ending the tasks they had worked on since lunch and would be straightening their desk tops for tomorrow. Pleadings would whir through copy machines to be collated, stapled, affixed to blue construction paper and attached to forms directing the messenger service where they should be filed the next day in court.
Abrams heard Martha take out her purse and remove the top of her lipstick with the little popping noise it always made. He pictured her sliding the red gloss carefully along her upper lip while he stared at piles of manila folders scattered on the floor, file cabinets and chairs around him.
The intercom on his desk phone buzzed, insistent and shrill. He touched the ‘receive’ button.
The voice of the new receptionist came out metallic, thin. “Your five o’clock is here.”