p class="MsoNoSpacing"Sometimes a story flows, and dialogue drives and actions move, but sometimes a story cannot stand by itself and needs someone to push things. This is where a narrator makes their dashing appearance, rearing in on a horse of plot twists and extra characters. It must be remembered that behind every story, whether obvious or not, there is always a narrator. Many times this narrator is not even considered, but they are always sitting there on their horse, waiting for when they need to draw their sword of ink and words./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"There are times though when the narrator, whether needed or not, makes their appearance in a more prominent way, and this story is one of them./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"This story then, this narrator says, begins with a woman, a woman who needs to look out of the window more and realise where she is. Instead she stares at papers, and computers, and listen to meetings and conversations about work with dollar signs flashing in her ears. She could see the money, feel the money, knew the money was there for her. So this is where this narrator begins our story, with a woman with brown hair and brown eyes./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Harvey!" She screeches into the phone./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""I'm here Janine." He stands at the door, a tall man with a loose tie. He used to wear it tighter but his psychiatrist had warned him that tight ties prompted suicidal thoughts and around this woman a tight tie could be dangerous./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Harvey, Mister Jenkins just called, he wants the report done by today."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Today? We only got the information yesterday, he can't actually expect this?"/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"The glare in her eyes told him everything he needed./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""I'll get the report done." He closes the door softly as he leaves./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"She never liked when Mister Jenkins called, he was the one man that could demand things from her. It was something that one day she hopes to change, but any ideas for being a more powerful person than Mr Jenkins were easily squashed. She worked hard, but there's only so far someone could go./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"She sits down to rest her feet./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""This is where I need a fairy godmother to solve my problem." And she sighs./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"This sigh, this one of despair at her situation, is what prompts the fairy godmother, though in this case the godmother is not a mother, nor a god, but a narrator./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"The woman looks down on her table and sees a piece of paper that had not been there earlier. She kept her desk in impeccable order and this piece of paper was inscrutably out of place./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"emFind the lady, find the fish/em/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"She scoffs. The writing on the page made no sense at all, and she knew it must be a practicable joke by someone, most likely one of the new office lads./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"As the narrator there seems to be an issue. The woman in her logical mind was meant to understand what it meant but she was only taking it as a prank. Something more obvious needs to happen./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"The phone rings and the woman answers, wondering at the unknown number./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""You need to find a fish that will make you powerful. There's a woman who can help you, she can smell anything." The line clicks off./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"The woman sits with the phone dangling in her hand. She has no idea what just happened, or who the strange voice on the other side was. It sounded rather like someone she knew, or someone she should know, or someone that knew her but she didn't know them./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Find a woman that can smell out a powerful fish, how odd." But the narrator makes sure they do not say absurd./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"There's a knock at the door and she looks up, letting the phone fall with a clatter onto her desk. It was Harvey and with an exasperated look she waves him./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""There's a parcel for you, it ended up in my office." He walks in and places it on the desk. "Oh what's this?" He picks up the piece of paper that had been left open to the world./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Oh nothing." The narrator lets her try to snatch it back, but she fails and is left standing as he holds it up to the light./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""That's a bit odd."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""It's just a bit of a joke." If she believed it was truly just a joke she would take it from him and throw it in the bin, but instead she takes it from him and puts it back on her desk./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""You know I know a woman that has a good sense of smell. Apparently she can smell anything in the world."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"The woman thinks back to the phone call she has just received./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Can she find fish?"/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Ha," he scoffs. "Of course, fish are the smelliest thing in the world. If you want to talk to her, she likes to stray around the park near the burger shop."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"Now for some this may appear like an odd and sudden statement. Anyone that gives a friend's location just like that without presuming that they're needed or won't be unduly bothered should be considering their friendship. However when a story has a narrator and this narrator is looking at the clock tick over 1am and have only half a mind which means there is only half a plot (with many details skipped, hastened and forgotten), it is not an odd or sudden statement at all./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Well Harvey I can't imagine you'd expect me to go looking for a lady in the park. Go do that report."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"He gives her a smile, one that not even the narrator knows what it means, and walks out./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"The woman falls back into her chair. If everything that's been said is true, this fish could give her the power that she needs to be above Mister Jenkins. Then she wouldn't have to take orders from him (including his coffee order) and she could tell him what to do. The idea made her weak at the knees, it was such an immense thing she would have to give it a lot of thought./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"She picks up the phone and waits a moment./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Alyssa, I'm going out, tell anyone who calls it can wait."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"She stops herself from completely running out of the office. Her excitement now is so great that she evens smiles at the old man in the cleaner in the elevator instead of sneering at them with disgust./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"There expression is one of surprise and they get out at the next level./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"She knows exactly which burger shop and which park Harvey was talking about. It was the park so littered with burger remains and wrappers that not even the ducks would make their presence known./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"As she reaches the park her nose screws up at the mess, at least it wouldn't be hard to find the lady, there weren't many people around. In fact, there was only one, a small old lady with a hunched and a long dirty coat. She was the type of lady that one would expect to stand up and in a swish throw off the cloak to reveal a dazzling dress and wand, claiming herself as the fairy godmother. But before anyone goes thinking anything, this narrator needs to remind everyone that this woman is not the fairy godmother because a story can only have one, and that one has already made their presence known./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Excuse me." She steps over some a slab of cheese and avoids stabbing her heel in a slice of beetroot./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Do you have a good sense of smell?" As she says it she realises it's a stupid thing to ask but she wasn't quite sure what else to say./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"The woman on the bench looks up at her. Her face was surprisingly plain, not ugly and covered in warts, and not gorgeous like a princess but just like any plain face that one might have./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""If I had a good sense of smell would I be sitting here?"/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"Janine, whose nose was wrinkling as the scent of mouldy lettuce was wafting to her nose, unwrinkles it immediately./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Yes," she says boldly, though she have no belief in her words./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Then sit down."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"The woman delicately places herself on the edge of the bench./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""I can smell anything, anything at all, I can find anything with my nose."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Can you smell gold?" She blurts out suddenly, then covers her mouth. "I meant cold, can you smell cold?"/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""I smell cold, I can smell gold, I can even smell the future."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"The woman leans in to the old lady eagerly./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""What does my future smell like?"/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"The lady sniffs./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Like a shower, you should have one after you leave this place."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"A bit disappointed, she leans back. It didn't matter though, she had a matter at hand./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""I need a fish." Janine states./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Well you didn't need to bother coming here for that, the fish market is just a few blocks down."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"Janine wonders how to put what she wants./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""I need a magic fish, well I don't know if it's magic, but I need it to make me powerful."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"The old lady smiles with her crooked teeth./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""I know exactly what you want."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Will you find it for me?" She reaches out to touch her hand in a gesture of begging then quickly withdraws it. She's not sure she wants to know where that hand's been./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Maybe, but I ask something in return."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""What?"/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"This narrator has been sitting here for a while debating whether the right response for her to say is 'what' or 'anything'. What seems almost rude, very forward but anything seems to open, we don't want the old lady asking for her firstborn child now (though the woman doesn't have any time to consider any child-creating acts). So what is probably the better answer, or really maybe it doesn't matter because it's just one word out of many and by the end no one will remember what word was chosen / "There's a certain man in your office, a Harvey."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Yes, I know him."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""When you are powerful, make sure he is to."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"She smiles widely, that was easy enough. When she was more powerful than Mister Jenkins she could easily promote Harvey into any position she wanted./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""I'll do it." Forgetting the dirt on the old lady's hand she shakes it eagerly./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Come back here tomorrow at noon, I'll have the fish for you."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"Janine stands./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Thank you."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"With a small skip in her step she hops away, too excited to notice the pineapple ring twirling around her heel./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"When she reaches the office she smiles once again at the cleaner, who once again gets out at the next level and waltzes across the floor to her office./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"There's half a dozen messages for her but she doesn't care about them now. Tomorrow she would be the most powerful woman in the company, perhaps even the world./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Janine."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"Harvey is standing at the door when she looks up./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Ah Harvey, how's the report going? Doesn't matter, take your time with it."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"Confusion comes across his face, though anyone looking very close (far too close for anyone to look without someone charging someone with assault)./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""I just needed the most recent data from the sales. I was wondering if you a hardcopy, the printers not working."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"She didn't even notice that usually he wouldn't bother her for such a trivial thing but instead she clicks her heels and begins to look through her piles./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Has anyone called the printer man yet?"/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Yes, Alyssa just did, he's coming up."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Good good. Aha." She pulls the stapled papers from her piles and hand them to him./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Thanks." He turns around to leave./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""I went and saw that woman you told me about."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"He turns back around./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Was she helpful?"/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Yes very. How do you know her?"/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"He pauses, looking upwards though inspiration rarely falls from ceilings (unless one is doing a project on cobwebs or light fittings)./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""She's just a friend. No one really knew her before I, uh, meet her."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"Janine frowns, not understanding, but her happiness was not going to be quenched./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Well she's a lovely lady."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"He nods, smiles and leaves./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"She was in a very good mood at the moment. Good moods however are not ones which should be interrupted with phone calls or any strenuous activity and she gazes at her desk trying to find something to do. The package from before still sits unopened./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"It's not a big package, not much bigger than a letter with only a slight bulge. She slips her figure underneath and tears it open./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"As she peers inside she's quite puzzled as to what it is and when she places the contents on the table she's even more puzzled. On the items seem to be a knife, a very sharp one and the other item is an empty envelope./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"She checks the address and it's certainly to her, but there's no return address and no hint of who it may have been from. Maybe on another day she would have taken it as a threat, but today she took it as someone hoping she enjoyed her next sandwich./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""I'm sure someone will tell me what it's for later," she mutters and puts the items back in the envelope and then into her draw./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"Sighing she decides it's time to get back to work. She has full confidence in the lady, well almost full confidence, or at least some let's say, but if it didn't work out she didn't want to be left in a mess with her work here. Soon though hopefully it would be someone else's business./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"She presses the answering machine on her phone and begins to listen to her messages./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"After many messages, many emails, many reports and only cup of coffee, she finally looks outside to see it dark. It was the only time of day she did look outside and what the view looked like in the daylight was a mystery to her./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Time to go home." She packs up her things, toddles out of the empty and since the hour is so late does not meet the cleaner in the elevator./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"As she tries to sleep that night her mind which is usually full of numbers and figures is only full of thoughts about the old lady and the fish. What type of fish it could be she has no idea, but she hopes it's a very pretty one, like a rainbow fish. It would make it nicer if it were pretty. She falls asleep dreaming of scales covered I gold./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"The next morning she's jittery all about the office and when lunch comes she rushes out, almost running down to the park near the burger shop. The old lady is already there, and there's a plastic shopping bag in her lap./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Hello," she says breathlessly as she arrives. She sits down and hopes the plastic bag contains a fish./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""I have it here." The old lady dumps the fish in her lap./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"She peeks inside and sees a lump wrapped in newspaper./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Thank you."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"It surprises her that's there's not much of a scent to it, the old lady must have a very good sense of smell./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""What do I do with it?" She was hoping the old lady had an idea about the next step, because she wasn't sure at all. Her knowledge on cooking fish was zero, so she hopes it doesn't involve that./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""You got a package yesterday. Take some scales from the fish, put it in the envelope and place it in Mister Jenkins letterbox."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"She gasps. That was what the package was for. Who was doing all this for her she has no idea, but she doesn't care if they had evil intentions or not./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""I'll do that, I'll do all that. Thank you."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""One more thing, you must do it before the first strike of midnight."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"This fact, this task, is frankly not a very important one, but sometimes it's fun to place an ounce of panic in a person's chest, as they are frantically forced to check their watch every second for the next eleven hours./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"Janine looks down at her watch, eleven hours and 37 minutes to go./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Thank you for all your help."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"The woman smiles at her and looks down at the fish./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""You should hurry."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"Janine gets up, wants to shake the old lady's hand but finds it awkward with the fish and only nods./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Good bye."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"The old lady only smiles and she walks away./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"As she walks past the burger shop, and the bank and the clothes store which needs to learn about modesty, she holds the fish triumphant in her hands. The plastic bag she held contained something so powerful she could rule the world with it. Or at least a very small percentage of it, really nothing more than a sliver, half of that even. All she had to do was put a few scales in an envelope and place it in Mister Jenkins letterbox./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"When she enters the office, she tries to hold the plastic bag inconspicuously, as though she had just done some shopping or picked up her lunch. Without looking at anyone she quickly goes to her office and closes the door. She slides the fish under her desk, out of sight for now and begins to look in her drawer for the package./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"It's sitting there right at the top./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"A knock comes from the door. She waves Harvey in a little annoyed at his presence./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""I'm sorry I didn't get that report to you last night, but I've just emailed it through now."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Thank you Harvey."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"He pauses./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""How was your lunch?"/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"She wonders for a moment if he knew something but then dismisses it. It was likely that he knew something but it wouldn't matter, he would get his high position and she would get hers./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""I had a very nice lunch today, I got some fish."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing""Sounds good."/p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"He doesn't say another word but walks out the door, leaving her alone one more./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"His sudden appearance makes her realise that it wasn't safe to go scaling a fish in the middle of office hours. She would have time after everyone had left./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"When the office were lights and the lights were dim, she drags the fish from under the table. She had been worried about whether the fish would go bad but the stench was only slightly stronger. Leaving the fish on the floor, she kneels with the fish and tries to flick off a few scales. The skin is tough and she can't remember the last time she saw a fish that wasn't cooked on a plate. Digging further under the skin, she lifts a section up. A few scales fall off onto the ground./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing"Doing this another couple of times she's left with littered scales and come chunks of fish. Her hands feel dirty but nobody ever got anywhere without playing a bit dirty./p
p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"She shovels a few of the scales into her hand and slides hem into the envelope. For good measure, the adds the smallest chunk. She has no idea how the scales of a fish is going to gain her any power (maybe the fish had magic qualities that would make him quite his job giving it to her, but she knows that if she wants this all she can do is trust the stranger./p
p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"It seems an odd thing for a woman, who didn't care where she was by jus trusting anyone, would trust a random old woman in a park surrounded by lettuce, but when a narrator knows someone is trustworthy, they know they're trustworthy. And this narrator, who knows all (because of course a narrator knows all), knows that the woman can be trustworthy. It just all demands on how they decide the events to play out./p
p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"Dabbing the envelope closed with a stick of glue (no not a glue stick, a stick of glue), she looks down at the floor. She couldn't have the cleaner walk in and see a mess of fish on her carpet. Grateful that the fish doesn't have a strong smell she scoops the remains into the plastic bag with the rest of the fish./p
p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"She's not sure if she'll need the fish any more, she shouldn't, but just in case she takes it with her as she leaves and dumps it in the boot of her car./p
p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"She has five hours til midnight strikes. IT doesn't cause her any real worry, though she checks her watch with nerves. Once before she's been to Mister Jenkins' house and in her five hours of need she remembers exactly where he lives./p
p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"The ride which she knows will only take half an hour seems longer. She turns the radio on, turns it off, then back on. She's caught up in curiosity and anxieties. She's not worried that whatever happens will be bad, she's worried that it won't work or something will go wrong. SO far she'd done everything she's been told, since the first slip of paper on her desk. With any luck by the morning she'll be more powerful that Mister Jenkins./p
p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"She reaches his street and park a little way from his house. It's the big one with the hedge out the foot and with hands shaking she paces up to his letterbox. It's dark except from the sparse light from a few houses and the two street lights./p
p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;""This is it." And the envelope slides from her hands, not in slow motion because the narrator knows this is a story and not a movie, and clunks softly at the bottom of the letterbox./p
p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"Not/p
p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"She turns and runs back to her car. She can't say why she's running, but she feel s like she's doing something shifty and so she should be running, trying to get as fast as she can away from the scene of the crime, though she knows she's not participating in crime. All she's doing is putting a few scales of fish in a man's letterbox and hopefully when she wakes in the morning she'll be more powerful than him./p
p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"She sleeps easily that night. It surprised her that she does, maybe it was from the lack of sleep the previous night, or maybe from the bottle of champagne she finished to celebrate./p
p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"When she arrives at her office she smiles at the cleaner, who this time smiles back./p
p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"When she enters her floor she finds a group of people gathered around the receptionist. They all look at her when she enters and she smiles slightly./p
p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;""Should you all be working?" She asks./p
p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"Alyssa pops her head up./p
p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;""Have you heard the news?"/p
p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;""What news?" She's hoping she hears that it's about her and her new position of power./p
p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;""It's Mister Jenkins. He's dead."/p
p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"Out of everything she could have expected to hear, that was not it. Her smile disappears and worry comes over her face./p
p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;""Dead?"/p
p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"Alyssa nods. "He had an allergic reaction to JJJJJ."/p
p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"""What's that?"/p
p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;""It's a fish."/p
p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"Janine's mouth drops, her eyes flutter and she feels like she might faint. Mister Jenkins had an allergic reaction to a fish. She thinks about the envelope that had slipped from her hand yesterday and the satisfying clunk it had made as it hit the bottom of the letterbox./p
p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;""Miss Martine," Alyssa says. "You've been offered Mister Jenkins position."/p
p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"Janine nods, unsure of what else to do./p
p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;""I'll be in my office." She hobbles across the floor into her office room, closing the door tightly./p
p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"The notes had been right and the old lady had done what she had asked. It had all worked perfectly, except now a man was dead. She was more powerful than Mister Jenkins, she has what she wanted./p
p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"Unknown to her the narrator stands outside. He watches her from the corner of his eye with a small smile on his lips. Of course he had known what would happen when Mister Jenkins opened the letter to discover fish scale spilling over his hands. He had known that it would only take moments for his hands to swell and his throat to close up, and by the time anyone had even realised to call an ambulance he would be dead. He had known all these things, like a good narrator should. And when a narrator knows these things, it's not hard to twist someone to doing what you want./p
p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"The narrator sees the woman waving him and over and with a hidden smile enters./p
p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;""You get my position now." She doesn't smile but he doesn't expect her to, she didn't just call a man after all./p
p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;""Good luck with it Harvey."/p
p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;""Thank you." The narrator smiles, turns around and exits, returning to his desk./p
p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"He wonders what she's allergic too, maybe mice, it would be easy to knock her off then. It doesn't matter though and he knows it. He's the narrator, and whenever he wants to draw his inky sword he can, to make anyone do anything he wants./p
p class="MsoNoSpacing" /p
p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt;"span style="font-size: 12pt;" /span/p