Straight to You



At a quarter past one on the morning of Tuesday, October the 2nd, our sun began to die. Like the inside of a body being slowly weakened and devoured by a cancer, and unseen by anyone and anything watching, the star began to writhe and to react within itself producing lethal levels of energy and radiation which it spewed out into the space surrounding. All around the rest of the universe, nothing seemed to have changed - the brilliant yellow mass continued to burn brightly and to warm the planets in orbit around it where life continued unabated and oblivious to the star's inaudible dying screams.

Eventually, within fifty hours of the sun's first internal reaction, a change worked its way steadily through the vacuum which was noticed and which was, surprisingly, welcomed by the population of the earth - it began to get warmer. As the people on the planet's surface talked of mild winters and of Indian summers, the temperature of the air that they breathed rose steadily until, by Monday the 15th, most areas were a good five degrees warmer than their record books and experts said that they should be.

It was not the first time that such things had happened there and, for once, rather than complain, most people in England chose to relax and to make the most of their mini-heatwave. Steven Johnson. however, was far from impressed.

At only twenty-six years of age, he had done well to get to where he sat today. It had taken him eight years to work his way up through the ranks of the company which employed him from a mere clerk to the heady heights of an office manager. Now, as he sat alone and uncomfortable in the stilling heat of his oak-panelled office and rested in his expensive leather swivel chair, he wondered if it had been worth all the effort it had taken.

Steven looked out of the wide window next to his desk and down onto the busy high street below. With jealous eyes he watched people chatting, laughing, shopping and enjoying themselves and he cursed the concrete prison cell into which he locked himself for a minimum of seven hours every working day. Sometimes he wondered if he would have been better off without the burden of responsibility which had been hung on his shoulders at a relatively young age. Although not a lonely man by any stretch of the imagination, he would often listen to the laughter and jokes which drifted through the air from the main office and into his room, and curse the professional distance that his superiors insisted he maintain from the people who worked for him.

He also found it difficult to relax and to cast aside the stresses that his job involved, and the heat of the last two weeks had only made matters worse. As a single man, Steven went home each night to an empty house where the only listening ear belonged to the cat and, while the animal did its best and listened to his problems, it was useless when it came to offering support and encouragement. Although he never made any admissions to his friends or family, he was desperately in need of someone to share his time, his money, his problems and his life with.

Perhaps he was being naive, but he made no effort to go out and find such a person. He had been the victim of too many broken hearts and missed opportunities to spend his nights trudging around lonely bars and crowded clubs anymore. Brought up on a diet of other peoples sickly sweet love stories, Steven was sure that all he needed to do was wait patiently and then, one day, the girl of his dreams would come waltzing into his life.

Even with the large window open, the heat in the office was sticky and close. He loosened the tie around his neck and undid the top button on his formal, pressed white shirt. He glanced up at the clock on the wall in front of him and sighed heavily as its hands quickly worked their way around towards two o'clock. Two o'clock on the afternoon of Monday the 15th had been a time and a date that he had not been looking forward to. It had been decided by those in the higher echelons of power that one of the junior members of the office staff had not been performing to the fullest of his abilities and, unfortunately, this was the