The Drill

Remember that thing we did last Thursday? Y’know the one about writing a story inspired by the phrase “if that was in the Olympics you’d win gold”? Sure you do! In fact you’ve hardly been able to draw breath such is your mounting excitement at the literary possibilities.

Anyway. While you’re all breathless and stuff waiting for some decent stories from proper writers, here’s something I knocked together.

What do you mean it isn’t Thursday? It’s Thursday somewhere buddy…


“You’re home early.”


“How was your day?”

“Y’know. The usual. Meetings. Misery. The building burned down.”

“Ha! You wish.”

“Nope. It really burned down. Ironically.”

“How exactly does a building burn down ironically? If this involves a bad pun about an iron I hope you have funeral cover.”

“Well…there was a fire drill scheduled for lunchtime. Twelve hundred hours to be precise. As you’d expect it went off at about five past at which point people barely had time to make coffee, grab snacks and finish emails before meandering out of the building by ten past.”

“Sounds normal so far.”

“Yep. Normality continued for a while. People milled about a bit a good two hundred metres away from the car park that no one knew we were supposed to congregate in. The one fire marshall I could spot clutched a clipboard to her chest and had a smoke. In a moment of weakness while stubbing out her fag she moved the clipboard far enough so that I could see it had no paper attached. We shared a moment of eye contact during which I assured her through a faint eyebrow movement that her secret was safe with me and she ushered us back into the building.”

“Thrilling. Lacking in irony and indeed fire, but thrilling all the same.”

“It gets better.”

“It needs to.”

“Patience my dear. So…we all wandered back into the building. Seven of us headed for the stairs while the other two hundred and thirty nine lazy fuckers queued for the one working lift. I jogged up the first two flights…”

“Part of your training?”

“Nah. Just keen to get back to work avoidance and my congealing coffee as soon as possible. Anyway, as I started up towards the third floor I could smell smoke. Faint at first, but by the time I reached the flat spot before the ascent to floor four the stuff was billowing down the stairwell.”

“Shit! So what did you do?”

“Carried on to the fourth floor of course. I assumed it was an attempt by that idiot health and safety nerd who works across the hall from us to jazz up the fire drill. Besides, there’s no way I was leaving the building without my laptop.”

“Really? You constantly bitch about work but you went back to get your laptop?”

“Yep. I copied the new season of Mr Robot from Cliff in IT so it was a no-brainer really.”

“I thought you hated Cliff? In fact I don’t think I’ve ever heard you refer to him as anything other than Clifforis.”

“He’s still a complete twat but he does have a sterling collection of pirated TV shows…”

“And to think I judged you as shallow.”

“He also gave me every season of Breaking Bad.”

“Cliff’s a rock star. Love that guy.”

“Unlike his girlfriend.”

“His girlfriend?”

“Yep. Remember paperless-clipboard-girl from earlier?”

“She’s possibly my favourite superhero. Just edging out stapleless-staplegun-man.”

“Well it turns out in her haste to be a superhero fire marshall first time out she forgot more than paper for her clipboard.”

“Uh oh…”

“Yeah…seems that around about twelve hundred hours she started making a toasted sandwich in the coffee cell on the fifth floor. The machine was a bit greasy and she was wiping it with a big wad of kitchen roll when the alarm for the drill went off. Out she goes, paperless, oblivious and with the faint taste of cheddar and jalapeno on her fingertips. Turns out no-one bothered to check the building before giving the all-clear, what with it just being a planned drill and all, and by the time we got back in half the floor was on fire.”

“Wow. And the whole building burned down?”

“Yep. The fire brigade were there in minutes but there was nothing they could do.”

“Shit. How did it spread so quickly?”

“Well they aren’t entirely sure but the reckon it’s to do with…hmm…remember I said to you the other week that they put pot plants all over the office to try and improve morale? Well it sort of had the opposite effect. Within two days there were these mini flies all over the place driving everyone nuts. They got a company in to spray the plants and it did the trick. The only downside was that the stuff they used was slightly more flammable than napalm. As soon as the fire got close to the door of the coffee cell the pot plants went up like rockets. Once they started going it was only a matter of time before the inspirational posters HR stuck all over the walls joined in and then there was no stopping it.”

“That’s so awful! Was anyone hurt? Wait…were you hurt? Are you ok?”

“I’m fine. Bit shaky obviously. Everyone got out safely though, that’s the main thing. Once I picked up my stuff I ran back through the smoke and raised the alarm so to speak.”

“A real hero. A real hero who, considering he’s been in a burning building, doesn’t smell overly smoky.”

“What are you suggesting?”

“There wasn’t a fire was there?”

“Well technically there was a…”

“You just made this up while you were bored during the actual fire drill didn’t you?”

“Err. Sort of. Yes.”

“I knew it! You are such a…words fail me. I swear, if it was in the Olympics you’d win gold.”

“If what was in the Olympics? Creativity? Storytelling?”

“No. Being an arsehole.”

“Listen, a medal’s a medal. Don’t knock it. They’ve knighted people for less you know…”

20 thoughts on “The Drill

    • Thanks Becky 🙂 At the time the idea popped into my head I didn’t know it would end up being the Olympic story but I’m glad it came together as I was struggling to come up with a piece and time was running out! Glad you enjoyed it and if it gave you a laugh…so much the better!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Cheers Lee. I figure the mountain of mundanity has to have some sort of use. Work has become an interesting double edged sword – would rather spend my days writing but if I wasn’t working I wonder sometimes what I’d write about! Will keep at it just in case we get the Olympic nod – I’ll be 47 for the next Olympics…what a story that would be winning gold pushing 50 haha. Appreciate your support and encouragement – thank you


  1. I loved this!! Paperless Clipboard Girl and Stapleless Staplegun Man, to the rescue! Also loved this bit: “at which point people barely had time to make coffee, grab snacks and finish emails before meandering out of the building by ten past.” That is so spot on. AND I loved the surprise ending. Loved everything, basically. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this! It’s funny and really seems like it could happen- the storytelling, not the fire. Though the fire could probably happen since no one cares about those scheduled drills anyway. LOL. Very good. I like the part about Clifforis. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha! Thank you 🙂 I’m glad something worthwhile came out of the utter tedium of last week’s fire drill! I’ve been trying to work Clifforis into a story for ages so I’m glad someone marked it out for special attention so to speak 😉

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment – appreciated 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Is he based on someone you work with? That’s even better! 😄 Yes, anything you can do to make these situations more fun is good. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      • He’s an amalgamation of a lot of oddballs from the last twenty years! Most of my characters are based on some sort of reality – and I tend to bleed over into my MC far too often! 🙂


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