Totem

by Calum Kerr

It’s such a pretty filing cabinet I don’t want to use it.

I know it’s made to be used, but I can’t bear to sully it.

The papers I should be putting into it are piled on the floor instead. I threw my old cabinet away the moment I ordered this new one. Some of the piles of paper have tottered and fallen, but somehow their disarray just enhances the glory of the new cabinet.

It’s red. Not pillar-box red, no. It’s the red of the blood in a nightmare. It’s the red of poison berries in the forest. It’s the red of passion so deep that you would rather die – or kill – than lose it.

I should be organising my life in its drawers. But I don’t feel that I have the right. To try and put myself into it would be like trying to put myself into the heart of God.

And so I sit and stare at it and watch the way the light burns in its depths, the way the flames from the papers and files enhance it, the way the ashes of my life pay tribute to its desire.

Calum Kerr is a writer, lecturer and director of National Flash-Fiction Day. For more about his stories go to www.calumkerr.co.uk.

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  1. #1 by robertgrahamwriter on April 3, 2012 - 1:47 pm

    This takes the writer’s obsession with stationery to a whole new level, Calum.

  2. #2 by Calum Kerr on April 5, 2012 - 3:37 pm

    I think so, Robert. But you can just imagine. That red icon, squatting in your office, waiting to be fed sacrifices…

  3. #3 by robertgrahamwriter on April 5, 2012 - 5:34 pm

    I’ve got a little red one, but it’s entirely benign.

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