Part One can be found here…. https://minimalprose.com/2020/07/30/shades-of-red-pt-1/
The pavement was littered with water, so he trod lightly and avoided puddles like they were cursed. A bus flew by, kicking up water residue and splattering his trousers. Gerald stood, his hands spread wide and looked in horror at the brown splotches covering his legs.
Someone barged him from behind, knocking them both to the edges of the pavement, like two snooker balls, being struck by fate. ‘Watch where you’re going,’ the man snarled. Baring his teeth, he stood up straight, and puffed out his chest.
Gerald bent over and began trying to rub the dirty water off his trousers, ignoring the stranger completely. The man took a step closer and balled up his fists, then shock his head and walked away, ‘idiot’ he muttered.
Snapping out of his dismay, Gerald hurried down the road. He weaved between the early morning joggers and dog walkers, lithely dodging them to avoid further delays. After several miles he reached the Post Office and made his way to the sorting room. Mr Andrews was standing by the clocking in machine, tapping his watch, ‘I’m docking you 30 minutes, Gerald. You know the rule.’ Gerald looked up to see the hands on the wall clock reading 05:30:56, then remembered the reason and looked down at his legs.
Mr Andrews followed his gaze, ‘not acceptable, Gerald.’ His foot began tapping on the floor, his arms crossed in front of him. ‘I’m sorry, sir’ Gerald said, as his shoulders drooped in resignation. Mr Andrews removed a pen and notepad from his inside jacket pocket, ‘this will have to be another warning, Gerald. One more and it’s final.’ He nodded, apologised again and then held the door open while Mr Andrews strode into the room.
The mail in the sorting room flew by at breakneck speed, the letters blurring into bands of white and brown, machines reading the addresses faster than eyes could focus. The loudness in the room was the anonymity that he needed, as he tried to shake off the terrible start to the day. Looking at his colleagues sorting the mail that the machine couldn’t read, he sighed. The prospect of being responsible for such an important job filled him with a sense of aspiration. He may deliver the mail to each house, but it wouldn’t be possible without these heroes of the mail system.
In the corner of the room lay the bags of mail to be delivered that day, he picked up his bags and took one last look at the majesty of the sorting room before leaving for his rounds.