The combination of a sore throat and the bad taste in my mouth made it hard for me to eat, so I threw out my lunch after a few bites, and spent the rest of my time off wandering the corridors. Once I returned to the office, I was pleasantly surprised that my note to maintenance was gone, and that the noise had stopped. Maintenance rarely acted so quickly, unless it was an emergency.
It wasn’t long before my shift was over, and I was relieved of my duties. By then, the sun was rising and the sky was as pink as the small intestine of a freshly-cut corpse. On my way home, I stopped by the pharmacy to buy cough drops in the hopes that the vile-tasting things would ease my aching throat. I did not even hesitate to pop three in my mouth at once, swallowing the numbing mixture of medicine and saliva for some short-lived relief. When I arrived at my modest town house, I placed my phone on the kitchen counter, and took a seat in the living room to watch TV. My phone began buzzing, but nothing was getting me off that couch. The buzzing persisted for quite some time, but my ability to ignore it was boundless. Very few people knew my number, so it had to be work. There was no way in hell I was answering while off-duty. Before long, I was comfortably nestled under my blanket and ready to doze off.
When I awoke, I practically had to gasp to get air into my lungs. My airway felt tight and constricted. I immediately threw a handful of cough drops into my mouth to ease the pain and try to reduce inflammation. I rushed to the shower, enjoying the soothing steamy air for longer than normal, while I waited for the pain to subside. Choosing whether or not to call in sick was particularly difficult: my throat was the only thing causing me grief, and I was almost out of sick days, since I’d used most nursing a chronic case of “the Mondays.” Not wanting to waste a sick day on actually being ill, I ultimately decided to go to work. On my way out, I checked my messages, and saw that my coworker had discovered one of the cooling unit doors wide open. The units were old, so I wasn’t particularly surprised to hear that a latch had malfunctioned.