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  • Writer's pictureLaura L. Zimmerman

Flash Fiction Friday: Simon Graham Bean

Simon Graham Bean, 46, passed away Friday night in his home in York. He is survived by no known living relatives. No services planned for Mr. Bean. Contact Myer Funeral Home for any inquiries regarding burial.

The office buzzed with activity as the newspaper circulated from one desk to another. Every employee of the Francis Paper Company, fifth floor of the building on Main, had seen it twice already. This was the first time someone in the company had died in more than ten years.

“Why is there no picture attached?”

“Are you sure it’s him?”

“Who do we pass our accounting reports to now?”

Gerald in HR shook his head. “It has to be him. I’m sure his name was Simon and his desk is empty today.”

“But do you remember what he looked like?” Sally from the front desk said. “I mean, who sat with him at lunch? Did anyone ever talk to him outside of work?”

A sea of shoulders shrugged as Brenda piped up. “I don’t know that I even talked to him while he was inside of work. It was just easier to email.”

“Yeah, I never met the guy face to face,” Louise said.

“Well, he definitely had a dark mustache and glasses,” Harry said. “I saw him everyday as I walked by his desk.”

Bob held up a hand. “Uh, no. He was short with thinning hair, but no mustache and I don’t ever remember glasses.”

“I thought he was tall and skinny,” Gerald said.

Amid the chatter and confusion over the death of Simon Graham Bean, the ding of the elevator got swallowed and lost. A medium-sized middle-aged man with a beard and buzz cut stepped into view. He walked by the commotion of co-workers, as he often did in the mornings, took a seat at his desk and jiggled the mouse to his computer. The screen lit in welcome as he settled in for the day.

Sally’s gaze drifted to where he sat and her jaw dropped. “Would you look at that,” she whispered. “They already hired a replacement!”

Gerald strode over, stuck out his hand. “Nice to meet you. Name’s Gerald.”

The man’s brow crinkled like the paper he sold. His glance bounced from one co-worker to the next. “Simon.”

Harry laughed. “Wouldn’t you know? That’s the name of the last guy who worked at this desk. He died over the weekend, but don’t let that scare ya. We’re happy to have you aboard!”

“Welcome, Simon!” a few of the ladies chimed in, before the entire bundle of employees jabbered away, business as usual.

As he left, Gerald tossed the Obituary section onto the desk.

Simon’s gaze traveled over the few short words that summed up Simon Graham Bean’s life. His shoulders slumped with a sigh and he tossed the paper in the trashcan.

“Simon Dean. My name is Simon Dean.”

Then he picked up his pen and worked in silence, just like he did every day of the week.

©Laura L. Zimmerman


Photo credit Unsplash by Oliver Klein

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