Obtrusion Rate

I’m pleased to announce that my story ‘Obtrusion Rate’ was published on 1 May at Liminal Stories.

All writers have their favourites of their own works and this is mine. It was one of the first stories I was proud of, and was determined to see published, the first one that my friends told me that they loved with sufficient passion that I believed them.  It’s the story of a man who works for a large organisation tasked with responding to unspeakable events. In one sense it’s a workplace tale, and it had its origins, as all the best stories do, in life.

Fake cover for Obtrusion RateI work for a large employer, and like any big organisation there are levels, committees, projects and secrets. I often seem to write about the moment just as catastrophe hits, and I speculated about what kind of organisation handles apocalyptic events, and what if they had the same structure of committees and oversight that we do? How would the people cope? What effect would it have on the relationships between these colleagues?

Then one day I came to my then-office and found that there was a stain on the carpet tiles, and a ceiling panel had been removed. I wondered about a mid-level bureaucrat in an office like mine, and how his mind might try to avoid writing reports about the horrors he had witnessed.

Two days later I had the first draft of what became ‘Obtrusion Rate’.


The “fake” Penguin-style cover above and the illustration were made with the kind assistance of  Addison Smith and a template we found on the internet.

Jonathan
43 year old wastrel and writer...