#tuesdayuseitinasentence : When the time comes

Petri dishes, mould cultures

Image : Pixabay

‘You get your jabs yet?’ Terry Goddard looked at Janey over his half moon glasses, a sad, questioning smile on his lips.

His hair was uncombed, his shirt creased. He owned one tie and in the ten years they’d worked together he’d never had that washed. Until two weeks ago she hadn’t known he lived alone with a largely absent cat and a hyacinth macaw named Fleming. Then the news had somehow leaked through of how awful it was out there – the looting, the violence, the relentless spread of the disease – and they had spent an evening under the flourescent glare of laboratory lights, drinking a ten-year-old Glenfiddich and actually talking.

Now she wished they hadn’t, that they’d remained polite strangers. Imagining his childhood hop picking in Kent, how he nursed his mother through cancer after cancer until it finally stole her away … It would make it all so much harder when the time came.

‘No,’ she said, rubbing tired eyes. ‘I didn’t see the point.’

He lowered his voice. ‘You’ve got to make a show. For the sake of the others.’ He took her hand, gave it the briefest squeeze and was gone, bustling over petri dishes and samples.

She hoped she died first.


Written for Stephanie at Word Adventure’s #tuesdayuseitinasentence. Use the word – today it’s JAB – in a post. See here to join in and to read the other stories.



18 thoughts on “#tuesdayuseitinasentence : When the time comes

    1. Thank you so much, Chris. I’m so glad you thought so. It’s a tricky thing to get right, I think, that drip feed of information. I’m glad you think I got it right 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Great pacing, Lynn; wonderful how the story unfolds, hint by hint. I take it that all those petri dishes haven’t managed to yield up an effective vaccine yet, and by this time, it’s too late. For them, and possibly for everyone. The brutal, disgusting end of the world, as witnessed through an awkward friendship between two mismatched coworkers: how much more dystopic could you get? Nicely done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! Yes, sadly, I am drawn to dystopia, I’m sure a poor reflection on my outlook on life.
      You have the subtext spot on. They know it’s hopeless, but carry that burden alone. A possible world end scenario – scientists do keep threatening a global pandemic.
      Worryingly, a few years ago I had a virus which gave me a temperature everyday for five weeks. When I finally went to the doctor he just shrugged, said it was something going round, that viruses were evolving, the stronger ones becoming more efficient at making us ill for longer. I’ve wondered ever since if that’s the way mankind will go. Ha! Sorry to turn so grim. Thanks so much for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m a big fan of dystopia too. Which is odd, because I keep thinking I’m an optimist. I suppose they help to keep us from getting too complacent about the present, to imagine how bad it could get if we don’t do something now. Anyway, keep on writing those grim stories and I’ll keep on reading!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful disintegration of the world viewed through the petrie lens of a growing friendship. Then the final blow — even friendship dies in the end. All die.
    A sad but scarily real end of the world scenario — as has been said, exquisitely paced, line by line.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Lorraine. A few people have said this was well paced, so will try to bear this in mind in the future. Thanks for your valuable feedback 🙂


  3. That’s my favorite of the run there, for the week. I think it’s the implied history between people, and when you get ‘in between’ characters — or put them together like this, I like most.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, thank you so much, Penny. I do like a little dystopian fiction and the likelihood of us all succumbing to a deadly infection is up there on the list of possibilites. Thanks so much for your kind comment 🙂


    1. Thank you! Doesn’t happen often, but just occasionally characters pop into your head almost fully formed, don’t they? I do like these two and their relationship. Just wondering where Janey has gone with those samples … Thanks again 🙂


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