As he dropped the shoes something fell from the heel of the left shoe. He picked it up and shook them. Out fell a soggy clump of paper. This anomaly in his daily routine brought him up short. He was astonished. Curiously, he peered at the clump on the floor. He was unsure of what they were, but it was fortunate they had ended up here. It was very likely to be more documents waiting to be processed, regardless of where he had found them. He pulled apart the papers as delicately as he could, making sure he did as little damage to them as possible and laid them out flat to dry amongst the mess under the window. He hoped the ink hadn’t run to a degree where they would no longer be legible.
As he left them to dry, he sat in the heavy wooden chair to which he was accustomed. The inside of the room had remained unchanged from the previous weeks. Every morning when he opened the door, he hoped to see a room characterised by the linear precision he had once been known for. He relented to a sense of disillusionment when he saw that it looked the same as last night when he had left it. The inside of the tiny wooden room, with a makeshift desk at the centre of it, was a sorry sight. Although the room was in total disarray, he had been in there so often; he knew instantly where everything was. The shelves, so full they were at breaking point, had disintegrated into chaos. Documents from all of the camp’s history were stacked in piles, mountain high on the desk, waiting to be processed and filed. It was never ending.
So here he had been, serving his duty in an office, in a particularly appalling location, despising his post. But it was in this tiny wooden office that he intended to stay.
Although the dry monotony of this daily routine would be cause enough to send anyone to the extremes of boredom and frustration, carrying out this duty he found to be quite agreeable. He lacked the brutish and unforgiving nature of most other men in his unit. He enjoyed this almost non combatant role. As the familiar numbness of immobility spread through the lower half of his body, he stretched his legs out and slid down into the chair. A small sense of pride swelled within him knowing that he had enlisted before he was conscripted. His eagerness was rewarded with this somewhat more comfortable role in the war. At the very least, it was safer.