Out of Control - Chapter Three - Part 1/2
Andy Craig stirred in his bed. Only half awake he grimaced in advance of the expected pain; surprisingly, none came. Opening his left eye a crack to check the time he smiled, still another hour before the alarm chased him out. Then he remembered the analysis. Had yesterday's results really been so clear cut, so powerful?
He could wait no longer. He had to check stats again in the cold light of day. Seven years work had led him to this point.
Too pumped for any more sleep, Craig ignored the time and rolled carefully out of his nice warm bed. In doing so he twitched and the stabbing pain in his lower back returned; an old enemy sent to test him. ---Fuck!
He knew two things: movement would hurt like hell to begin with but it would also warm the muscles and ease the pain, eventually. This was his morning Catch 22. He’d just have to suck it up.
Craig gained his feet carefully and climbed into his towelling dressing-gown. He began his warm-up routine. It took a full five minutes of slow rotations and gentle twisting before he felt ready to attempt the short distance to the bathroom.
He sat on the edge of the bath to brush his teeth and stared absent-mindedly through the condensation in the bathroom mirror. He contemplated the day to come.
He’d spend a couple of hours at the office to rerun the analysis. Craig had been too dog tired the previous evening to really believe what the results had told him. Too much was riding on this stage of the trial to go off half-cocked. He would run the tests again a couple of time to make sure.
His mantra; if there were any doubts, sleep on it. Return with fresh eyes.
Then, after lunch, there'd be a dash across campus to the Rector’s Office for yet another pitch to the Behavioural Research Unit. More hoops to jump through but even less money in the pot. ---Same old, same old, but this time I’ll have something concrete to show them – if the results are confirmed.
Craig wiped the mist from the mirror with the back of his left hand and stared at the pale eyes that looked back at him. He shook his head slowly. ---You haven’t even had breakfast yet and all you can think about is work - tosser!. The partially fogged face in the mirror threw back a wry smile. Perhaps Sandy had been right after all? ---You do only have a one track mind. He would never outlive the hurt of her leaving but they’d had three years. Three wonderful years. He had to remember that. Remember the good times. ‘Bollocks’, he pushed the dark thoughts away. Sandy was not coming back; she couldn't.
Craig spat out the toothpaste and rinsed his mouth. As usual he ignored the shaving soap and razor; his stubble was reprieved for another day.
Back in his bedroom he dressed in running gear; shorts, t-shirt and a light running jacket. A glance through the bathroom window had shown a gentle drizzle falling, hence the jacket. Denim jeans, a dark blue polo shirt, his uniform for the morning, together with towel and underwear had been rolled neatly into his backpack the previous evening. A freshly laundered suit and linen shirt but no neck-tie hung behind his office door; his emergency Presentation rig.
His movements were notably more fluid, but he still took great care not to jar his delicate back.
Breakfast consisted of a large ‘bucket’ of tea, semi-skimmed milk – no sugar, and one thin slice of wholemeal toast, no butter but a thin sliver of marmalade to make it more palatable. Breakfast was for sustenance only, not a meal to be enjoyed. He would have preferred bacon and eggs, but he couldn't run with that in his stomach. He would buy a hot bacon roll at the refectory on his way to the office. The toast would suffice until then.
He left the dishes soaking in the sink, something Sandy would never have permitted, picked up his heavy rucksack and shrugged its straps onto his shoulders. He cursed under his breath as his back reminded him that he shouldn't be taking such liberties, not yet.
Then, Dr Andy Craig, PhD, walked through to the hallway and slipped his bare feet into the well-used training shoes. He shifted the backpack into a more comfortable position and tightened the straps before stepping out into the damp morning air.
End of part 1