Doctor Who: Borrowed Time

Naomi Alderman


All the Time You Want

Mr Symington and Mr Blenkinsop entered Andrew Brown's life on possibly his worst morning at Lexington International Bank. He had spent ten years trying to climb the career ladder. Most days, he sat in front of a computer for twelve hours and made guesses about other people's money. Did he really want to get to the top of the ladder? Well, everyone at the bank was climbing it, so he hoped that he would like the top when he arrived there.

And now there was a chance of a promotion, which would mean more important meetings, with more important people. Then, one day, he might get another promotion, and then... one day he would be the boss of the whole office. Andrew could not remember why he wanted to be the boss, but, anyway, it was important to have a dream.

Today's meeting was very important. The new boss of the London office, Vanessa Laing-Randall, would be there. If he impressed her, then that promotion was one step closer. But he had competition for the promotion: the always well-prepared Sameera Jenkins. She always knew more than Andrew and had always worked just one extra hour on a presentation. But, this time, no one could be better prepared than Andrew Brown.

He woke up on the morning of the meeting feeling well rested and calm... "Wait a minute," he thought.

"Why am I well rested? Why am I calm?" He was suddenly very afraid. He had slept for too long! It was 6:45 a.m. He jumped out of bed, ran to the bathroom and washed his face quickly then he picked up his suit from the chair and knocked a glass of water over the trousers.

"Oh no!" he shouted at no one. Then he put the suit on anyway, and he ran for the train. From the station, he ran all the way to the office. When he saw that the lifts were full, he ran up the stairs to the seventh floor. He arrived, hot and breathing hard, with just enough time to see perfect Sameera Jenkins finish her presentation. He was too late; the meeting was finished. He heard clapping from his boss, and his boss's boss and Vanessa Laing-Randall herself.

Andrew Brown tried not to cry. He had lost his chance to impress Vanessa. He walked back to his office, where he sat and laid his head on his desk.