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Please, just go home...(m)

Random Magic

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Hi all, just a short brain-dump of story that kind of fell out of me in one sitting! Not sure if I'll ever add to it, or if this is the extent of it! 


Phil was having an allergy attack again. Phil was always sneezing, the man simply could not help himself. Relegated as he was to the basement of the office, the sounds generated by his impressive nose were muffled, but they still reverberated resoundingly around the office of McMurphy & Murphy accountants.

“For goodness sake.” Trish, the senior accountant of staff sounded exasperated as she stood up from her desk and walked towards the break room. “Again?! It’s enough to drive anyone crazy!”

The small accountancy firm was well used to the regular intrusion of Phil’s nose into their daily routine. His round, generous roars were legendary in their regularity, predictability and downright ferocity, They were loud.

Phil’s sneezing was the ever-present background noise to team meetings and conference calls, breakfast briefings and business lunches.

These days, at least the team in general were spared from the full effect of Phil’s nose as several years ago, after one particularly potent Spring and along consultation with the group HR department, the decision was taken to ‘relocate’ Phil’s cubicle onto another floor of the building entirely. the longer-serving members of the team still shook their heads resignedly when the subject of Phil’s nose was brought up.

“I swear he’s worse since he’s been down there.” said Keith, who had been with the firm fourteen years, six of them with Phil. “It never used to be this bad.”

“That poor man.” a young trainee, Aimee offered. “It must be so awful not to be able to control it. I wonder if he’s any better at home.”

“It’s poor Amanda I feel for.” Keith said, referring to Phil’s wife. Seemingly no-one had seen Karen for some years, however the received information seemed to be that she was sweet, good-natured and patient, as you would have to be to put up with Phil and his fickle sinuses.

As they spoke, Phil was pitching forward under the assault of a violent sneeze, causing his office chair to propel backwards a foot or so.

“HAAAAAAAWWWAAASSSSHHHHHOOOOOOO!” Urgh, god *sniff*. Not agaid.”

Phil was a mess. His brown hair was even more dishevelled than usual, his tie sitting loose and crooked. He had discarded his jacket to better throw himself into to his body-bending nasal explosions.

His eyes were red, swollen and streaming, his nose the same. It was completely blocked and his mouth hung loosely open, sucking in air as he waited on the next inevitable upcoming event.

Allergies had been Phil’s calling card for as long as he could remember. As a child he recalled being known throughout the town for the intensity and volume of his sneezes, adults cooing sympathetically or ruffling his hair following one of his regular protracted episodes, other kids sniggering from a safe distance as he launched into fit after relentless sneezing fit.

His parents watched dismayed as he valiantly fought each and every impending sneeze, only eventually to succumb to the unreasonable demands of his hyper-sensitive nose.

“HAAAAYYYYEEEEESSSSHHHHOOOOOO-EEEEYYYY” he bellowed desperately, alone in his basement office. On completion of the latest assault on his sinuses he he sagged imperceptibly, remaining doubled over in his chair. Gradually he straightened into a sitting position, opening his eyes blearily.

He cleared his throat and scooted his chair back towards his screen. He dabbed at his eyes with a used tissue, squinting to see through the allergic tears the rows and columns in front of him.

Phil was good at his job, potentially the best analyst in the company, and he possessed skills and experience that would have found him employment with any of their competitors in the region. Time and time again, he had saved the organisation from an embarrassment overnight, or worse. And this was the  reason that he had been kept on at the company, despite his obvious and debilitating flaws.

The tickle in Phil’s nose never really went away. Even when not caught in the throws of one of his terrible allergic reactions, he could feel something back there, twinging, stinging, fluttering, waiting.

The tickle in his nose flared momentarily, causing him to squint, his nose to wrinkle at the bridge and he uttered a breathy gasp. The crumpled and sodden tissue in his hand hovered before his nose as his torturous buildup continued.

Phil laboured through one of his characteristically exaggerated buildups, which many people over the years had implored, ordered or pleaded him to bring under control. Finally, he succumbed again, roaring our series of deafening bellows.


He cleared his throat, sighed, wiped his eyes and scooted his chair back over to his computer monitor to squint at the screen. There was a knock at the door.

“Hello, excuse me, Phil?” Rosemary was the company’s receptionist, in her early sixties she was well kept and slightly matronly.

Phil cleared his throat again. “Hello Rosemary, what can i do for you?” He sniffed.

“Well, ummm, I was wondering how you’re feeling? You seem to have been sneezing quite frequently recently. I wanted to make sure you’re ok.”

“Oh Rosemary, it’s quite alright, it’s May and my nose might be slightly more-ehhhehh sensitive then usual bu-hhuuuhh-uut I’m honestly I’m fine. HAH! HAH!” Phil gasped reflexively and his eyes glazed over.

Rosemary didn’t know where to look as Phil stared glassily into the middle distance, lost in the sensations in his irrepressible nose. He squinted, breath hitching, willing the tickle to either come to fruition or leave him in peace. His head reared back as the hitches became more desperate and vocal pants. His hands raised a sodden ball of tissues in front of his face, poised. He was obviously reaching the crescendo of this particular performance, and he strained towards his release.


And then, with a frustrated gasp he lost it, the tickle dissipated leaving him embarrassed and unsatisfied. He blinked and swallowed, his mouth hung open uncertainly, not knowing if or when the dreadful tickle would return.

Rosemary just stared at Phil who embarked on a series of liquid blows into the tissues, fighting to clear his sinuses of the source of the irritation. Upon completion he dropped the ball into an overflowing basket and plucked two more from a large box on his desk.

“Uhh, sorry bout that. But this place is dot helpigg.” he gestured around the office. Until recently it had been reserved for storage, and was littered with decades of files, boxes and miscellaneous IT equipment. “It’s just covered in du..duuhuust.” Even the sound of the word threatened to overwhelm him and his clamped the tissues over his nose, honking out one more loud blow.

“Yes, sweetie of course, it must be hard for you with the pollen count being so high today and being stuck in here with all the dusty equipment.” Behind his tissues, Phil’s eyes closed. Why was she here? Why was she saying these things, didn’t she know that talking about it was only making the situation worse.

Phil’s nose was not done from the last aborted fit - the sneezes were still there, slowly building again all the more insistent for having been repressed. Still Rosemary kept talking, taking forever to read her point.

“We understand you’re having a difficult time down here, it can’t be easy and your nose is just so sensitive you’re so sneezy.” Phil didn’t see any point in responding to the blindingly obvious.

Rosemary continued “Keith was in a meeting yesterday and said his clients were so concerned on hearing you sneezing, they insisted he left to check on you. And Aimee was saying that one of our suppliers could hear you on a conference call, despite the fact you weren’t in the room.”

“Why wont’ she leave?” thought Phil, he wiped his nose again. The gentle itch had progressed and his nose was twinging, he blinked again. He needed to blow his nose.

His breath began to hitch as Rosemary continued talking aimlessly about a friend of hers who suffered from allergies but who benefitted tremendously from consuming local honey as a preventative.

In other circumstances Phil, who had exhausted every known allergy medication, medical or holistic, would have rolled his eyes and snorted in derision, however right now his eyes and nose were preoccupied with other more pressing issues.

He was fighting to staff in control, he still held the tissues tight to his face, eyes streaming, chest heaving as he held on for dear life against the onslaught of sneezes about to barrel through him. He could hold them off, not much longer. He looked imploringly at her through his tears.

“Rosemary, I-“

Rosemary, finally sensing the window of opportunity to speak with Phil might be closing quickly, reached her point with uncharacteristic brevity. “So we were saying that maybe you took the rest of the day - no, the week - off. Please, just go home and get this under control. We will see you when you are feeling a bit better.”

Phil was out of his seat before she had finished. With tissues in one hand pressed to his face, and his jacket and bag clutched haphazardly in the other. He careened blindly to the door, and out into into the stairwell. His parting words were almost impossible to decipher as he fought for a final few precious seconds against the barrage of sneezes. He needed to get to the car park, pollen be damned, and sneeze loudly, for a long time.

“Thhaaa-hhaaahhh-nk you! HAAAAHAAA!! Tha-HAH-that’s an excell-HEEHH! idea-AAAHHH!”

Rosemary stood rooted to the spot as the fire exit to the car park slammed. Through the heavy door she could Phil erupt in a series of harsh, desperate, screamed sneezes. These could not be quelled, these could not be held back. There were no space between them as he roared sneeze after thunderous sneeze across the car park.

Phil did not care where he was or who was around, the only thing he cared about at that moment was satisfying the demands of his nose and ridding it of the irritation that plagued him so mercilessly. He gave over to his allergies, as he had done countless times before and let his allergic response control him entirely.


Phil let the sneezes bend him double as he stumbled semi-blindly in the direction of his car. Unbeknownst to him, several people stopped to stare at this quite outrageous sight. The only thing Phil was thinking about was the need to get to his car as quickly as possible, he would need at least 20 minutes with the air-conditioning running to get a handle on this, but then hopefully he would be fit to drive home.

In a rare pause between sneezes he fumbled for his key fob and unlicked the car door, he practically fell into the drivers seat, spraying the dashboard liberally with a wet sneeze as he did so.


Phil had phoned ahead to let his wife, Amanda, know that he was on his way home. While he drove, and between sneezes, he relayed his travesty of a morning.

Amanda was well rehearsed in such events, and while she waiting for him, she prepared Phil’s usual array of treatments on the kitchen counter. She then braced herself for the situation heading her way.

Of course, Phil’s allergies were something Amanda was well aware of she signed up for when she married him. Her initial shock and pity on first getting to know him had eased into a gentle acceptance, she now knew just as well as Phil did the rhythms of his nose through on a daily and seasonal basis. But that’s not to say that the ferocity of Phil’s nose did not have the ability to leave her stunned every once in a while.

Over the years she had become somewhat accustomed to the frequent bouts of ferocious sneezing that accompanied every season, from a wide variety of assailants. She was however still frequently astonished by the trials and tribulations poured upon her dear husband from all sorts of hidden and silent sources. The poor man rarely caught a break, and although it was his burden to bear, she was his partner, so this was her burden to share.

Right now though, he was a mess. She watched him step out of the car, tissues clamped to his nose, the poor man had a rough day. Spring was always rough on him and his poor nose, god knows she knew that, as did the neighbours and half the street, but Amanda felt the brunt of his fearsome sneezes. She steeled herself for what was to come.

She heard his keys in the lock and a muffled sneeze from the other side, “HUHMMMSSSHHHH!” The door swung open to reveal Phil standing stock still, keys in hand, hand raised. He swayed gently on the doorstep, head tilted back, eyes screwed shut, on the cusp of an enormous sneeze, “HUUURREESSSHHHOOOO!” he pitched violently forward, bending at the waist.

Amanda rushed forward and bundled him into the house, relieving him of his bag and jacket and ushering him into the chair in the hallway before he succumbed again.

“Hi honey.” she said sympathetically. “Rough day?”

“Urghh, you wouldn’t believe.” he replied. She would, she did.

“It was so bad I had to leave, well they insisted I leave, take the week. I just couldn’t stop, you know how it gets me with the pollen and the dust down there. I just lost it.” He sighed and bent over to untie his laces.

“Oh honey, I’m sorry, it’s probably for the best though, now you can rest here and just let things take their course.”

“I know, my nose is just too much. Sometimes it’s like I’m walking around with a ticking time bomb on my face, and I don’t know what’s going to set it off next. Like that time at the shops last week…”

“Well, you know the perfume counter always sets you off like that, and they were far too liberal with the tester.” said Amanda.

“Or that time by the lake when we were out for our walk? I must have sneezed about 200 times, I thought I was going to pass out.”

“Yes, well we should never have even gone out that day, that was a stupid idea, the pollen count was super high and I should have known how bad the spring trees get to you.

“Yeah, well it just feels like there’s always something out there to get me and then I just have to…Oh god, here they come aga-hhaaahh-huuuhh…have to-to…Huuh…Huuh! HAH!”

“Sneeze?” Amanda finished his thought for him, rubbing his shoulder as he began to shudder in the build-up to another epic fit.

“Yeahhheeehhh…HEEEEHHHHH…HEHHHHH…” As so was often the case, Phil’s nose was not giving up its hold on him quickly or easily. Amanda turned to grab a fresh handkerchief and the medicated nasal spray from the counter.

“Here you go baby.” she said, pressing them into his limp, outstretched hands. “Just let them out, you can sneeze here.”

As if that was all he needed, he succumbed to the terrible tickle and began to sneeze fully and messily into the waiting handkerchief.

“HAAASSSHHHOOO! HAAAASSSSHHHOOO! HAH-HAAAAASSSSHHHOOO! ESSHH! ESSHH! ESSSHHHEEEE! MPPHHSSSHHHH!” He muffled the last one into the quickly dampening ball of cotton.

But he knew he wasn’t done yet. Leaning back in the chair, he closed his eyes and waited for the inevitable encore. This time he didn’t have long to wait. Long and loudly he sneezed, fully intent on relieving the itch through any means necessary. He rocked back and forth, legs splayed and fists clutching at his nose for upwards of 20 sneezes before they began to tail off.

HEESSS! HESSSSSS! HESSSHHHOOO! IIISSSHHHHOOOO! SSHHOOO! Shhooo.” The last one was softer as, spent, exhausted Phil came to a stop.

Amanda, only very slightly stunned from such a performance, again rubbed his shoulder, comforting her stricken husband as she had done countless times before.

“Poor sneezy man.” she said, simply. She knelt before him and stroked stray hair, damp with sweat from his exertions, from his forehead,

“You better not stay there too long,” he said as he sat, eyes closed, “I can’t guarantee I won’t start up again. It still itches.”

“Come on baby, let’s get you a shower and then you can rest up for the rest of the afternoon and I’ll take care of you.” and with that she took him by the hand, as she had done so many times before, and gently led him up the stairs.

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That was so well written - I could really feel for his struggle to hold back. I noticed he was holding back on blowing his nose in the office too, can sympathise with that - I wonder how loud poor Phil can get now he's safely home?

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I love the descriptions involving the desperation of the buildup. The details involved were incredible. This is a great start!

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What a fantastic story! I LOVE stories focused on the violence and intensity of a man’s sneezes, and you’ve nailed that focus absolutely flawlessly! I totally understand one shots staying as one shots but if you ever are inspired to write more of Phil’s adventures, I’ll be quite excited to read them!

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Wow, thanks for the great feedback! I'm busy working on something new just now (terrible at multitasking), but determined to come back to this in the near future, so watch this space! 

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  • 2 months later...

Wow this is incredible 😍 would love to

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