His thoughts turned fleetingly to the esplanade in Malta. How things were different now. How he longed for those carefree times. He opened his eyes and looked back down at the kitchen worktop. The tin opener had jumped the track along the top of the can. What a disaster. The tin lid was now half open and half shut. Too late to go back, but far too far on to stop now. Air had rushed in only seconds ago when he had first pierced the can. He could sense the food was already rotting. He must act fast, yes, now was the time to forge ahead, to throw caution to the wind. an expression. and to open the can. Little did he imagine that when he brought the tuna chunks in brine down from the shelf that this was where he would now find himself. Think man! think! Was it possible he could retrace his steps, reverse the can opener, then with one almighty turn try to recommence tin opening? It was worth a shot. quickly he grasped the handles, aligned the tin opener to just before where the opener had jumped off the rim. Deep breath. Wait. He wiped his brow. Again he grasped the handles, aligned the tin opener to just before where the opener had jumped off the rim. Deep breath. Slowly he began to turn the handle. First to the 1oclock/7oclock position. Everything seemed to be okay. He turned a little more. This time the handle moved round clockwise to the 3oclock/9oclock position. It took slightly more effort but still everything seemed okay. He allowed himself a pause to catch his breath. He knew he could not pause for long. For there, staring back up at him from the top of the half opened tin was the cold unalterable reality of the best before date. 5/12/2015. He was running out of time. Time. Tuna. he smirked to himself. both words started with the letter t. How ironic he thought. Was it just a coincidence? Or was there some larger, more sinister game at play here? That was not his job he thought. Let history decide why the tin opener had jumped off the can that day. He had more pressing issues. This was not the time for questions or hypothesis. It was not the time for concepts or assumptions. It was not the time for speculation or supposition. It was not the time for essays or slideshows. It was not the time for conspiracy theories. It was not the time for pointing the finger of blame. The harsh but simple truth was that there was a half opened can of tuna and somehow fate had chosen him to be the one holding the opener. He surveyed his progress. Since reattaching the can opener he had moved 4, maybe 5millimeters around the can. There was still a long way to go he thought. The total circumference of the can must have been around 25 centimetres or 250 millimetres. He had opened about 20 millimetres before the opener had jumped off the little rail. If he added the original 20 millimetres onto the 5 millimetres he had just opened, then that came to a total of 25 millimetres of open can. Leaving a staggering 225 millimetres of unopened can. This hit jack like a freight train. It was a huge amount of unopened can. What was that as a fraction he thought? Could he open that much? Questions and self doubts railed in his mind. He pushed them to the edge and focused on the little tin. There on the side of the tin was the ingredients list. He said them out loud to himself. 'tuna, water, salt'. That was all. Not a hint of the brine mentioned on the front of the label. Only tuna and saltwater. Confused and hungry, and still carrying the combined weight of the can and the can opener, His legs buckled slightly beneath him. 'must keep turning' he thought to himself. Why had he allowed himself to become sidetracked by the ingredients list? Why had he wasted precious time reading those ingredients. He chuckled to himself. 'some people will read any old crap' he said self-mockingly. This snapped him back to the job in hand. He grasped the handles firmly and prepared to turn the handle to the 4oclock/10oclock position. With a huge effort he moved round to the 28mm mark. 'Only 223mm to go', he thought.
to be continued.