The Belly of the Whale


Monday, July 6, 2009

The Big Deal

“Damnit the fucking copy machines broken.” Its in pieces on the floor of the office. A warm grey toner-soaked landfill nestled between cubicles. Piles of its carapace interrupted by black slacks beneath Jon’s workshirt, necktie, neck, chin, jaw, and pondersome face that’s twisted up in a spiral below his forehead. “Damnit again!” Jon said at the wreckage. “This happens all the time.”
“It does.”
“Did you ever notice that?”
“Everything in the office this afternoon has been damaged.”
“Without provocation.”
Said the circle of co-workers. Jon met someone’s gaze from behind a fortified position. He was hiding behind a bulletin board, doing his very best to blend in with the sticky memos.
“Errol, why is you head so covered in our sticky memos?” Jon laughed and did a slippery jig atop the dead copy machine. “I demand to know!”
Errol made an unseen sound from behind his cubicle island and slapped one more sticky memo to his head before sinking underneath his fortified bulletin wall.
“Well then theres still the problem about this mess.” Jon was referring to the shattered copying machine.
“Oh lets get back to what we were talking about this afternoon!” Simon was standing by a watercooler made in 1977.
“Simon I will remind you it is the afternoon, and stand away from the puddle, wet shoes don’t make a polite houseguest.”
“Not this afternoon Maygan, the one from last time, it was so an invigorating chat!” a single sidestep found Simon was safe from the rude wetness on the office floor.
“I remember that one!” Jon’s hands upon his hips when he says this. He was still shin deep in dismantled copy machine while the others were all within safe cubicles.
“Oh very good Jon, than why don’t you begin?”
“Well,” Jon had began, “have you ever noticed how this afternoon everything in the office is broken?”
“Everything but the fax machine, but its broken too.”
“That wasn’t in the afternoon! That’s not how we said it last time! Everything disintegrated in the morning and we didn’t bring up the subject until three o’clock!”
“No, no, I remember quite distinctly because my daughter was born at four o’clock and I had called her to wish her a happy birthing hour, (of course the phone had been dissected so I had to open the window.”
“Shattap Maygan!”
“It cant have been four because at four I was helping Maygan place a call when we realized that someone had dissected the black office phone.”
“We all know about the phone and how it sits at the end of the hall. Continue.”
“Maygan what day is it?”
“What day this month? I think in February this had been a Thursday is that right?”
“I believe so, yes.”
“Look! Look, new bulletins!”
“Stay back from my bulletins!” Errol could not be seen behind his sticky memos.
“Go on, Jon, read us a bulletin!”
“Very well,” Jon removed himself from the copying machine to go over to Eroll’s bulletin wall. He plucked a parchment from the corkboard. “Today, this one reads: ‘Maintainance, please see to the fax machine and Simon’s water cooler,” Jon paused for effect, and did a smile, “and also
Maygan’s water cooler. P.S. replace Eroll’s bulletins when you are finished, please.’”
“That may have been a good one!”
“Simon, away from the puddle.”
“Quite right.”
“No, I still believe this all took place at three o’clock, and Maygan, if you dare speak up I will tell the whole office to use their staplers on you!”
A stapler fluttered past in fast forward and konked her in the temple.
“See what you think about that!”
“Theo, hardly appropriate office attire. Sexual harassment suits can be made and personally, I feel for poor Maygan, her daughter passed away last weekend when her watercooler collapsed. She didn’t stay back from the puddle! Simon!”
“Quite right. Sorry.”
“Four o’clock Tuesday!”
One more stapler caught her in the chin.
“I have plenty of staplers back here!”
“Has anyone tried to fix the copying machine? I had to make some copies today.”
“You’ve been standing in it, Jon, no one can lift your big heavy feet.”
A barrage of staplers like arrows found their mark on Maygan’s face. Eroll ran past and was pegged in the throat with the sharp end of one.
“Copies! I need copies!”
“Damnit Jon I’ve been yelling at you all morning, all the paper is broken and it was all really at lunchtime when it happened because now Maygan has passed away from staple asphyxiation so her theory is null.”
There was quiet.
“Suppose someone should phone her daughter.”

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