The point isn’t to win, it’s to be remembered.” He (the man) said this casually, twirling in that squeaky office chair. He stopped spinning and made eye contact with me. No expression whatsoever dancing in his eyes, he was marble. He grandly flicked his blue pen high up into the air to catch thereafter, but the entering boy interrupted:
“All RIGHT guys, let’s put our heads together and brew up a nice fresh pot of genius juice tea! YEAH!” He smiled. It looked like he had been crying.
I figured I had been silent for too long, so I piped up. “You’re an idiot.” The boy looked slightly upset, but he nodded. He sat himself on the floor and leaned on the couch, after looking around for the office chair, which was once again in motion. “Alright, we have to close on this, or we’re pretty much through. She said Friday, right…in the, in the email? We have three days. As professionals, we’re going to take this seriously, ‘cause if we miss this, we’re gonna regret it for a long time. Hey! Stop spinning. It’s giving me vertigo.”
“You know, they used to use crystal meth to treat vertigo in Nazi Germany,” the man said, still spinning. Upon hearing this, the boy’s face flashed with joy.
“Yeah. And Hitler only had one testicle, apparently.”
“Oh, that I knew.”
“Do you have a pen? I don’t know where I put mine.”
These are my colleagues, huh? Straws on a camel’s back. I’m better than them. “Hey, do you guys remember when we said we were gonna take this seriously? Uh, it wasn’t that long ago, actually, so you probably do.”
“Hey, I sympathize. I am taking this seriously. Like… imagine how hard it must’ve been for him with only a single testicle, man! Damn!” The boy didn’t look too interested in the man’s antics anymore. But he kept talking. “Like… his centre of gravity would’ve been all messed up.” The boy doubled over in laughter.
This is not going to work. “Okay, let’s take five, then. You guys, get yourselves together, for your own sake. Five minutes.” The door shuts more quietly than I would’ve liked. I steady my pace, walking quickly through the intermittent auras of fluorescent tubes, like prison bars in the ceiling. My temples throb, all of a sudden. I guess I hadn’t been breathing as much as I should’ve been. Fresh air would do me some good right about now. I push on the main door, but it doesn’t budge. I am confused. There’s a door handle that was never there before, and it opens the opposite way of how it usually does. I step outside and nearly kiss the tarmac, by way of there being an extra step after the threshold that was never there before. Slowly I close my eyes. I hear a siren in the distance. Or maybe that’s the microwave.
I open my eyes and it is nighttime.
I blink and it’s day again.
I hear a microwave behind me.
I run back inside. The hallway is dark, I know my way around. The door to the office is jammed. I force my weight against the steel, and it gives way. The lights in here burn. “Did I say five?” I look around and there is no trace of anybody ever being in this room.
firmly embedded in the ceiling over the squeaky office chair,
A blue ballpoint pen.
My eyes are fixed on it. I stare with unreasonable anger. Uni-ball. It avoids eye contact as it drops to the carpet, and doesn’t bounce.
I hear a siren in the distance.