Monday, August 6th

8:05 a.m.

I sneak into the office from the back door, slide into my cubicle, clutching the coffee that made me late. There is no getting around the timeclock installed on my computer, though, and the screen turns red as I log in with my username and password. “Dammit,” I whisper to myself. This is going to bring the wrath of HR. My third Monday in a row being late. I take a sip of my latte. Worth it.

“Uh oh. Sounds like someone is a grumpy-guss.”

I look up to see Marlene hanging over the side of my cubicle. She’s peering down at me through her wire-framed glasses and clutching her own cup of stale office coffee, in a #1 Mom mug. I want to heave my beverage in her face, but that would be a waste of perfectly good caffeine.

10:15 a.m.

An email from the Nerds in HR arrives in my mailbox. The Mysterious Heads of Upper Management have requested my presence in a meeting scheduled for 4 p.m. this Friday. No one ever sees anyone in Upper Management, and everyone knows Friday afternoon is prime firing time. This can’t be good.

11:30 a.m.

My computer crashes while I am finishing up a TPS report. This now requires me to interact with both accounting and the tech support team, and I wonder to myself if I could get away with drinking a couple of beers at lunch.

1:30 p.m.

Ben, Head of Tech Support, is leaning over my chair to hijack my keyboard. His cheese puff stained fingers crush the keys as he berates me for the too-many files on my desktop, my eight open browser tabs, and my game of solitaire running in the background. I contemplate stabbing him in the thigh with a letter opener that is within arm’s reach, but then remember I’ve already had one email from HR already today.

4:42 p.m.

Creepy Steve from down the hall has parked himself in the doorway of my cubicle, chatting and blocking my escape route. He leans, attempting for casual, and stretches his arm across the doorway. I can see sweat stains beginning to spread from the armpit of his outstretched arm. I finally cut him off midsentence, telling him I have a meeting in three minutes. He trudges off down the hallway.

Tuesday, August 6th

8:00 a.m.

I crash through the door and sprint down the hallway to clock in before 8:00 a.m. Creepy Steve comes out of his cubicle as I turn the corner and we collide. His coffee spills all over my shirt, but I don’t even care. I’m up on my feet running, again. I hear him yell after me “Want any help getting that off?” I ignore the harassment and skid into my office and type my username and password. I hit enter as the clock clicks to 8:01 a.m. The screen turns red.

8:05 a.m.

Marlene has her radio up and she is singing along with Shania about not being impressed much. I ball my fist to start banging on the wall when my inbox pings. The Nerds in HR have noted my late arrival again. I contemplate sending an email explaining myself. Instead I stuff my earbuds in my ears and slam my fingers onto my keyboard as I type up the day’s TPS report.

11:55 a.m.

I hear a few of the interns making plans for lunch and I casually drop a hint that I would like to go with them. Tamara, the intern with golden hair replies sheepishly “Oh, this is a new, trendy, place and I don’t know if someone from your generation would enjoy it.” I’m barely in my thirties.

12:15 p.m.

I eat a sandwich, alone, on the bench behind the building.

2:00 p.m.

Bob of Middle Management stuffs himself into my cubicle to ask me to work late. He smells faintly of either good, expensive cheese, or the cheap kind that has gone bad. Neither is a body scent that is desirable. I say yes to working late I might need him to go to bat for me with the Mysterious Heads of Upper Management.

Wednesday, August 8th

8:25 a.m.

I don’t bother with sneaking or running. I’m massively late and there is no hiding it. Its not like I’m not getting canned on Friday, anyway. Also, this one is 100% provable as not my fault. The traffic on the freeway was backed up for miles. The radio said something about a meteor strike just outside the city.

8:30 a.m.

A rolling blackout hits and our power goes out. It only takes about 30 seconds for the generator to kick on. It only takes another 30 seconds for the email to come from the Mysterious Heads of Upper Management that crushes my hopes of working from home for the rest of the day. According to them, the generators can keep us up and running all day. Wheeee.

9:30 a.m.

I’m wedged between Creepy Steve and Tamara the Intern, listening to the radio in the break room. The latest reports are that a meteorite hit just outside the city at approximately 7:33 a.m. causing a traffic jam. I feel vindicated on today’s tardiness. Government officials are saying that everyone should go about their normal business. Bob pokes his head in and reminds me that the TPS reports are due, so I go back to my desk to my normal business. I kind of wish the meteorite had hit me directly.

1:50 p.m.

Creepy Steve is on the warpath, claiming someone stole his sandwich out of the breakroom fridge. He is running down the hall, full speed. I catch a glimpse of him from behind, his shoulders are squared, and he seems shorter than before. His bowed legs are pumping with fury. I chuckle to myself. Also, I swear he looks somehow…hairier…than before.

4:00 p.m.

The Nerds in HR send out a memo reminding everyone that a meteorite crash landing is no reason for early dismissal. As I read the email, I smell smoke and hear giggling coming from Tamara the Intern’s desk.

4:03 p.m.

Ben, Head of tech support runs over to the reception desk, toward a pile of memos burning in the trashcan. In his panic, Ben accidentally kicks over the can and the carpet beings to smolder. I head toward the fire alarm, excited to pull it. A giant space rock slamming into Earth may not be enough to get us out of work early, but an office fire is.

Just as I pull the alarm, a stream of water shoots from Ben’s hands, extinguishing the flames. The siren blares and our coworkers are filing out of the building. Ben looks at me, shrugs, and walks away. I shake my head, go back to my desk, and grab my keys. I don’t care what the nerds in HR say, I am going home.

Thursday, August 9th

7:55 a.m.

After the debacle of the freeway the day before, I had decided to take the bus to work. I log into my computer, clocking in, barely noticing the green screen as it accepts my credentials. I know that the crowd on a public bus can be a swarthy lot, but this morning was different. The guy that looked like a pirate, someone wearing wizard robes…that girl whose hair kept bursting into flames. It seemed a little much.

8:15 a.m.

Not only is Marlene late, which never happens, she is carrying a little guitar with her and she is singing about her late arrival.

“What’s with the little guitar?” I ask. She is dressed in a flowing gown and has flowers braided in her hair. I wonder if this is some sort of midlife crisis thing.

“It’s a lute,” she sings at me, then proceeds to sing about her cubicle.

8:18 a.m.

My patience for Marlene’s signing ran out right around three minutes. I walk to the break room and pour myself a cup of sad, lukewarm, over-brewed office coffee.

Creepy Steve comes sauntering into the breakroom. His knuckles are literally dragging the ground. His low, bowlegged walk is even lower and more bowlegged than usual. He’s dragging a club behind him.

“Where’d you find that club, Steve?” I ask. Probably not the most important question of the day, but it was the first thing that popped into my head. Steve shoves me aside, slams the club into the vending machine, and grabs a candy bar out of the broken glass and littered bags of chips. He leans against the water cooler and bites through the wrapper.

“Brought it from home,” he says.

“Oh. Okay,” I say. “See you later.” I hustled out of the room, clutching my Styrofoam cup of coffee.

10:22 a.m.

I’m working diligently on those TPS reports when my email pings. The Nerds in HR reminding me that the Mysterious Heads of Upper Management haven’t forgot about our Friday afternoon meeting. Yeah. Me neither, Nerds.

1:45 p.m.

The government is now admitting that the meteorite might be causing some strange effects, but that everyone should KEEP CALM AND PROCEED AS NORMAL. While I laugh that our government is basically issuing an Instagram quote for advice, I see Tamara the Intern leading the other interns down the hall. They are all definitely flying now, with iridescent wings. And they are giggling. This can’t be good.

3:37 p.m.

The Nerds in HR are all wearing armor. One of them has a horse. How did they get a horse into the office building? They have declared marshal law against the Rouge Interns, who apparently jammed gum into all of the filing drawer locks and then picked up Jim, the Head Nerd of HR, and flew him over the building, dangling him from his feet.

4:01 p.m.

The Mysterious Heads of Upper Management send a message directly to all employees that we should head home early and that things will be fine in the morning.

Friday, August 10th

8:10 p.m.

I trudge in and log onto my computer. The screen turns red, and I thrust a sword through it. I know I’m late. I had to fight security guard Allen to the death. Apparently overnight he grew six inches, put on a hundred pounds, and morphed his two eyes into one giant Cycloptic one. Oh, and developed a nasty attitude.

9:02 p.m.

It turns out that Jim, the Head of HR, wasn’t okay, despite the Mysterious Heads from Upper Management’s assurances. The interns flew him all the way to the top of the sixteen-story building and dropped him. The Nerds from HR have upped the ante, declaring themselves the Knights of HR and declaring Marshall law. They are offering a reward of a trunk full of rubies for anyone who can bring in Tamara the Leader of the Rouge Interns, dead or alive.

Ben, the Head of Tech, has organized the tech team to take on this challenge. They have built a giant robot that whirs down the hallway, apparently using x-ray vision to search for the band of Rogue Interns.

10:30 a.m.

Creepy Steve, now full troll, is standing in my doorway, blocking it once again. He starts to yammer on about his non-existent plans for the weekend, dropping hints that he is finally going to ask me out. I pull my sword from my sheath and lunge toward him, slicing him just above the rib cage. He is quicker than I give him credit for, and swings forward with his club. It’s a glancing blow, but enough to knock the wind out of me. He asks me out for drinks while I’m still lying on the floor. I kick myself upright and lunge again, this time plunging the sword into his abdomen. He can take that as a no.

11:34 a.m.

The Mysterious Heads of Upper Management send me an email reminding me that my afternoon meeting still stands. I had hoped the demise of the HR head and the subsequent mission of the entire HR department to destroy the Interns would have distracted them. No such luck.

1:51 p.m.

Bob of Middle Management declares himself Lord of The Company. He walks the hallway between cubicles decreeing that all the employees are his subjects and that everyone will be working overtime without pay. This ranting has a little weight to it, considering that he has sprouted wings, scales and can breathe fire. My boss Bob is a dragon.

I look at my sword that I woke up with this morning and figure this is what I was meant for. I charge out of my office and lunge at Bob. He turns his head and blasts a stream of fire straight at me. I tuck and roll into Marlene’s office. She is strumming a lyre and singing about the battle. I grab the lyre and rush out of the cubicle. I charge Bob again and smash him in the face with it. He stumbles back a little and I swing my sword, gouging a deep slash into one of his wings. Bob flees, heading for his office. I start to follow but am cut off by the now Knights of HR, crowding the hallway in their pursuit of the Rogue Interns.

“This isn’t over!” I yell after Bob. But I turn and go back to my cubicle to finish the TPS reports.

I hear the sound of some sort of flute being played in Marlene’s office.

2:23 p.m.

I call down to Ben, Head of Tech. My computer has crashed again. He informs me that there isn’t anyone available to help as their numbers have taken a serious hit in their joined battle with the Knights of HR against the Rogue Interns. I sigh and hang up the phone. After a few attempts of rebooting my computer, it sputters to life, but today’s TPS reports are forever lost.

3:25 p.m.

My IM pings me. It’s the Mysterious Heads of Upper Management reminding me of my appointment in five minutes. I collect my personal belongings into a box under the desk. No need in drawing this out. I grab my now trusty sword and head upstairs.

I stop at the door of the meeting room to collect myself. As I wait for my breathing to slow, I run my hands through my hair and adjust my shirt. I swing the sheath of my sword to my back, where it is a little less conspicuous.

I notice smoke wafting out from under the door. It smells spicy and woodsy. Incense. I roll my eyes. Hippies.

4:00 p.m.

I enter a darkened room filled with the Mysterious Heads. I didn’t expect them to be actual heads, but here they are. All heads, covered in hoods, surrounding me.

 “We are glad to see you have finally joined us.” The voice isn’t coming from any one head in particular. It comes directly from the collective Mysterious Heads into my own.

The heads don’t move at all. I do, however, notice a laptop at the corner of the table. My clock-in information highlighted on the screen.

“Er…yes. You called me in for a meeting. May I ask what this is about?” I ask, trying not to look at the screen.

“We have had some concerns about your performance. You seem to be having trouble coming in on time. And your TPS reports have been late.”

“Well, you se-” I started to interject.

“But it seems that may be of little consequence, given the current situation.”

I sit, perfectly still in my chair.

“You slayed the security guard, did you not?”

I now start to fidget in my chair. Here comes the proverbial ax. Or today maybe even literal.

“Yeah, but he was an ill-tempered cyclops.”

“And then you fought Bob of Middle Management?”

“Now a dragon.”

“We are impressed. In fact, we would like to promote you. We think you would be of most use on our security intel. We request your assistance with the…issue…we are having with the interns.”

The Rogue Interns. Bless them. I had originally been called up here for a firing, and now I’m getting a promotion.

“I would love to!” I tell the Mysterious Heads.

“Very well. Go to Human Resources first thing Monday.”

I stand to leave, nodding my head. I am excited, but that doesn’t change the fact that the heads give me the willies and I’m ready to start my weekend.

“Oh,” the heads say, “but if you clock in late again, you’re fired.”

5:00 p.m.

Ben the Head of Tech is in my cubicle, fixing my computer. His hands are over it, glowing. He nods in my direction. At least I might have a computer that works from now on.

Bob of Middle Management is blocking the exit of the building, demanding that all shall work overtime. I grab my sword and walk toward him.

“The Mysterious Heads of Upper Management have decreed no overtime,” I announce. I hear a cheer from behind me. That’s cool.

Bob of Middle Management whips his tail around smashing me to the ground. Dazed and stunned, I see him shoot flames toward me. In a split second I try to prepare for my demise, but then see the fire die, midair. As the steam clears, I see Ben of Tech standing over me, water dripping from his palms. He has a smug grin on his face. I am not going to hear the end of this for a long time.

Ben flanks to the right and I to the left. Realizing he is surrounded; Bob of Middle Management flies out of the window of his office.

“See ya’ Monday, partner,” Ben says. As everyone streams past me, Marlene stops long enough to pat me on the back.

“T.G.I.F.,” she sings.

I cringe and sheath my sword. I decide to stop for a beer at the local tavern on my way home. T.G.I.F. indeed.

March 09, 2020 19:35

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