The Hat

It’s round, white and conical. And until last week, it sat silently in the corner of the office like some sort of rare bird, everyone knows it exists, but no one’s ever seen one in action. It’s got big, red felt letters on the side, D-U-N-C and half an ‘E’ that’s peeling off so it kind of looks like an ‘L’.

It tapers to a point at the top, and at times this causes some imbalance.
I find if I crane my head correctly, I can prevent the slippage that has caused many embarrassing falls from my cranium.

I still can’t believe my boss put this on me, then sent me to the corner. Bitch. It’s all Ferguson’s fault. Fucking Ferguson. I was heading for employee of the month before he tripped me up.

I stare at the wall all day. I’ve memorized all the tiny cracks running from the top corner to halfway down the side. It’s a simple wall. No decoration to distract me.

At least she didn’t suspend my pay. I’m still on the roll as I sit here, completely useless.

Although, in the rougher moments, I wonder if it is a preferable option. At least at home I would have a TV, if not money to pay for the cable.

I’m well aware that the other employees are snickering behind me.
I can’t do anything about it, and this irks me. One of the requirements is that I stay turned to the wall. If I look away, or twist my head round, I get more time. I’m not sure, but I think she’s sent someone on the task of keeping an eye on me. I think it might be Donahue. He’s always had his nose right up there.

Yesterday, I felt something light touch my back just after lunchtime.
I smelled a very strong perfume, and I thought it might be Donna, with whom I had a brief, torrential affair that started at a very drunken Christmas party. She ended it about a week after it had begun, citing the difficulties of office romance. I think the prospect of being with me intimidated her. I’d like to think that I’m an intimidating type of person. Even if I am a bit pudgy around the waistline. I started to go bald a little while back but I’ve managed to cover the effects by growing my hair longer on the sides and brushing it forward. The difference is imperceptible.

But it’s in the personality though, that attractive intimidation. I’m sure
I have it. I must. Why else would she want to sleep with me, then break it off so suddenly? Afterwards, I wanted to share a word with her, to reassure her that beneath my hardened exterior lay a sensitive and caring man, not only one that she could have raucous, on the foot of the bed drunken Christmas party sex with, but also children and a house. I tried valiantly, even cornering her by the water cooler when no one else was round, but, skittish as she was, my efforts failed. Yesterday, I was sure that she passed by and lightly touched my back as a communication, a way of saying without saying, “I’m here for you when you’ve done your time.” I thought about it all day, how I would find her on her way home, just pop out of the local grocery store she always passed on route to her house, and surprise her with roses and a ring. The thought of her pleasant surprise and eventual excitement carried me into a dream that softly caressed my mind all day. I didn’t even notice the horrendous moments of boredom dragging past like five-ton lime stones on the way to the pyramids. It wasn’t until I got home and undressed to shower that I noticed the sign on my back. I still can’t believe these ‘adults’ can be so juvenile!

All right, all right. I can be juvenile too. But only in retaliation! Like the time when Ferguson nicked one of my chocolates without asking. Just grabbed it off my desk and popped it into his mouth. No thank you; nothing! The sheer audacity! I don’t know if he ever found out it was me who tied the thread between his desk and Carrier’s, but after he fell and broke his nose, he never touched anything on my desk again.

I did send him flowers, though, as a cover. Can’t have everyone knowing my tricks. I don’t feel like creating new ones all the time, just to be original.

God, I wonder what time it is?

I can hear computers buzzing and clicking behind me. People being productive, just as I used to be. But everybody needs coffee breaks, right? I just took my fair share. Like it was an actual problem! Now Weinberger’s constant horking into that cup he keeps on his desk for it, that’s a problem. I can’t stand the noise he makes.

ACCCCCHRURURURRUPPHHT! Every single time, like he’s trying to blow out his lungs or something. She’s never given him any grief though. I tried to loosen things up for him once. I put some pepper on the end of that nasal spray he’s always using. His eyes turned to cherries and he ended up just snotting more. Everybody seemed angry that I had done it, but that’s only because it didn’t work. If it had, people would be thanking me. I don’t care if the guy’s got a medical condition; just stop horking in the fucking cup already. Or at least move your desk to the corner of the room where no one can really see what you’re doing.

It must be lunchtime. The typing has stopped and a slow murmur of conversation is spreading around the office. “The buzz” as it were. Are they talking about me?

One thing’s for sure, when I get out of here, I’m never talking to any of them again. Nobody’s even slipping me some of the office candy that someone manages to bring in every afternoon. I know they’re eating it, I can hear it sticking to their teeth. I can hear them sucking on it.

Comments are closed.