Office Noir

clean cubicle seen from North I have taken thi...

When daydreams become nightmares.

White walls surround my office workspace that gives way to a gaping hole, opening to a corridor. If I turn 360 degrees in my chair, I see nothing but a wall calendar that is always a month behind. To the right of my office, lies a faux reception area with no receptionist (that might be me, but not officially), a plant, and a tiny table with just one chair.

The President, Publisher, and the VPs, there are five of them, dwell down the hall in the inner workplace universe, while my office exists in the outer universe.

I rely upon my powers of observation and instinct to alert me when the others approach.

The slamming of the door in the reception area offers a clue. Will it be a deliveryman, the President, or a VP intruder? The hard smack of leather soles against carpeting thickens the plot. Men of means wear leather soles. UPS and Fed Ex drivers are rubber-soled warriors, who travel quickly in and out of doors.

Footsteps  of the Mahatma

These footsteps are slow and deliberate. As they near my office, I detect the scent of Paco Rabanne, not eau de armpit that wafts from the sweat-stained shirts of workingmen.

I can now identify the intruder, as a dark suit with a shiny baldhead passes my cluttered space filled with stacks of unfiled papers and magazines strewn across the floor, as if by an angry child.

It is the President, the sovereign leader of the hall, reception area, and twelve offices. “Good meeting,” he blurts out, and then races down the corridor.

I am indifferent to his subdued enthusiasm and listen for the sound of footsteps to grow softer then disappear.

Yet, all is not right with the office universe. Soon a new sound will replace the old one. I prepare for the coming onslaught. Seconds later, a dial tone from a speakerphone, set to loud, echoes down the corridor. The sovereign leader has reached his office and is likely checking his messages, a slight reprieve, providing me with a moment of bliss before the next intrusion jars my senses.

The intrusion I speak of is the intercom buzzer, similar to the buzzer heard at basketball games when a player sinks a shot. However, I do not share the same passion of a devoted fan when I hear “baaaarrrr.” The sound is so disturbing, so menacing, and far more offensive than the blare of a ringing phone I fear one day my ears will bleed.

Then it happens, the dreaded “baaaarrr” sound. I startle, regain my composure, and utter a, “Yes,” in a somewhat amiable tone.

“Sorry,” Leader exclaims. “Meant to dial “9.”

I disengage the phone and accidentally kick the vertical safety board wedged between the bottom of my desk and floor, a brace for the two wobbly desk legs at the end of the return.

The board moves slightly, but I lodge it back in place before the computer and files crash to the floor — a phenomena that occurred once when the UPS man blindly tossed a box of magazines into my office, knocking the board off kilter, collapsing the wobbly legs, and leaving the desk at a forty-five degree angle.

After the incident, box tossing was outlawed in the office, along with boxing, box bowling, and my favorite, box ball.

I turn and glare at the intercom button that I am convinced was designed with the sole purpose of driving me insane, insane, insane. I unplug the phone and drop it into the trash can on top of a memo to the staff regarding the ongoing problem of missing phones.

Do you have a dark work story to share?

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6 Comments Office Noir


    i have a great one, but my daughter is driving me out of my mind so that i can not think

    thanks for visiting me over at the crib!

  2. Carl

    Hello Lauren,
    OMG I laughed so hard when I read this!
    Although my home office is about 1500 miles away I am indinated with ringing phones from various depts there, the vice president & his assistant,conference calls,and conference tutorials that are never quite coordinated to be in sync….same thing different venue!
    You know Lauren I just happened upon your site and I am very glad I did.:)I look forward to reading you in the future. I hope you will visit me as you have time.

  3. Lauren

    Thank you, Carl. I'm so glad you found me. I guess chaos is rampant everywhere. 🙂 I will definitely stop by and say hello.


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