July 31, 2015 07:33:09 PM





“The sun rose and everything fell apart.”


“That’s how I see it at least. The world began somehow and we humans were forced by our innovative natures to get up and start businesses; And you know what that means; Paperwork.” Alex pointed to his desk; it was covered in stacks of papers neatly arranged in rows. Dylan wondered how much of the desk was actually used for working.

“Sir, I don’t understand-“

“What is there to understand, let alone not understand?” Alex threw his hands in the air.

“Why did you call me to your office, Sir?” Dylan gulped.

“Isn’t it obvious? I need you to fill out my Telecommunications and Internet Service billings report for me. It’s not to difficult, you can figure it out.” Suddenly, Dylan heard a screeching noise and swiveled his head toward it. A janitor stood plainly in the doorway with a large, rusty cart before him.

“You ordered a cart, Sir?” He asked. Alex hopped out of his chair and ran over to the doorway. He grabbed the cart and wheeled it into the room.

“I should get paid extra for room service.” The janitor muttered under his breath as he trudged away. Dylan stared at the empty doorway.

“Oh don’t worry,” Alex said. “He is ‘generally satisfied’ with his position here. He said so in his self evaluation, which you too will have to do in about a year or so. Anyway, back to business; help me load the cart. Alex began loading the stacks of paper onto the cart, while whistling a cheerful tune.

“Sir, why do you want me to do your Telecommu- whatever work for you??” Dylan asked as he hauled the papers and folders onto the cart. “I’ve only been here,” He glanced at the clock on the wall. “Three hours. I took a tour of the office literally an hour ago.”

“Exactly. The newbies tend to work faster. I could tell you that if you didn’t do my TIB report for me you would be fired, although even if I didn’t you would probably still work your ass off for me. To nervous to piss anyone off.” Alex turned away from Dylan for a moment to ponder this theory. Finally, Alex went back to shuffling around his desk. He checked the stapler to see if it needed refilling and when he realized that it did, indeed need some staples, he loaded it onto the cart as well. “Actually, you know what. I have decided. If you do not do my TIB reports you will be fired.” Dylan’s eyes bulged. He quickly began shifting the stacks and nervously making room for more. “Nah, I’m kidding. I’m not even your boss.” Alex beamed with something he liked to classify as ‘charm with a hint of importance’ but others called ‘arrogance’.

“What?” Dylan stepped away from the cart, all prepared to storm off with his ‘power stride’. “If your not my boss-“

“Well, I mean, since you are already here…” Alex pushed the cart toward Dylan. “Have it on my desk by-“ Alex smacked his thigh and laughed. “Couldn’t even get through it! Just get it to me when you have the chance.” Dylan rolled his eyes and began wheeling the cart out the door.

“How much am I getting paid for this job, again?” He asked himself nervously.

Dylan stood at the bar, his legs aching and he yearned for a stool. On his first day of work, Dylan had been left with two realizations. One; he needed to work out more. Pushing that cart had shown him how weak his legs were. Two; What was it? Aren’t people supposed to realize lot’s of important things after a big life change? Or is that before? Before and after? Ah, who cares, Dylan’s beer was set on the counter in front of him. He lifted it and was about to take a sip when an annoying noise surprised him.

“You even hang out in a tie after work?” It was Alex. He leaned up against the bar, pushing a young couple out of the way. “Oh boy. I wonder how many weeks of work it’s gonna take for that stick to fall out of your-“

“You followed me?” Dylan set his frothy drink on the counter. He glared at Alex, but felt the urge to take off his tie and stuff it into the pocket of his leather jacket. The longer he ignored it, the more it felt as though the tie (which he had always convinced himself was ‘casual not corporate’) was choking him.

“No, I didn’t follow you.” Alex raised one eyebrow . “This is where all the newbies hang out.” Dylan glanced around, scanning the room. “Well, obviously not at the same time.” Alex exclaimed. “It’s close to the office, so on the off chance that you get drunk after work, you will wake up close enough to the office to walk. See, I get your silly reasoning. There is even a bottle of Ibuprofen in the compartment under the bar.” Alex tapped the wood near his foot and a little door swung open revealing a half-empty bottle of pills. Alex chuckled, then he gestured to an old woman sitting on the stool next to him, getting her attention. He kicked the stool and she hopped off abruptly. Alex dragged it over and sat down.

“Dude, she’s like, seventy-something.” Dylan murmured.

“So, she’s to old to drink anyway.” Alex pulled Dylan’s beer toward him and took a huge sip.

“You can’t be too old to drink. Only too young.” Dylan explained.

“Why are you mentioning that?” Alex asked suspiciously. “How old are you?”

“I’m obviously legal!” Dylan stammered

“Well, I mean… you’ve got a bit of a baby-face. Don’t worry. That tends to work in the corporate world. It screams ‘I’m young and ready to innovate.” Alex winked. “Just don’t show them your I.D. ‘cause I am still not sure you are over twenty-one.”

“Is that a compliment, or are you implying that I never went to college?” Dylan demanded, impatient.

”Someone’s defensive,” Alex shook his head. “Don’t do that at work, kay?” He shook his head. “Whew, you’ve got a lot to learn.” Dylan scratched his head.

“You aren’t even my boss.” He crossed his arms.

“Exactly. If I was your boss I couldn’t be your mentor-“

“No, no. We are not going down this road.” Dylan glared. “You become my mentor and sooner or later my life is going to turn into an annoying sitcom.” Dylan gave up waiting for another beer. He apologized to the old woman, who by now was still pouting at the end of the bar, and walked out. He couldn’t shake the eerie feeling that Alex was a mind-reader who was going to take over his life. It was just a funny feeling he had, like a tingling sensation at the bottom of his stomach. As he stood at the curb, waiting for a cab he impulsively tugged at his tie and put it in his pocket.

“Stupid mind-reader.” He murmured as he got in the cab.

That morning, Dylan sat in his cubicle doing useless reports; useless because he wasn’t getting paid for doing them. He saw Alex strutting down the hall, and tried to bury his face behind the stacks of papers.

“Hello, Baby-Face.” Alex was wheeling a small paper-shredder behind him. It had a label on it reading: Property of the Supply Closet. Do not move. “You are doing it all wrong.” Alex squeezed into the cubicle, and plugged in the paper-shredder. One by one, he ran the probably-important documents through the machine.

“I came here, like, three hours early!” Dylan shouted over the noise. “Why are you shredding all of my work?”

“I had a better idea for what to do with these last night.” Alex looked seriously at Dylan then continued to shred the papers. “Anyway. I just wanted to bring you this.” He kicked the shredder. “ Like I said, when you are done have the reports on my desk-“

“But don’t you want me to shred them?” Dylan asked, confused.

“Yeah, I want to make paper-mache, duh.” Alex smirked and walked away. Dylan didn’t think he would hear anyone utter the word DUH at work, but apparently he didn’t know anything. After he finished shredding the TIB reports, he unplugged the machine and wheeled it over to the elevator. He pressed the UP button and waited nervously.

“Can you read?’ A gruff voice demanded. Dylan craned his neck toward it and saw the janitor slouching behind him. “Property of the Supply Closet. Do not move. Did you think the label was being sarcastic?” He asked rudely.

“No I— it’s for Alex-“ The Janitor grabbed the machine away from him. Suddenly, the elevator dinged and the doors slid open. The janitor shoved Dylan inside, reached in the elevator to press the DOOR CLOSE button and shuffled away.

“I haven’t even been reprimanded by my own boss yet, and already I’m getting attitude from a janitor.” Dylan muttered, still trying to understand the twisted corporate hierarchy. As the doors slid open, he marched to his execution. He wondered how Alex reacted to people arriving empty handed.

“Oh goody, Baby-face is here. Say, where’s the stuff I asked for?”

“Yeah about that…” Dylan tried to figure out the best way to phrase; I got bullied by a janitor. It was like trying to explain how his lunch money was stolen to his mother, who had always hoped her son would grow up to be a football star.

“Of course. Send a boy to do a man’s job and what’dya get.” Alex sighed. Dylan wondered how making paper-mache could be classified as a ‘man’s job’. Dylan heard shuffling and turned around. He saw the janitor saunter into the room with the paper-shredder.

“I heard you needed one of these, Sir.” He said cheerily.

“Thank you!” Alex exclaimed. “At least someone in this office is proving their competence. They should give you a raise.” The janitor stood proudly, waiting to see if Alex was serious about the raise but by then Alex was already preoccupied with the paper-shredder.

“I’ll be back.” The janitor whispered. He glared at Dylan and marched out of the office.

“So newbie. You did the worst thing you could do in your first week here; ya got fooled by the janitor.” Alex sighed dramatically. He leaned against his desk and gestured to the chair in front of it. Dylan sat down and rolled his eyes. “It’s no biggy, though. Here’s what you’ve gotta know. One; never share food with him. It’s like the rule with pigeons or raccoons. He will always be back for more. Two; never tell him how much money you make. Last time somebody did that and the janitor threw a fit. And I mean; ‘running around demanding Anarchy’ kind of fit. Three-“

“Who do you think you are?” Dylan leaped out of his chair, the way they did it in the movies just before a speech. “You are seriously telling me how to survive the corporate world, I’m not even sure you know how to do you job!” I mean honestly, Do you seriously spend all day making paper-mache, playing video-games, and reading the same books over and over again?” Dylan marched over to the shelf and grabbed a book, partly because he wanted to look superior and also because he wanted to see what kind of books this guy was into.

“No, I wouldn’t-“

“Silence” Dylan ordered, the excitement causing a tingling sensation in his toes. He opened a book and found that the inside was carved out to store a small nerf gun. He looked at Alex, then at the gun, then back to Alex. He closed the book nervously and put it back on the shelf. “Okay, I don’t need to know the specifics of what you do all day besides the fact that it isn’t you job! Don’t try to teach me how the corporate world works, you aren’t even part of it.” Dylan slowly walked away, patriotic music playing in his head.

Alex kicked over the paper shredder angrily, but soon got distracted by the strands of paper spilled onto the floor.

One month Later

“Are you really going to do this?” Dylan asked, somewhat nervously. Alex felt the small pistol poking out of his back pocket. He re-ajusted his jacket to make sure it was covering the butt of the gun.

“Yeah I am.” He said, serious for once. It was unprecedented; this seriousness.

“Is this because of the thing I said-“

“Hell yeah.” Alex raised his eyebrows. Dylan shook his head.

“You know I was just pissed, right?”

“Yeah, I know.” Alex said. “But you were right. I would much rather stay at home and shoot nerf bullets at that painting of my parents in the living room than come here every day.” He tapped the gun in his pocket.

“Okay. If you really wanna quit…” Dylan trailed off. “Go for it. He patted Alex on the shoulder and turned away. Alex watched him as he made his way down the hall and pictured what he would be doing in about two hours. He saw himself; running around the apartment in his underwear, shooting soft darts at the walls. He pictured drawings of inappropriate cartoons scattered all over the coffee table. He smirked; that was just the way he liked it. He looked at the sign above the door that had his boss’s name on it. Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.