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Chapter 23: Holiday

Dear Journal

So it seems that work is closed now for “the holidays”, although I wish someone had told me before I sat in 2 hours of traffic to try and get to the office by 8am. I arrived to find the office completely abandoned except for three completely inept sentries at the mighty boom gate.

“Where am I supposed to go?” I asked the one sentry who appeared to be the most senior of the trio (I based his seniority purely on the fact that he had a clipboard). It also struck me how popular the name “trainee” was amongst the group, according to the guards’ name tags.

“It is closed” he replied. “You must go”

I wondered for a second if he had even heard my question or if he realised that neither of these automated responses gave me any sort of closure. I felt it best to simply reverse out of the entrance way and go somewhere… but where?

Although I had always dreamed of not having to go to work, I had never actually thought through what I would do if I ever actually got the chance. Suddenly an endless deluge of possibilities streamed though my subconscious bouncing around my mind like a Powerpoint presentation with too many of those cheap animations that chicks love to use.

To the mall? To the beach? Back to bed? Is it too early to start drinking? How long is the office going to remain closed? Did the hordes eventually overthrow Centrifico Technologies? Were they aided by the air duct Wizard?

I decided to go home to change out of my work clothes and to setup a game plan on how best to use the time off.

I drove back to the apartment slowly strangely enjoy the commute through the city. The world seems different during working hours (probably because I have never been out of the office during working hours). Everyone seems more carefree and yet actively directed by purpose.

Once I was back at my apartment and changed into more suitable attire I sat on the couch and started watching TV…

About 2 minutes later I had skipped through all 124 channels and realised that there is absolutely nothing good on TV during the day. I also questioned why I spend so much money on satellite TV when I’m never home to watch it. While 50% of the channels were showing reruns of shows no one wanted to watch the first time they were on, 20% were showing infomercials selling products no one needs by demonstrating product characteristics no one would ever use (like a knife that can cut through a car tyre or a juicer that can liquidise a book) while the remainder of the channels were either kids shows; religious debates or in foreign languages (or all 3 simultaneously)

Just as I was about to switch off the TV a sudden and unfamiliar sound reverberated through the apartment. As the echoes subsided I looked around for the source of the peculiar sound, but there was nothing but silence. Then again, just as suddenly the sound repeated itself, only this time it was followed by a few loud thumps on the door. That sound must have been the door bell.

As I walked towards the door, I was reminded of how sad my existence had become that I have not had a single visitor to the apartment. Except for Stu pizza delivery boy (but he’s only 16 and his skin resembles his wares)…

I opened the door and stared up at the familiar silhouettes of none other than…

“Mom and Dad?”

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Posted by on July 25, 2011 in journal

 

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Chapter 22: Just Get Me Home

Dear Journal

As the hung-over castaways all lurched through the office towards the parking lot and their respective cars, I couldn’t help but notice how similar this state of “hangover-edness” was to most days at the office. The nausea, the headaches, the painful expression of regret in everyone’s faces; the only real difference was that it was a Saturday morning. I thought I had managed to escape the worst of my hangover, but I was as wrong as the little dresses that Doris makes her cats wear.

As I got to my noble chariot – 1995 Toyota Tazz, I was greeted by several spritely joggers who on any other day would have received a hearty if not completely faked reply, but today all that was forthcoming was a grunt. As I opened the car door I was struck by a tidal wave of heat which of course did wonders for my nausea. Naturally this would also be the day that the air-conditioning in the car decides to cease; surely it has been cursed by the evil air duct wizard in my cubicle. Man, I hate that guy (even though I’ve never met him) I needed to find a cure to this hangover and fast.

I tried my best to concentrate on my driving and not the vomiting butterflies in my stomach and managed fairly well I thought considering the steering well felt as if it were made of molten lava. I must have been quite the sight to behold; driving squint eyed; sweating from the lack of air conditioning and swerving left and right due to tapping the steering wheel in order to drive or risk burning off the skin on my hands.

Those who claim miracles don’t happen would be astounded to know that I made it the local merchant with not so much as a dent, although the same cannot be said for the nerves of some of the other motorists and pedestrians who were on the road nearby.

I stumbled into the shop like a cripple with a crutch made of jelly. Strangely enough I was incredible hungry, but even the thought of the jelly crutches from the previous simile made me want to vomit. Everyone in the store was staring, babies were crying and parents were dropping bags of groceries to cover their children’s eyes and ears.

I wondered why the big deal. Sure, I was a little hungover and probably smelled a bit past my expiration date, but there was no need for this. It was only as I stumbled past the frozen foods section that I caught my reflection in the upright fridges and remembered that I was still dressed as a special-Ed pirate. A water wing wearing, life-jacket adorned pirate…with nothing else on.

I wasn’t sure if it was this realisation or the fact that I was near the fridges, but I suddenly felt very cold and as I looked for my pirate flag skirt I had been wearing I noticed a very similar one waving outside, caught in my front door. The Skull and Crossbones seemed to laugh as it waved in the wind outside.

I swallowed my pride, which was pretty much all I could keep down at the time and walked out the shop. No one seemed to mind that I didn’t pay for the bags on frozen peas that I was using to hide my nether regions.

I drove home faster than I think is humanly possible, at the speed of pure embarrassment.

I climbed the stairs to my apartment, eating handfuls of frozen peas on the way. I opened the door and collapsed in my bed.

I felt like I was in hell. I was sweating, yet cold; I was hungry; yet nauseous; I was shaking and it terrible endless pain, but despite all this I could only hold on to one single thought… this is better than work.

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2011 in journal

 

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Chapter 21: Cannibals

Dear Journal

A sudden sweaty panic began to set it as the realisation that we may all be trapped in the boardroom till Monday became a striking reality. Already some of the castaways had begun to draw straws and pillage the corpses who hadn’t yet awoken from their alcoholic comas.

“I’ve tried the door and it won’t open. I think we may be locked inside” said one of the castaways, who was difficult to take seriously wearing a crown that said “The Party King” on his head, as well as a pair of ladies panties with a rabbit’s tail on the end of them.

“We’ll be stuck here till Monday!” announced one of the panicked crowd. The sentiment of panic seemed to mirror through the room.

And then in what can only be described as the quickest rendition of Lord of the Flies, Timothy, one of the interns in the administrative department, was tied to a pole and placed rotisserie-style, over a pile of books, reports and other kindling as the other castaways began disassembling the boardroom furniture for use as firewood.

Timothy was the perfect candidate for cannibalism, not only because no one would miss him since barely anyone even knew his name (despite being required to wear a humiliating “Hi My name is Timothy” sticker to work every day), but also because having served as an intern for the past 6 weeks had already destroyed his will to live and his ability to speak unless spoken to. So as long as no one spoke to him he kept completely silent, even as they stripped him bare and basted him in left over beer.

I was as worried about our survival as much as the next person in the room, but the thought of resorting to cannibalism after only an hour seemed a bit rash, not to mention the amount of administrative BS and paperwork, a cannibalisation disciplinary hearing was going to bring.

“What are you doing?” I asked. “We can’t eat the poor guy, we’re colleagues, some of us are even friends.” At this point I realised that I recognised no one in the room partly because I don’t really get out of the Customer Services Department much, but mainly because a strange bloodlust had come over the room and they were all focussed on Timothy as he turned slowly over the growing embers (luckily no one really knew how to make a fire from office equipment – there was much I could’ve taught them)

As the flame began to form Timothy kept completely silent despite the sweat dripping from every pore. Thankfully, the entire room was silent for the next second somebody shouted…

“Oh wait a minute the door says PUSH. I had been pulling on it, yeah it’s open!”

A great and vocal simultaneous exhalation could be heard, which one would probably contribute to an equal mix of relief to be free; the frustration of being “trapped” longer than was necessary; and embarrassment at the thought of what could have happened to young Timothy.

Everyone began to file out the room sheepishly at which point a sudden realisation dawned upon me but felt that this was not a good time to remind everyone that our “impenetrable prison” was also made entirely of glass, to risk further embarrassing the castaways.

We may be free, but I still need to find out what happened last night

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2011 in journal

 

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Chapter 20: The Hangover

Dear Journal

I need to um… can’t think straight. I can’t seem to open my eyes more than just a slit.
I need to figure out where the hell I am. I appear to be in some sort of room. Lets see… four walls; ceiling; door; yes, definitely a room of some kind.

I manage to sit up ever so slowly there are bodies everywhere dressed in Pirates outfits, bikinis and sailor uniforms. What the hell happened? I seem to have water wings on, a lifejacket and I’m wearing a pirate flag as a skirt other than that I am completely naked.

I try to move but some blonde woman dressed in a sailor’s costume is lying on my arm which has gone completely numb from loss of blood. My ears are ringing, my head is pounding and yet I seem to have the song “Girls just wanna have fun stuck in my head”. It really is a catchy song. I try hum the tune but realise that my throat is as arid and devoid of water as the plastic plants in the Customer Service Department and someone seems to have lined the roof of my mouth with cotton.

What the hell happened last night?

I look around the room to see if I can get any sort of clue as to how I managed to get into this room dressed like a Special-Ed Pirate, surrounded by all these other shipwrecked outcasts and passed out next to some woman who may or may not be part leech, as she seems to not only have removed all blood flow in my arm, but I am unable to get her to let go.

I hope she isn’t dead and this is some sort of rigor mortis-like grip that she has on my arm and forever I will have to drag her corpse to and from work… ugh I can’t be thinking of things like that now. To be honest I can’t really be thinking of anything right now as ever thought seems too painful. Merely existing seems to hurt. Right now I will concentrate on breathing and not throwing up.

I don’t feel so good.

Ok , I feel a bit better and only need to concentrate on breathing now. Luckily there was an empty bowl of dip nearby and to be quite honest the vomit kind of looks like the dip used to. Thankfully too, in my rush to find some sort of vessel to regurgitate in I managed to free myself from my prison of passed out blonde girl.

However in jerking myself free I may have woken her. Well, it was either that or when she rolled off the table and slammed her head into the floor. Either way, she’s awake.

In what must be considered the cliché of the day she asked where she was and what had happened. She asked for something to eat, but I thought that a bowl of fresh dip wasn’t what she wanted to see right now.

Slowly more and more bodies regained movement throughout the room, which was now becoming more and more recognisable as the Centrifico Technologies Boardroom. (Not that I had ever been before, I just recognised it from the orientation DVD we watched on my first day here).

Everyone seemed just as confused as the next and yet completely calm, that was until someone said “I think the doors locked”

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2011 in journal

 

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Chapter 19: The Office Party

Dear Journal

I’ve slowly been working through these accursed TPR reports for the past few days with seemingly no end in sight. Every time I manage to finish 3 or 4; 10 or 12 new ones arrive for me to complete.

Everyone seems to be rushing through work to get to the Office Party which starts at 12 today. The theme is Caribbean Cruise which explains why everyone arrived at work today is swim shorts and bikini’s – I obviously missed that memo while I was away SAVING THE WORLD WITH NO RECOGNITION!

I appear to be the only one still dressed in a suit and tie. Oh and Doris, but thank all that is holy on this Earth that she decided not to wear a bikini. I have seen many horrible, frightful beasts in my day, but I fear these images would pale into insignificance in comparison to Doris in a bikini.

Better finish these reports.

It’s now 14h25 and I’m probably half way done with the reports. Thankfully since no one else is in the office the flow of new work seems to have stopped and I’m actually making headway. I decide that it might be worthwhile seeing how the party is going and so leave my desk to check out the Garden Level where the party is happening (cheap bastards).

When I arrived the first thing I noticed was how bored everyone looks sitting around several round tables dressed in their respective beach apparel. The dance floor is completely empty except for one of the guys from accounts who is prancing around shirtless with two drinks in each hand.

I felt completely out of place being the only one not dressed appropriately so I decided to take off my tie, roll up my sleeves and roll up my pants like some sort of shipwrecked businessman, a costume which I would have to explain to several people throughout the course of the party.

I make my way to the tables of food which were all elaborately decorated to look like we were on a tropical island. By that I mean everything had sand and bits of leaves in it. The food was also extravagantly named to hide the fact that it was just the regular swill we get served in the canteen everyday – just in miniature form.

It was nice to see the ogres who normally serve the food at the canteen dressed up as pirates and islanders, it made me forget that the “Spicy Island Surprise” was just the regular stew we get every third Tuesday of the month.

After having my fill of “Spicy Island Surprise”, “Treasure Trove Tacos” and “Pirate Pizza” I made my way to the bar to get myself a drink. A surly Piratical Bartender who looked a heck of a lot like Rudy the Janitor served me.

“What’ll it be me matey?” he asked in a humorous piratical accent.
“Just give me something strong without a crappy pirate or island name” I replied.

“Oh I’ve got just the thing for you” he said as he reached into his quite un-piratey looking blue overalls and pulled out a small purple bottle with a Smiley Face and Crossbones.

Thinking back I should’ve just ordered a “Bahaman Beer” but the festivities got the better of me and done the hatch went the little bottle of unknown liquid.

“Mmmmm tastes like cinnamon” and these were the last words I remember saying…

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2011 in journal

 

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Chapter 18: The Returning Hero

Dear Journal

As I ascended the grey stairway to the Customer Service Department, I couldn’t help but wonder how my victorious return would be celebrated. Would I get rapturous applause? Would they give me the corner cubicle with the view of the water cooler? Perhaps they’d bestow me with one of those shiny “employee of the month” trophies? I hope printer girl is there to see my triumphant return.

I’m actually pretty excited to get back to my old cubicle; I wonder who Eddie has been annoying since I haven’t been around.

I suppose the guys in the Customer Service Department would want a few words of acceptance, I should work on a speech.

As I turned the corner and entered the Customer Service Department everything seemed to be just as I left it… grey. No “Our Hero” banners, no decorations, no scantily clad maidens to nurse my battle scars.

I think they must be planning a surprise celebration. So I decided to take a seat inside my cubicle and at last I could see at least one thing that has changed… my pile of TPR reports has tripled in size!

I made a thorough inspection of my cubicle. No trophies, no certificates, not even so much as one of those magical sticky post-it thingies recognising my absence. Even my electronic mail had nothing of interest, just several hundred report requests, some photo’s of Doris’s cats in stupid clothes and a ominous sounding chain letter that promised to curse me with 10 years bad luck if I didn’t forward this to 100 other people.

About 2 hours later I finished sending the accursed chain letter to 100 other people. It took so long because I don’t actually know that many people so I had to make a few up. I hope the wizard who created this curse doesn’t find out that Ben Dover isn’t a real person.

I wondered when this surprise celebration was going to take place, when Eddie came by with his “World’s Greatest Lover” Chalice.

“Hi Eddie, it’s good to see you again!”

“What do you mean see you again?” he replied.

“I’ve been away the last 3 days… saving the company from a ferocious 8ft steroidal genius. I also managed to get the server back on line.”

“Oh, didn’t know you were gone”

The realisation that not only would my exploits go unrewarded, but that no one even knew I wasn’t at my desk for the past three days was not as much frustrating as it was depressing.

“Well, did I miss anything?” I asked.

“Doris, bought cake for one of her cat’s birthdays on Tuesday, it was delicious.”

F**k this place…time to start working names off “The List”

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2011 in journal

 

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Chapter 17: The Great Esc

Dear Journal

As I stood beneath the towering hulk that was the infamous Jock Nerd, I noticed the slight glints of light reflecting off the glass “eyes” of molemen and women all around. Their numbers seemed to be increasing by the second as they poked their little neckless heads out from their respective cover.

Jock Nerd continued to hurl what I could only assume to be abuse, but instead of being intimidated by this I simply stared back blankly at him partly in an act of defiance, but mostly as I had no idea what he was saying.

This seemed to enrage the beast even further who picked up a nearby cubicle partition and held it above his side-parted and peroxided head of hair. He waved it around threateningly causing a variety of drawing-pin fastened documents, keepsakes and motivational posters to flutter to the floor.

It was now or never, so I decided now was the better option, given the limited medical aid cover Centrifico Technologies offered. I opened the mysterious elixir and without a second thought I sprayed the clear liquid across the gargantuan intellect’s pimply, well chiselled face to the sound of a collective gasp of a thousand molemen (which incidentally sounds very similar to an asthmatic cat coughing up a hairball.)

The beast dropped the cubicle wall and the slightest glimmer of hope seemed to reflect in the thousand molemen eyes, but just as suddenly he simply sputtered and laughed.

“Is that all you’ve got? Water?” “I was worried you knew of my secret fear of spiders, I’m completely terrified of them. Ever since I was a little boy when my uncle used to come home late at night and come into my room dressed as Spiderman and try climb the walls.”

This sudden openness scared me than any arachnophobia, but it sure was better than being beaten to death with a grey cubicle wall. What could have brought this open confession on? Perhaps the elixir contained a truth serum?

“I’m not really this mean, I just have a hormone imbalance from too many nutritional supplements and from wearing these Power balance bracelets – I’m not stupid, I know they don’t do anything, but the jock in me can’t seem to take it off.”

“I just wish people here would like me and not be scared of me, I wish for once they would invite me to go to nightclubs and bars with them”

It was at this point that my moleman ally spoke up to say that they never go anywhere except to LAN parties, live action role playing parties or Star Trek conventions so that’s why they’ve never invited him.

There was a terribly awkward silence as the two arch enemies appeared to finally be seeing eye to eye to eye to eye to eye (I lost count at this point). While I was quite relieved not to have my brains smeared across a cubicle wall, I was hoping for a little bit more action from this encounter.

The molemen did thank me and raised me up on their shoulders (approximately 3ft in the air) and walked me as far as they could muster (also approximately 3ft). All seemed to be well again in the kingdom of basement level B7; the molemen had found a new champion in Jock Nerd; I had restored peace to the dimly lit land of the molemen and I was told that the server would be online by the time I got back to my desk.

As I began to ascend my the seemingly endless flight of stairs, each storey bathed in increasing levels of natural light I thought back on my journey and whether this would get me one of those extra-curricular performance bonuses that I had been told about for surely I was returning as not only a level 1c Customer Service Analyst, but also…a hero.

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2011 in journal

 

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